Well, friends. I have officially arrived!
The last few days have been especially memorable. I spent some time with my parents and got everything squared away. I had multiple tussles with the purchase of my MagicJack so I could make free international calls (and it's still not working properly) and then spent an hour or so setting up my Slingbox so I can access US TV stations on my computer...again, difficulties. We've all said it, technology is so good and so frustrating.
And on another frustrating note, Delta continued its streak of poor flight service that I've had recently with a nonfunctioning monitor and a cabin light that flickered on and off every two seconds above me...not to mention we were delayed two hours. But that was all a good test of my Latin American patience.
Nevertheless, I landed and bolted through customs, jumped into some Portuguese talk in no time and successfully found the study abroad program coordinators waiting for me outside the gate. Everyone in the group seems great (and I'm not just saying that because this is a public blog haha). After getting everyone together we boarded the bus for the one and a half hour ride into downtown.
The hotel rooms weren't ready yet so we headed out for some lunch, a delicious Paulistinho sandwich (Brazilian sausage, eggs, greens, beans, potatoes), and then spent an extremely lengthy time in the TIM cell phone store. We all bought Brazilian phones so that we can call each other here in Sao Paulo.
We haven't really had any time to do any city exploring yet but here are my initial reactions...
Sao Paulo is GIGANTIC! I wish I would have snapped a photo from the plane when we were landing. The city is endless, I couldn't even see the edges of it from the air....just miles and miles of buildings and lots of smog. We're staying in the business district on the main street, Avenida Paulista. There are tons of people, very diverse. I barely look foreign here. The main street was very clean and the people were vary fashionable.
Portuguese is going to be a great language to learn but even despite my frequent dates with Rosetta Stone and significant experience with Spanish, I'm going to be climbing a steep hill. Paulistas talk very fast and everything just kind of merges together. I'm at the stage where I'm picking out key words that I know to try to understand. Lots of the vocabulary is similar to Spanish but the grammar is more complex. But, I'm still able to speak and read it quite well which is helping.
We've got about an hour break here for a nap before our orientation begins and the program is taking us out for dinner thereafter.
Looking forward to sharing more with you all...