Sunday, June 29, 2014

Oi, tudo bom?
 So I knew before coming to Brazil that my time here would pass quickly, but it doesn't make the truth any better. I've now had time to find my way around the city, get into my research, and make a few friends on the island... I'll share some highlights and lessons I've learned along the way.

Lesson number one: Know the bus routes, be on time, and know which bus you're getting on to...but being too early helps no one. Direto and Semidireto are absolutely different buses. One, Semidireto, allows you to stop at your destination between two bus terminal stations. The other, Direto, will trap you in the bus/cage as no stops or pickups are allowed between the stations. It will pass your destination right on by and drag you all the way to Centro (for those unfamiliar with my city layout, that is MUCH farther than I need to go. Ever. Maybe a place for some feijoada and culture, but never for work.) These buses are just five minutes apart, and full bus names are often just be careful.

Lesson number two: There are several Portuguese words similar in pronunciation, yet entirely different in meaning from one another. Two paired examples: words for coconut, then poops, and the word for a sweet treat and the word for butt. It's inevitable that non-native speakers will make mistakes with words like these at least once-- I personally have to pay a lot of attention at work (the rats poop a lot)-- and people WILL laugh, but so should you! It's funny! Can you imagine hearing "the rats have a lot of coconuts in their cage?" The best part is that you will get a chance to hear some funny English mixups too! The 'th' pairing is not shared in Portuguese, and r's are a softer letter, making words like third quite amusing. There is also no conception of "it" here, so everything becomes a he or a she!

Lesson number three: Rats jump well and they have good grips. They are fast, and they like to explore. Keep the lids tightly on.

Lesson number four: Dance every chance you have. In the streets, in a dance bar, wherever. Other dancers will be drawn in, and then you have a party! Leave just enough energy to walk home at the end of the night. And bring your own water--it's not free.

Lesson number five: (in an environment that feels safe) meet all the people you can. Florianopolis is quite an international city, especially when Curitiba and Porto Alegre (two game cities) are close, but more expensive to stay in. I've actually almost met more Australians than Brazilians! Although not everyone turns out to be the greatest person with the best intentions, I still find it really important for me to give all these conversations a chance. After every 5-10 people that put me off, I find someone I like that refreshes my outlook on people and life. These are the people that make Brasil more than a destination for me, but a home with new family!

Ate mais! - Elizabeth

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