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  • Writer's pictureSpencer Shrader

A Brazilian Sunrise

Updated: Jul 4, 2018

There aren't many things more beautiful than watching the sun rise in a peaceful location. The other day I was able to do just that.


School in Brazil just let out for a one month break, but right before the break they held a week's worth of games. All the classes would get together and form teams, and the teams would compete in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and handball. My Brazil dad, Fabio, took us early to the school every day because he and Breno were in charge of opening up the school and preparing for the day. On one of the game days, we left particularly early and got to the school right at dawn. Fabio went to do paperwork, Breno to change into his refereeing gear, and Lucas to find his soccer teammates. So I was left to explore on my own. Which is okay by me, because I like exploring. The school is fairly small, but there are 4 floors in the building that contain all the classrooms, so I went to the very top to see if I could get a good view of the city. When I got to the 4th floor the sun was just beginning to peak over the Sao Carlos skyscrapers, and I knew I had to take some quick pictures.


It was so relaxing to be up there alone watching the sun rise, the cool breeze whistling by. Makes you appreciate the beauty in the world. After my dramatic moment of "world appreciation" and the sun had fully woken up and the fire on the horizon had dissipated, I went downstairs to watch the last day of the games. The soccer was incredibly competitive and whenever a class team would lose, a third of the kids would start crying. They take soccer very, very seriously here. Eventually a champion team emerged on the final day and there was much shouting and crying and celebration. It was like a drama movie. It did make me want to play though, seeing all the fun they were having out there. The soccer wasn't even played on a full size field, it was a little indoor futsal court! For the other sports no one got quite as pumped up. The different classes also had a dance competition as well as some track and field events, but everything took a backseat to soccer. It was really fun to talk to friends and watch all the games. After the sports ended, La Salle had a grand ending ceremony to celebrate before the school break.


Scroll through to check out my cool window pics

The schools here in Brazil aren't too different than the United States. The school days are a bit shorter and kids are free to go home at lunch, but otherwise the school system is similar. La Salle is a private Catholic school and the best in the area. The atmosphere is definitely more relaxed here, with teachers always joking with the students and joking with each other. I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and it was awesome to see that kids had freedom to go anywhere in the school without a required hall-pass or constant permission from teachers. Visiting the school and meeting new friends was a lot of fun and since English is the first language taught in school here, I was able to have discussions with people in a mixture of English and Portuguese.


The Language

The language barrier has still been a little frustrating, but I can tell it's getting better. I know improving takes time because of all the new words I have to learn. I can usually communicate with teenagers between their knowledge of English and my knowledge of Portuguese, but most adults don't speak any English. The few that have visited the United States or speak a little bit of English are always excited to meet me. Learning has still been a fun challenge and I'm enjoying it. I am doing Pimsleur lectures on the phone, and whenever I learn a new word I write it down in my notes. Even though I used Duolingo for about 2 months before coming here, I only saw a lot of real improvement in my reading, and not so much in speaking Portuguese. But I'm working hard and learning a little bit more each day. On the days I speak a lot of Portuguese, I feel as though I get used to it and become better. Some days are better than others, but I'm going to continue working hard and I know I'll keep progressing.



A pretty little Brazilian house

The weather is absolutely gorgeous, it has been perfect every day. It's winter here but every day is 80 degrees and sunny. It has only rained twice, and never stormed. White fluffy clouds paint the bright blue sky day after day. We couldn't be more blessed with the weather we are having. It's very similar to Florida's climate but with less humidity, which I really appreciate. Brazil also contains similar plant and wildlife, but I'm in the city so I don't get to see a lot of animals. I've seen a lot of dogs, pigeons, and some weird looking birds, but that's about it. I'm hoping eventually we get to travel to a state park and get to see some Brazilian wildlife. One thing that has taken some adjustment is the fact that it gets dark at 6pm here, and I don't really like that. It starts to feel so late once it gets dark, and I like being outside in the warmth and sunshine. It's not too bad though, it's just like a winter in Florida. The photo above is just a quick pic I took of a little Brazilian house as we were driving along. You can see how pretty the sky is and how the sun's rays shower down on the building.


Meeting Fabio

This is Fabio Aurelio. He played professional soccer for Liverpool. The Aurelio's live in the Picolo's neighborhood, so one day I started hanging out with his son, and he introduced me to his dad. It's amazing to watch him and his son juggle together, they both have incredible touch and control. Hopefully he can give me some tips on what it takes to play professionally. I'm glad I was able to meet his son as he loves playing the same sports as me, is a really good kid, and speaks perfect English. He is training at Gremio and has goals to play professionally as well. The neighborhood here is awesome. Every night there are people at the park playing soccer, tennis, or some other kind of sport. I've really enjoyed getting to know the neighbors and playing all kinds of games together.


Note: To my friends who have tried to send messages through Imessage, since I'm in Brazil I have had to change my SIM card. I can communicate through WhatsApp, and my other social media apps. My old number for texting and calling doesn't work until I get back in the United States. If you want to send me a message or get in touch, you should be able to contact me on WhatsApp.


My ankle is still on the mend, we think that I fractured it because in one area the swelling is still bad and it has been close to 3 weeks. I'm still praying about it, and I promise I'll post whenever I'm able to do my first trial. Life happens, just gotta accept it and make the most of the situation. Obviously I'm still having an incredible time here and enjoying every day. I have more exciting blog posts coming soon, some that will surprise you. Stay tuned for those! Tchau amigos!

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

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