Renewal.

Renewal.

The wee hours of Day 48.. was when I started writing this post, but I suppose now it’s technically the wee hours of Day 49

My mom has officially booked a flight to come see me in Brazil in October!! I could not be more excited to show her this city.  Walking around today, knowing that she would get to see it all I think made me appreciate being here even more.  It’s keeping me from being jaded of all the incredible things I get to show her.  I can’t wait!  My dad has flight plans in the works too for the end of this month, but getting the tourist visa in time might be tricky.

This past Thursday we went to the weekly CS meeting on the beach.  We’ve been here long enough to know a lot of people there at this point.  It’s almost stressful trying to move 10 meters across the calçada to get to another circle of friends without getting caught up in 6 other conversations in between.  Our new roommates went with us though, and I think they had a good time.  Afterward we went to a little “boate” (aka small bar/nightclub) in Copacabana (#yesssssbarclosetohome).  There was a live band playing “pagode” music, which is like hyped up covers of popular Brazilian songs.  I imagine it would be a lot of fun if I actually knew the songs.. but I at least recognized one!

Friday after class I honestly can’t remember what we did.. so I’m just going to tell you we went to the beach and move on to the exciting part which was the samba rehearsal we saw at São Clemente!  They were practicing different songs for Carnival and picking one to perform during this rehearsal.  I feel like I almost got the hang of it, but you have to move your feet so damn fast that it’s really very tiring to even just try to dance samba.

On Saturday we met up with John, the UVA grad who was in this program 7 years ago.  He now lives in São Paulo and is working for Google.  He had some good advice on really learning Portuguese and making the most out of this experience.  We’ve been in Rio enough time now that we should start getting out and exploring the rest of Brazil.  There is so much more here to do and to see that he said we shouldn’t spend another whole weekend just staying around city.  Keia and I also made a deal to only speak Portuguese to each other and inside our bedroom from now on, otherwise for every word of English that we speak we have to pay each other 5 centavos!  We didn’t keep too close track of this today since, you know, Day 1 cold turkey and everything, but we did really well and I think every day we’ll be a little stricter (spell check is telling me “more strict” is incorrect grammar right now..) and get a little better.  That night we revisited the R$5 caipirinha lady in Lapa in front of Escadaria Selaron.  You just can’t beat ‘em.  We also tried to go to another type of boate in Copa, but it wasn’t worth it to go in after midnight since the cover goes up and we just ended up sitting around with friends drinking a couple of beers at a bar near home (#canyousenseapatternhere).

Getting up early on Sunday was a little rough, but definitely well worth it.  Kevin had found out about a classical music performance at the Theatro Municipal in Centro for R$1.  Tickets for shows there are usually incredibly expensive, but a couple of times a month they have these cheap shows open to the public and all you have to do is get in line early enough to secure a seat.  The show was at 11am, so we got up and out and in line by 10.  It was a beautiful day, and we felt all cultured and fancy walking around the city.  The outside of the building is intricate and beautiful, but it just palls compared to the interior.  The concert itself turned out to have a visual component where nature scenes were scrolling on a projector screen behind the musicians.  It was a neat idea, but I think the visuals actually detracted from the performance.  The pictures weren’t timed with the music, they didn’t match the mood, and they weren’t framed very well.  The music was up-beat and the songs were fairly short.  They played “The Girl from Ipanema” and for the opener they worked together to sound like a train starting up, going along, and finally pulling along into a station.  The percussionist played at least 8 different instruments, a few of which I’d never seen before.  All in all it was very cool.

After the show, we went to eat at a Japanese festival near Praia do Flamengo.  It was tricky to find and less than thrilling, but.. oh well.  I went home afterward and washed some more laundry by hand.  Then we heard of an event at an Indian restaurant in Santa Teresa which offered some live music, a great view, 2 types of curry, yoghurt and rice for R$15.  The place was really neat and they had a Brunch menu!  I don’t know when they serve it, but we’re definitely going back for hangover food sometime soon. Santa Teresa is like hipster Rio.  We walked around afterward and found two mansions made into museum parks of sorts that we’ll have to come back and see during the day.  There was also a really awesome hostel across the street and overlooking Lapa and including free breakfast where it would be fun to get together with all of our friends one night.  Then we headed to the main road to grab a couple drinks and even more food at a cool bar on the main drag- Bar do Mineiro.  Another place we’ll have to go again.  These nights just walking around the city, with friends and no particular commitments, just sort of stopping where we please and eating and drinking and talking about what we wish have become my favorites.

I slept in this morning since we didn’t have class until 830pm.  When I finally got up, I went to meet Nayra and Garrett at the market at Uruguiana so we could explore it a little further than the first time we happened upon it.  I found two shops that I absolutely loved (one being a real papeleria- complete with a scheduler, drawing paper, and pencil lead; the other a boutique), and I bought new sandals since mine broke recently.  We met Keia for dinner at an outdoor bar with tables in the streets down a back alley.  It felt very European.  I tried lasagna.  It did not taste European.

Tomorrow we have class at both UFRJ and ENCE so I should get some rest now.  Hopefully we’ll have our first excursion planned next time I write!

Love, Molly

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