Friday, October 5, 2012

Plenty of updates

Well blog followers...I've been MIA...and certainly apologize if you've been waiting with baited breath for me to make another post! I had some important matters to attend to that have been taking up most of my time the last two weeks but things have finally slowed down and I'm gearing up for vacation so there are plenty of updates! In no specific order....

Although I said no specific order, this easily gets a #1 here...I ate Skyline Chili!!! It was the most incredible moment I've had in recent history haha.  I had to grate my own cheese but it was delicious.  I have two cans left so I'm saving them for celebratory moments in the coming few months.

I also had some midterm and final exams about a week ago.  Only about half the grades are posted so we'll see how well I did.  They do things a little differently here.  Mostly lecture lecture lecture and then just one midterm or final and that's your grade. It's usually about a 2-3 hour handwritten essay...craziness! Especially when it's in another language....

I finally hit the jackpot with the federal police and got was not an easy process though.  They've been on strike and their website was down so I couldn't schedule an appointment. So we decided to take a screenshot of the faulty website and go there personally to explain the situation.  We got there and got in line and although we didn't have an appointment, the lady there said she could squeeze us in.  Then she switched roles with another lady who...well...let's put it this would be inappropriate in every way shape and form to discuss this individual.  She was the absolute most rude person I've ever met in my life.  The attitude was palpable.  The smug and despising looks were grotesque and her interactions with the customers were a far cry from being remotely friendly. So after we had stood there for over an hour she denied us.  That's when the real KQ came out and pulled out all Portuguese, English, Spanish, and even some Greek right there in line and was not taking no for an answer.  I've been here for almost 3 months now and I was getting the runaround and I wasn't going to have it.  So luckily I was able to manage my way to the supervisor to explain the entire situation and well...needless to say...after a good 5 hours there...I am finally a legal resident of Brazil!!! This is mostly important because I can now travel outside of the country and get back in.

What else...well my registration was not very welcoming and neither was the scam artist who stole my credit card number and decided that they wanted to buy $7,500 worth of clothing and make-up here in Sao Paulo.  So, I spent another afternoon on the phone with good 'ole American Express.  I tell you what....if you don't have an AMEX, you are missing out on one of the most assuring and customer friendly companies in the world.  The service was fantastic. They blocked every fraudulent charge and are express mailing me a new card to arrive Monday.  Now that's how you keep a customer happy!

Other things to note...I started two new classes...which I'm in love with. Some of you may vomit when I say this...but hey...someone has to love this stuff!!! 1. Simulation Models in Finance.  It's like financial calculus. Super interesting stuff and we get to have class with my favorite thing in the world...Microsoft Excel! 2. Brazilian Tax Law. Ok, I think I'm going to write a whole blog post on this one class. It was SO SO SO interesting. Now, I'm an accounting nerd who wrote his Boren proposal to come to Brazil to study tax reform so you understand why I loved it....but I think you all would actually enjoy hearing about it a little. The way the tax system has affected economics here is fascinating. More to come....

So the only bad part about these two classes starting is that this school I'm going to is an organizational nightmare.  They switched the calendars and two of these classes now overlap times. What is a student supposed to do?! I can't drop either class at this point and more importantly, I don't want to drop either of them. They're fascinating. But this forced me to just email the professors and explain that the school changed the dates and because the Law school and the Business school don't cross-communicate, I'm now stuck in this dilemma. But, you could say that I'm not surprised...the organization is a complete joke. Even as I identified the issue in the online system, I came across a notification that I was registered for a class that I never asked to be in. I got this notification because it said I had missed too many courses and thus, I was going to fail. I was very confused and looked up the information and sure school registered me for a class that I had no clue existed, never attended, never asked to be in it, and now they say they can't do anything about it....that I will just fail it.  You best believe another KQ session is about to be had.  Especially after I didn't get to participate in the fair haha.

The last two weekends I did go to parties that were planned by the school. The first was a battle of the bands competitions between all the local universities. Very cool. And this past weekend was like a 20's themed party which was outrageous. At least 5,000 people went, very swanky, great music, and a lot of fun. I kept thinking...gosh if this school could run its class operations like it runs a party...I'd be in a whole lot better shape! haha. Nevertheless, it was a good time.

Today we went on two company visits. The first was to a wildlife preservation company and the second was to a beer manufacturer! Both were very interesting visits. We did some planting and had some meaningful discussion about environmental policy here in Brazil and then followed that up with some beer tasting! haha.  Small of the guys that was on the company tour with us, studying at another local university here, is a PIKE! We were on the tour and he had a PIKE shirt on...I couldn't believe my eyes. Super small world. Nevertheless, we reminisced a bit about the good 'ole fraternal days.

Well, I think that's a healthy update for now. I'm heading to a small town for the weekend to get some R&R in and then heading out next weekend to island in the southern part of Brazil. It's supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in the whole country.  We're also going to take a day trip to the Blumenau Oktoberfest...the biggest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Munich! Very very excited.

Now that I have some of the heavy work behind me...I'll be back to more regular posts.  If you haven't done so already, check out the videos I posted earlier today.  I told a funny story in Portuguese, English, and Spanish!  You can finally compare the differences between them all.

Happy Homecoming to all my Bearcats. Wish I could be there. I'll be watching and rooting from here!

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