Tag Archives: Brazil

Her name is Rio, and She Dances On the Sand!


After the passport drama I encountered when I left  Ubatuba, I was lucky that the bus driver let me on the bus and continue on my journey to Rio de Janeiro. What an amazing city it was!

Rio was everything I had imagined about Brazil – the city where all the stereotypes came true. Beautiful people sitting at cafes, girls walking like supermodels in Copacabana. There were all the more-than-half-naked people at the beach in Ipanema. There was the Samba music playing in the street from the favellas on the hill. There was the gigantic Christos spying on me from every different angle of the city – no hiding from that one!

Here are a few photos from my trip to Rio de Janeiro:


At the beach in Ipanema. Barely room to get a spot. The waves were fun to bodysurf.


Typical Sunday at the beach!


At the mosaic steps in at Escadaria Selarón.


View of the Christos on top of Sugarloaf at sunset.





I got to escape the fast paced city life of Sao Paulo for a long weekend at the beach. The first beach I went to was called Ubatuba. The town is also know as “Chuvatuba” because chuva is the Portuguese word for rain and it rains so much there. Sure enough, it rained while I was there.

We stayed at Tribo Hostel which was cozy and clean and had a friendly staff.  Celise had stayed her several times. It is just 2 blocks from the beach. I spent 2 days in Ubatuba hanging out on the beach and watching the skim boarders do their thing. To see an awesome video of what they do, check this out!

We met some nice locals and even got invited to someone’s home to make an amazing rice and seafood dish with fresh crab. We did a photo shoot with a mask on the wall, had an awesome time reminiscing about our lifeguard days and posing like Baywatch, and an old man tried to kiss me when I asked to take a photo of the 2 of us. Sneaky!

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Mercado Municipal


From the downtown area we walked through the busy streets to the Mercado Municipal in Sao Paulo. We ate the fattest Mortadella sandwiches ever – yum!

We also had this huge croquet of cod called a Bolinho  Bacalhau.


The building has a ton of different vendors selling things like: fruits, cheese, ham, fish, spices, teas, wine, and oils. We stopped at a place to try their oysters. I had one with a mango on top, and another with a salsa like a pico de gallo. Delicious!



Meet our Newest Host Family: Soraya and Flavio!


I just received confirmation that Soraya and Flavio are going to host the ECVA participant, Felipe from Atlanta! They have already started communicating between themselves on a regular basis. I am so happy that the placement worked out. Felipe is going to love Sao Paulo and he couldn’t have asked for a better host family.

ECVA Host Family Interview

I went to meet a potential host family for an ECVA participant named Felipe. Felipe is 23-years-old and lives and is applying to go to Sao Paulo in October. He is originally from Colombia, but moved to the US as a child. Celise met a woman that works at the tech company she teaches English at who was very interested in learning about the ECVA program and the possibility of hosting Felipe. I went to meet Soraya and her husband Flavio for dinner to explain how the program works exactly and what their responsibilities would be as hosts. I told them that they would need to offer Felipe a private room and 3-meal per day. In exchange for this, Felipe is required to help them practice their English for 15-hours-per-week. The interview went very well!

Advanced Lesson with Bibliana

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I recently joined Celise at her lesson with Bibliana. Bibliana is a Brazilian woman in her 30s who is married to a French man. Her English is very advanced, however she speaks with a strong French accent because she speaks French with her husband at home. She has been taking classes with Celise in order to change her accent and to improve her English speaking skills. We met at a cute cafe that serves coffee and a delicious variety of chocolates and pastries. I had a coffee with milk and a piece of chocolate called a brigadero. We sat upstairs on the balcony. The cafe looked like it was someone’s grandmother’s house. There were photos on the walls, kitchy furniture, four long eared furry pet rabbits and birds in a cage. I introduced myself to Bibliana and we had an interesting conversation. It turns out that Bibliana is a lawyer, but she also DJs on the side. Her husband is a famous DJ in Sao Paulo at a popluar club. She told us she could get us on the list anytime we like!

The lesson was fun because we talked about phrasal verbs, which can be kind of tricky. They are expressions that we use on a daily basis that we don’t tend to think about as confusing. But for non-native speakers, they really need to be memorized. Phrasal verbs are verbs combined with prepositions in English to describe specific acts. Examples of phrasal verbs are:


Make up

Make out

Sleep in

Set up

Set out

Set down

Get back

Get on

Get off

Turn in

Turn on

Turn out

Move out

Move forward

Move back

Move to

Samba Saturday


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Saturday is the day of the Brazilian dish Feijuada. It is a stew of black beans and different meats, and is served with white rice and fried collard greens on the side. We went to the Praca Sao Luis to eat and see some live Samba. We paired this with some beer and I even bought a fedora hat to get the true Brazilian experience.  The praca was full of people dancing to the live Samba band.