Lunch, Politics, and Carnaval


It’s funny how things can turn around so quickly. When things seem to be at their lowest point, the only other direction to go is up.

I’ve spent the last week at my first host mom’s house, and I think that has been very therapeutic. After a lot of conversations, I’ve stopped feeling like such a bad exchange student for running away constantly from Mom 2 back to Mom 1 when the going gets tough. Mom 2 has reassured me that she doesn’t mind at all, and I’ve finally started to believe her and have started feeling less guilty. Mom 1 is more than happy to have me around and is also constantly reassuring that Mom 2 won’t have any problem with me hanging out with Mom 1. School starts tomorrow as well, and I’m already excited by the prospects of being busier than I am now.

Furthermore, yesterday Virna (Mom 1), Veera, and I went to lunch at the usually family lunch weekend place which is always good fun if only because of its familiarity, good food, and good conversation. Yesterday, the conversation revolved around Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. The Brazilians think Trump is a joke and are asking me if it’s a possibility that he’s elected to President. Apparently since I’m from the United States, I’ve been deemed as an expert on American Politics.

Speaking of which, I’ve always knows that the USA is a huge player on the world stage from shows like The West Wing and also from history classes in high school, but it’s taken me moving to another country to actually see to what extent the USA plays on that stage. Sometimes I feel like Brazilians know more about American politics than Americans know about American politics. And because the United States plays such a huge role around the world, it isn’t only American citizens who are a bit concerned about the implications of Trump being elected for president come November, it’s people from all over the world.

After lunch, we joined Virna’s daughter and her boyfriend in Ponta Negra, which is a beach in the southern area of the city. Virna’s daughter Luisa and her boyfriend Joe are in Natal visiting from Germany. Joe is from England but he lives and works in Berlin, and Luisa did her exchange ten or so years ago in Germany and has lived there ever since. She’s now a doctor. Anyways, Ponta Negra had a block of Carnaval set up for the evening, and we were going to participate.

IMG_7016What is Carnaval, you may ask? Broadly, it is merely a celebration of Brazilian culture. Traditionally, in places such as Rio de Janeiro, it is a parade type thing where Samba Schools participate in a contest and dance down the street with masks and costumes. But in other parts of Brazil, it is a giant street party where most people where cool headdresses and are clumped together following a sort of beat/rhythm produced by various instruments and drums. Plus a lot of dancing and drinking. I’ve decided that Carnaval is mainly an excuse for everyone to drink a lot.

Next Saturday I will be going to Recife, which is a few hours south of Natal, with my first host family and some other exchange students and their host families from Natal, and we will be going to a few blocks of Caranaval there. I’m pretty excited. Also, my new goal is to get a cool headdress for the celebration, since I was lacking one for yesterday.

4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Hi Claire. I love reading your blog posts. Honestly , the one from a few days ago about being in a slump was very not-surprising. I remember when we lived in Paris a few years back that we had a similar January-February slump. Something about that time of year.

    Sounds like the slump was short-lived. It’s great you are going to get to do some traveling. You need to post a pic of you in your Carnaval headdress. Looking forward to that.

  2. First – Go CARNIVAL! You have ONE JOB! And that is to experience that as fully as possible so you can at least try to describe it to those of us who would LOVE that opportunity!
    Second – PLEASE tell anyone who asks that many Americans are horrified at the idea that Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls. All it proves is that many people are not happy with politicians in general, so they’ve turned to entertainers. God Help Us All if that hothead actually gets elected. Kacie and Trinity have already declared that they would defect to Canada.
    In other words, MOST Americans are really very level-headed, nice people, who would LOVE the chance to do what you are doing, meeting and living with other nice people from a different culture, learning what is important to them, learning how we can work TOGETHER to make a better world. I couldn’t care less about which country is a “world leader.” I care that ALL countries start working together.
    End of my political stump speech.
    I Love You,

  3. I think you are perfectly perfect to be the representative of American politics, since you know way more than the average joanne (even if you are a commie leftist pinko). Carnival sounds delightful, drinking and all. It’s kind of fun to be a non-drinker at major drinking events because there are lots of amusing people to watch. Lots of good stories I bet. E-mail Nancy Joe from church, because her son lives in Recife and runs an orphanage or something there, which might be good to visit.
    Love and kisses! Mom

  4. This sounds perfect. I’m pretty sure I want to come to carnival just so I can get a headpiece. Donald Trump is an idiot… because he doesn’t haven’t have a headpiece.

    Come to think of it he’s an idiot because he DOES have a headpiece. Please do get a headpiece for yourself… But not one that looks like Donald Trump’s weird hair headpiece because that’s just gross.

    My guess is that the Brazilians don’t like Donald Trump because they can recognize a crappy headpiece when they see one. These are some very smart people.

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