Thursday, June 19, 2014


Olá a partir de São Paulo! The trip so far has treated me fairly well. We have had a lot of stories in our group that have kept us all laughing, most of which I shouldn't discuss in detail here. All I can say is that the São Paulo group is certainly a strong one; we're survivors. São Paulo is not exactly all I expected it to be, but not everything I expected was positive either. A plus is that I have not felt too in danger here as I expected to feel. 

One of the main things that surprised me when I arrived in São Paulo was the hostel. When I checked out the website before I left the United States, I imagined that we would be living in an apartment style home where each person would have their own somewhat small room and there would be a shared kitchen, bathroom area and perhaps a common room to hang out in; however, after dragging our suitcases up and down hills and stairs, we were each shown to our individual rooms with individual bathrooms, connected only by outdoor paths that we can follow to find each other’s rooms. We are all somewhat close to each other though; I can find Victoria right next door, and I can find Hope and Josh by following a narrow staircase down to the next floor. I appreciate having a room of my own where I can have some privacy. The room and especially the bathroom are not the cleanest, but I have worked hard to clean both a little to make a not great living situation more comfortable. 

We do, indeed, have a shared kitchen, but it is more of a shared kitchen than I had imagined prior to arrival; we share our kitchen with every one living in this hostel. Of course this seemed strange to me as I had never experienced anything similar in the US, but I have met so many nice people just by going down into the kitchen, people speaking English; Spanish and Portuguese. It is mostly through these connections that I have gone out various times to explore the party life in São Paulo, and I must say that parties are quite crazy and very enjoyable here, often causing me to get back at 6 AM. 

Another convenience the hostel has offered me is that it is only a 10 minute walk from my lab in the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. I have greatly enjoyed my work in that lab, and it is the first time that I have been so independent in lab work. I look forward to going to work and learning new lab techniques every day. 

Living in São Paulo has overall taken a great deal of adjustments, and these adjustments have often been very visible to us. We’ve seen many changes in our bodies from the water turning blonde streaks in our hair green and our toenails taking on a brownish tint to our bodies rejecting the food we’ve eaten here and the water we’ve drank here; however, every day the 2014 MHIRT São Paulo group sits outside our rooms and we tell each other about our days and we enjoy each other’s stories and we laugh. São Paulo has been a great place to grow and learn, and I’m enjoying my experience in and out of lab greatly.
After about an hour of cleaning the tiles. A
little hard work to make the bathroom more
comfortable to be in.
What my shower looked like before I cleaned it (although I forgot
to take a picture of my actual shower before it was clean, so this is
a picture of the shower next door)

Now, you’re probably wondering about the title of this post if you’ve noticed that it isn’t quite fully in Portuguese. Well, this is one of our little group stories. One of the nights, we went out with “hot Ed” (Eduardo Oliveira: another story for another time), whom we met in the kitchen, and we ate and afterwards went out to bars/clubs. At an outdoor concert we stopped at, a slightly intoxicated Hope yelled out “DONDE ESTA MI FRANGO”, referring to the large amount of chicken that he tried to have put in a box to take as leftovers but was never returned to him. Of course, all the Brazilians around us stared questionably at him, and the English-speaking Brazilians in our group informed him that he mixed Spanish and Portuguese to yell his still ridiculous phrase of “Where’s my chicken?” It was quite amusing. 

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