Thanks for posting my email, Debbie. Like I said, there~s a limited supply of computers here and time to use them. Our group has 17 students from across the country (I~m studying abroad with the University of Iowa) and the other large group here is from UCLA, they have 40 kids, all from UCLA.
Brazil is amazing. Naturally. I~m starting to really appreciate it after getting over the initial awkwardness of being so easily spotted as a foreigner. 80% of this city (Salvador) is black or of African descent. My beaming white skin and occasional Northwestern t-shirt don~t often help in not standing out. But so I here, this place is relatively tame in terms of stares and cat calls and danger. Perhaps it~s partly because I live in the richest area of town, but I don~t feel at all uncomfortable here anymore walking on the streets. I~ve learned to ignore the stares, and they~re really not too bad. One big difference is that people on buses here stare like it~s their job. You~ll often get a head turn out the window as well.
I~ve been taking pictures but but can~t put them on the computer unfortunately.
This week, I~ve gotten Baiana dance lessons, cooking lessons (not really, but we ate some acaraje, fried bean and veggie patties), and today we have a capoeira lesson/demonstration (Brazilian dance fighting).
I have to run but the big news of the day is that the group trip to Rio de Janiero is on July 20-24 and my conference is July 24-7 so everything works out perfectly. I~ll get to tour Rio and then attend the International AIDS Society Conference and be in Rio for a week!!