IMG_3001Warning: This post is very stream of consciousness since I was mostly unloading, so I apologize if it’s confusing at all.

Written yesterday (Sep. 15), posted today (Sep. 16)

So much happens in one day that it feels like I’ve been here for a month, not a week. I can’t believe that I’ve been here for a week.


Right now Haven, the student from California, is missing, and that’s all I can think about. We are all in a Whatsapp group together and all of the exchange students (minus Haven) are FREAKING THE F OUT.

Natal can be very dangerous in some parts and nobody has any idea where he is. He was supposed to meet his host mom at the mall by the McDonald’s but he wasn’t there and now the mall security and police are involved as well as every single person in the city affiliated with Rotary. We are hoping his phone is just out of battery and that he’s waiting in the mall somewhere (unlikely since the place has been searched all over) but he’s gone. Poof. Right now everyone (on the student side of this, at least) is thinking of worse case scenarios, and our parents are too (we are sure at least) but they are telling us that he will be fine to calm us down. It’s quite scary since Haven doesn’t speak Portuguese and anything could have happened.

UPDATE: Haven is online and texting us! He’s alive! His exact words are: “Long story ill explain later face to face”.

Thanks bro.

Oh, wait, he just told us his phone died and he waited at McDonald’s for like 3 hours and then walked to Chen’s house and asked the guard there for a charger so he could call his host mom. That’s the story. I’ll bully more out of him at school tomorrow.


Okay, freak out (for now, anyway) done.

Exchange student selfie when hanging out at the mall.
Exchange student selfie when hanging out at the mall.


Even though about four billion things have happened over the past few days I’m going to talk about my Portuguese class and the stupid Italian boy.

Today was my second day of Portuguese class. As I’ve stated before, there are other exchange students from a different program than Rotary that go to this class too. This includes an Italian boy. I have a ton of very bad names to call said Italian boy, but I’m not going to write them here since I don’t know who’s going to be reading this, like maybe a future employer. Therefore, reader, please insert a lot of curse words here for Stupid-Italian-Boy-That-Makes-Me-Mad-And-Needs-To-Grow-Up.

SIB (or Stupid Italian Boy) for short.

SIB thinks it is funny (and quite possibly flirtatious and amazing and that all the girls will marry him and ride off into the sunset with him) by being the most annoying guy in the room. He picked on all the girls when they first arrived but I am new so I am fresh meat. He pulls your hair and pokes you and touches you and gets in your face and IS SOOOOO ANNOYING (caps lock and extra o’s for emphasis, folks, besides, I’m pissed off so give me some slack). The Brazilian boys are annoying since they are constantly asking, “Do you have a boyfriend? Why don’t you have a boyfriend? You are so pretty. Do you want a boyfriend? I can be your boyfriend.” I am so thankful to be in Rotary where one of the rules is no dating (even though Brazil doesn’t care) because I have such a great excuse when in reality, I couldn’t care less at this point about not having a boyfriend and my relationship status. I am more concerned about making friends and learning Portuguese. But SIB is even more annoying than all of them. He is a major jerk and doesn’t know how to keep his hands to himself.

SIB was filling some water bottles up for some people, including me, and then he wouldn’t give me my filled water bottle back and was only playing with it and hiding it behind his back, etc. This can be amusing for like twenty seconds, like any normal person will joke, but he proceeded with this game for about five minutes until the teacher finally noticed and yelled at him (props for the powers of observation, there. I’m in a pretty sarcastic mood right now.) During this whole show I just stopped paying attention to him. He finally stopped and just dropped my water bottle on the floor. Whatever.

The teacher left the room to grab some copies and asked me to erase the board, and I was doing so, and SIB sneaked up next to me and screamed in my ear. Needless to say, I was not amused. More like scared out of my wits. He, naturally, thought it was the most hilarious thing to ever happen on this planet.

Then he started messing with me by scribbling on the board and telling me to erase it. I was so done at this point and handed the eraser to him. He wouldn’t take it. I handed it to him again. He gave it back. Then he stepped towards me with the pen extended like he was going to write on me and I shoved the eraser into his white shirt. It was a lovely moment just for his look of shock (and my shock too, since I honestly wasn’t expecting myself to do that). There was dead silence in the class, and then SIB threw the eraser across the room and started screaming at me in Portuguese and Italian. I just shrugged and sat in my seat. I was so mad. He was screaming at me saying that I needed to pay for his shirt and what was I thinking and I was such a jerk (and I only understood this after the fact when some people told me what he was saying) and I just told him point blank, “I don’t understand but you were being a jerk.”

The whole touching, talking, pulling hair, screaming in the ear thing comes to mind.

He stormed over to my desk and ripped out the first page of my notebook where I had some notes and ripped it up and threw it in the trash and screamed at me some more and told me that he wasn’t going to get me anymore water and then sat in his desk and glared at me for the rest of the class.

It was such an immature reaction. I have to admit that my reaction was probably immature too, but at some point saying no isn’t enough. And I don’t think anyone has said no to SIB before. I was so high on adrenaline for the rest of the class.

All the other girls told me that he was just joking and playing around with me, but Chiara, my friend from Germany, told me that he deserved it and I was very grateful to her for taking my side.


Written September 16, 2015

Today Haven told me the story about what happened to him. So he was told to wait for his mother at the McDonalds at the mall and he did. His phone was dead, so he couldn’t check the time, but he thinks he was there for three hours since he read two hundred pages of his book and that would take him three hours. (I think he’s an idiot.) Then he left the mall and walked to Chen’s house which was pretty close by but he didn’t know which house Chen lived in and was walking up and down the streets of Chen’s neighborhood before he finally asked a guard if they had a charger for his cellphone, which they did. He called his host mom, and texted the rest of us saying he was alive. Seriously, everyone involved in every exchange program in the city, my school class, the police, and the mall security was looking for him.

He told me he thinks he made the right choice by leaving to go to Chen’s house. I think he’s an idiot for not staying in one place (especially since he didn’t know which house Chen lived in) and not asking the four thousand people in the mall or going to one of the many cell phone stores and asking to charge his phone there so he could call his mom. When I was a kid, my parents told me to stay in one place. Virna told me she thought he was being stupid too. Actually, everyone does, but Haven just blows us off when we tell him that. Maybe he’ll know better next time.


At the beach with Chen
At the beach with Chen

So, Sunday was a busy day. The host mom of Chen took me and Chen and Eric and Haven to Ponta Negra beach where we paddle boarded and had an amazing time. Then we went to a Rotary function which was this band of teenagers playing songs that was apparently started a few years ago through a Rotary club, which is why we went. It was like a fundraiser for the band I think. I was drafted to play clarinet, but I came across mostly as an idiot because the music was all handwritten and I got lost so many times. Also, a lot of it was in the high register and my chops were not up to snuff. They were good musicians, aside from being horribly out of tune.

Picture of Rotary exchange students and the band.
Picture of Rotary exchange students and the band.

After we played with the band and ate, some students kept playing and most of them got up and danced. We danced too! It was a lot of fun and we mostly looked like idiots trying to learn how to samba (super super hard) and floro (again, spelling most likely wrong). It was cool to see that so many young people know the traditional dances of their country and dance them for fun.

After the dance, we took a million selfies with the kids and exchanged Whatsapp (a free international texting service) numbers with what seemed like everyone and then we left to go take a tour of the biggest cashew tree in the world. It was pretty cool since it felt like we were in a forest but it was actually one organism. Mostly we had fun hanging out with each other.

Largest cashew tree in the world (and exchange students trying to eat a plastic fruit)
Largest cashew tree in the world (and exchange students trying to eat a plastic fruit)

Then we parted ways, and me, Chen, and Eric went back to Ponta Negra to swim and paddle board some more, but Pierre came along for the ride this time.

The beach is so beautiful and paddle boarding is so peaceful (if there isn’t that much wind, at least. The first time it was windy so you had to mostly concentrate on not falling off your board, even though I did maybe five or more times. The second time it was high tide and the waves were very small.) You can see the whole city from Ponta Negra and the ocean and it was beautiful to watch the sun set behind the city and float on the water. I felt like I was on top of the world in that moment.

That’s all I have for now! I’m having an amazing time so far and I can’t wait to see what is in my future. I’m very happy. I know it’s inevitable that I will have a slump period, but whenever that is, it is not today.

Paddle boarding! I'm in there somewhere, but this is mostly people I don't know
Paddle boarding! I’m in there somewhere, but this is mostly people I don’t know

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Which one is Haven? Glad you took on SIB who sounds like a piece of work. I’m assuming that the board was dry erase and that’s why he was so mad about his shirt. The world’s largest cashew tree is now on my Bucket List! Love ya!

  2. SIB story cracked me up. Good for you for being tough.

    Paddleboarding? I want me some o ‘dat! And the samba? Bring it!

    Very glad for all of the details and the fun and the stories and the stream of ….


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