I wrote this on August 8 and I've just gotten around to posting it. It seems like so long ago already!
It's been a bit warm here the past couple of days, which makes me VERY happy that I'm not here in the summer. We went to Ubatuba last weekend for our last weekend together as a group party thing. Ubatuba is in the northern part of the São Paulo state, or maybe the southern part of the Rio de Janeiro state. I don't know. When we got in we were concerned because it was really cloudy and that does not bode well for the beach. It was evening so we all just hung out by the pool and dipped our feet in. The dinner was provided with the hotel and it was really good. One thing that is weird here is the napkins. They are awful. They don't absorb anything. This is just a sidenote, the napkins there were cloth and very good.
The next day I woke up and it was still cloudy outside, which was a bummer because Saturday was our only day on the beach. Luckily, however, it cleared up as I was eating my amazing omlette. We took a boat to a couple of remote beaches in the area that you can only get to by foot or boat, except one was on an island, so clearly only a boat would work. The beaches were so nice and I told myself that that day would be my warm memory for the cold winter ahead. Rebecca, Erin and I made a sand castle and I explored some boulderish area with Orrin, Bret and Steve. At the next beach Orrin, Brittany, Ashley and I explored the various beaches. That island was a nature preserve, so we couldn't leave anything or take anything off. At one point we decided to swim from one beach to another. Wow. I'm in awful shape. My arms were a bit tired, but it was really nice to exercise again.
That evening a couple of girls and I went to an open market that was there. It was really small, but they had some great stuff there. I bought some earrings and necklaces made of açaí and fruit type things. They are great.
The next day we went to a small branch for church. I think we doubled the church attendance. I was so impressed with the people there. They wore whatever they had that was nice, whether is was jeans or a suit. As it was fast Sunday, and since we were small in number, I was able to bear my testimony in Portuguese. That was such a rewarding experience. I will certainly remember that when I go on my mission. The missionaries taught Sunday School, and we were pretty much the whole class. They had to move chairs up to the room.
The past couple of days we've been working on our final exams and getting things ready to leave. We watched a karate class Monday night and that instructor was INTENSE wow. We were three minutes late and he was miffed, whihc is weird for Brasil. The class was a bit boring, but interesting. At the end however, he asked five of us to go down to help the students practice defending themselves. Bret, Brian, Orrin, Jenny and Diana went down. It was HILARIOUS! The boys got thrown down to the ground. Orrin looked like a chicken and Jenny and Diana didn't really fight. It was so funny. Wow.
Last night Nicolle, the granddaughter of the lady we live with, was in our room for three hours "helping" us study. We sang a bit from High School Musical and I gained a better empathy for people with little sisters. Today we went to Applebees, yes they have one here. Crazy, right? They even had free refills!!! The waiter did not understand, like everyone else, that separate checks are okay. That took forever.
Okay, gotta run. Time's up. This will be my last email from Brasil and I guess I'll talk to you all when I get home! This has been such an amazing experience. I am so glad that I came. Best decision