Opinion

Back to the Brazilian schoolhouse grind

Adriana Alexander, a Bremerton High School student, is spending her junior year in Brazil as part of Bremerton Rotary’s exchange student program.  - Tom Long courtesy photo
Adriana Alexander, a Bremerton High School student, is spending her junior year in Brazil as part of Bremerton Rotary’s exchange student program.
— image credit: Tom Long courtesy photo

These last few months have gone by so quickly for me. With holidays, weddings, parties, Brazilian summer vacation and school starting back up again, the days are all starting to run together.

During the month of February, everything is about Carnival (a really famous holiday that starts on the first day of February and ends on the 24th) which means everything is about partying. Because Carnival is over a stretch of weeks, different cities celebrate at different times. My city had its celebration just last weekend with a local concert in its center that lasted until 1 a.m. My family and I are planning on traveling to a neighboring city that is having its celebration this week.

Carnival is not the only reason for festas this month; it seems like every person in Brazil was born in the month of February. I have many friends who are having birthday parties this month, so I have something going on every week. I just went to my friend Aviter’s party last week. He decided to have his party in the “Casa do Padre,” which translates to “House of the Priest” who is one of his family’s friends.

January wasn’t a dull month either. Though there wasn’t any school due to summer break, there were still a lot of things to do, one of them being going to a wedding. I went to the wedding of a friend that I made while volunteering at the local college. Her name is Bianca Pite and her wedding was Jan. 25. It had a summertime theme. The whole place was decorated in green and white, which was absolutely beautiful!

Sadly, these last few months of late nights and mornings came to an end this week — it’s back to school. I am now in the 3º Colegial, the last year of school before one goes to college, which makes me a senior. I have also transferred from my private school, Objetivo, to a public school, Helen Keller. It’s amazing a school here in Adamantina, a relatively small town in the interior of Brazil, is named after a famous American, Helen Keller. I tried to find out how this came about, but I haven’t been able to yet.

I wanted to experience the difference between public and private schools here in Brazil. So far, the only difference I have seen is I am a lot more involved here at Helen Keller. I had to write a prayer on the board in front of the class in Portuguese. I am also expected to participate in all the exercises and tests. At Objectivo, I did everything the other students did, but I wasn’t expected to and therefore I wasn’t graded. I can now understand just about everything the teachers are saying, but the classes are still a bit difficult. But hey, I like a challenge.

The days also seem to be moving by faster because my stay here is getting shorter. I will be leaving Brazil June 19 and will be back in Bremerton on the 20th. Although I am looking forward to coming back, I am still sad I will have to leave. Então, até Abril (Well, until April).

Adriana Alexander’s next column will appear the last Friday of the month in April.

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