Monday, January 30, 2012

Welcome to Rio!

What a crazy and amazing past couple of days! Friday afternoon Dad, Joey, and I set off for Detroit around 11am. Upon arrival into the city, we went to visit TJ at the Freedom House before taking him out for lunch. After enjoying some fine Mexican delicacies, we dropped TJ off again and then drove on over to the airport. Amanda, Brittany, and Claire were already all waiting there, so I just had to go get my boarding passes and then we bravely set off through security.

Dad, Joey, and I visiting TJ
We made it to the gate with no problems and just hung out getting to know each other. Finally we boarded the smallest plane I have EVER seen in my entire life. Amanda and I were sitting next to each other with Brittany right behind us and every single person who stepped onto the plane was like "WOW! This is tiny!" I'm not kidding, it was unbelievably tiny. The plane ride to DC was pretty short and we made it over there without any problems. Brittany and I went to grab some dinner before boarding the 9 hour, 9 minute flight to São Paulo. Luckily, the four of us got our seats rearranged so that we were all able to sit next to each other or we would have been pretty lonely.

Back when we were strangers.
We got to São Paulo and sat on the airport for what felt like ages. We just sat around on the plane, hanging out, complaining about how much we wanted to be off the plane already. Finally we took off for Rio de Janeiro and our flight lasted all of... 35 minutes. Which was nothing compared the nine hour flight we just sat through.

Getting through customs and getting our luggage was absolutely no problem-- which is so lucky! Melanie picked us up and brought us back to the apartment. We were here for a New York minute before going out to dinner at Porcão. This restaurant is absolutely incredible. It's located across the bay from the Sugarloaf and had panoramic views of the bay and the mountains. And the food-- oh my gosh! We got some of the food from the buffet which was exponentially better than a Hometown Buffet and then when we went to sit down they kept bringing food, such as vegetables, calamari, shrimp, and french fries, to the table. While we were chowing down on all that, the waiters brought around all different sorts of meat on a stick and then would shave it onto the plate. It was so much food. We were in such a food coma afterwards. Then Melanie drove us around the different beaches and it put all four of us to sleep, so luckily she brought us back home so we could go right to bed.

Our personal alley.
The apartment that we live in is really nice, but definitely an adjustment from the Senior Apartments that I have been living in! We had a hard time adjusting the first night, but it's gotten easier with time.

On Sunday we explored Botafogo on our own. We had our first Christ Statue sighting!! Everyone else was just walking around carrying about their business and all four of us stopped to take pictures. The day that the statue doesn't take our breath away will be a very sad day, for sure. We survived dinner and grocery shopping on our own, without a translator. All in all, it was a pretty calm day on the Brazilian homefront.

This morning we woke up and had various orientations at the school. We met so many people, I can't even remember them all. There's so much information coming at us that I cannot even begin to recall anything when I need to. We had our fingerprints scanned and our pictures taken, so now we're official!

The entrance to our school.
The superintendent, Josh, took us out for lunch at a local buffet. The food here is fantastic, I wish that everyone could eat food as wonderful as this. We don't have much on the agenda for the rest of the day or tomorrow-- fingers crossed for some time at the beach!

Being here in Brazil reminds me of Costa Rica so much!! They both have that whole Latin American feel and it feels so homey and wonderful to me.

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