Vida na Ihla (The Island Life)

Sábado, Março 15, by D’Arcy

In English, Vida na ihla translates into the island life.  Today’s activity was  representative of what many of us may consider to be the island life.  I am talking about surfing.

Getting ready for Surfing lessons at Praia do Calhau.

Getting ready for Surfing lessons at Praia do Calhau.

We gathered together at Praia do Calhau for surfing lessons. It is the rainy season here in  São Luís, but we have been fortunate enough that rain has not stopped any of our activities. Today was the same. The sun was out and it was necessary to apply lots of sunscreen.

There was a team of instructors there to greet us and they divided us into two groups. First, we received basic instructions.  David, from via Mundo, helped translate the instructions from the head instructor. Then group 1 got ready to surf while group 2 waited for their turn.

Head Instructor for Surfing lessons.

Head Instructor for Surfing lessons.

Instruction translation.

Instruction translation.

Instructions being translated into English.

Instructions being translated into English.

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Instructor showing us how to hold the board.

We were each paired with an instructor and then it was off to the water, which is much warmer than in Nova Scotia.

Pairing up with an instructor.

Pairing up with an instructor.

Kristen getting tips from her instructor.

Tips from the instructor.

Alex and David.

Alex and David.

Some more stretching.

Stretching before hitting the water.

Surfs Up.

Surfs Up.

Our goal was simple.  Try to maintain balance and maneuver the board so as to catch a wave and ride it back to the beach.  Sounds easy. However, the waves were big, and strong, and this proved to be a fairly demanding physical activity.  It made for a good workout.

Alex.

Alex.

Mr. McDonah

Mr. McDonah

Georgia, Alex and Emma.

So much fun!

Standing up on the board is for the next trip.

After we were finished, we had a little time to play in the water.  Alex was interviewed for a TV program and all had a great time.

Soccer is played all day long on the beach.

Soccer is played all day long on the beach.

Alex being interviewed.

Alex being interviewed.

Standing up on the board is for the next trip.

This picture says it all.

This picture says it all.

Surf’s Up in Nova Scotia!

Last  March, when our son Evan went on a school exchange to Brazil, one of his favourite, most memorable activities, was the surfing lessons he took. Proclaimed “a natural”, he was anxious to continue surfing in Nova Scotia. We warned him that surfing in Nova Scotia would probably be much different than surfing in Brazil, but he was keen to try.

His 14th birthday coincided with back-to-school for D’Arcy and me, so we promised him that we would treat both him & his brother, Alex, to surfing lessons before the end of the season. Last weekend, with Hurricane Leslie approaching up the Atlantic Seaboard, the waves had been churned up and conditions would have been too wild for our beginners.

This weekend, Saturday dawned bright and beautiful and calm. I made a call to Nico at the East Coast Surf School to see if there might be a possibility of lessons for the boys at the last minute. We had a full-house on Friday, so arranged the lessons for 2 p.m. which would give us enough time to get the rooms changed over. We called my parents and they were happy to come over to welcome guests until we returned. D’Arcy, who is very comfortable in the water, growing up sailing and being a certified scuba diver, was slightly disappointed I hadn’t booked him into lessons as well!

The weather was beautiful and the tide was coming in.As it turns out, the water on the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia is warmer now than it is in the summer – we’re spoiled by spending most of our summer water time in the warm waters of the Northumberland Straight on Nova Scotia’s northern coast. The boys were provided with wet suits and Sam took them out for their lessons while we played with the girls on the beach. Sam also declared that the boys were both “naturals” but Evan was frustrated that it was not as easy to surf in Nova Scotia than it was in Brazil – the waves were more powerful…

They had a great afternoon, trying to master the art of “hanging ten”. The best part was that when their lesson was over, they had the use of the boards & wetsuits for the rest of the afternoon. D’Arcy even tried to surf a couple of times while Evan was taking a breather…  I can see that we’ll definitely be trying this again next year!

It’s only a 1 hour and 22 minute drive from Truro to Lawrencetown Beach where there is year-round surfing – an easy day trip from the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast.

Heading into the water at Lawrencetown Beach

The girls kept themselves occupied while their brothers were at their lessons by playing in the surf.

Almost…

So much fun to watch – even more fun to do (from what I’ve been told)!

Regrouping…

Alex is trying to get up…

Wipe out!

Sam shows Evan and Alex how it’s done…

The girls have fun burying Dad in the sand.

‘Return to the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast website

Meeting Brazilian 10 Time National Surf Champion

Yesterday’s update is not very long. We spoke with Evan last night only long enough for him to say goodnight. He was tired, thirsty & cranky. The morning email of yesterday’s events comes via Scott, the other boy on the trip: Someone sends an email home each morning with news…

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The group with 10 time Brazilian National Surf Champion Picuruta Salazar

“hi everyone, yesterday we went to a surf museum where we met a famous 10 times champion surfer who was very nice to stop and take pictures with us. we learned a bit about the history of surfing in santos and got some amazing pictures of the ocean and landscape. afterwards we left back to the school and participated in a english class. i got a cool picture with pele´s statue during a walk around santos. we also tried coconut water from a fresh coconut and got to watch how they prepared it with a large machette.
 
having fun, scott”

 

Butterflies, Peanuts, a Ferry, a Barbeque & Surfing

By all accounts, Evan is having a wonderful time in Brazil! I asked him to jot down a few notes each day so that I could share his activities with those who are interested.  The following is what I received: (the boy does not share his mother’s gift of gab – everything is to the point!)

  • March 1st, 2012.
  •  Flight to Toronto and Sao Paulo delayed
  •  Butterflies
  •  March 2nd, 2012.
  •  Land in Sao Paulo at 11 – 11:30 local time
  •  3 hr bus ride in 33C heat
  •  Caught up with everyone
  •  Relaxed
  •  Went to the club
  •  March 3rd, 2012.
  •  Went to the beach
  •  Boogey Boarded
  •  Paddleball
  •  Peanuts
  •  Swam
  •  Relaxed
  •  Cresting
  •  Ferry ride
  •  Playstation with JV, Caio and Gabriel
  •  March 4th, 2012.
  •  Canoeing
  •  Stand Surfing
  •  The Beach
  •  JV, Caio, Gabriel, Caroline, Scott and Bruno
  •  BBQ at Caios house
  •  Playstation with Caio, JV, Gabriel, Caroline, two other people
  •  Gift giving
  •  hubairos (a drink – was added after)

We’ve Skyped with him each day. On Saturday, his first full day, he spent the day at the beach. The temperature was 36*C so that was probably the perfect place to be! He had been boogy boarding and playing with friends and JV’s dad. His only complaint was a headache which was probably a combination of heat & dehydration. I mentioned that his cheeks were looking a bit pink from the sun and he replied that JV’s dad had put 100SPF sunscreen on his face. I didn’t even know that sunscreen came in numbers that high! We are so grateful that JV’s dad shared the following photos with us:

Evan, JV & Gabriel catch a wave

Evan "boogey boarding"

 

Caio, Gabriel, Evan & JV on the ferry from Santos to Guaruja, Brazil

The boys play "beach tennis" in the water at Guaruja Beach.

Based on these photos, I can’t help but wonder what 13-year-old boy wouldn’t be having fun?!

On Sunday, he was up early and went canoeing which he reported was “awesome”! (His father is now dreaming of father-son canoe trips in D’Arcy’s homemade canoe this summer…)

We had a message at suppertime that the families of Caio, Gabriel & JV (as well as one other boy who Evan hadn’t known before) were all at Caio’s home for a barbeque and would we be able to skype with them? We all ran upstairs to the computer and it was obvious that Evan is being well looked after! It did this worrying mom’s heart good, and I have to admit, I shed a few (okay – more than a few!) tears of relief & happiness!

Caio’s sister posted the following photo, taken at the barbeque:

Evan's Brazilian family(s). No wonder he's so happy - they look like a fun group!!

We thanked Caio’s & JV’s families for taking such good care of Evan and for welcoming him so openly with love & friendship. JV’s father has good English and the others do their best. Evan has been communicating with a lot of sign language, I think!

Being away from his sister, he has been eating peanuts and other tree-nuts and has been enjoying them! He’s tried a new fruit, grown in Brazil, which he really liked, and raved about the pastries that he’s had. It sounds like he may come home with a few extra pounds at the rate he’s trying new things!

Last night Evan gave Caio & JV’s families the gifts we had sent from Canada: a photo book of Nova Scotia, 1L jug of maple syrup, blueberry jam, peanut butter, Nova Scotia fridge magnets, and – at the boys’ request – Kraft Dinner, gum & Cadbury mini eggs! He had been waiting to get the family all together at the same time.

Last night was to be an early night as they all had to be at school for 7:30 this morning. I woke up this morning to find a message from Evan, asking where his travel alarm clock had been packed – whoops! Hope he woke up in time and didn’t make the boys late… The school day there runs from 7:30a.m. – 12:50p.m., which I would assume is because of the heat. I’m looking forward to skyping with Evan tonight to hear about his morning bike ride, and time at school. They were scheduled to have some Portuegese lessons and attend one of the High School English classes. I’ll be interested to hear what the Jean Piaget school is like from his perspective!

It is definitely a relief to know that he is having such a wonderful trip so far and hasn’t felt lonely at all. I struggle with finding a balance between wanting to Skype with him to hear about what he is doing, but also wanting to give him space and independence. Actually “seeing” him interact with his new family put many of my fears at ease, and the photos they’ve sent have brought a huge smile to my face. I can’t wait to hear about today’s adventures!!

* By the way, Evan has somehow “pocket-locked” his iPod touch and doesn’t know the code to unlock it! Any helpful suggestions on how to unlock it without access to his iTunes are welcomed!