practice on the veranda much?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fun fun fun in the sun and the RAIN

Friday, the 21st, I played a gig with a DJ and guitarist, named Caetano Ribeiro, at a local club, called Kabana Bar- got some great pics and video from that- tons of fun, some dancing, singing/rapping/playing on my part. Caetano was awesome, too... he actually still remembers all of the guys who visited Campinas not 2 years ago- Adam, Jack, Zach, AJ, and Jon. Playing that night was seriously some of the most fun I've had in a while- reminded me of a Cincy Brass show, the band Moe and I play with frequently in Cincinnati, who actually is releasing the album on November 18th in Cincinnati, so look out for press release stuff on that. But this gig was about as much fun as I have playing with the Brass- we played "groove" tunes all night- anything from Temptations to Tupac to Average White Band... it was a lot of fun as the horn player. When I asked at first what I was supposed to do as the horn player- am I to memorize all of the lines? He said, "No man... just play along with it and if you know some of the lines and whatnot, go ahead!" Little did they know I was going to sing/rap as well because some of the tunes were right up my "alley"- Stevie Wonder, James Brown... SO YEAH- of course I had lots of fun! And great friends there, too!
While, Moe went to a beach during the last weekend, I had a rehearsal on Saturday in Sao Paulo with an orchestra that's playing for some fundraiser type thing. Anyways, my friend Daisuke is the conductor of the orchestra and I'm getting to play principal on Mozart 41 and a few other "world premiere" pieces as well written here, in Brazil. That was an interesting change after the night I had with Caetano playing with the DJ. That night, I celebrated my close friends' birthdays, Bruna and Guga- the latter of the two who's actually coming to Cincinnati to study abroad in this same FIPSE program--- really cool guitarist.
This past week: (and still Mike)
As far as school- some of the rehearsals and lessons were all sorts of “flip-flopped” and schedule turned into a bit of a mess. Not to worry, we got through things and got stuff done. At this point, normally, school would be winding down for us, since we’ve already had about 12 weeks of class and pretty much 5 more to go… it’s reaaaallly long with out a long break. So, around the holiday this next week, we’ve planned a trip to Brasilia to hang, play, and gig with our friends from there- Renato, Zack, and Jon- 2 of which are the other Americans from Louisville doing this same exchange program. We hope to run into our other friends, as well while we’re there!!!

Friday October 28, I played in Sao Paulo with Bob Wyatt- trying to get some recording stuff together for my graduate auditions. It was a master class featuring young guest artists at the school he works at called, “Faculdade Cantareira.” And guess who the guest artist was!!! The gig went well and I can use some of it I think. Still waiting to get some of the recordings because the master class was held in their recording studio. That was nice- also because my expenses were all covered, in wise of travel. Friday night, I got home and Moe was already gone for Sorocaba, so I chilled!

As far as my Halloween weekend, I’ve mostly spent it practicing, recording, and the master class on Friday. In terms of festivities, I don’t really think Brazil is completely indulged with Halloween as American culture is. So, I stayed in and relaxed- the power went out on Saturday night for a bit- sat around with the family I live with, talked and listened to the storm- really reminded me of Cincinnati and fall weather. I think it’s something like 5 and ½ weeks left until we return. Things are just getting better and better as we get closer to leaving- sometimes, I wish I could stay another 6 months! That’s all from me… onto Moe.

A little over a week ago I went with my landlords and their family on a trip. Sidebar- because one of them is a women would they be called my landpeople? But that just sounds ridiculous...landmasters maybe? Anyway, it was “Kid’s Day” if you were secular, and if you were religious it was ”Mary-Mother-of-God Day”...or something like that. We were supposed to go to São Paulo, but plans changed. First of all, there was some ridiculous fog, the likes of which I have never seen. Traffic came to a compete stand still. As the night crept in and the fog crept out, we decided to just hit the beach instead, Praia Grande (yup, you guessed it, Big Beach). It was my first experience with a Brazilian beach, and it was amazing. The feeling I felt that night running around on the beach was akin only to my first trip to Pirenópolis; on the bus ride there, it was so dark and so “country” I could see a lot of stars, all the stars that I could never see back home. But on this beach, it was kind of like that. Seeing the ocean in all it’s vastness, especially at night. And the sand was so fine, it makes the stuff on Long Island seem like half-chewed chunks of flotsam and jetsam spewed from some unholy orifice of the Earth.
This past weekend I ventured to two more beaches with my surrogate family. One in Bertioga, and the other on a little island nearby, Guarujá. While the beaches were a visual feast unto themselves, I would have been content with just the drive to them. We took the scenic route, driving through the mountains and down the coastline. The mountains were breathtaking, all covered in trees and gargantuan for the most part. One in particular caught my eye, mainly because it was so...cyclopean looking. As I was traveling through a few words came to mind, colossi, monolithic, ancient. And the way that the clouds hung around them, they were like castles in the sky, and the clouds were the drapes. The beaches were nice. Good food, good people, nice scenery. You’re sitting their, sipping on a caipirinha in a beach chair looking out at the ocean, and at the giant, floating island-mountain off to the side, and you can’t help but think, 'Wow, I’m really here, really in Brazil right now.'

More to come from Moe later about his weekend in Sorocaba and some other stuff...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Some "IN GENERAL" Blogging


We should talk about the Brazilian hot dog… not your standard ball park frank, like the ones I crave from Wrigley Field in Chicago, my favorite place on the planet. Although Moe doesn’t like hot dogs, these have been quite the experience for me whenever I’ve had them (Brasilia, Campinas, or Sao Paulo). It has potatoes, ketchup, mustard, corn, cheese, carrots, and other stuff all just packed in there. I feel like as much as the two of us hate talking about “EPIC MEAL TIME” on youtube, this is definitely similar to it. Among other things, we should also talk about the hospitality we are receiving from our hosts, here, in Campinas, Moiser and Shirley. Two lovely people that we would have never met had we not sent out the email for housing in late July, panicking, to say the least, about where we were going to live. At first, we thought it would be too far away from school, but we've actually managed with things (taking the bus and paying for it, for example)--- and talk about "managing" things along with food, SHIRLEY is quite the cook. I think our parents would be happy to know how well fed we are and how well taken care of we are, socially, culturally, and lingually... it's not a word, but they speak portugues with us a lot, so it's really good for us!!! As for the social and cultural part, they have taken Moe to Sao Paulo, taken us out to eat a few times, and make us try the dishes they prepare as a total delicacy, from what I can tell. Just the other night, Moiser made a home-made lasagna... it was ridiculous. In other news, getting to play with "heavy" musicians has been awesome. This weekend, (Oct 22) I get to start rehearsals on Mozart 41 Jupiter Symphony with a thrown together orchestra in Sao Paulo that I am hoping is fun. Other than that, we have been making great friends- Bruna, Guga, Thassie, Lina, Guillerme, Fernanda, Gabriel, Thomas, Gabriela, Dennis, Amanda, Lucas, Miguel, Jacob, Fozia, Frank, Pedro, and Bruno. We've had a hell of a time so far and yes, we realize we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the rest of the ride looks AWESOME. We are still excited to be here and living it up. Roadtrips are going "down" in a few weeks- Brasilia reunion, a few beaches, and who knows... maybe Rio? We'll find out.

Ok, there are only two foods in the entire world that I do not like, one of them is eggs, in all it’s forms (except when concealed in the clever guise of a baked good) and hot dogs. Hot dogs and I just don’t jive. Everytime I mention that I don’t like hot dogs I hear cries of “...but you’re American!” Haha. However, I did meet someone else that does not like the taste of eggs, a flute player named Gabriel. I have never met anybody that feels the same way that I do about eggs, it was an amazing moment. Anyway, as far as food, I’ve been following the advice of a good friend and talented trombone player and have been eating everything. My tongue and palette have bee privy to all the culinary secrets that Brazil has to offer. Oh, and by the way, they know how to do cheese down here. Both Wisconsin and France can go ahead and take a page out of Brazil’s book. My only complaint as far as cuisine goes is that Ranch Dressing does not exist down here. In fact, a friend of mine whom I met here, a chef nonetheless actually asked me, “What’s ranch?” “WHAT’S RANCH?” Of course, down here, I hear the typical jokes as far as American tastes go such as, “Where is McDonald’s?” But I don’t care what anybody says, even if America sends all of it’s prodigious talents in the culinary arts over to France or Italy, Ranch dressing is the single greatest culinary achievement ever. It makes everything better. Everything. Not only food, I’d wager that if I bathed in it, I would probably become a better trombone player.

Week of October 15th

This week's music played/playing: Sunday- Brazilian (Nelson Ayres), Monday- Classical (Sibelius, Rossinni, Faust), Tuesday- Jazz (recording), Wednesday- (day off writing for Cincy Brass's Halloween special- aka, GO!), Thursday- Ska Band recording session, and Friday (tomorrow)- Jazz in Sao Paulo...

Road trip to Sorocaba- saw Lisabi, a band we know from a Republica (code for: giant house where 10-15 people live jointly) in Campinas, housing a bunch of Americans from Wisconsin. Whenever we hang out with them, it’s a killer fun time and there’s always something new in the mix. This time, it was a show where we danced and Lisabi was the most popular band that night! While we were there, we got to hang out with out close friends, Alexandre and Juliana, who we hadn’t seen since the Streetlight Show in August, except once we hung out with Jules for a night in mid- September.

Alright, this week was full of pleasant surprises. Easily the highlight of the week, I saw a toucan on the bus ride home. brazil is the kind of place where you hear birds chirping, and you look out your window and see that they are bright green. I have become a lot more appreciative of nature since I came here, mostly because there are a lot of woodland creatures and such here, that we don’t have at home. For instance, capybaras, those things are everywhere. They’re like, beavers. Yeah, beaver, but without the waffled tail. Also, vultures moved into the neighborhood this week. I was amazed, but Mike sees vultures all the time where he lives. It turns out that they are huge (they could easily carry away a cat or small dog). I see them all the time now when I walk, circling the skies overhead.
Also, I saw another Forró show last night. One group was a trio Pé de Mulambo, they were really good considering it was only a zabumba, a triangle, and a really big rustic violin. The zabumba player was awesome, particularly his xote stylings (kind of a reggae/hip-hop/backbeat sort of feel). Initially I thought it was hip-hop, but was nonetheless enthralled. The other group is called Quinteto Dona Zaíra. I happened to have my horn on me, and I jammed with them. We played some jazz, and some Brazilian music. If you looked up cultural diffusion in the dictionary, there would probably be a picture of us in that tiny room above the stage that night.

October 6th

We had a couple of our first concerts with the Nelson Ayres Big Band. We both thought of it more as a “pops orchestra” because of the repetoire and the fact that we had strings (and vocals at times). Nelson Ayres is a well-known composer, songwriter, and pianist in Brazil- his charts were really nice to play and really demonstrated some differences in the writing here as compared to what we have read/played in the United States (jazz big bands). This weekend, we went to a Churrasco (barbecue type thing) that our friends threw. I met some players from a party in the middle of the week and hung out with them some, realizing the commute to and from Sao Paulo as a big deal here in Campinas- also, later landed a gig hanging with a trumpet player. BIG TEST IN PORTUGUES- which was hard, but we’ve been doing much better with portugues, lately.
Playing with the Nelson Ayres band has been a great experience. I look forward to playing with this group, the music is great and the people are fun; not to mention, the attitude/atmosphere is different. For example, during the last piece, the brass section dances with their horns. I also went to my first Forró show, it was interesting to say the least. I had fun and learned a lot, but I am still wondering what makes Forró, Forró. I’m sure that with a little research and a few more shows I’ll have it figured out though.
I’m also learning about the colorful world of sports rivalries down here. I myself have never been one to “root” for any particular team. I don’t understand why any sports franchise deserves my loyalty and emotion. I do however, enjoy watching American football. Just watching the game. Here however, soccer is akin to a religion (which is also funny because Brazil is a very religious country). As an American, my opinion is oft sought on things like baseball, football rivalries, etc. It usually comes as a shock when I mention that I don’t like baseball (it moves WAY to slowly for me), and that I ally myself with no team. That doesn’t really happen here. Everybody loves soccer, and everybody has a team. But what EVERYBODY does is root against Argentina, no matter what team they’re playing against. Estou aprendendo....

Sept 28

Met Sidmar Veira, a very talented trumpet player and his friend/sax player Jefferson- how we met: sat in with them at Almenaque with Bob Wyatt, a drummer who apparently played with Clark Terry on tours and stuff. I can believe it because the level of swing and ability throughout the drums the guy has is amazing. I was honored to have been able to share the stage with those guys that night. The day before that, I actually went to Sao Paulo with some of my friends to see and sit in with Daniel D’Alcantara, whom I think is one of the best trumpet players in all of Brazil. We had our first concert that week with Nelson Ayres as well. School has been smooth sailing so far... big test in Portugues coming up!

So, I watched a Clockwork Orange this week, a very thought provoking film, raising many ethical and socio-political questions, none of which I am going to discuss here. This past weekw as FEIA, the Festival for the Institute of Arts. Thus, classes were more or less “optional,” and we were free to attend master classes on a number of subjects. I participated in a few Choro masterclasses. Choro is definitely a entertaining medium of music, but I couldn’t halpe but feel bored when playing it. The trombone mainly voice leads and fills in the sound with contrapuntal lines. I learned a lot, and still have a lot more to learn. In order to REALLY know what I’m doing I need to listen to a lot more of it, and transcribe some of the common lines; just like in jazz there’s a language that I need to learn. Specifically I need to listen to Ze Da Velha. He’s the guy everyone always mentions when I state my interest in choro. I also jammed with a funk/fusion band, Hakavuna. They play all the great stuff, Return To Forever, Weather Report and the like. Due to earlier experiences in this country, I was starting to feel that Brazilian couldn’t really play funk, but thankfully, I was proven wrong. I’m noticing that Brazilian music when it’s not completely straight, has a swing all it’s own.

Sept 21

Met Daniel D’Alcantara and sat in with him at Almanaque Café. It. Was. AWEOME. Started rehearsals for “film orchestra” (film arrangements by one of our friends, Tomas. Really cool stuff!). We’re playing things like 007, The Incredibles, Theme from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Catch me if you can, etc. The first rehearsal was a blast and I’m getting to yet again play more lead trumpet.

The Lion King is out in 3D. I want to see it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, The Lion King is the greatest Disney film of all time, of all time. I feel so strongly about this that I am going to just leave you with that thought. That’s it. Oh, and we are participating in a film orchestra. “Dream is Collapsing” from Inception= awesome! Belting out low C’s and G’s, I think that’s what the trombone was made for. Stuff like that makes me ALMOST wish I were a real-deal classical player.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sept 12

Okay- a week has passed and there IS some new stuff. Hope you guys are all up date with us, but if not, you can check the earlier blogs on the right.

I went to a “canja” last week. A canja is basically a jam session, nothing too different or special. However, we played jazz, exclusively, which I thought was different. We did play one Bossa, but nothing uniquely Brazilian. The horn players did want to play Vale de Ribeira, but I think the rhythm section was all about jazz that night. I made some new friends, and enjoyed some great music. That was Monday. Friday I enjoyed a night out with some folks from a rival school, PUCC. I was re-assured that I no ill-will would befall me because of my educational status, turns out that the PUCC students merely detest Unicamp’s medical students; something about them being stuck about (imagine that). It was a grand night of merry-making filled with merry merriness. I lament to inform you all that we could not find a hamburger place open, which made me remember how much I miss White Castle, but, there were plenty of hot-dog places open. For those of you keeping score at home, I do not like hot dogs.

I started applying to grad schools this past weekend and also got to meet the trumpet teacher from Unicamp today. There’s still a delay for him being able to teach here at Unicamp, but they’re trying to figure it out. He said that it should be about 2 weeks, but he is excited that I am playing with the orchestra. My friend from the orchestra, Fernando, said that there might be opportunities to play in brass ensembles as well!

It’s a little hectic down here in the sense that, we sometimes have no idea what’s going on in terms of whether we’re going to rehearse during the week or not. It’s weird to us because at CCM, we have a schedule that literally doesn’t ever change- there’s always big band from 2-4 on MWF… I don’t know- just thought I’d mention. Everyone is also way too relaxed about it.

We’d like to share the fact that we were famous for one night as well. Moe and I were featured artists in one of Campinas’ finest café/restaurants called the Almanaque Café. We kicked off a festival they’re holding all month for Miles Davis, himself. The whole first set we played was his “Kind Of Blue” album- the best selling jazz album of all time. After that, we broke loose a bit more and played standards Miles would play later in his career and we even broke some new ground in terms of our playing as well as with this group of guys we had the honor of playing with- Felipe Silveira on kets, Daniel “Pezim” on bass, and Juan (forgot last name, oops) on drums. It was a wonderful evening of music and we played for a packed house that included friends of ours from school as well as Shirley and Moisir, our landlords! They enjoyed it very much and took lots of pictures. When we were remembering this in our week for the blog, the way Moe brought it up was as such: “Our names were on the top of a billboard!” And they were; they really were. We felt like it the best we’ve played in a while and it felt good to be on and in the scene with some killer musicians again, reminding us yet again of Cincinnati and how it’s treated us.

Thanks for checking in! We'll keep posting!

M and M 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New digs, old digs, and some stuff we dig


Hi, Moe here. The last few weeks or so that we spent in Brasilia were pretty amazing. It was as if the city itself were trying so desperately, one last time to show us a good time before we moved on to the awesomeness that is Campinas. Mike, Zack (a fellow American expatriate from the university of Louisville) and myself traveled to the zoo with our Portuguese teacher, Lauana. Lauana’s kindness and compassion, not to mention her passion for teaching cannot be overstated, thank you for everything.  The zoo was great, we saw and experienced a lot there, and for only 2 reais, the price was just right. 
  We also saw Captain America, which filled me with such a nationalistic pride that I tried to cajole Mike into a rousing “USA USA chant,” much to his chagrin. But seriously, seeing that American icon on the big screen made me sentimental for home, and made me remember how great America is. I mean, practically saving the free world from the clutches of the Axis powers? Yay America .  But seriously, being immersed in a foreign culture is not only boosting our appreciation for all types of people and foods and such, but also our appreciation for our own home and country.
   In addition to that, we spent some time over by the man-made lake, ate seaside (twice) and perused the sidewalk listening to urban legends of man-eating crocodiles in the lake. 
   As we prepared to leave the following morning, we looked around our digs at Colina (the student/faculty housing site we had been residing in) one last time. So many (good?) memories.  A few thank you’s: Renato Vasconcellos for taking such good care of us while we were there, our fellow Americans Zack Kennedy and Jon Gardener for the good hang, and the students and faculty of UNB for treating us like some of their own.

Mike here now. Well, I know we haven’t updated in quite a while… to be honest, it’s almost been like a full month and a half since I think we last updated. Yup- just checked- July 12. Wow. Okay, but seriously we are going to keep a steady update on things now that we are definitely settled in into our new home in Campinas.

Unicamp is great and we’re meeting people to play with and hang out with. We’ve already had some awesome times here- musically and life-wise.

First of all, I never imagined that we would open a show for Streetlight Manifesto- a punk rock/ska band from America- while we were down HERE in Brazil! We met some guys who were in this band, Mantis, and Moe just openly was talking about how he loved Streetlight Manifesto- they got to talking and the rest was history. What an amazing experience- I don’t think I’ve ever played so loud, unless it’s with (shout out to) Ryan Thielman in big band.  Haha!

We are officially enrolled here at Unicamp. Moe and I are getting very involved- I believe we’re in about 4 school ensembles total. I am trying to get in touch with the orchestra’s conductor to look into that. As well, Moe is taking privately with the Trombone instructor here and seems to be liking his lessons. I am currently trying to get in touch with the trumpet professor here as well as a teacher from Sao Paulo who, one of my teachers, Kim Pensyl, took a lesson (or had a sit down?) with him and said he was fantastic.

That reminds me- we did get to see Kim and Phil last week when they passed through Brazil, which was an awesome idea for them as well as it was equally great to see them again. It’s good to see “home” again at times, even though we’re caught up in several things here and enjoying most all of it.

We’re going to keep updating, so more news to come- even if it’s past news. Thanks for checking in with us.

Mike and Moe

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Overview (from the beginning to July 12)

This one might be shorter. =)

Hope you guys are enjoying the blogs- pics to come soon and possibly some videos.

Moe and I in the past 3 weeks have been in Brazil. I would have said "there and back again," but it wouldn't compare. We've been playing gigs every weekend (and during the week) since we've gotten here. We've also played in 3-4 jam sessions and school concerts (UNB- Universidade do Brasila). At the same time, we've had a lot of time to shed and get some personal work done. We went to a dance club the other night called HYPE as VIP's because we were carrying our friends instrument- again, seeing his gig after one we played with him for the equivalent of the Spanish culture's Quincinera. The next day, which was this past weekend, we were featured on a Big Band concert with the other 2 Americanos as well, doing some old big band classics. (We got to solo and played lead for our sections!) Besides playing a lot, we've gotten to see a lot of great music too- there's a cafe right around the corner from us that we can sit in at called Senorita's Cafe- it features Brazilian music (Choro, Forro, and Bossa) as well as MPB (Musica Popular de Brazil) and JAZZ! We have also gotten to see other groups- for instance the guitarist at Clube de Choro and a modern jazz trio (Mike sit in on and got his butt kicked) at a cafe he was at with a bass player and singer he knew.

AND among other things, we have a Portuguese class we are in attendance for 5 days a week, 2 hours a day for our total immersion. We have both kept in touch with our families so reading this to them might not be the same if you haven't been up to date with us on a regular basis.

We have tried an amazing amount of new food and our experiences speaking Portuguese have been nothing less than fun/scary every time it happens. Mike's been running a lot since we've been here as well. We took a walk 2 weekends ago to explore and went to the lake- it was nice and the walk was good to see what was around. The school has embraced us and we have made a lot of friends here- we've even made really good friends with the other 2 Americans, Zack and Jon, while we've been down here. Big surprise, huh? =p Also, our host, Renato Vasconcellos, had has had us over for a jam session and pool party + lunch for the 4 Americans!

This adventure, especially by the end of it, will have changed us because I think we've already started to see the world in a different light. Thanks for keeping up with us. If you're interested, we'll try to blog at least once more before we leave Brasilia to go to Campinas- which is in roughly 2 1/2 weeks! Another adventure!

Thanks again,

Mike and Moe

One weekend in Pirenópolis (Julho 1-3)

Ok guys,

Sorry for the late update. I realize we're about a week and 1/2 late, but for those interested, we're going to post a few today. Moe and I went on an adventure to a neighboring city- Pirenópolis, known for it magnificent waterfalls. It's one of the oldest cities in Brazil- cobblestone streets, wooden bridges, and all.

The day our trip was to begin, Moe had some trouble communicating with our hosts. Moe says they tried to call me, however my phone was off. We, originally, were to take a bus with one of the two guys we knew lived there. However, instead the plans changed to us taking a bus ourselves... know the language, much? We made it there safely- our host dropped us off at the bus station pretty last minute and we boarded.

We get off the bus in Pirenópolis and our friends are there to greet us. We then proceed to the gig. =) 3 1/2 hours of music of all kinds (Jazz, Brazillian, and even a bit of Funk) and we're totally ecstatic. The same thing happens the next night, not to skip any details. Afterwards, both nights, we went to a dance club and had fun there, too. Moe would like to share the word- "gatinhas," which literally means "beautiful Brazilian women," if you can catch my drift.

The Saturday (Sabado) of the weekend, we went to the waterfalls- pictures and possible video to come! It was awesome. BE JEALOUS. We literally can't think of the words to describe how fun it was to basically rock climb our ways to waterfalls barefoot- hanging on trees and figuring out good footing. Ah yes, and we had sugarcane at the waterfall too, brought by our friend Ricardo. It was awesome- Moe liked it a lot!

During this weekend, we also had a bunch of different food among other things- Papaya juice with lemon squeezed fresh, a traditional Brazilian meal (with no meat- wait, what Mike Jones?), made by our host, Zackrishna, these things we deem as "gourmet hotpockets" from the gigs both nights for free (among the free beer and cacassa as well), a "tamale" type thing that comes from there, a freshly grown meal from a restaurant owner Moe met, a few different fruit juices (hard to pronounce, even harder to remember), and this pie/cake thing that tasted like Key Lime. Among other things, there was also Strawberry juice- like usual, Moe and I loved it.

That's about it. If there's more to add, I suppose we'll think of it in a little bit when writing our overview of things here and there.

Mike and Moe

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Alright, well... we don't exactly know what this is going to turn into, but we'll try to keep it fresh. Do it live, ya know Bill O'Reily style?

Since this is probably of our first blogs, we'd like to by thanking you for checking us out and hope you enjoy our adventures. Moe and I are very excited to share that we've spent (so far) a week in Brazil and are doing just fine. =) So far, we've attended a meeting/opening to introduce us to some of the teachers at U.N.B. here in Brasilia. Currently, we are enrolled and taking classes in Portuguese as a cultural immersion for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week.

We've gotten some playing time in (we're musicians- trombone Moe and trumpet Mike)- time to practice and time to jam with faculty, students, and the other two exchange students we're down here with- Zach and John from University of Louisville.

In the past week, we went to a jam session at our friend, Renato Vasconcellos' house- which was awesome! Who knew that the Beatles were such a hit around here (even still)? We did some exploring today and walked down to the lake near our place of residency called La Colinha (Bloco G).

We've gone to grocery store a bunch of times- bananas are REAL CHEAP. We've gotten to eat a bunch of different food at buffets, cheap pizza places, and a really nice pizza place where we had dinner the 1st night. Also, we've experienced Brazilian driving, which we both agree is nothing less than crazy. However, Mike would like to say that he might fit in here if he had a car. =) Anyways, we just wanted to post to see if this would work. Hopefully it does!

Yours from Brazil,

Mike and Moe (Miguel y Mauricio)