This weekend I had the great pleasure of visiting family members in Petrópolis, about a two hour bus ride from Niterói. The landscape is so beautiful there, with mountains and greenery… But, it is also much, much colder.
Yes, ladies and gentleman, Brazil does indeed get cold.
I ended up getting sick due to the climate change (warm and balmy to cold at a high altitude) and was a bit distraught that there wasn’t any tea in my uncle’s house. In my home back in the States, we have a cabinet in the kitchen that is basically dedicated to tea (an idea we got from friends), so the thought of not having tea was a bit astonishing. I guess it shouldn’t have been… Brazil is not very big on tea, it’s always been more of a coffee country. But a solution was not far off! We ended up pulling leaves off their lemon tree, washing them and boiling them and had some of the most amazing tea ever. From leaves of a tree in the backyard! Know anywhere else you can do that? I don’t.
Sabbath morning was spent at the church at Instituto Petropolitano Adventisa de Ensino (IPAE), the school that my mother and most of the rest of my aunts and uncles went to school once upon a time. I was honored to have the chance to play a couple of special numbers for the service. The pianist was remarkable – we didn’t have any rehearsal ahead of time but we stuck together basically the entire time. Its always great to play with people with such a level of musicianship.
Saturday evening was spent in Teresópolis, home of the Brazilian Seleção (national soccer team). No, we didn’t get to see any of the team, as cool as that would have been. By the way, for those who have been following – keep Neymar Jr. in your thoughts and prayers. Its hard being the star with such a high profile at such a young age and then be injured, almost considered paralyzed, and then be forced to back down from one’s biggest dream. He’s young and thankfully his injury isn’t as serious as first thought, but he will be out the rest of the Cup. Whether you’re routing for Brazil or not, we can all agree that no one deserves to be hurt in something like this.
Anyways, we went to Teresópolis for a “prayer vigil,” or at least that what I think it was called. A large Adventist event that had famous Adventist Brazilian artists performing and well-known pastors preaching held in an old Olympic indoor sports stadium. Sadly, I wasn’t able to fully enjoy it because I was starting to feel rather ill…
Instead of going home, though, you know where we went? A pizza rodízio. There really isn’t a proper translation for this word… But essentially, its when you sit at you table and waiters come around offering various food items you can choose from. Its like an all-you-can-eat buffet where the food comes to you. It’s very common for Brazilian churrascarias (steakhouses/barbecues), but I had never heard of one for pizza. There more kinds of pizza than you could imagine, including chocolate! It was definitely an interesting experience.
This morning was supposed to be spent seeing some of the tourist sites of Petrópolis, as this was where the last emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro II, lived before the country became independent as well as the home of Alberto Santos-Dumont, who is credited in Brazil as the father of aviation (read about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Santos-Dumont). However, traffic was completely backed up due to the annual Bauernfest, where Brazilians celebrate all things German. Suddenly, my fascination with the German language makes sense – it seems to be a natural part of being Brazilian! After a quick look around the festival, filled of course with beer, sausage, and traditional clothing, we went to eat one last lunch together before I had to return to Niterói.
I’m thankful for the time I was able to spend with my family. Its not often that I get to see them; its kind of hard when you live thousands of miles away. The last time I saw my uncle was in 2003. Hopefully it won’t be such a long period of time before we see each other again.
Now I’m back in Niterói and am ready to take on this last week of my internship! Wow… Has it really gone by that fast?