So now that I've been here a month, I'm going to start updating about once a week. Not that there's not a lot going on, but now I have more of a defined schedule and not "everything" is new, so I'll be giving updates about once a week.
This past week was absolutely jampacked...here were a few highlights:
1. I had my first test in Portuguese, which I passed...barely. Evidently you can be tested over things that have been previously taught to you at the University in previous semesters. Well, surprise surprise, I've never studied here...I only jumped into a class taught in Portuguese to learn the language better. Nevertheless, the professor said the test was over Ch. 1 and it was really over Ch. 2 and the questions were really specific like, "Which of the following organizations file under public administration laws here in Sao Paulo?" It was a complete ABCD guessing game because I didn't even know what half the choices of organizations listed did, much less did I know they existed. I think I'll be having a conversation with the Professor soon to determine whether or not he can test me on something that has to do with the lectures or what's in the book rather than test my 3-week old Brazilian knowledge on governmental entities.
2. We had our official International student welcome which was a complete blast. If you've ever been lost in translation, then you know exactly how hysterical it is. Then if you know when people try to speak correct English and say something that's technically correct but just doesn't translate, it's even more funny...story of this occasion. And I'm sure it didn't help that it was an open bar, so the speech for some was especially slurred by the end of the night. We also got to hear the college band and learn some of the "FGV" chants and see some "Caipuera" which is a type of controlled Brazilian martial arts for performances...muito legal (very cool).
3. It was one of our friend's birthdays this week so we rented the top of a skyscraper to host a party...amazing views!
4. I went out for my first American cheeseburger since I was thoroughly disappointed in the airport on the way here...which is where I had my last burger. Speaking of...McDonalds here is like a really special treat and actually a meal costs almost $10 USD....no dollar menu!
5. I had a student come up to me at the school and said, "Hey I noticed that you're in my accounting class in Portuguese and well, you freaked me out!" As we further discuss, he's going to be an international student in Canada next year and he had envisioned himself in my shoes in the near future...so he created a three step plan in hopes of creating some good karma. 1) Sit next to me in classes to see if I need any help with the material or translating. 2) To practice talking to each other in both English and Portuguese. 3) To grab lunch with me a time or two per week because he was afraid that I was eating alone! Wasn't that nice?! Again, college students in the US, DO THIS!!! It's the best thing ever and so considerate.
6. Speaking of US college students, also realize that although our education system is praised, the students who I've met who've been to the US here are not impressed with our "welcome". In fact, most ever student here who desires to learn English goes to Canada because the International Relations office says that American's are not welcoming and that their students won't like it as much as Canada. This continues to be a big time bummer for me. Not only is this not healthy for our educational system (reminder: these students are the top business students in all of Latin America) but also unhealthy for our economy, both because these students are future Brazilian leaders and also because international students spend lots of money when they study abroad...trust me, I'm proof!
7. I started my Law curriculum at the Grad school this past week too. I loved it!!! Super interesting...I don't think I've ever learned so much in such a short period of time. Plus the learning environment was super dynamic. Every student was from a different country (USA, Israel, Germany, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Spain)...maybe Law School is in my future!
8. We had our first company visit to TV Cultura...which was super cool! We got to see live broadcasts of television and radio shows here in Brazil and got to tour the sets and meet the actors, actresses, and announcer. Very neat stuff!
This weekend, I was invited by my international buddy to go to his house, which was about a 3 hour ride west of Sao Paulo in a small town. It was a great weekend, a very quiet and calm town (what I would say is the real Brazil), and I enjoyed getting to use lots of Portuguese (I'm getting good!) and also enjoyed getting to know his family. It was a great break from the big and busy city.
So, I learned a new word this week that has no direct translation in English and it's called "Saudade". From what I gather, it's a really really really strong longing for and missing of something which leads me to the following.
I'M ABSOLUTELY CRAVING SKYLINE CHILI! I think about it at least 10 times a day and I've had dreams of me eating pounds of it and even swimming in bowls of it. Just an FYI for my readers.
I am missing home, family and friends for sure. I think I went through every one of my facebook pictures one day this week when I couldn't sleep. It was good and bad. Good because I had great memories but bad because it only made me want to get back to Cincinnati and enjoy my fifth and final year there! I didn't know that last year would be my last on campus and well, college was a blast and I miss it! But all the same, I know that I'm living a dream here as well and learning so much about me and this country and it will undoubtedly be one of the most incredible things I'll do in life and will certainly benefit me in so many ways...so I continue to live life to the fullest, wherever I am!
Here are some more pictures...the first link has about 50+ new pics in Sao Paulo and the second link has pictures from the countryside city!