Week 7 - Farroupilha - Brazil
A day by day account of the first week in our 2022 travels through South America, Mexico, USA and Canada.
Thursday 17th March 2022
St Patricks day in Brazil and lucky for us, anther late start
Our small town of Farroupilha does not have a bar that sells Guiness, the best that can been done it to go to the nearest city of Caxius do Sul and get some from the supermarket. We opted for what was on offer here, a green beer, brewed especially for St Patrick's Day, called 'Rabbit' (based on the bar where it was brewed) at Mercado de Cerveja in between classes at Talkers.
Friday 18th March 2022
We were picked up by Patricia at 07:45 for a morning of presentations at a local high school called Sao Tiago. Edson, the English teacher at the school had bought tons of breakfast teats. Mini coxinhas, empanadas, cheese balls, Pão de queijo. This time, it was just us at the presentations so we could take our time over the presentations and got to sing this time too.
The afternoon was spent working on the books for the t-shirt business, writing the blog and collating videos and photos for our next YouTube video.
We went into an evening that had been long anticipated as we had this night planned for a while. As we were supposed to leave tomorrow, it was going to be a last night celebration. Even though we extended our stay for another week, we had been really looking forward to going to see a Charlie Brown Jr tribute act. Charlie Brown Jr is a legendary alternative rock band in Brazil and everyone we mentioned the act too, they were really excited for us. To prepare ourselves for the night ahead, we were invited to Allan's parents house for a great dinner before the show. We met Allan's mum and dad, along with his nephews and niece as well as his sister and her husband. Vitor, Allan's nephew taught me how to ride his segway while Meg played Jenga with Livia, his niece. We indulged in more meat, garlic bread and salad before heading to the show. We then all went to the show, lots of beers, dancing and great times.
Saturday 19th March 2022
Admittedly, we woke up pretty late and needed the lie in to sober up. With last night certainly being a heavy one, we spent the next few hours feeling sorry for ourselves. Marcela looked after us as always, giving us cake and coffee to cure our aching heads. We had a big night ahead of us and were being picked up at 4pm to spent the night at Pati's parents house out in the countryside area of Machadinho. Their house is one of our favourite places in Farroupila with absolutely beautiful views of the hills and more land than you can imagine.
As we waited to be picked up, I watched the International v Gremio match with Bruno and his friend while Megan got ready. We were picked up by Pati's brother-in-law, Guilherme who we quickly found that we were going to get along with. When we arrived at Elizete's and Lorreno's, we soon noticed that there were a lot more people there than we had expecting. Uncles, aunts, cousins, their children, grandparents etc. And we love meeting new people so were more than happy to be welcomed with a lot of happy faces.
Even though our stomachs weren't exactly settled yet, as soon as Gabrielle started covering the beef steaks with salt, garlic and a variety of other herbs and spices, we were ready to eat whenever it was ready. We spent the time playing games with the kids and getting to know everyone there. When food was ready, we sat down at a long table and were absolutely in love with the food. The beef was the best we have had here, so thinly cut and perfectly flavoured. Along with bread, pasta and salad. After full stomachs and a couple more glasses of wine, Guilherme got his cajon and we all played a few songs together. He was really talented and as well as playing the cajon, he also played guitar and sang so well. It was most impressive for us when he sang traditional Brazlian songs.
Sunday 20th March 2022
Waking up at Patricia's parents was really nice and we had a breakfast and coffee waiting for us when we did get up. Elizete had handmade almost everything that was on the table including fig jam, bread, cream, cheese and eggs. The weather was pretty miserable but it could never ruin our days here. We headed down to the other house and said hello to the rest of the family. Lorreno had already lit the BBQ for lunch and me and Megan headed down to the wine cellar to record a music video. Since the first time we had been there, we had said that if we ever had the chance to go back, we would take the opportunity to make a video. It turned out really nice and soon enough, lunch was ready. You'd think that after all the churrasco we've eaten, we'd be tired of it but honestly, as soon as it is laid out in front of you, your mouth just waters immediately. We have never been disappointed by it and we honestly don't know how we are going to live without it when we leave Brazil next weekend.
We headed back around 3pm and had a quick change over when we got to Marcela's. Edson, the English teacher from Sao Tiago school picked us up and we drove to his friends house in Caxias do Sul. Edson had told us that his friend was also a big music lover and that we ould all play together. When we arrived there, we were so impressed that Andre had built a small practice and recording room in his basement. We were lso joined by Guilherme, a drummer. We practiced and recorded a few different songs, including one of Megan's, that we hadn't had chance to record before. After a few hours of playing together, we headed for something to eat. We went to a cafe/restraunt inside a museum. It was called Zarabatana and we all enjoyed pizza there and had a few Caipirinhas.
Monday 21st March 2022
After this long, massively busy weekend, we took a blank morning schedule as an opportunity to get some rest and recharge the batteries. Megan had her first online story time class in which she reads stories with her Chinese students before they go to bed. She has two classes that are 30 minutes, each with 4 or 5 students. These kind of lessons help our funds from not depleting as rapidly every month.
After a day of relaxing, I had a very busy few hours in the evening. Firstly in was a boxing session at the gym, my penultimate one. Edson and the older students from his school had been asking me to play football with them, so following the gym, he picked me up took me to the 'stadium'. We played for an hour, then had a couple of beers outside on the steps of a church. Took me back my teenage years. Although I had never done it in Brazil before.
Tuesday 22nd March 2022
Unfortunately today, Megan woke up feeling really poorly. We decided that it was down to such a busy and heavy weekend, coupled with a sudden change in temperature in Farroupilha. It is Autumn here now, and the weather is getting colder very rapidly. She stayed home and worked on getting some rest. I went out for a couple of hours work at the language school in which I went to do a talk at a local business about the language exchange ethos, and traveling. I even left with a couple of gifts, giant and scented candles.
After work, I thought that I would call in to the local bar for a drink, although I didn't really process that I was walking home with my guitar and that meant that I could very easily be drawn into having to play it! I had a couple of beers, conversing with the locals in broken English and broken Portuguese. It was then time for them to force me into playing a song. The rest is history, Although I did meet a couple from San Fransisco, who said that I have to contact them when I arrive, and they will take us to their place in the hills for a night when we arrive. The night continued with me playing songs as I was provided with beers for doing so.
Wednesday 23rd March 2022
After a couple of morning lessons, we headed for a last lunch at Pip's. We filled our plates and spent the time convincing each other that leaving was the right thing to do, no matter how hard it felt. When we got back to Talkers, we had a video call/recording with a Brazilian woman who lives in America and is a YouTuber, It was pretty straight forward and was just us comparing British and American English. We had been told by the staff that they were going to stick around for coffee at the end of the day to which we gladly agreed to join. Two more lessons and we were collected to made our way to the break room. When we got there, the staff all waiting and shouted surprise and we walked through the door. They'd prepared cake, drinks, biscuits and gifts for us as a thank you. We both fought back tears as they went around the room saying words of thanks and spoke about how great the time we had spent together was. It was really hitting us how much of an important place it had become and how precious the relationships we had made there were. They gave me a pair of Havanas, claiming that it is an absolute must for all Brazilians and to Megan they gave a necklace with a music note on it. They had also all signed a card with kind messages and best wishes for us. Then, they asked us if we wanted to say something and it took a moment for us to gather our emotions together. Megan started to talk and managed to say some beautiful things about the importance of friendships you make while traveling and how much we have appreciated everyone we have met here.
Last night at the gym, after a month membership along with boxing classes from Mateuss. A great man and now a friend, who ran the ‘Farra’ Jiu Jitsu and boxing classes. As it was my last night he gave me a parting gift of their first anniversary t-shirt, I was very sad to leave. Finding boxing classes on my travels has been a really good way for me to stayed focused, healthy and meet new people.
When we arrived back home, Marcela was hiding something behind a make-shift wall of crayons. We promised her we wouldn't look and waited patiently until she told us it was finished. A few weeks back, she had asked us to help her make out some lyrics in a song she really liked but even we struggled so I found the artist on Instagram and sent him a hopeful message that he could help. After a few exchanged messages, he sent us the lyrics in full and we printed and presented them to give to Marcela as a leaving gift. She handed us an envelope with a lovely message on and we opened it out to see a hand-drawn picture of us that she had obviously spent a lot of time on. We felt touched that she had picked up her drawing things again as she had told us that it was something that she hadn't done for a long time. It was hard for all of us to explain in words how thankful we had been for the gifts and the time we spent together.
Tonight was the night of Gremio's second semi-final against local rivals Internationale. I met up with Allan and one of his friends to watch it. We watched the first half at one of our favourite pubs ‘Schmitao’, which is a Gremio pub and had been packed with supporters a few hours earlier, before they set off to Porto Alegre, to the match. We left at half time and watched the second half at a themed bar ‘American Burger’, where I once again bumped into my boxing trainer Matheuss, whom I saw was drinking juice and I wondered if I had to hide my beer. Another great night with great people.