Thursday, March 17, 2011

First week of classes

15 march 2011

It's Tuesday, the second day of classes have started, and I have already experience so many new things. Monday I learned about the traffic of the city. I have a class that starts at 7 30am, so I left the house one hour early, because I thought with it originally only going to take 30 min extra 30 will be great. WRONG, I got on the bus at 6 40am and I didn’t get in front of the campus until 8 15 and didn’t get to tmy class until 8 30am. Good thing it was the first day of classes, the professor was really understanding and said she was late as well. I read over the sylabbus and asked about reading material. The professor was very helpful with helping me print out the readings so I am feeling pretty good about this course, Brazilian Anthropology .

My second class was Latina poetry, well I felt really stupid, because once I got to the class students and I began to talk about the course. I though the course was going to be poet authors from latin American poetry, now its latin poetry the language latin. So I left that class, looked on the board with the listing of courses and decided to check out the intro to brazilian literarute. The class was huge, I’m not even sure if there will be a seat available for me but I will try anyways, otherswise its back to the drawing board. The class went well the professor had a lot of energy she went over the syallbus a little bit to much, she really wanted to use the 2 and half hours. After her class I had a break for lunch, met up with friends and spent R$2, 45 on some crappy lunch but it was food. The food in Portugal is better than what I ate here. I guess with good company bad food doesn’t really matter.

After lunch I had my last glass of the day iconography of slavery. Two students. Two. I mean the professor was really cool, we talked a lot, I guess I like the smallness of the course. We talked about what the course would be about, our experience with iconography, what does diaspora meant. Something interest is that the professor said he hates the words diaspora, if I remember hearing him right in Portuguese, I think he said he didn’t like it because its affliated with Jesus. Jesus having a diaspora. (Not all the way sure, don't quote me on this, I need to re-ask him why he doesn't like the word). Anyways, he started a virtual datebase called the center of cultural studies about the Presence of Africans in the Modern world at UFMG. After that class I had to run over to a potential “job” well its basically private tutor for englsih for different people around belo horizonte. Had a fast yet detailed course of training, books, and told to study study and always prepare lesson a day in advance. (Currently preparing lesson for tomorrow) after the two hour headed home. Only to eat shower and sleep in the order. Set my alarm for 5am because I had training at 8am-10. day woke up early knowing that the bus would be in traffic, I guess at 6:10ish traffic is alright, so I guess that is the time I will have to leave from now on. After the two hour training I headed back to campus, only to get lose. I read the bus line information and the one I took the last stop said ufmg, boy did I get a surprise. Got off close, and then within seconds it rained, it poured. Like poured so hard!! My whole body was soaked and all my bookd and my backpack. But I was determing even with all the rain to get to my graduate course. The graduate level course about African diaspora in brazil, what a great class. Even with myself being so tired and mentally exhausted all went well. The professor Miriam Jorge had such a great presense and set a really nice tone for the course. I really enjoyed the class particpation, the questions that were thrown around the room, the different perspectives it was really great. More than I expected from a classroom. I look forward to learning more from my collegues as well as learning more about what I may want to studying graduate school. This course could be the key to me knowing. So I pray to God for direction. After the course I took advantage of the wifi and then headed home, again in the rain. Ate dinner and now I'm going to head to bed soon. Now its 9:17pm, so funny I'm tired at this time, usually I'm

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Back in Brazil

I can’t believe its already March, felt like just yesterday I was leaving Portugal. But here I am trying to catch up again with my blog.

After my time in France I had a flight out of Paris to Salvador do Bahia, Brazil. An overnight flight, but I couldn’t complain it was basically empty so I was laid out on the chairs, sleeping. I arrived in Bahia to the burning sun, I was literally peeling off clothes in the airport it was so hot. I had a 2 hour lay over at 5am in Rio so I tried to sleep but mostly people watched. Brazil hugged me warmly with: brazilian accents, tight fitted jeans, guys that look like they work out everyday(the gym=capoeria), tighted fitted jeans on woman, high heels, cut little tops, and the beautiful different skin colors. I think that’s one thing I love the most about Brazil everyone’s has such a unique skin tone. Come to Brazil I leave the black and white perspective we’ve grown up in, come with an open minded with a country that has similarities as well as very different history than the US.

After a day of sleeping, I met up with my friend Caelli to eat Açai (not sure how to explain, i think Açai is fruit, its really cold, and then it has granola and banana on top)

It was really great to catch up with her because I literally haven't seen her or talk to her in years. I really enjoy catching up with old friends, sometimes you see how far a part you both have really grown and sometimes you see how the individuals path interweave.

My 10 days in Bahia I literally had dance class early in the morning with Mestre King and Carlos Ujumha, then walked home(35 min walk every day to and from=exercise) ate lunch, showered, and finally the best part I usually went to the beach till the sun was set. Towards my last couple of days I was introduce to this amazing burger place that begin to be my dinner spot. It was so good! Although one burger just wasn't

Professor Mestre King, Jessica, and I

Class photo; besides Brazilians there were many students from Australia as well.

On my last day I hung out with friends and stayed up for my 2am taxi driver because I had a flight at 5 30am, wanted to get there early as well and wasn't sure how long the taxi ride would be. To my surprise i got there at 2 30am, so I had plenty of time for I tried to lay around didn't work to well. When time finally passed boarded and headed to Bahia. Once I landed 28th of February I had orientation at the campus I would be studying at Federal University of Minas Gerias (UFMG). What a long day I had, with no sleep from the day before the orientation lasted from 9 am till about 5pm. Once over I just wanted to sleep, because we had to return the next morning for the same type of schedule.

So basically the whole first week that was mandatory for me to be here, which I understand although I would have loved to stay another week in Bahia, I got all the information I needed about visit, studying abroad in Belo Horizonte, met other students from around the world(mostly Argentina), and the best thing was looking and choosing courses. I have one of the best schedule despite the times, but I cant complain when I only have class MOnday, tuesday and Wednesday. So heres my course schedule:

1) Brazilian Anthropology 7 30 am every Mon. and Wed.(hope i make it to

2) Latina Poetry

3) Iconography of slavery(iconography means the use or study of images or symbols in visual arts)

4)African Diaspora course of Brazil-> it's in the graduate school! I'm the most excited for this course, although it is 4 hours long on tuesday evening. but i have a plan, sleep before and lots of snacks to keep me awake, healthy snacks of course.

I thought about taking more courses but I don't want to over it do it and take on to much. I still am learning Portuguese. That never stops.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Catching up...

In order to catch up to where I am I have to go back. So I went to Aveiro, Portugal for a week after my program was over. It was a really nice and friendly there. Loved the sweets.
And then I traveled to France with my friend Marine and her father. 12 hour car ride.
We're getting closer!
Bom apetite!
A French desert other than a crepe.
Mash potato maker, we need one of theses in the States.

So I had a really amazing time in Poitiers, France with my friend Marine and her family. It was great to get away from Portugal and the city traffic etc. she lived in the country which was great and relaxing for me. We went to the center of the city it was really nice and close knit.

The little Norte Dome of Poitier

Vans and a UCLA back pack, I thought I was in Cali for a second.

We went to this club that had a open mic of artists fridays and saturdays, this night it was mostly reggae but I really liked it. I really enjoyed the saxophonist.

And then I went to Paris France for a few days
Me and the Eiffel Tower
up close

I had a really great time in Paris France. Past all of my expectations. Its a such beautiful black city I must say and the food is amazing! Next time I go to visit I will have to learn more french words.
I went to the Norte Dame
This was probably one of the best moments of traveling to Paris for me
Famous author Richard Wright use to live in this apartment building

France in general was a very great and humbling experience for me. I appreciate the people, the food and the historical buildings. I hope to come back soon.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I’ve been feeling inspired lately. By others, to share more. So things I want to talk about that I haven’t talked about during my experience in Coimbra Portugal.

So here are some pieces:

I was walking around Coimbra one day with a good friend and he pointed out that these

They used these in the past to either hang slaves up or chain them in a line.

Living in a country where the history of slavery existed and was very prevalent it never seemed to leave my eyes as I walked through the city.

Another piece I want to share-->

So in this very popular mall called Doce Vita in Coimbra were I go frequently. They had an art exhibit of President Obama. When my friend told me I was surprise and said stop lying why would they have an art exhibit of a President of the U.S. here in Coimbra of all places? I mean maybe they would have one of the President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, she is the first female president of Brazil. Anyways, I was curious and wanted to see it so we went down stairs and sure enough on the floor there it was. As I walked around the pictures, I was shocked and affected by the images and the negative messages spread.

I didn’t find any of the cartoonish funny

Majority of the pictures had him depicted as a slave or had some connotation to slavery.

Unfortunately my camera died that day so I couldn't capture them all. But they have a website for more information (

I know art is a freedom of expression and everyone is entitled to say and share whatever they would like. I guess I just wondered why there were none that expressed positive messages? Or perhaps those artist weren’t chosen.

It was crazy to me that when I had read that the pictures were from all over the world. Canada, Brazil, Japan, Hungary, Russia,Unites States, just all over. And they all shared the same the same sentiment: a negative image of President Obama. To think that this is spread all over the world, this is not how I want people to know my president or think of him. I mean in the states I remember in the political section they would have a political comic sketch but those as well were never really funny to me. They elongated his nose, or gave Obama big lips and pictured him eating watermelon. I remember even seeing a cereal box created called Obama O’s. It’s interesting to me that people in the US want to say/think America is in a post racial era since President Obama is the first black president (but being a black person in power, will not magical change hundred years of institutionalized slavery thats been embedded throughout the US), but there’s nothing post-racial about making racialize jokes/drawings at the past/present. Double lives=double lies.

and another one--->There was a store in Amsterdam that made me laugh

What's left

So I took a trip one time to Conimbriga, Portugal. One of the largest Roman settlement in Portugal and one of the best preserved. (for more information

I went with the woman in charge of my program in Portugal. She said it was must see place and that people really treasured. The lady kept telling me, "Oh this is so beautiful, oh look at the detail, ahh it's so historical it was built such a long time ago…” As we walked through I was silent.

All I could think about the whole time was “who built this?” “Who were the people that were forced to build what so many admire?”

This was also something I seen there, it reads: House of the Swastika was the home of a relatively wealthy family. It's construction goes back to the 1st century AD...yadda yadda

After this trip I began to look up more about the history of the swastika symbol because I am unfamiliar with it. I found out that the symbol was used 5,000 years before Hitler used it. The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being." The motif (a hooked cross) appears to have first been used in Neolithic Eurasia, perhaps representing the movement of the sun through the sky. To this day it is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Odinism. (Information from

This also caught my eye, it is in-door and out door fountain and garden. For .25 I placed in a machine near the fountain and watched the water actually spring up in action.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Moving Forward

I know its been a while, but things got pretty busy for me. Going home for the holidays, nights in London, studying for finals, packing, saying goodbyes, moving, becoming stranded in Portugal because waiting for papers from Brazilin embassy, and getting ready for France. Yeah, I am bless through it all. I wouldn’t trade my worries and problems in for the world. It's funny how when we are going through something in life we think we are the only ones going through it, or we have the whole world on our shoulders. And then we act all surprise when we get through it like we haven’t tried the whole time to get pass it, like we are surprised in ourselves that we actually made it through. Funny right? I’m sure it's not funny during the time we are going through one, but it is.

I feel I am at a good place in my life. I am finding time to just reflect. With reflection comes growth.

I must admit it was hard to say goodbye to everyone in Coimbra Portugal, harder than I had attended. I may not have enjoyed the location of my 6 months but I will not forget the friendships I made in that short amount of time. I guess in leaving I felt like I was selfish for allowing them to let me enter their life their hearts, knowing that I would only leave in February. It hurts me to know that I’ve met people who have just been genuinely nice and amazing to me, just because they choose to. It takes action and work to be someone’s friend.

With all this time on my hands I am learning to relax, allow the days to come and drag out. Get so tired with doing nothing that at 7 pm you are yawning from nothing and being alright with that. That has always been so hard for me, but my other life back on campus in Madison is completely the opposite, so busy I am scheduling me time and when I will be able to eat with friends. I’m across the ocean and my life has literally switched from the hectic business with school and extra things to the long days of nothing. I currently have no classes until I get to Brazil, but that won’t be for a few more weeks. So for now I am enjoying this little break.

Well trying to.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Protect your Dreams

So one more thing before I head to bed, I stumbled across these 3 videos that I want to share.

Protect your dreams-

Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson, I shared this recently with Millah and Maia. Thank you both for reminding me how much I need to remember this, believe this, and share this.

We count! A black Agenda is the American Agenda- Powerful, powerful, powerful, I'm trying to sit at the next table.

Desire more from the world, demand it, obtain it, and share it.