You were just called to the Brazil Florianópolis Mission... so now what? If you are like me, you were probably first really excited then you asked yourself: where's Florianópolis? What do they eat there? What is the weather like? What is it going to be like there in a foreign country? With the help of several returned missionaries, I have compiled the following list of things to help those of you recently called Elders and Sisters in your preparation for your mission. If any returned missionaries have any comments or suggestions, please let me know.
Second, General Items
- Take just one suit and several pair of slacks. You only wear suits at church and zone meetings.
- Take at least 5 white short-sleeved shirts and 1 or 2 long-sleeved shirts. I took 4 long-sleeved shirts and ended up cutting off the sleeves on all but one.
- Take at least 5 slacks. They tend to wear out really fast the more you walk! And trust me... you'll walk a LOT. There's a reason the mission papers ask you about your physical fitness :-)
- I took a pair of Rockport shoes which were very good to my feet, but they wear out pretty fast. Most elders go through at least three shoes. You can have your shoes resoled by local shoe repair shops. The mission also began to sell very good shoes--I used a pair for almost a whole year without resoling.
- Take one or two pair of thermal garment bottoms in case you spend the winter in Curitibanos!
- Golashes, since a lot of the streets are dirt.
- A sweater or two. (some areas can get pretty chilly during the colder times of the year... I actually was lucky enough to serve in warmer areas during those times of the year and only put on a sweater once just to take a picture for my mom and show her that I proudly wore her sweater she sent for me. So this depends on where you end up serving. You can always find sweaters down there.)
- 5-6 ties.
"Bring nylon-mesh garments. They don't stain in the armpits, they dry faster than anything, and they breathe the best. They are also the most inexpensive to buy." David J. Winter
"I know this will only add to the controversy, but nylon mesh garments are
like wearing a plastic bag. The little holes fill up with sweat and encase
your body in sweat. The best are cotton polyetster. They don't breath as
well as 100 percent cotton, but they dry faster and hold thier shape." Christoph Storrer
I personally liked the 50/50 cotton/polyester blend although mesh garments were nice on hot, humid days.
Third, What You Don't Need to Take
- Camera: You obviously wouldn't want to take a camera that is too expensive to lose but I would take a good digital camera because you will see plenty of beautiful beaches and you'll want pictures of the people. There are professional photo shops everywhere so you can develop regular or digital photos.
- No need to take an umbrella because you can buy one anywhere down there. A slicker or good jacket is a must though because rainstorms are pretty strong.
- Electric razors are up to you. They have Gillette sensors and other razors down there.
- From Jacob Ewer: Take two towels. "I know that it took a couple of days to get our cloths back when the Irmas [Sisters] washed for us, or even a couple of days for things to dry in the winter. I always wished I had an extra towel."
Fourth, Stuff About Brasil
- Toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, dental floss, soap. There are large grocery chains that carry many American brands.
Fifth, The Food
- In Santa Catarina, the mail does get through most of the time. There is usually a delay of about 2 weeks for letters and packages to arrive in the mission office although it could take longer to receive if you are in an area far away. It generally taks about 10 days for letters to arrive from Brazil to the US.
- Send packages to the mission office whenever possible. If sent directly to the missionary's house, there is a greater chance of losing it.
- It snows in Brazil! Yes, by São Joaquim in the south-central part of the state it gets cold enough to freeze at night a few weeks out of the year. However, you probably won't see the snow because there usually aren't missionaries in that city. Other towns in that region like Lages and Curitibanos are extremelty cold in the winter though so take a good jacket and sweaters.
- The opposite happens during the summer--it gets very hot and humid in certain areas so you might have to shower a couple times a day. Be prepared to sweat!
Last, The People
- Churrasco! A Brazilian way of preparing steak grilled and served with vegetables, potatoes, and other local foods. Go eat at Rodizio Grill (http://www.rodiziogrill.com) or any other Brazilian steakhouse to see what it will be like.
- Pizza, pizza, pizza. Be prepared to eat things on pizza that you never imagined possible. There are all-you-can-eat pizza buffets in every city. Make sure you try the chocolate and banana pizza! There is also a Pizza Hut in Florianopolis.
- Chocolate cake. What more can I say? You better like chocolate.
- Coxiñias. Chicken and stuff wrapped in dough and fried. Very, very good! Pastel is good too, especially the cheese ones!
- Real fruit juice squeezed right from the fruit!
- I never boiled water or milk. I only got sick when I would eat linguiça (very strong sausage; the c is pronounced like an 's') that was cooked in a pan in its fat.
You don't really need to take a lot down to the mission because you can buy most necessities at large grocery stores for half the price. If you have any questions feel free to contact a missionary. We are more than willing to help you prepare for your mission!
- The area is heavily populated by Germans especially around Blumenau (famous for its Oktoberfest) since it was settled by German immigrants around a hundred years ago. If you are blonde and have blue eyes you will have people approach you and speak to you in German.
- Most Brazilians are interested by anything American. People will approach you daily to practice their English that they learned at one of the many English schools or from American movies. "What's ur namee? The book is on the table."