Saturday, August 16, 2014

First Week Friends & Good Luck Grasshoppers

!@#^!! This place is amazing.

From the beach to the food to the Carioca culture, I still can’t believe Rio is real. Waking up every day to the sound of the ocean and the sight of these mountains is some kind of wonderful.

We spent our first weekend here in Barra de Tijuca, soaking up the scenery and meeting our Brazilian friends’ families. Though our speech may have been broken with half Portuguese/half English, the laughter we shared was incredibly full. Feeling so welcomed in a place so far away is such a beautiful thing. Turns out some delicious Bacalhau and belly aching laughter is all you really need to feel at home.

On Sunday we made our way east to Ipanema, which you may recognize from the famous song, The Girl From Ipanema. 

We stepped out onto our balcony at our Ipanema beach hotel to discover this:
I would say it’s a little bit more scenic than our Houston view of the parking lot at Star Pizza, não é? (Portuguese for, isn’t it?)

Speaking of Portuguese, I made the executive decision that I needed to learn how to speak it, STAT! In a cab ride to our new hotel, I practiced my Portuguese with the driver. After he told me he had a son, I tried to ask how old he is. “Quantos anos ele tem?” He smiled at me really big in the mirror and laughed. Turns out I may have asked him how many anuses his son has. Whoops!! He has 27. And off I went to my first language class!

For a girl that enjoys meeting new people, connecting with a group in the same boat is an ideal situation. My first week of classes reminded me so much of college—all of us excited to be studying and making new friends. Out of 10 people in the class, only 2 of us are Americans and the rest from all over the world. Our one common denominator? Moving to Rio for love.

It’s quite liberating to be in a room filled with strangers and realize your lives aren't so different after all. Though we call different coordinates on the map home, we find ourselves in the same place…following our partners-in-crime and falling in love with the same city.  

After spending the mornings in class, my new friends and I ventured off for some city explorations; trying different restaurants, shopping at the market and hitting the beach. If you ever meet a group of new girls and want to really bond the first day you meet them, I recommend going Brazilian bathing suit shopping.  In thong-like bottoms, your hips won’t lie and neither will your current butt tan lines from that modest suit you've been wearing all these years. Quite a fast tracked and funny way to unite, after all, girls [all around the world] just want to have fun.

Oh and another great friendship I've made is with this guy:

He is a large flying grasshopper that flew into our window on the 12th floor. The Brazilians call these little creatures, “esperança” meaning hope as they are believed to be a sign of good luck in Brazilian folklore. Contrary to his large size, he doesn’t seem threatening at all in person. Just slowly moseys around our drapes like the wise soul that he is.  We keep the balcony door and window completely open when we are home, yet for some reason he chose to stay for a few days. Like a true friend, he left a present for us to always remember him by. Before finally setting sail into the Brazilian night, he pooped on our drapes.

Até logo, until we meet again my friend.

Michelle (pronounced Mechellee here) :D

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