Today was full of laughter, food, jokes and lastly tears as it was our last full day in Salvador and we began the tearful journey of saying goodbye to our Mães and to Salvador.
Today we had a great lunch with our Mães at SENAC, a culinary institute here in Salvador. The food was delicious, but I must say I will not be eating at a buffet for a very long time. Buffet style restaurants are very common here and they work very well, especially for a large group, but I am so tired of them.
We celebrated two birthdays or “aniversários,” Roman and Sonia’s. SENAC was kind enough to provide us with a “decorative” cake which, unfortunately, we didn’t get to eat, but the buffet had all types of Bahian food and dessert so we didn’t feel too gypped. I had two helpings of my favorite dessert or “sobremesa,” pudim de leite condensado. When in Brazil, right? Besides, everyone knows that calories consumed on vacation don’t count.
After significantly stuffing ourselves, we all took a moment to thank those who made this trip possible. A big thanks to Clara whose enthusiasm and excitement made us feel comfortable in a strange land. A big thanks to Dr. Stauber and Dr. Ramsey-White for putting this program together and pushing us out of our comfort zones in order to experience all that Salvador has to offer by insisting we do home stays. I was a little hesitant at first because none of us knew Portuguese and what little Spanish some of us spoke we realized pretty quickly wasn’t going to help us a whole lot.
And finally a HUGE thank you to our Mães who opened their homes, families and hearts to us. My Mãe did so much for me while I was here from preparing three meals a day when she normally only eats one to cleaning my bedroom and bathroom everyday and always welcoming me home with a big smile and motherly hug. I will miss her so much when I return, alone, to my studio apartment back in Atlanta :'( I wish my Portuguese was better so I could better communicate with her how much I appreciate what she has done for me and that I will never forget her. Thank goodness for Facebook 🙂
Tomorrow we will be picked up by vans around 5:30pm or 17:30. Now my only concerns are last minute shopping tomorrow morning and playing tetris to fit everything in my suitcases. Three weeks has flown by and normally I’m ready to go home, but this time I wish I had another week here; the sun has finally come out, I have made some great friends and I’m finally able to semi-communicate with my family. The old saying, “glad to come but glad to leave” certainly doesn’t apply this time.
It was so touching to see how all really enjoyed their home stays and families. I was in tears myself watching the students say goodbye to their families when the vans came around.