Sunday, July 21, 2013
Life Thus Far
The first few weeks of living in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina felt like a blur. I think I can speak for the rest of the Floripa crew in saying that we were definitely tourists of the island. Cameras in hand, searching for the popular sites of the island and gawking at maps written in Portuguese. However, those days are long gone. We have completely submerged ourselves in the routine and culture of this amazing city. We've gone from speaking hardly any Portuguese to having entire conversations with little problems.
The week of July 4th I had the amazing privilege of having my family visit me here in Brasil. I got to show them in person everything that I had been marveling at since arriving here. I do admit that I was a little homesick and having my mother and brother visit me was a blessing in the skies.
That same week I presented plans for the research I am conducting to Dr. Elisabeth Linder and the master's students...in PORTUGUESE! When the other students in Dr. Linder's lab present their research, they must present in English and I thought it was only fair that I present in Portuguese. At the time I volunteered myself for this task it didn't occur to me that I would have to speak scientifically in a completely different language! Even though I tried not to show it, I was super nervous. To provide me some assistance, Dr. Linder introduced me to Dr. Marcos Lopes a clinical psychiatrist, researcher, and professor at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC). Dr. Lopes was invited to present his findings at a conference in the United Kingdom (in English of course) and asked Dr. Linder if she knew of anyone that could help him practice his English. What perfect timing! So for the past two weeks I met with Dr. Lopes to assist him with his presentation in English and for him to assist me with my presentation in Portuguese. I successfully delivered my research to Dr. Linder and the rest of the students and I'm sure Dr. Lopes will do a wonderful job presenting his research in English.
In the lab, I have gotten so comfortable conducting my experiments that I am actually training incoming pharmacy students how to perform the experiment successfully! I have found that body language is such an important tool in communicating because Google Translator can only do so much. However, I will say that my improved Portuguese has earned me the title of "honorary Brasileira" by my lab mates and I don't mind one bit. Até logo!