Obrigada por sua mesagem e por ler o meu blog!
Sim, estou estudando engenharia de produção também. Na minha universidade o curso é chamado engenharia de sistemas.
Feliz 2013 para você também! :)
Obrigada por sua mesagem e por ler o meu blog!
Sim, estou estudando engenharia de produção também. Na minha universidade o curso é chamado engenharia de sistemas.
Feliz 2013 para você também! :)
Oi! Obrigada pela sua mesagem :)
My study abroad in Brazil definitely had it’s low points, especially in the beginning with the strike, but I’m thankful everything worked out in the end. It was definitely a learning experience.
Definitely way okay now! Overall, the good definitely outweighed the bad. I was able to stay, made some amazing friends, and totally fell in love your country. I’m back in the states, so I’m total Brazil-sick right now!
Feliz Ano Novo para você!
Wishing I had kept a blog consistently in Rio, I’m inspired to commit to this new resolution to blog each and every day of 2013. Come follow me on my adventures in the U.S., my last semester of college, my (hopefully) first days on the job, and my quest to find what’s awesome in the everyday!
Happy New Year’s Eve and Happy New Year to those on the other side of the world :P
This post here will be my last about Brazil. I just feel it fitting since the year is about to end.
Eleven days out of Brazil and I’m looking back at those first few days. I remember arriving in Rio, awestruck by the landscape, architecture, SHIT ton of people in the street. Then somewhere along the way everything became normal….I have no regrets whatsoever about my decision to come here. To be honest I had NO IDEA what I was really getting into when I emailed Professor Lambert in November of last year.
With nothing to do in Virginia Beach, it’s nice to look back on all the things I’ve learned and done within the past six months:
1. How to learn! - Especially with a language
I came to Brazil knowing practically nothing in Portuguese. I had a tutor the semester before heading to Brazil but this training was minimal (only 2.5 hours a week on top of the busiest semester in my college career). Actually, if someone told me they were going to a foreign country with little language training and were going to take classes in that language, I would tell them they were completely nuts. Thankfully, we had Molly who had taken a year of Portuguese before we got to Rio (we would have been lost those first few days without her).
We arrived in Rio 1 month before the supposed start of classes with the original objective to take a Portuguese course. Because of the strike, we took an intensive course at a private school in Copacabana called Carioca Languages. That was three hours of instruction per day, 5 days a week. It was during this first month that my learning increased at the fastest pace - (from absolute zero to a substantial understanding).
When classes finally started, I was still struggling to understand and articulate myself. On September 19th, I took a one-month challenge to speak only Portuguese (this marked exactly one month until my parents arrived in Brazil). I spent a lot of time in the pousada kitchen just talking to people about random things, like their days and what was playing on TV. While in the end I technically failed the goal (I did speak some English - it was very difficult when there were people who only spoke English around), I gained so much from the experience. During this phase, my spoken Portuguese improved greatly - flowed much more naturally.
While I’m not 100% fluent (nor do I think I will ever be or should strive to be), I can survive, ask for directions, order food, etc.
I could write a whole entire post about the joys and struggles of learning a language (we’ll save that for another blog :P) but here I’ll just name a few. For one, I never realized how important certain words are and how little of vocabulary you need to function day to day. I now know that before traveling to another country it’s helpful to know: numbers, time, how to ask for directions, how to say “excuse me” (this would have helped in Bogotá), and simple polite phrases such as “good bye” and “thank you.” Just knowing a little helps ten-fold.
Also, what’s the best way to learn a language? JUST SPEAK. I think of all those language courses we take in high school, which amount to nothing. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Also, once you overcome the fear to speak, you are golden. During my month hiatus, I learned so much even if it meant talking around a word I didn’t know.
Most importantly (especially for me), patience. When you start (and with anyone), you are going to suck at it and that’s okay… Learning anything takes time and we all learn at different speeds. Like a baby moving from crawling to walking, you need to stumble and learn for yourself how to get onto your feet.
I am amazed looking back when I only knew how to say “Olá, tudo bem?” to where I am now and can understand at least 85% of everyday conversation and can function in conversations. I still have a ways to go with Portuguese… but I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come :)
Also, once you know how to learn one, it’s so much easier to learn others. Next goal: tagalog and/or French..
2. Brazil or the U.S. or perhaps from anywhere in the world - People are essentially the same.
I’ve heard this from other people before that as you travel you learn that people are the same everywhere. This means that people have the same goals and desires to better their lives and those of the ones they love, despite the fact they speak different languages or have different values. I always find it so interesting that there is a “pattern” to people’s personalities, in that you can categorize them. I’ve had many moments where I’ve thought, this guys reminds me of someone I know.
Of course, I’m only comparing two countries here. Means I’ll have to travel more to prove this theory for myself ;)
3. How to samba and Forró.
Eu sou brasileira na minha coração por que adoro dancar! Oh did I mention I did win a samba contest at a Salgueiro rehearsal one time. Thanks mom for pushing me into that circle… smh.
4. Patience is truly a virtue.
Bus didn’t show up? Stuck in rush hour traffic for two hours? Friends running on Brazilian time and you’re about to miss the last boat off the island? Can’t speak Portuguese even though you’ve studied all your verbs for 2 weeks? School is on strike and you have to wait for the administration to sort that out for you?
Yeah, I’ve learned to take a deep breath and always bring your I-pod with some good songs to pass the time. haha
5. I am incredibly blessed to have my family and to have been born in the United States.
Coming back to the U.S., I definitely appreciated little things, such as how calm traffic is in comparison to Rio, how clean the streets are in Virginia Beach, how I don’t have to wash clothes by hand anymore, and how you can actually throw your toilet paper in the toilet! (Yeah that was a hard habit I had to learn in Rio!) I’ve come to the realization how incredibly easy our lives are here in the United States in comparison to other parts of the world. Sadly, we take that all for granted.
I had a unique opportunity to visit two favelas as we were conducting research for our project: Rio das Pedras and Rocinha. The buildings were so haphazardly thrown together, crowded, and full of safety and sanitation concerns. A big problem in Brazil is that many people do not have access to education to better themselves and their families.
To think I never appreciated that fact that I could even go to college… Wow…
It always amazed me that the United States has some of the highest depression rates, with Haiti having the lowest in the world. It’s funny how when you’re basic necessities are met and are surrounded by excess, competition, societal expectations – you just have more time to think and be depressed.
It’s definitely put a lot of things in perspective for me.
6. More who I am as a person
It’s always when you step outside and encounter the unknown, you learn so much more about yourself as a person. Being in Brazil, I definitely learned more about my own strengths and weaknesses. Also in terms of career goals, I can finally say I have a direction now J, or at least have decided on one.
7. CALM THE FU@# DOWN! No matter what, you will be okay.
Plans are good, but clinging to them blindly is suicide. As an American, I definitely feel that pressure to live up to the standard pattern of graduate, get a good job, then work my butt off and earn lots of money. If you don’t have a plan, you are screwed. Unfortunately, society and school doesn’t teach you how to deal with change. Uncertainty is scary, fear it! From elementary school to high school, your goal is to get good grades so that you can go to college. In college, you can feel a bit more lost but pick a major to get a sense of direction. It’s finally when you graduate and you realize the immense sea of opportunities that it’s easy to panic. Now, no one is telling you what to do. You are on your own. Damn, that’s scary!
Also, I used to have this subconscious belief that once you start working, the fun ends. No more partying, no more exploring, etc. But having made friends for the first time with professionals (a majority of my friends were working, rather than students), I realize life and the fun doesn’t just end when you get a job – it’s your choice. Of course, you’ll have to adjust to new responsibilities and challenges but rarely is there ever a time where you are completely, utterly stuck. (This being before kids, of course, that’s when it gets really serious).
I could not have imagined anything that happened in Brazil. After surviving the unpredictability of the strike among other things, I think I have come to terms a bit more with everything. A sense of, no matter what, things will turn out fine. I’ll be coming back to my last semester of college. While I know I’ll be sad when it’s over, I’m actually excited for what there is to come.
8. Love and friendship is universal.
I have made some incredibly amazing friends in Rio.
It’s nice to know you’re loved in another country :).
Miss you guys, have a fantastic New Years. Enjoy those fireworks in Copacabana for me!
Brazil, what an adventure! Here’s to more to come!
Happy New Year to all and thanks for reading.
I left my heart in Rio <333
They said this would hurt…
I remember at the study abroad orientation more than 6 months ago, they said coming back to the states might be more shocking than going to your host country.
This is what I was thinking as the plane touched down in Dulles Airport on December 20th. Washington D.C. looked so spread out and so perfectly outlined and organized in comparison to the random and chaotic spread of buildings in Rio. Oh god…this is going to hurt so badly.
We entered the airport and filed into the customs line. A big bright American flag flashed its red, white, and blue and greeted us, “Welcome to America!” For once, I could understand everything being said around me.
Weird… but not so bad so far.
We passed through customs and made our way to the baggage claim to discover our luggages did not make the journey to Virginia. Crap, were we supposed to pick them up in Bogotá? Molly had directly asked the attendant at check-in in Rio if we needed to pick up our bags in Bogotá, to which she replied no.
Somewhat stressed by the potential loss of our personal belongings and all the Christmas presents we had bought in Rio, we filed our claim with the Avianca attendant, Silvia. She assured us that she would contact the airports in Rio and Bogotá that day to sort this all out. Personally, I was more stressed by the fact that all the presents I had bought were gone. All that shopping and packing I had done the days prior!!!
About an hour and a half more than what should have been a quick baggage claim, we made our way past customs to find our parents. How good it was to see them after 6 months!
The cold whipped my face as soon as we stepped out of the airport. It was kind of refreshing in a way, especially after the 100+ F weather in Rio.
My family stopped at Honey Pig, a Korean restaurant in NOVA, for dinner. I think this was the most shocking part of the trip back home. The decorations, the annoyingly catchy Kpop music playing in the background, and even the food were entirely different than anything I had seen in Rio. My Brazilian friends would get a kick out of this, I thought to myself.
With full bellies (food was so good!) and some bonchon chicken to-go (little sister requested), we drove the remaining 3.5 hours home to Virginia Beach.
It’s been 10 days since I left Rio, and I’m slowly but surely readjusting to the way things are in the states. Besides the weather, I had forgotten how calm traffic is, how big serving sizes are and how cheap junk food is (yeahhh, this definitely is a HUGE cause behind the obesity epidemic in America), how crazy and kind of loud Filipinos are in gatherings (hilarious!), and how much I missed my family and friends in the states…
It has not been as painful as I thought. Occasionally, I get waves of “saudades” of Brazil where all I want to do is lay on my bed and listen to Brazilian music (yes, I even downloaded funk), especially when I’m stuck in the house for a whole day. But slowly, but surely my body is getting used to doing absolutely nothing… awesomeeee…
Sometimes I don’t even know how to respond when people ask me how Brazil was. How do I sum up an entire 6 months in one or two words. Usually, I just go for “amazing.” I’ll need to figure out all the stories to tell before I get back to school…
Another thing I realized being in Brazil - how little I do and know about Virginia Beach. I mean, what is there to do on the weekends? What had I been doing for the 11 years I’ve lived here… I’m definitely more motivated to explore the area.
I feel like I’ve changed and grown as a person, definitely much more relaxed in situations. No need to sweat the small stuff.
Hope the feeling lasts when I get back to school and am surrounded by the stress and type A personalities.
The past two days have been blurred into one. It funny how that always seems to happen when you don’t sleep/are on the go go go!
Tuesday, December 18, was our last day in Rio de Janeiro. It was full of packing, eating, crying, and hugging. I literally did not sleep at all between the 18th and 19th.
I got back into the room at 5:50 a.m. to check on Molly and start bringing the rest of our stuff down for a taxi. The plan was that Joe would call a cab to pick him up at 6 a.m., then would come to pick us up around 6:20 a.m., stop to pick up Nayra to go to the airport.
If there’s anything I’ve learned here in Brazil, it’s that plans often don’t go through. I called Joe at 5:45 a.m. to check if he was awake. NO ANSWER. Uh oh.
CRAP, what should we do??? Will he answer, is he awake? God, should we just leave him? That’d be terrible…
So Molly and I hauled our bags and our asses to get into a taxi and drive to Arpoador to see if Joe was awake. When we got there, Molly stood outside the gate, pushing the call button of his apartment for 10 minutes until Joe’s roommate answered and say that Joe had already left. WHAT? Why is his cellphone off? Oh god… I guess this means we should just go then.
Then we realized we had barely any money left for the cab. We would have been fine if Joe had gotten the cab with us. Awesome… We stopped at a Bradesco 24 hours to get that together.
FINALLY, as we were passing praia de Botafogo, Molly receives a call from an unknown number. She answers and guess what, it’s Joe, who actually had been sleeping. His roommate has spoken wrongly but afterwards went to check to see if he was in the apartment. After that, Joe went to catch a taxi himself to the airport.
Wooo, what a crazyyy morning.
The second challenge was getting through check in. I had bought so many presents – chocolates, havaianas, etc. etc. that I was afraid that my luggage would be heavier than 70 lbs. I had no concept of what that was in packing and didn’t have access to a scale.
While we were in line, Joe arrived. THANK GOD.
Then my baggage got through. YESS!!!
From there, it was smooth sailing, although I still was dying physically from not sleeping and all the emotions of yesterday. I PTFO on the plane.
Around 12:50, we landed in Bogota, Colombia. It was cool being in a different city. The city as the plane descended was much more organized, as opposed to the urban chaotic sprawl of Rio de Janeiro. It was also a lot colder. In the 60’s F during the day and 40’s F at night – an appropriate precursor to the cold we’d be feeling in Virginia.
And then everything was in Spanish… WEIRD. I could definitely read and understand pretty much everything but the language and accents sounded so strange to me after 6 months of listening to the sing-song quality of Portuguese.
We changed our reals for Colombian pesos, which appear incredibly inflated. One U.S. dollar is equivalent to $1800 pesos. The food is also relative to that amount, with a beer costing at least $5000 and our taxi from the airport costing $20000 (about $9 US). It makes me think, what’s the point of tacking on those zeroes at the end of the amount?
The taxi took us to the historic downtown center, Candelaria. It was cool seeing the city – it seemed pretty average, not too crazy, especially after being in Rio de Janeiro. I took a video, which I can post here later.
We arrived at our hostel, Masaya, a cozy and relaxing place, and slept for a little.
Afterwards we went to eat at Colombian with Japanese infusion restaurant closeby that our hostel had recommended. We all ordered totuepan, this combination of fried rice, onion rings, and crab and chicken. It was pretty good and nice to have something outside of the standard beans and rice.
Joe’s credit card wasn’t working so the security guy at the restaurant escorted us to an ATM. Good thing, because we had to walk about 10 minutes to find it. It was close to the bus terminal (Estacion Las Aguas), which the lady at the hostel told us we could take a bus to Zona T, a more modern downtown with bars and shopping.
After stopping in a market to buy a scarf (we were freezing!), we went to figure out how the buses worked. We found the bus station, bought a ticket then entered into one of the 3 lines (or clumps of people I should say) for Bus B74.
The bus system was actually pretty interesting. The station is long and narrow and made out of glass with several sliding doors that open when the corresponding bus stops. The trick is that you have to really assert your way to the front of the clump, or else not be allowed to pass. The difficulty also is that the people exiting the bus also pass through the same doors, so you have to wait and somewhat fight to get in. Wait too long and the bus leaves and glass doors close.
So what happened the first time we tried to get on the bus? We managed to find the correct entrance and were waiting in the clump. Two other buses were listed for the same entrance we were standing at. Finally, our bus arrived. After people exited, Joe made his way to the front and entered. Molly and I were behind but could not get through the crowd of people. What was the word for excuse me in Spanish? Gosh, who knew this word would be so important!!!
Finally I made it to the front, but as I was about to enter, the bus doors closed and I saw Joe’s face of “Oh shit” as the bus took him and Molly and I were left in the station. CRAAP, NOT AGAIN!
So Molly and I were wondering what we should do. What would Joe do? Would he get off right away and try to return to the station? Would he go to the station of Zona T? CRAP.
We assumed that since he had the paper with the information on it from the hostel that he could just meet us at Zona T. If not, he would have gotten off right away. So we got on the next bus and kept a look out for Joe on the road since the bus made a loop to turn right afterwards. Nope, didn’t see him.
The buses were pretty long –3x the length of the buses in Rio de Janeiro, since there were 3 cards connected together. It also featured a sign that announced the next 2 stops. Neat.
We stopped at the first station and to our surprise and relief, saw Joe right away. He had gotten out at the next station since the bus driver said he couldn’t get off on the road (as the buses in Rio). Woo, problem solved.
We made our way to Calle 85. Unfortunately, we caught the bus around 6, during rush hour. Fortunately, we were able to see the city come alive, with all the people rushing to get home.
The city looked pretty normal to me. I did notice how extensive the bus system was. In the middle of the roads were the glass bus stations with buses constantly passing. I think its safe to assume that Bogota doesn’t have a metro, but looks like the buses function well.
We made it to Calle 80, expected the bus to stop at 85, but ended up at Calle 90. So afterwards, we asked a policeman for directions, took another bus in the other direction and ended up at Calle 85. Sweet.
We then walked about 5 blocks down to Zona T, which was marked by these beautiful holiday lights. The area was elegant, clean, and inviting. We passed supermarkets, bars with happy hours (forgot about happy hour!), casinos (illegal in Brazil), and walked through a small park with lights and a band playing what seemed to be traditional Colombian music.
We settled on a cozy restaurant that served Colombian beer. Real beer for once, not just water like in Rio :P Molly, Joe, and I just sipped on our cervezas, talked, reminisced about our adventures in Brazil, and our expectations when we got home.
Home, I’ll be there soon.
From Bogota with Love,
I’m writing you now 10966 m high off the ground. There’s about 48 minutes left until our plane touches down in Bogota, Colombia. We actually have a 20-hour layover, so we’ll have time to see some of the city. We booked this flight with our roundtrip tickets 6 months ahead – to us a layover in Colombia seems exciting, for our parents… not so much haha
As I’m sitting here now in the plane, it’s hard for me to keep my eyes open. They’re so tired and dry from crying and not sleeping at all last night. Our last day in Rio was a busy one. Molly and I spent a bit of time on Copacabana beach (our last chance) and afterwards, I proceeded to buy the rest of the things I needed (some more cachaça and chocolate) before returning home to the horror of what I had to pack up.
I managed to fit all this and more in my bag! I’m pretty proud :)
Around 3 p.m., we went to meet with our Capstone group and Professor for one last fairwell lunch at Carretão, a churrascaria near our pousada. I was thinking how funny it was for things to go full circle – we first met up with our Professor at this same restaurant. I personally am not a big meat eater but the churrasco here definitely makes me question my past desires to be vegetarian. Oh picanha e corações de galinha (chicken hearts… I actually really like them!), how I will miss you. And just like last time, the Professor showed up late… haha, yeeep, full circle!
After that it was a semi-stressful dash to finish packing, print out pictures for presents, and finish my present for Amigo Oculto (Secret Santa). The room was a complete mess and of course Molly and I becoming more and more Brazilian each day finally showed up to Joe’s house for our last night with our friends.
We played Amigo Oculto/Secret Santa. Originally, I was going to organize it the way I’m used to – each person opens their present and has to guess who got it for them, until I found out the Brazilian way to do it. Actually, it’s opposite of the way I’m used to, and I like it a lot better. So each person picks up the present they bought and then describes the recipient of their present. Then, everyone in the room has to guess who the recipient is. Afterwards, the recipient opens their present then talks about the person they bought a present for. It was a perfect way to exchange sentimental words , inside jokes, and little insults that are only appropriate for when your friendship has reached a certain level. It was an awesome activity for our last day in Rio.
Afterwards, we relaxed and chilled. Nayra and I had made a bet about two weeks earlier that we would workout six out of seven days a week until I left. Unfortunately, we both failed. Awesome. So Nayra had to dance the “Leo Dance” in front of everyone to “Young and Wild and Free.” I had to sing, which was embarrassing and enjoyable at the same time.
Finally, we had to say our final goodbyes. After 5, almost 6 months of seeing each other every week, this was it. The goodbyes must have consisted of hugging each person at least five times each. I don’t remember the last time I cried so much. (Yeah, I knew this would happen).
I realize how lucky I am to have met such amazing people. In my opinion, it’s not the culture, the beaches, the parties, etc. that make a place. It’s the people. I could be in the middle of a field with absolutely nothing to do but when you’re with people that you can trust and have fun with – that’s where I’m the happiest.
Valeu, Rio de Janeiro. I had the time of my life.
From the skies of Brasil with Love,
DAY 3 - Hiking to Lopes Mendes and almost dying on the boat
RESUMO: Fizemos uma trilha - Praia dos Lopes Mendes - Pegamos o ultimo barco - Quase morremos no Barco para voltar
The great thing about Ilha Grande is that there are plenty of beautiful, natural beaches, which are undeveloped and you have to reach by trail. The not so great thing is that it’s often really windy…
On Day 2, we decided to take a 4 hour? hike to Lopes Mendes. I snapped plenty of pictures on the way.
The views were spectacular.
Girls walking on the trail.
The most tiring part of the trail however, was not knowing how much longer we had left…
We made it to one beach… Are we there yet?
Hmmm… and another…
Oh hey, monkeys! Alright… I guess I can walk some more…
GOD ARE WE THERE YET? MY FEET ARE KILLING ME!
Woo hoo! we made it!
Happy family :)
Now onto the part of dying that I promised…
So once we arrived on the beach, the sad part was that we had to go back right away to pack up all of our stuff and catch the last boat off of Ilha Grande.
So we had to coordinate moving 14 people to all take showers, pack up their stuff, eat, and hike it to the dock. We took a boat from Lopes Mendes back to our hostel - that was a bumpy ride to say the least. The boat was literally jumping!
THENN we got to the ferry to take us back. Lord, we almost didn’t make it on - the capacity was about 500 and I believe only once couple made it on after us. CHAOTIC.
ThENN there’s the almost dying on the boat story. So the waves were really big that day. Actually, if we didn’t catch this last boat, we would have had to stay another day on the island, since would’ve been too unsafe for any smaller boats.
So the boat was rocking back and forth pretty widely in response to the waves. Then at one point, we heard the engine turn off and…
CRASH! The boat literally jumped. It was shocking but we all kind of expected it.
So at this point, we all look around. We were seated in the back of the boat on the floor because we were the last group to get in.
We turn to see everyone in a panic, grabbing life vests. Some children are crying. Oh dear…
Women are crying as well. There’s actually some water entering the boat now… that’s kind of troubling…
On the boat, too happy to die.
Then, starts the sea sickness/nausea. Everywhere you turn there are people crying, panicking, throwing up. LOVELY. There was also the smell of cachaça because a bottle spilled all over Kevin’s backpack and onto the floor. It was awesome.
The boat continues to rock back and forth for about an 1.5 hours until we arrive on the island. The whole time I was thinking, hmmm I could literally die on this boat and that’s okay.
Especially since I’ve already had this thought process in Brazil. ha!
We arrived on land. Woo hoo! Ate some food and headed back to Rio. It was an eventful trip!
From Rio with Love,
In October, I took a trip with my friends to Ilha Grande. We took a van 2 hours to get to a dock, where we then took a boat. Naturally, people ran late (Question: Where are you? Reply: Estou chegando!(I’m arriving)), we missed the last boat, and almost didn’t make it to the island. AWESOME. Luckily, in Brazil things are flexible, we talked another guy to take us for a little bit more money, braved the weather, and arrived on the island.
RESUMO: Pegamos a vão - Faltamos um barco - Pegamos um outro barco - Encontramos o hostel - Sentamos na praia a noite e escutamos ao Tiago tocando música
After the crazy long journey, we made it! LANDDD HO!!!
DIA 2: Can you say boat trip???
Me and Nayra <3
Resting after eating lunch on one of the beaches
6:30 a.m. I wake up and internally I know it’s still really early. I already have this empty, heavy feeling in my chest. I went to bed last night around 3:30 a.m., having gone one last time to Lapa to enjoy time with my friends and watch my friend Luciana play. (Lapa is where you can find clubs, bars, and cachaça. There are always tons of people on Fridays and Saturdays) She has a band called Vinga that does classic rock cover, and just landed a gig to play every Monday night at the Bar de Boemia in Lapa (CHECK HER OUT!). They are quite good. For me, I’m always excited to talk about her — ohh yeaah, you know the singer there? Totally MY friend…
The past few days I’ve been going in and out of realizing that I am leaving Rio so soon. With that, I’ve been eating my daily açai, going out to meet friends more, and buying a wholeeee bunch of presents (I literally think half of my suitcase is full of presents).
Things are always so unpredictable here that we’ve gotten used to it in a way. Last week was pretty full so it was shame we couldn’t explore more - Joe participated in Start Up Weekend (a really cool event where you pitch an idea, form teams, then have 54 hours to create a start up), 2 projects and a test in Modelos Lineares Generalizados (Linear Regression Models) on Wednesday. I also have to add (and its funny to laugh about now) that we were actually afraid of not passing MLG, since it is a required class for us to graduate. It seems that the classes here (or at least the ones we are taking) only have 2 exams to determine your grade for the entire year. For MLG, the final exam was optional if you didn’t get a grade average higher than 7 out of 10. After turning in our final projects on Saturday, waiting “anxiously” on Sunday to find out if we really had to take the test, and checking back on Sunday night, we found out we all actually passed with high enough grades. GRAÇAS A DEUS! This made Monday 1000000x better.
So yesterday was also our last class at our beloved, smelly UFRJ. The Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro is located on this island called Fundão that you literally can smell as you get close. (I was talking to a cab driver one time and he said that its the pollution from the Guanabara Bay that causes the smell. Also, unfortunately it’ll take somewhere around 40+ years to clean it up). We’ve been attending Professor Orlando’s class, Engenharia do Trabalho (Engineering of Work), every Tuesdays and Thursdays. We were the first to present out of the groups about our Capstone project in Brazil and the exchange program. I had no idea that, including our group, 8 years of students have passed through the program with 76 students (Brazilian and American) participating. It was a great feeling to be done - we always dreaded heading to Fundão since it would take about an hour to get to class by the crazy #485 bus everyday, all the traffic, heat, and other delays afterwards, etc. I also was amazed by how much my Portuguese has improved. After arriving 6 months ago, we were up there giving a whole presentation in Portuguese goddamit —- How freakin’ cool!
Sometimes you also forget how hard it is to survive in a place without speaking the language. I also went on a shopping marathon to buy all the last minute presents (it’s actually almost Christmas, even though it doesn’t feel like it at all here since its hot!) This time I remembered to barter much more haha. The trouble with buying things is that you always find something that you like and then have to proceed to hold yourself back from buying things for yourself haha. Got plenty of kangas (sarongs), some pairs of Havaianas for my family, a pack of farofa, books in Portuguese, and some tapioca powder. Today I will go out to get the rest - cachaça, Brazilian chocolate, I hope I’m not forgetting anything!
God, reminds me of the SH#T-ton I have to pack today. I’m seriously thinking about leaving behind my clothes. After 6 months, they just become pieces of fabric on your skin.
So today is the last full day I have in Rio de Janeiro. Wow. I really want to head to the beach for one last time. Tonight, we plan on meeting up with Professor Orlando for lunch and afterwards with our friends for Secret Santa (Amigo Oculto) and final dinner.
Should pack some tissues with me tonight. Planning on crying, totally feel the tears coming already. Ótimo.