Third time is a charm. (San Francisco, Art School, Fog)

Hello!

It’s been a while–I KNOW. And I truly sorry, but this year has been a little bit crazy for me. I am not trying to just give you guys excuses, so I’ll just write about all that has happened in the past months.

Last time I posted (before the Jeff Goins post) was about Greece. I do intent to finish that post but I feel like this is more urgent.

Around July last year, I moved from my city in Brazil (Curitiba-PR) to come study Advertising at a school called Academy of Art University, in the city of San Francisco, in California. I live in a small town about 15-20 min from SF, in Pacifica.
I have previously written about how I was an exchange student here and all. I love California. I love this place, everything about it.
San Francisco is such an amazing city, it never ceases to amaze me. Every time I am there (which is every day, haha) I feel so lucky, so ”blessed.” And Pacifica is great, as well. Absolutely different, but it has its advantages. While San Francisco is upbeat, full of colors and craziness (if you’ve been there, you know what I am talking about) and there’s always something going on. And it’s awesome. But it is always great to come home in the end of the day, to a peaceful town like Pacifica (which, for the non-latin languages speakers, means ”Peaceful” anyways!).

I do, though, want to eventually move to the city to be closer to school and all, but for now, what I’ve got going on, is absolutely what I need.
Since I’ve moved here, so much has happened.

I had a slightly easier time with the change because since I had already lived here before, I knew a lot of people. The funny thing is, I ended up becoming good friends with people I just knew because of an ex boyfriend. These people turned out to be the greatest things that have happened to me since I got here.
Traveling is fun and all, but it is also hard. Being away from HOME, from family, friends…from your comfort zone….it’s rough. Having people to keep you busy is really good. I felt less homesick on the first months here, than I thought I would have.

Ok, I’ll go by parts.

I got here on July 28th. It was cold, even though it was technically summer. That’s the thing about Pacifica: it’s foggy and it’s crazy and it’s cold and it’s windy. And believe me, I haven’t gotten used to it yet. I am always the girl wearing pantyhose under my pants and wearing hella layers. I am always cold. I am quite aware that people sometimes might think that I am over reacting or being dramatic. But then they touch my hand and see me shaking and go ”damn, you really ARE that cold”. YEAH. I am not lying. Me and cold, we don’t get along. Zero tolerance.
And then of course, I get that comment ” Well, it’s understandable, you’re from Brazil.” Nu-uh. I am from the south of Brazil. From a city known for its ridiculous cold weather. But somehow this still feels colder.

ANYWAYS.

I got here, went straight to Sprint to buy a new iPhone, since my had been stolen a week before in this house party back home. Then I got some In-n-Out burgers with my ”host dad” Jack. In-n-out are the best thing since Betty White. No joke. I came home, looked around and got that really strange feeling ”This is home, for now on” and just sort of stood there. Staring at my suitcases… Then I went over to my friend Natalie’s house. She gave me a bag of mini reeses cups and it was all good.

The strangest part though, was that I felt like I had never left in first place. The situation was completely different, I was here on 100% different terms, was about to have a totally different life, but it felt…it felt right.

My classes would only start in September, so I had plenty of time to enjoy my break. Later that same day, I ended up going to my friend’s house for a little house party. It was nice to see everyone and it was good because I didn’t have time to feel homesick.

all one needs anyways.

all one needs anyways.

A few days later, I went down the coast of California with my host parents. OK, I feel like I need to explain the whole host parent deal. I am living at the same house where I lived at when I was an exchange student. They were my host family and I still call them that. For now on, to make things easier to understand, I’ll call them Jack and Elena. Those are their names, after all.

Anyways. Me and Elena drove down to Yosemite National Park and Jack flew to Pasadena, where he had this Mars Society Convention and we would meet up with him 4 days later. The drive from San Francisco to Yosemite is about 3 hours. We took our time, stopped in a couple places to eat etc. It’s a beautiful drive.

Screen shot 2013-05-17 at 11.43.39 PMWe stayed at a camp ground but we didn’t camp, with like, tents etc. We were in these little house thingys (YES, please, Luah, be more vague.)

Here’s a photo because I suck at describing it.

this!

this!

We were there because Elena (who is 53!) went hiking, she climbed Half Dome. It’s pretty awesome, if you ask me. I just walked around the camp ground, went to a little beach area, tanned, explored, read. It was really warm, exactly how I LOVE it. And it was very pleasant, calm, relaxing.

After 3-4 days, we drove down to the LA area, to Pasadena, to meet up with Jack. He is a big Mars lover and the Curiosity rover  was about to land in Mars and there was a big convention going on. I ended up being very interested about it, it was a big thing! And it was freaking summer, and WARM. Did I mention I LOVE warm weather?!?! Well. I do.

I also went to Los Angeles with a friend and walked around, got to go to the US Open of Surfing and even got an autograph from Kelly Slater. Yes, the 11 time world champion surfer, that guy.

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We had some good days in South California.

I actually had a little thing to solve down there. You see, I came to the US 40 days before my school started. I could only get in the US with my STUDENT visa within 30 days before school. So I got in with my tourist visa and thought I’d be alright until this guy at the airport pointed out I’d have to get OUT of the US to come BACK IN! CRAZY!!!!

SO I DID. I was in LA, we were going to Catalina Island anyways, so Jack said it would work out perfectly. We drove down to San Diego and crossed the border. Yup, I went to Tijuana and walked around, to come back in.
Reasonable huh. ¬¬

It wasn’t bad. I got to meet a new place, get some dulce de leche lollipops, and some other cool random things. Then we walked back in, waited in a huge line, felt like an illegal immigrant but it all worked out. That border is insane, many people with families and lots of bags trying to go to the US. Many of them got rejected at the immigration part and went back crying. It was heartbreaking. Quite the reality check.

The next day, we went to Catalina Island, a beautiful island off the coast of San Diego. Also known as ”fucking Catalina wine mixer” place. (oh please please tell me one of you got the reference!)

We took this cruise ship kind of thing to get there and it was amazing. I was mesmerized by everything. Getting there was the breath taking part. It sort of looks like a greek island but still very California.

We took a gold cart around the island, got to pet some deers (which I would have never done a couple years ago because I was terrified of those things!), ate great food, enjoyed the awesome weather, and took photos of gorgeous sceneries. It was such a great day and I am so grateful to Jack and Elena for the opportunity.

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Then we spent one more day in Pasadena and came back home. The drive back was also great, the coast of California is espectacular.

Ok, I PROMISE you guys I will finish this post soon. School is over, it’s not like I’m all busy and whatnot ;)

This was just the first week, you see. But I had to update it here. I do like this blog.

I hope you all do, too!

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And negative part is…

I was so excited last time I wrote about Brazil, I only wrote the good things about it.
I mean, I love it here, I really do. But maybe it is important to talk about the negative part of Brazil.

This weekend I hosted 2 guys from Chile, on Couch Surfing. It was really great, we had fun, talked a lot, became really good friends…. they have been traveling for about a month and a half and they passed through several cities in Brazil.

Two nights ago, when they were on the computer, Nicolas noticed some strange activity going on with his credit card account. He thought it could be an error on the back’s website but last night he saw that there were a few more transactions that he hadn’t performed. We then realized that his credit card had been cloned. The son of a b***h who cloned it managed to spend a total of 1200 dollars. Then Carlos, the other Chilean guy, decided to check his account and yup yup, his credit card had been cloned as well.

It was such a big hassle to fix it all, they had to cancel their cards, call home, ask for money. After Curitiba, they were planning on going to Florianópolis, but unfortunately, they had to cancel their trip :(.

They talked and realized that the fraud happened while they were in Angra dos Reis – RJ.
It is so frustrating to see something like that happen. Can you image what a big chaos it’ll be during the World Cup we’re going to host???
Brazil IS an amazing place, beautiful beaches and all. But it saddens me to see how many bad people are walking around, free, people who do not give a damn about other people, people who help take this country DOWN.

I am not trying to say that you should not come to Brazil. You should. But be aware, be careful, be 100% alert at ALL times. Don’t go to just any ATM, don’t walk around with too much money. Have a COPY of your documents. Choose having a local take you around if possible. Brazil is great, but it’s still…Brazil.

And NOPE, this is NOT ALL.
Remember my German couch surfer, Lena?

Well, she went through some even WORSE things.
She went from my city to Ilha do Mel. (Really nice Island, I might post about it later, on a more happy post……) Then after Ilha do Mel, she was going to Asunción, Paraguay. She had to come back to Curitiba to take the bus to Paraguay, from here.
I received a messaged from her a couple nights ago, telling me what happened to her.

So, she was in the bus and a guy stands up, takes a MACHINE GUN and tells everyone that he is from the Police. Which, he obviously was not.
I’m going to sum this up because I do not know all the details.
Another guy wearing a mask gets in the bus. They hit the bus driver, and drove to the middle of no where.
Suddenly, both guys are telling everyone to cooperate because all they wanted was their money and bla bla, made everyone give all they had in their purses and bags. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, they tell everyone to strip, leaving them in their underwear. RIDICULOUS. Then the two robbers, make people get out of the bus and get inside of the place the luggage were, ‘under’ the bus. Everyone was crying and nervous about it all….
The two guys took them all back to the bus station, and threatened them, so they had to act natural and take another bus to Paraguay.

It gets worse. She had most of her things stolen….then had to take another bus. Then this new bus had an accident. There was a truck transporting wood and a big block wood fell from the truck, hitting the BUS, and breaking the glass, that went inside the new bus driver’s eye. Seriously.

So she had to take a THIRD bus. But I think you got what I am trying to say.

It’s such a shame. I actually feel embarrassed about all this, for my country. It’s sad.

So this is basically a apology. I am so sorry if you have been here and had any kind of trouble. One day we will be a good country, I am sure…. (not SURE, I’m just trying to be positive…)

But for now, this is our reality and I am SO SO SO SO SORRY!!!!!!

Don’t give up on us.

Let’s talk about Brazil.

Yes, why not?

I do want to talk about the places I have been to, other countries etc, but Brazil is pretty big and, honestly, quite awesome, so why not talk about the places I have visited HERE?

I will first talk about Bahia. Bahia is a state here in Brazil, it is located on the northeastern part of the country and the state is known for several different factors. The word ‘Bahia’ roughly translated means simply ‘Bay’. The state of Bahia is a tropical place with amazing beaches and cool places to visit, a bunch of things to do from Carnaval to snorkling and diving.

Important : Bahia has some extremely dangerous and violent cities but I chose to overlook that in my post. I wanna focus on all the good parts.

One of the best known cities in Bahia is probably Salvador. They have one of the biggest Carnaval celebrations and well known places like o Pelourinho.
Some famous people are from Bahia: Ivete Sangalo, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso etc. So obviously, Bahia is full of music, dancing and happiness. Bahia is samba, axé (brazilian music-dance style) and capoeira.

They have the greatest and most distinctive African imprint.
Bahia is full of traditions, customs, religions. (Wikipedia: These include the Yoruba-derived religious system of Candomblé, the martial art of capoeira, African-derived music such as samba (especially samba’s Bahian precursor samba-de-roda), afoxé, and axé, and a cuisine with strong links to western Africa.)

But around here, Bahia is mostly known for the way that all the Baianos (people from Bahia) live. They are calm, relaxed, happy. Some people tend to mistake that for LAZINESS, and I think that’s absurd. Once you get to know people there, you see they work hard, sometimes even harder than you might imagine. It’s a bit like the concept Americans have with Mexicans. Some insist on saying they are lazy when in reality, they work extremely hard everyday.
Baianos can bring joy to every place they set their foot in. They are just joyful people like that.
I mean, a place with a warm weather almost all year long, amazing people, traditions, dancing and music, AMAZING food, by the way…how could you NOT be happy?

The thing about Bahia is that it might not be a perfect place, but it helps if you smile. I’ve always thought that was the most amazing trait about all Brazilians. Starting in Bahia, I guess.

So, last year, I went to a place called Praia do Forte. It is located about 50 km from Salvador. You should Google it if you want more info about it, because the address I linked it to, is Portuguese only.

Praia do Forte is just amazing. There are little shops you can buy things from. It goes from ceramics and hand made things to 100% cotton made dresses and expensive clothes. A lot to choose from.
They have natural pools. Gorgeous beaches. And a lot of good hotels to stay at.
Besides, you can just lay back and relax, drink some caipirinhas and eat some acarajé.

The ladies who cook the typical foods in Bahia, wear this very specific set of clothing.

Baianas

I enjoyed my stay at Praia do Forte quite a lot. It was only a bit over a week but i felt oh-so relaxed, that i decided I would not stay away from Bahia too long.

So THIS year, I went to Itacaré.
Itacaré is a city about 1 and a half hours from Ilhéus.

When I thought that Praia do Forte was the best thing ever, I went to Itacaré. And don’t take me wrong, Praia do Forte is BEAUTIFUL, but I think I have to admit that I liked Itacaré that much more.

I stayed at a Eco Resort (Itacaré Eco Resort site). It was such a pleasant stay. When we (me and my mom, who I love traveling with, btw…) got there, we were welcomed with two coconut waters served in the coconut, as it is very common here.

The people who worked there were so well trained to attend all the guests needs, they were so nice, so talkative, happy, fun. Since day one, we felt at home. I am not exaggerating.

In Itacaré, there are a whole lot of things to do. There was this big surfing championship. There a lot of different beaches, and one is more beautiful than the next.
In one of the beaches we went to, we did this thing called Arvorismo, which I believe is called Adventure park, in English.

Anyways, at the end of it, there was a zip-line that passes right above the beach of Ribeira. It is the best feeling in the World, I think.
Unfortunately, I did not take my camera with me, so I had to look up a video on Youtube. So here it is:

This is NOT my video.

Anyways. The adventure park thing had 27 steps and it was very exhausting but so much fun at the same time. And having that zip line at the end of it all, it just makes it that much more worth the effort.

Then, there was this beach called Tiririca. That was probably my favorite beach because there was a skate ramp, a bunch of surfers, hostels, and kids (and adults, too) playing on a slack line. It was an amazing atmosphere. The water was warm, and calm. Everyone was just chilling on the sand, watching surfers, doing their thing… I think I would probably live there. I’m serious. I wanna raise a kid there. hahaha.

Praia da Tiririca 1 - The skate ramp and the beach behind. AMAZING!!!!! <3

At the hotel I stayed at, there was also this private beach. I surfed there. But with a longboard, whatever… It was fun though. They have waiters who bring you food on the beach, they have activities like yoga classes, surf lessons etc.

The downtown of Itacaré was very fun. They had a lot of little shops with local products, clothing, necklaces, ceramics. Good restaurants and bars. Happy people. Of course, happy people.

Itacaré is best known for Cocoa. So, they have everything made of cocoa, from chocolate, to jam and coffee.

There is so much more I can say about Itacaré, but I will just leave you with some pictures, and tell you to VISIT this beautiful place if you ever come to Brazil. It is SO worth it and you will not regret it.

The private beach at Itacaré Eco Resort

me and the surf teacher from the hotelIndio pataxó -

Pineapple cocktail and a sort of ''small' crab meat dish. (Casquinha de Siri) by the pool. PARADISE.

Cocoa! Delicious!!!!!

Aside