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Fla Manguaça samba school

Last year, I wanted to see the parades of the Silver and Bronze series samba schools but had no idea where they competed. I had visited some of their rehearsals last year and wanted to see how they did on the avenida. It turns out the Silver and Bronze series samba schools compete in a separate event in a separate location in rio on Estrada Intendente Magalhães. The fantastic thing about it was that you could get so close to the action and see everything that was happening, cheer on the performers, get wacked in the face with feathers, see the floats up close and wave to your friends parading by. Milton Cunha was even there hanging out in the stands chatting with people and being...

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The beer shower that is also a soccer game at the MaracanĂŁ!

We all hear about how in love Brazilians are with soccer - futebol - football but it wasn't until I lived here that I realized that the depth of that love is difficult to overstate.I grew up in the football (americana) obsessed mid-west, the buckle of the bible belt. Where hard work, God and football are all blended together in a stew of culture. But I never saw the devotion to anything that is equal to how much Brazilians love soccer. North Americans might, MIGHT love their children as much as Brazilians love soccer. MIGHT. It was quite the blowout for my first soccer match ever.It happened to be in Rio de Janeiro. It happened to be at the Maracanã stadium (largest in Brazil). It...

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I saw a samba take its first breath.

Above is the logo for this year's samba enredo 2024 Imperatriz Leopoldinense Carnavalesco Leandro Vieira chose the theme for Imperatriz Leopoldinense (Com A Sorte Virada Pra Lua Segundo O Testamento Da Cigana Esmeralda.) and it was announced months ago. The final competition for which specific song/samba the school would choose for the year happened on October 16th this year.For the first time in Imperatriz’s history they chose to combine 2 sambas together to make one Megazord samba. I didn’t quite understand what was happening in the moment when they made the announcement. It was like 4AM and there was a lot of cheering and yelling, fireworks and confetti cannons and my Portuguese had left me hours earlier, so I was...

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Choosing the Samba at Imperatriz Leopoldinense

Every samba school chooses a new theme (enredo) for the year and they hold a competition between groups of composers to write the best song (samba enredo, or just samba). Choosing the samba for the year is a months-long elimination process that ends in a final competition between the last 3 or 4 sambas in September and October. It is one of the most important days for the samba school aside from, of course, the carnaval parade. One of my goals for returning to Rio this year was to make it in time for the samba final at Imperatriz Leopoldinense Samba school where I played last year. The day I landed was the semi final and the actual final was...

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Follow your heart.

The world needs you to follow your heart. You have an internal dissatisfaction. You have an ache. You have a dream that you are not realizing. Maybe you wanna start a business, lose weight, write a book, learn another language, learn to play an instrument, start a band, learn to code, sell all your belongings and do an around the world trip, go back to school, quit your job, break up with a romantic partner… whatever. Your heart is telling you to move in this direction, listen to it. Following your heart is scary. It can seem like you’re stepping off a cliff. You’ll need to learn to control that fear. There are two voices in your head. One that...

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