Carnival – One of the biggest celebrations in Brazil

One of the celebrations that I miss the most from Brazil is the Carnival. The Brazilian Carnival celebration is considered one of the liveliest and most representative of the world and the most popular of the country. For its magnitude, Carnival is considered a holiday in Brazil, and during this time I usually catch up with my friends and travel somewhere to enjoy this big party. Influenced by European festivals, Carnival came to Brazil around the seventeenth century, with influences from Portuguese festivals of large puppets and street games.

The Carnival party emerged from the deployment of Holy Week by the Catholic Church, preceded by forty days of fasting, Lent. This long period of deprivation would eventually encourage the meeting of various festivities in the days preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The word “carnival” is thus related to the idea of enjoyment of the pleasures of the flesh marked by “carnis valleys”, which eventually form the word “carnival”. “Carnis” in Latin means meat and “valles “means pleasure.

In general, the carnival lasts for three days, with the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. In contrast to Lent, a time of penance and deprivation, these days are called “fat”, especially Tuesday (Fat Tuesday, also known by its French name Mardi Gras). The term Mardi Gras means Carnival.

Until 1930 the costumes were simple, tailored clothes, dyed, decorated so naive, because the materials that could enrich them, as fabrics, ornaments, shoes, headgear, were very expensive, appearing in school parades samba. Some costumes have become more popular, such as skull, odalisque, medical, bat, mischievous super-heroes, devil, prince, jester, Pierrot, Colombina, star, clown.

The carnival in Pernambuco, especially in Olinda and Recife, is one of the most cheerful and popular street carnivals in Brazil. Playing typical Brazilian songs on the street as “frevo” and “maracatu”, the bands drag crowds everywhere. The parade of giant puppets, Recife is one of the main attractions of this city during the carnival. In the city of Salvador (Bahia), there are electric trios, packed in dance music singers and groups typical of the region.

The city of Rio de Janeiro was a pioneer in the samba schools, being the first one called “Deixa Falar” (Let it talk). With the growth and popularization of the carnival in the twentieth century, new exciting carnival music emerges. Nowadays, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo host parades competitions in which samba schools perform a procession with music, choreography and colorful allegorical cars. For the samba school that has the best performance it’s offered a good amount of money as a prize. The competitions take place at a big stadium called Sambodromo, designed with spectator viewing areas surrounding the alley where the samba schools perform. for better performance the place called Sambodromo. Each school choses its own dancers to wear costumes and perform on the parade.


Picture – Courtesy by: Sérgio (Savaman) Savarese

The colourful samba costume design in Brazil is a cycle of creation and persistence for samba schools to reach the highest score for their fantasy. Prototypes are made for each costume and the trappings are made by the community. The design of the costumes have influences of the nature and the animals.

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Agora Churrascaria

I wanted to talk a little bit more about this restaurant where I went to in January, called Agora Churrascaria, because it really reminds me my country. I love Brazilian food, specially the black beans, and this restaurant offers a buffet with a variety of other dishes, including the black beans, besides the traditional barbecue (“Churrasco” in Portuguese).

Agora Churrascaria exceeded my expectations offering a top service in terms of quality of the food, similarity with Brazilian traditions and, as a requirement for any restaurant to succeed in the U.S , an EXCELLENT customer service!

This Brazilian barbecue restaurant serves a variety of juicy and fresh meats on skewers, a delightful salad bar, black bean stew (our delicious feijoada) and also shrimps, clams with olive oils, chicken stroganoff, garlic rice, salmon, mussels, sautéed collard greens and mashed potatoes.

The Churrasco menu includes Filé com bacon (Filet wrapped in bacon), Alcatra (tender cut from the top sirloin),Maminha (tri-tip steak roasted to tenderness), Costela de Carnerio (lamb chops), Lombo de Porco (seasoned pork loin), Filé (Filet mignon cut from the tenderloin), the exotic chicken hearts, and of course the succulent and famous Picanha (traditional Brazilian cut of sirloin).
Based on the Rodizio system, Agora provides customers with a continuous style service known as “all you can eat”. Customers from all over the world come to Agora to experience this amazing food and sensations from the south of Brazil.

More info:

Below is a picture of a homemade barbecue at my place in Brazil.


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Last January I spent my first birthday far from home and I had a great time celebrating it surrounded by my old and new friends.

I spent 3 days celebrating my 28th birthday in amazing places with great people around.
I couldn’t have a better celebration since I’m living in another country and away from my family. It was very important to have all my old friends from here and my colleagues from school with me.

The birthday journey started on Thursday (January 26th) at the Rock Bottom bar in La Jolla and a table with a variety of beers and friends from Brazil, Japan, Korea and America, of course, marked this fun and unforgettable night.

On my actual birthday date, Friday January 27th, I received a very warm called from my family in Brazil wishing me Happy Birthday! After that I had a great time and a delicious cake at the “Extraordinary Dessert” restaurant, amazingly designed by Jennifer Luce, in San Diego downtown with my dear friend Mel Lim. She took me for lunch before work and sang that traditional song “Happy birthday to you”.

On the 28th, I went to a Churrascaria (traditional brazilian barbecue restaurant) called “Agora” in Orange County, CA, to enjoy a very special dinner! The traditional barbecue restaurant reminded me my country and my family, making me feel as if I were in Brazil.

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San Diego River

I volunteer for San Diego River Park Foundation too as part of the same class project!

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Palm Springs – The City of Adventure, Modernism and Design


Welcome to one of the World’s Greatest Wonders!
Last January I had the great opportunity to spend a wonderful weekend in Palm Springs, a beautiful city about two hours by car from San Diego, with so many interesting things to see that I would love to go back again!

One place that I really enjoyed visiting is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, one of the most unique adventure attractions that I have ever seen. It’s an amazing trip to the top of the Mountain Station from where I could appreciate a fantastic overview of the city. The sensation of riding up to the mountains is indescribable. It’s so exciting! Everyone should definitely have this experience.

By 1950, technicians were moving ahead on designs for the Tramway, spending more than $250,000 solving riddles of road and tower construction. Funds for the construction of the Tramway were raised by the sale of $8.5 million in private revenue bonds. Since the attraction opened in 1963, more than 12 million people have been safely transported by the Tramway into these unique mountains up to the Valley San Jacinto State Park, located 8.516 feet of altitude.


At the Mountain Station tourists can enjoy a cocktail lounge, restaurants, breathtaking views, hiking places, 14.000 acres of pristine wilderness, and during the winter, can also have a lot fun playing around with snow.

More info:

Modernism Week in Palm Springs
Palm Springs is also known for its modern design, architecture, and culture. In February, the city celebrated the Palm Springs Modernism Week. 

The event offered 11 days of attractions as tours, films, lectures, an architectural symposium, educational events, fun parties and even more!


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Experiencing a new and different life in the U.S – part II

Welcome to UC San Diego’s Geisel Library – The UCSD spaceship!

One thing that really delighted me when I first went to UCSD is the state-of-the art Geisel Library building, located close to the center of the campus and known by many as the campus “spaceship”. This impressive architecture and design inspired me to write my second blog post.

Named one of the world’s 25 most modern libraries, the futuristic concrete and glass Geisel Library building was designed by world-renowned architect William Pereira in 1970. The building’s unique geometric design has inspired descriptions such as “a beacon” or “a grounded spaceship bringing knowledge to an imperfect world”.

Pereira, an American architect from Chicago, Illinois, of Portuguese ancestry was admired by his futuristic designs of landmark buildings, such as the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, the master-planned community of Irvine, space-launch facilities at Cape Canaveral, and the Houston Center. The University of California invited him to design the library for the San Diego campus in the late 1960s.

Refinement of the building design
After the approval of the Regents, for economic reasons, the design of the structural system was analyzed and reevaluated. William Pereira & Associates began studies to eliminate as much structural steel as possible in order to keep the building within the construction budget. A system of reinforced concrete construction was developed and was subsequently accepted by the Regents.

Renovation of the existing building
The existing building had not been renovated since it was built in the 1960s. During 1992 the building was functionally updated and the tower, as it is called, was restored to a floor plan similar to the one originally designed by Pereira which allows for more reader stations. In 1992, underground wings were built by Gunnar Birkerts & Associates.The addition was designed to add extra space while preserving the original silhouette of the building. The underground wings are remarkable architectural feat, in spite of their subterranean nature they let in as much natural light as is found on the upper floors.

The interior design of the building is aimed at bringing the readers into as close as possible contact with the books themselves. The total cost of the project, including construction, architect, furniture, equipment and administration was $ 5.400.000,00

This library is definitely a must see when you get a chance to visit the beautiful UC San Diego campus, in La Jolla!


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Experiencing a new and different life in the U.S

Hi everyone,
My name is Elisa, I am from Brazil and I arrived in San Diego in January 2012 to take my Business Management Program at the University of California, San Diego. From this moment I would like to share with you a bit of my experience during the program and also in San Diego, where I lived three years ago, to study English, and which the beauty of the city along with the great people I have met made me come back for a new challenge and to find great opportunities for my career. My background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and over three years of experience in communication and marketing departments at public and private companies.

I started this blog for my class Marketing via Social Media at UCSD and I hope everyone can  enjoy it.

Last year, when I decided to come back, I was working for a printing company in Brazil, and I started the long process to enroll in the program. Applying for a program like this at first seems easy but it actually requires your willingness to go over all the steps necessary to finally come and start it, including taking an English test, to prove your ability in English Language, explaining to your boss the reasons you’re quitting your job for a new adventure in a new country and also asking him to write a recommendation letter for you, being approved by UCSD, which is a worldwide recognized university, and finally the last but not the least, applying for your student visa to be approved by the US government to come and take the course. Wow! It really has been lot of work, and that’s just the beginning…

Experiencing a bad room design
When you move to another country, you usually try to make your new place “look like” home, making it the most comfortable place as possible. So, from Brazil I booked a place to stay in San Diego while studying, and to my surprise, when I arrived I had the most unexpected experience one could ever had. Originally, I had contacted the manager of a residence in Down Town San Diego, to ask about private bathrooms and I got the following answer: “Each room has a toilet and a sink, but you have to go into the hallways to get to the shower.” I thought: “Great! I will have my own restroom and use the hall when I need to shower”. But as I came to find out upon my arrival, I found the toilet to be in the middle of the room, so close to “kitchen” and my bed… OMG! What an experience on arrival! My studio apartment has one large bed, a microwave, a mini fridge, a bureau, a sink and, of course, the unforgettable toilet. And this is supposed to be the large size studio in this building? I can’t imagine how the small one looks like! I moved away in one week…

This is also a great example of how a bad room design can make you feel uncomfortable and unsettled when arriving in another country.
Everyone I have told this story was impressed, and one even told me that they had a similar experience in an Asian country. I had never seen something like this!

Check out the picture of the room with exposed toilet.

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