The last time I posted on here was at the beginning of March and it feels like years have passed since then!
Thankfully I’ve been keeping a diary in Brazil and I really recommend doing this on your Year Abroad so that you have something to look back on when you go home! It meant I was able to remind myself what has been happening to date.
Basically one word: dissertation.
This is why I have been so absent and haven’t had time to blog! I ended doing so much travelling that I had a mad panic and spent the last weekend before the deadline locked in the house trying to get the last bits done.
Unfortunately, I don’t drink caffeine (Brazilians find it hilarious that I am a British person who doesn’t like tea) so I discovered that the secret is to eat as much sugar as humanly possible to reduce the effects of sleep deprivation. It worked and I got the 40 something page essay in on time!
I am now in the advanced class for forró (look it up online – it’s a traditionally Brazilian dance), although I’m not really sure if I can be classified as advanced since this year in Brazil has been the first time in my life that I’ve taken up dancing (I’m not counting a year of ballet when I was 5).
I’m not the most graceful person but I am learning not to hit my partner in the face which is always a good start…
In June the country exploded into festas juninas (June parties) which meant I got to practise my forró dancing.
Despite promising myself to get down and get on with my work, I haven’t been able to resist visiting friends around the country.
I went to the nearby (4 hours away) city of Visoça to visit my Brazilian sister. Apparently they have the best doce de leite (caramel); I don’t think I have enough experience to confirm this, but it was very good. The UFV (Federal University of Visoça) is also WAY prettier than the UFMG.
I visited my friend and fellow Southampton student, Maddy, in Florianópolis (Santa Catarina) in the south of Brazil. It’s a beautiful place, with loads of amazing beaches! It was also very cold! I am definitely used to BH weather now.
I went to the nearby (4 hours away) colonial town of Tiradentes with the university’s exchange student program. It’s a beautiful place, on par with Ouro Preto, but very cold! It was about 16 degrees and raining…
After the end of semester 2 (on July 15th) I had to leave the country as my visa expired so that I could re-enter as a tourist. Obviously I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to do more travelling and ended up going to Argentina for three weeks with some friends. It was incredible (and incredibly cold!) and I also had the chance to catch up with an Argentinian friend I made last semester.
New foods that I have tried:
Canjiquinha: my first experience with this type of corn flour was when I decided to use it as a substitute for semolina in a shortbread recipe. Note to self: never use canjiquinha as a substitute for semolina unless you want to break your teeth. I had to make the shortbread again to show my Brazilian friends that it’s not normally dangerous to eat! My Brazilian mum made up a stew with canjiquinha to show me how you’re meant to eat it…
Cacau: The fruit is white and fleshy and sweet. I have literally no idea how someone came up with the idea of making chocolate from it.
Romeo e Julieta: anything with guava jelly (goiabada) and cheese combination comes under this name. It’s very good on pancakes with bananas. My eyes have been opened to the unexplored potential of cheese with sweet things.
Moqueca: delicious fish stew that I ate in Florianópolis
Pamonha: sweet boiled sweetcorn mush wrapped in sweetcorn husk
Tonight I am travelling by bus to Rio de Janeiro to meet up with my family and spend a few weeks travelling around Brazil and acting as their tour guide and translator. Then we will be flying home with all my stuff on the 25th August, and that will sadly be the end of my Brazilian adventure…