Monday, July 1, 2013

It is Important to find the Humor in Everything

Thursday, July 4, 2013, will mark my fourth full week in Florianòpolis, Brazil. As of now, it seems as if the days are beginning to cloud together due to the enormous amount of fun and excitement that Floripa has to offer. The city is amazing, and the people are extremely nice and helpful.

It was only four weeks ago, when my anxiety about this experience set in. I was concerned about the language barrier and of course, being over 5,000 miles away from my home. Oddly enough, this anxiety subsided when my teammates (Britney Lumbard, Adam Goodson, and Tim Oneal) and I landed in São Paulo. We walked into Guarulhos International Airport, and were greeted by the sound of random conversations, all in Portuguese! I listened to these conversations in awe, because they spoke extremely fast. Then it dawned on me that I could not understand the conversation. That was first time that I have ever felt unable to communicate effectively. It also reminded me of how often people take the ability to communicate and understand for granted. However, this feeling went from uneasiness to humor as I approached the custom's agent. We greeted one another, and she proceeded with the conversation in Portuguese. My eyes widened in shock, and my mind immediately begin to search for the appropriate phrase. I took a deep breath, smiled and replied, "Eu falo muito pouco Português (I speak very little Portuguese)." Britney, then yelled from across the way, "I hear you speaking Portuguese!" We all burst into laughter, which immediately calmed my fears.

Fear of the unknown is inevitable; however, if you find the humor in such fear (which is almost always present in each situation) life experiences will be further enriched and more memorable. Besides adapting to my new home, I have already begun learning in Dr. Cilene Lino-de-Oliveira's Lab. I have replicated a protocol, entitled "A Translational Rodent Assay of Affective Biases in Depression and Antidepressant Therapy" and presented it in our weekly lab meetings. Thankfully, our experiments based on the replication will began this week. Dr. Cilene is extremely helpful and provides great insight and advice. I am extremely grateful to have her as a mentor, because she provides an outstanding atmosphere for learning and understanding, in which her students are allowed to critically think and analyze information. I am thoroughly enjoying my time in Brazil, not only because of the beauty of this land, but more importantly, because of the beauty in the learning and understanding to be had.

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