I have so many beautiful memories from my trip to Brazil and even though I’ve been home for almost a week, I don’t have that relieved feeling of being home. I haven’t even missed my bed as I do when I’ve been away for a long time. When I came back from Vietnam, the first thing I did was clean my face and get in bed, but this time I just rolled around on the kitchen floor thinking. I came back at night but I wasn’t tired at all even though I only slept about 3 hours out of the 20 hours journey. I had the feeling I was having a bad dream that I couldn’t wake up from and I really wished that when I woke up in the morning, I would still be in my king-bed at Mecure hotel in São Paulo. On the day of departure, I was so nervous and scared because I didn’t feel like I knew anybody. We were about 40 I knew the names of about 6. When I finally arrived to Rio airport, I still couldn’t believe what I just went into. All I was thinking was: ”why the heck, did I decide to go to Brazil. I must be nuts”, and now I couldn’t be happier that I got convinced to join a group of Catholics on their pilgrimage. I was actually weird for me to tell people, when I was asked, that I was going on a pilgrimage... because many did not understand what that meant and neither did I at that time. Here’s a little info about WYD.
JMJ, WYD or “World Youth Day” is a weeklong festival and young Catholics all over the world meet and celebrate their beliefs in god. Johannes Paulus II or Pope John Paul II as others call him is credited for starting this event about and it is held every three years, but this one in Rio de Janeiro was an exception. If you want to know more about it, you can Google it ;)
I did not write any kind of a diary but I have taken quite many pictures - 1.498 photos to be more specific and that’s after I’ve deleted about 1/3 of it. Feel free to check them out on my Flickr photo stream ;)
I’m going to narrow down my three weeks as much as possible...
1st week: Missionaries week in Belo Horizonte and Contagem - July 14th – July 21st
While we stayed with the families in Belo Horizonte, everyday started with mass in the morning, activities in afternoon and we ate about 7 times a day. I had trouble with jetlag because I would wake up between 5-6 am every morning, because I though I was late (time difference from DK and Brazil is like -5 hours). The families we lived with would drive us to the church everyday to meet up with the others, so the church was like our headquarters.
I lived with an old couple, Gercino and his Wife Rita. To tell their story would be quite long, but keep it short: they have a big family. I got introduced to at least one new family member each and everyday.
Sunday: Arrival at night and go on an 8-hour trip to a small town just outside Belo Horizonte.
Monday: Welcome, breakfast, splitting the group up in two parishes and introducing to the other participants/pilgrims from Denmark, the families and roommates (My roommate was Frida and we got our own rooms with closets but I got a double bed). Ate a lot of papaya and cheeseballs. Family loved my gifts. Went to the first mass since arrival and everybody sang and danced. Completely overwhelmed by the warmth from people.
Tuesday: woke up early to be at church 6 am, but still came late because of phenomenon called “Brazilian time” (be there later than agreed). Went on a trip to a hill with a church on top. Dressed lightly, even though I was told it was cold, which meant cold to Brazilians and not us = FREAKING HOT! Wonderful view and a nice breeze. Everybody forgot sun protection… luckily I don’t get red.
Wednesday: meeting locals and young Brazilians. They taught us their dance moves and we taught them our games and performed our interpretation of H.C Andersen’s fairy-tale: The Ugly Duckling (I was the swan! :D). Ate a lot of good food. Went out to downtown Belo Horizonte for a concert, but couldn’t get in because of security issues. Took a stroll at a park nearby and went back. We got inside and went to a museum before watching the concert. Went home after, got picked up by family. – Totally exhausted.
Thursday: bonding activities with the locals and missionary work. Went out to kindergarten close by the church to play with the kids and had so much fun.
Went back to church for lunch and went out again for a fair at a catholic university. Came back to the church for a party with the locals. Momma Rita can dance for sure!
Friday: Practiced couple dancing the most of the day – both “lanciers”(dance you dance for prom in Denmark) which we taught the young people and we learned their dance. Went to a marketplace for some snack-shopping by bus and on the road home Frida and I was dropped of at our house to dress up for a surprise party (explains why we practiced their dance) held by the locals. Was dressed in a really cute dress my momma had made herself and we were the only ones dressed like that when we arrived, which was really embarrassing. Somebody had taken a lot of dresses with them because the other girls from our group had to dress up like us afterwards. Had so much fun performing both dances for everyone there. Ate so many shish kebabs and ordered them by saying either “MOO”, “PIP” or “OINK” and show them with my fingers how many I wanted, because they did not understand what I tried to say. !
Saturday: Went to a place that was 6 km away from Belo Horizonte centrum. Walked slowly in a massive group, which symbolizes the crossroad of Jesus Christ. Walked behind the big truck with loud music. Walked for nearly 3 hours and watched the sun set while walking. Went with bus back to the church and got picked up by the family for dinner at a pizza restaurant. When I came home I though I’ve got a really dark tan, but my legs were dark of dirt. My feet hurt and I heard sirens all night.
Sunday: last day started with an emotional mass and with lots of hugs and kisses.
Went to Belo Horizonte for a last time for activities again but Caroline and I bailed out and went shopping instead with two of our Brazilian leaders ;)
2 nd week: World Youth Days in the heart of Rio - July 22nd – July 28st
Monday: Danced our last dance and wrapped everything up before going to rio with the bus in afternoon. Cried so much that day. Arrived at Rio at night and we stayed in a room that is used for mass… I slept at the alter…..
Tuesday: breakfast is like eating candy … everything is packed and preserved. Even the cheese last till December. Went to my first catechesis and it was actually okay. Liked the speaker and loved the mass. Got our pilgrim kit in the afternoon and found out that we live on the famous shopping street, Ipanema, and 200 meters from Ipanema beach and about 700 meters from Copacabana beach and got some Korean/Brazilian friends from São Paulo!
Wednesday: catechesis and then church. Walked Rue de Ipanema through and went to Pao de Acucar in a heavy fog … had a really poor view, because the lord did not bless us with a better weather … but it was quite fun ! Went out to eat sushi-buffet afterwards.
Thursday: catechesis and then church again. Went to a shopping mall nearby to get some lunch.
Went to opening mass at the beach – SAW THE POPE!
Tried to get a taxi on the way home but it took us at least 2 hours … could have walked home…
Friday: Went to the first Danish mass in a really long time with the archbishop from Denmark. Went to Vietnamese catechesis afterwards and met an priest from Vietnam that I met when I was a little kid – He’s a friend of the family and we haven’t seen each other in 6 years so I was lucky that we recognized each other. Went to mass on the beach again afterwards.
Saturday: Got sick and stayed the most of the day at home… did went out to shop for a bit but got really dizzy, so had to head home and lie down for some time.
Went out to the beach again for mass. Everybody slept out there except from our group because we lived neaby… just think about being hit by a wave in your sleep…
Sunday: I woke up at 5 am and went straight out to the beach to get close to the stage where the pope would hold the last mass before the festival would end.
Got as close as 10 meters from the scene and was overjoyed… took me more than 2 hours to get home because there were to many… went out with the whole gang for dinner and a drink at local pub next door.
3rd nd week: "Not so catholic"-activities in Ubatuba and São Paulo - July 29th – August 5th
Monday: Woke up early to leave for Ubatuba with bus. Slept almost all way… felt sick afterwards because the air-condition went on max all the time..
Came to Ubatuda in the afternoon and loved the place we were going to stay at! The beach is really close and it was beautiful! Went out to a “fish n’banana”-restaurant and it was quite good.
Tuesday: used all day to relax at the beach and to enjoy the nature!
Wednesday: Went out for a 3-hour hike, then mass and just relax and lovely dinner downtown ! "Weight and pay"-buffet with a "weight and pay"-açai-shop!!! :D LOVE AÇAI !!!!!!
Thursday: And then we moved on to Sao Paulo. Arrived in the afternoon at a really lovely hotel !! We had all evening to explore the town and a group went to a small Japanese town. We got to see some crazy Japanese elders that love karaoke … and so we joined them while eating. Went to a cathedral before heading home.
Friday: ALL DAY SHOPPING ON RUA AUGUSTUS !! WE LIVED IN AN EXCLUSIVE AREA :D Dinner with the whole group and the others went out for a bar but I went home to pack my stuff. Some came home early so we did some facial therapy!
Saturday: ending mass downtown and we got our stuff and left with the bus for São Paulo airport… The flight was hell because of turbulence. I was sexually offended by security at Heathrow and so tired of everything.
Monday: Came home to Denmark in afternoon… almost dead.. and smelly …
So that was my trip to brazil ! I really tried to make it short but unfortunately that was not going to happen!
If you guys want to see pictures you can look it up on my flickr photo stream ! just lookup “emtie” and you’ll find me! Unfortunately I haven’t been able to upload all my pictures due some problem with my internet connection so you have to enjoy what I have there… k, bye !!! :D