I swear I’ve been here longer than one week…

I already have so many stories to share, so it’s hard to believe I’ve only been in Rio for a week or so. I guess I’ll just pick up where I left off in my last post…

After our campus tour last Friday, a group of us headed towards the Ipanema beach for the rest of the afternoon. (For the record, I did buy a Brazilian bikini, BUT it’s rather conservative compared to others. I showed minha mãe brasileira the bikini, thinking she would be proud of me, but she just shrugged and said it wasn’t small enough in the buttocks area!) The beach is absolutely beautiful and the water is so cold! I was so excited to see waves that people could actually surf on. *this next story has a happy ending* Well…I was excited until our group got a taste of the strength of the ocean. A couple of my friends got pulled by the rip further out from the beach than they needed to be. Everyone started screaming at the two girls that they needed to swim inland immediately, telling them to ride the waves in if they could. One girl managed to make it. The other was struggling. In my defense, I have been trained as a lifeguard, so when I saw my friend struggling and freaking out in the water, I had to go in and help. I screamed at the other students to go find or start yelling for actual lifeguards as I jumped into the water to go help my friend. I am not a beach lifeguard, so I don’t know how to actually save someone from a rip tide. I managed to swim out to the girl fairly quickly, told her to stay calm and keep her head above the water. I tried to get her to “ride the wave” in and let the waves do the work. Little did I know, she didn’t actually know what that entailed. I almost got us back into land when a huge wave swept us back out. Finally a lifeguard showed up and took my friend from me so I could swim back in. It was exhausting. I kind of failed at saving the girl but at least I tried. It was a terrifying experience but an educational one. Since then the waves have been much calmer and we are working on teaching our friend how to body surf. Told you the story had a happy ending!

Saturday, PUC (our university) took us on a tour of the city. We got to see the Tijuca National Forest, the Maracanã (which is under construction for the 2014 World Cup!), the Banco do Brasil, and the Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountains). For lunch, we ate at a churrascaria. It’s basically a steakhouse where the waiters walk up to your table with different meats and continue to feed you until you’re bursting at the seams with food. It was awesome! The Pão de Açúcar allowed the opportunity for some amazing photos:

and that's how you go up

city from the the shorter Sugar Loaf

We spent Sunday at the Ipanema beach again. Then Monday classes started! I’m in Level 2 Portuguese and have no idea how to explain the differences. There are 4 levels from 0 to 3. Level 0 is for the students who have had zip exposure to the language. Level 3 is for the more experienced students who can more or less can speak fluently, or at least, without saying “um” every other work. We are in class from 8:30 till 1pm with a 20 minutes break in the middle. Each class has two teachers who swap after the break. Both of my teachers are a lot of fun, and their enthusiasm makes it easier to learn the language. Monday night I made the brilliant decision to stay out in Ipanema till 2:30am watching the BCS championship in an Irish pub with some other PUC students. It was a lot of fun bonding with the other students, but I was so sleepy the next day.

My latest big hurdle has been purchasing plane tickets to Fortaleza. The TAM Airlines website does NOT like American credit cards. Lara and I had to take a 45 minute bus ride to the city center to talk to someone in person at TAM Viagens. The lady who helped us was very nice. She and I ended up having one of the strangest conversations ever: both of us spoke weaving back and forth from Portuguese to English using whatever vocab we had in our repertoire. Hopefully we will be able to buy our tickets soon!

This weekend will be another big adventure. We are planning on exploring Niterói across the bay from Rio, and if we have time we might even visit Lapa. So, look forward to more pictures and adventures!

Abraços e beijos!

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~ by dfsg1991 on January 12, 2012.

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