“Come visit me, everyone! Come witness me being an adult!”
It was awesome. It was hard. It was enlightening. It was necessary. But also, it was hard.
A marker of “adulting” is being able to live outside of your childhood home and be “okay”. “Okay” can range from staying
relatively clean and fed to starting your own business/becoming famous/etc. For me, the marker is being able show people “a good time” in this place I’m calling home. It was a challenge I was not expecting because all I could think about was how much I missed my family and friends, so when I got the surprise that they’d be coming, operation “PARTY.NEVER.ENDS.” went into full effect. Which was probably the first mistake. But learn from my mistakes. Here are 6 ways to ensure your guests will enjoy themselves when they come visit.
1. Drop all expectations of fun.
As with most things in life, if you expect them to be a certain way you run the risk of being disappointed. It’s better to go into new situations with an open mind and heart. Try not to push the idea of what you experienced on your guests, as everyone is different. I expected my sister and friend to be as crazy about Brasil as I am/was. Which made me totally overlook the huge differences between Brazil and The States. In my attempt to push them into “adventure” I may have made them feel as if they were burdens, which wasn’t the goal. This city is exhausting, and living in a second language requires a lot of energy. We ended up having the most fun in the airbnb, watching music videos and cooking for each other.
2. Find some Chill and some language skills.
Brazil is not an English speaking country. It’s not Cancun, it’s not the Bahamas, it’s still opening up to American markets, especially Salvador. This place is not easy to adjust to in a few weeks. I’ve been here for close to a year now, and I still get lost going to places I’ve been dozens of times. That being said, coming from the efficient fast paced lifestyle of the North East States into slow Salvador can make you feel like you’re losing your mind. And after the taxi tells you he knows where he’s going and he drops you off at the wrong place for the nth time, you probably will. And that’s okay. Just remove yourself from the taxi, maybe get a cheap beer from one of the various vendors on the corner, get into another taxi and
thank God for the 3:1 currency exchange rate pray that the Orishas will help you find your way home. Be patient, the language gap is real. There’s Brazilian Portuguese, then there’s the Portuguese that is spoken in the streets of Salvador. None of it is easy. But Duolingo is great app to get you started.
3. You Really will get robbed here…but you’ll survive.
This picture of us in the Pinga favela was snapped just before a boy on his bike started riding around us ringing a bell. Never mind the fact that three of us are American and the other three are British. Forget that we are walking around a favela in Rio de Janerio being loud english speaking black girls with big ass iphones. Disregard the selfies in public. We black, we good.
They’ll probably think we’re African and leave us alone. Although I’ve been living in Salvador for the past 9 months, a place deemed “dangerous” it wasn’t until I went to Rio (for the second time, the first time I went alone) that I was robbed. The best part is, I wasn’t robbed in a favela. Although we all almost were. After we took this picture and walked around a little we ran into a group of little boys who were no older than 10, who distracted us from noticing the shirtless fine young men who magically appeared. We started to get nervous so we decide to leave and low and behold police with guns armed and cocked start walking towards us. At first I was afraid, but then I realized we spoke english and that they were probably there for us. I was robbed in my hostel while I was sleeping, and the suspect was white. My beloved 5c that I worked so hard to get fixed and had only had for about 4 months, was gone again. Luckily, that’s all that was taken from me.
4. Mix New Friends with Old Friends.
The first time I went to Rio alone I met my good friend Karmel. She would come to Salvador and stay with me over Christmas Break. She’s a really sweet soul and it’s so nice to have what feels like family so far from home. Especially family in another city. So when I booked Maya and Kia’s flight knowing that they’d have a layover in Rio, we incorporated a few nights there.
We made new friends easily. Unlike Salvador, Rio is full of white faces. So when Maya and Kia found two other black girls they were excited. Turns out the two other black girls were British! And so we became a group. A good time was had by all, and we even have contacts for when we go to London. Which hopefully will be sooner than later.
5. Stay Spontaneous!
The last night of Rio we went to a restaurant to celebrate Kia’s birthday. I planned to find a cake for her and do a whole thing, but our phones were stolen that morning, so life altered. However she still enjoyed herself. We still had a wonderful time and we ended up meeting cool people at the end of the night in Lapa. We stayed up all night talking and bonding, laughing
braiding each other’s hair and enjoying the friendship we found far away from home.
In short, when your friends and family are coming to visit expect nothing, prepare for what you can but also relax and enjoy them. They came to see you, after all.