Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All The World's A Classroom

Sorry, Shakespeare but you had it wrong. Maybe the world is a stage but it is most definitely primarily a classroom.

Lucky for us, Gui was off work today and after letting us sleep in (and waking us up by singing the American National Anthem to us) he gave us a day out and about in Sao Paulo. Honestly, we were mainly driving but I don't think any of us minded. There was a lot to take in and endless questions to be asked.

We first went to the Soccer Museum which is housed at the home stadium of the Corinthians (pronounced "corin-chins" soccer club). The majority of the museum was in Portuguese but lucky for us we had our personal translator. For a girl who has never known much about soccer, it's quite amazing how much I have been surrounded by it in these past few days--terms, players, teams, historical moments.

Interesting, though, that Gui himself is not the typical hardcore soccer addict in Brazil. Basketball is more his passion (not that any Brazilian doesn't know his soccer), but melody and I picked up on a level of resentment towards soccer from Gui. Not because he does not enjoy it but because the weight that is put on a game in this culture. Everywhere we went today (and the entire time we have been here) we saw flags, signs, people in yellow, green and blue jerseys and shirts, food deals, paraphernalia in store windows. Melody commented on the national pride here and how cool it is but Gui corrected her quickly, saying you see none of this when it is not World Cup season. People live and breathe soccer but sometimes put it before the real necessities or what should be the priorities in life, he said. He told us he felt American's national pride is much stronger because it exists outside of the sports world and something I had never thought of, but he pointed out that he said part of that is probably because of the wars we have fought in. When noting the "pride" we were seeing everywhere we also asked of any major wars that had taken place in Brazil. We noted it is a good thing but Gui said he slightly disagreed. With having no history of fighting for what is theirs or to gain better rights or freedom, there is no appreciation for what they have; at least not like in America. It's something I never thought of--war as a strength in our history simply for what it does for the unity of the people and the appreciation of what is ours.

The day was full of these thought-provoking conversations as talk revolved around differences in languages and foods and traditions and cultures. The questions and observations back and forth never stopped. We got a close look at the favelas for the first time--the very poor areas of town where people nearly live on top of each other. We also got to see downtown Sao Paulo and many of the older buildings and museums.

Carla got to Gui's house in time for dinner and his parents cooked an awesome homemade traditional Brazilian meal and wow was it delicious. Amazing what all we have eaten here and this one--perhaps the best one yet--was free to us!

Five days in this country and there is no doubt in my mind I have learned more than I ever could have in a whole semester of class on Brazilian culture. It's amazing the amount of knowledge this world holds for us that we can so easily tap into if we simply use the resources we have at our fingertips--and for the most part, those "resources" I am referring to are our friends.