Good morning, blog world. Greetings from Brazil. It’s been a wild ride since we got here, filled with lots of highs and lows. This post is about to get real, so pardon the lack of rose-colored glasses. The first week was spent in Sao Paolo in a nice little apartment-like hotel room for the Swede and me. All was well, we had a lot of activities organized (structure), and the excitement of arrival superseded any minor issues we had.
On the 1st of March we flew to our final destination, Brasilia. So far things have been just plain difficult. We are living in shared student housing at the university, have found it exceedingly difficult to get around without a car (hence we got one for a month), the conditions of the building we are staying in are quite crappy (basically its not been maintained since the 70s), and the woman I am working with is not here until the 17th (she’s at a conference in Europe). Classes don’t commence until the first of April, so we have a lot of time on our hands, which luckily is now broken up by a Port class we enrolled in last week, from 5-6:40. If it weren’t for that, we’d have no structure and very little human contact, beyond our housemates, who come and go throughout the day.
The first few days, some of the other students took us around Brasilia (the woman I’m working with organized these interactions), but we have found it challenging to have impromptu interactions with people. Basically, it’s just been tough. Part of me is regretting choosing this odd place. I’m hoping when my advisor arrives, things will look up a bit. I’m trying to see these days as opportunities to work on my diss., but am having difficulties concentrating given my disappointment about our situation and my drive to find us a better apartment. Also, to make matters even more complicated, things are EXPENSIVE here. Like really expensive. Apartments go from 500-1000, which is a significant part of the stipend, depending on how luxurious you want to go. There is also no hot water for showers in the majority of Brazilian apartments, there are few washing facilities (can you imagine that people generally still do it by hand in a wash basin?), and it is HOT here, with most places offering a few ceiling fans at best. I’m not necessarily asking for air-conditioning, but there are no screens so you have to leave the windows open and leave yourself vulnerable to the hoards of mosquitos that come to attack at night.
At any rate, I’m hoping that things will get better within the next few days here. I hesitated to write this post because it’s my first from Brazil and I wish it could be filled with fun anecdotes and lots of “arrival-excitement.” Alas, I’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps for a few days here, so I guess I have to reflect that here.
Hoping you are all are better than me in your cushy homes and apartments 😉