Gabriela "Gabi" Brito
2005-06 Inbound from Brazil
Date of Birth: May 18, 1988
Hometown: Itabuna, Bahia,
Sponsor: Itabuna Sul Rotary Club, District 4550,
Host: Arlington Rotary
Club, District 6970, Florida USA
School: Terry Parker High
September 19 Journal - "The school is
very big, people are so crazy (I know that it is culture, but those gold
teeth and a lot of colors in the hair…) and nobody helped me or talked
January 19 Journal - "It was not just
about presents ... my Christmas was wonderful because I felt they treated
me just like a daughter, and that made me feel really good."
February 2 Journal - "The huge
school that made me crazy, giving me a map in the first day, now looks so
familiar that I can wander there for hours and actually know which class I
am going to."
name is Gabriela Brito, I am from Brazil (Bahia) and I am 17 years old. I
love the Rotary Exchange program since before I came to Florida. I have a
sister and a brother and they both went to a Rotary exchange program, they
went to US (Pennsylvania) and Canada, and we received in our house an
American and a Canadian.
I love my country, my friends and my family, but I decided
to come because I think this program is a form to became independent and is
a new, different and exciting experience.
I enjoy hearing music, dancing, go out, meet new people,
go to the beach, and everything that keeps me out of home!
September 19 Journal
I am here in Jacksonville for a month and a couple of weeks, and
every day I feel more “at home” and everything looks new, different and
But like everything, the exchange program has a good and
bad side, and here I want to show both of them, so people can know really
what is be an exchange student in Jacksonville- FLORIDA!
At first I want to say that my host parents are a blessing
and I only have to say a lot of THANK YOU every day! They are lovely, they
take care of me like I am their real daughter, and I can feel that they are
like real parents for me. I have a host sister and brother but they don’t
live here, but I met them and they are very good too.
At the first week I went to the Rotary meeting and they
received me very good. The Rotary people here always worry about you and
they are very nice!
The first day at school…I can say that it was terrible.
The school is very big, people are so crazy (I know that it is culture, but
those gold teeth and a lot of colors in the hair…) and nobody helped me or
talked with me. I missed my school and all the people in my country (in
Brazil people come to talk with you, we hug each other a lot, and you are
never alone), and this was the first and only time that I asked myself “What
am I doing here?”. OK, I tried not to think in bad things and to do
something that I could meet people. I decided to enter in the volleyball
team, so I would not be at home doing nothing and missing everything.
Then, I arrive at home at 5 p.m. and I only have time to
cook something with my parents to eat, do the homework, watch some TV, and
sleep, because I am very tired!
Now everything looks different. I can say that there are a
lot of nice people that I met in my school and I started to enjoy my
classes, to talk with the teachers, and I don’t know, but people's faces
don’t look so bad more.
One thing that I can not forget to say is about the first
exchange student meeting. It was wonderful. We had a lot of fun, and I can
tell you…I thought it was going to be boring, but they talked and helped us
a lot with the instructions and meetings. The District 6970 is very
organized and I am very happy to be here!
I just want to say thank you to Rotary and to everybody
that works to keep us here, because it is really a good experience, and “I
am loving it!”
January 19 Journal
Hey...a long time with no journal...my host mom would say: shame
shame shame!!! :P
So, good...let's start with the new host family: AWESOME!
It's a big family, I have 8 brothers and sisters, and even though they all
don't live here, there are 11 people at home, yeah a soccer team!! But it is
so much fun, they are very nice, and I like the house full of people too!
The holidays were pretty good too; Christmas: oh my gosh,
even my real parents never gave me that much presents, and it was not just
about presents, my Christmas was wonderful because I felt they did with me
just like a daughter, and that made me feel really good, since that was a
time that I would miss my family a lot!
New Years was so much fun, as always when the exchange
students get together! And I can't wait now for Seacamp!!
And of course, I couldn't forget to tell about the Disney
trip, but I really don't have an word to describe: PERFECT! That place is so
magic and I felt like a little kid all the time! Everything is so peaceful
and so cute! THANK YOU ROTARY!!!
Well...I think that's it!!5 months already...:(...it's sad
February 2 Journal
Well, I think after all the “advises” from my DEAR
COUNSELOR I had
decided, with free and spontaneous pressure (like we say in Brazil) to do a new
Today I am here for exactly 6 months and I think it is
something very very special for all of us that decided to go to this
adventure that is the exchange program. Now, I can look everything around me
with another eyes: people at school don’t scare me no more (at first it was
really weird), the huge school that made me crazy giving me a map in the
first day looks like somewhere so familiar that I can wander there for hours
and actually know which class I am going to. I learned to ignore the people
that don’t have anything good to tell me and be nice with everyone no matter
the color or the ethnicity (and that, trust me, there are a lot!), because,
like my dad would say...they don’t know any better...
I played volleyball, soccer –that one I enjoyed a
lot...isn’t that funny, I left Brazil to learn to love soccer!, and know I
am trying for tennis... I can tell that I am so not used to that little ball
that I miss all the time!
Changing families is one of the greatest experiences. I
can’t understand how totally different families, with different habits and
different ways of thinking and acting can be both so nice, I mean, they are
more than great! I came from the “spoiled only child” of the first family to
one among 8! In one more month I will change again, and it makes me sad in
thinking about leave this family. It’s so crazy how easy we can get close
and start loving some people!
Last weekend was the Sea Camp, and although it was really
cold, we had so much fun, as usual. When we were passing through the bridge
I kept recording with the camera: Atlantic Ocean...Gulf of Mexico...Atlantic
Ocean...Gulf of Mexico...Isn’t this exciting? I think about that little map
in the Geography class and I am just there, in the division separating the
Atlantic from the Gulf! I loved it!
Now, instead of the happy thinking that I made one more
day, I start thinking that I missed one day already... I mean, I can tell
that now is when I miss my folks a lot, but I get so lost thinking in what
is expecting me over there...
I guess now my English is getting better and better, even
though I believe I have a lot to learn yet.
Right now I am so looking forward to go to Pennsylvania.
My sister did the exchange program there 2 years ago, and I am going to meet
her host parents, and go skiing! I just can’t wait! I heard up north is
totally different , and I will be able to tell when I come back! :D
My people.. : P I think it is time to put a THE END in
this journal now.. I am pretty sure it is enough to receive an e-mail from
THE counselor with no complaints and amazing comments about it.
Exchange students: always so much fun together...sad in
thinking it's almost over...