Thursday, June 5, 2014

An Extended Pit Stop In Brazil!

And after the longest AWOL in history, I'm baaaack!

I apologize for the long hiatus. I do have excellent reasons for it though. First is -- my laptop crashed. Yes. It was (and still is) a nightmare. A few months ago, I had a feeling it was about to conk out on me, so I asked my family to send me a terabyte's worth of external hard drive... but the laptop died 2 weeks before it was due to arrive. The good news is - all of my files are apparently still in tact. My whole year of travel is preserved. The bad news is, because my hard drive has some weird physical damage, I have to go to a specialist to get it fixed to be able to extract my files from it. So my data is there... I just can't get to it. I have a brand new hard drive now, and I'm out a few hundred dollars... The annoying thing about this is that the Windows 7 that was installed on my laptop is in Portuguese, and it didn't come with a language pack. And so I'm stuck with a laptop I hardly understand.
On the bright side, this definitely gives me more motivation to learn Portuguese.

Why do I need to learn it? Well... because...


... and I have been here for a month. A MONTH! I survived, and I will conquer! :)

OK... remember my Ayahuasca Retreat? Well, I didn't go into detail on my last post, but what it actually showed me was Sao Paulo. I asked Ayahuasca what I should do, and in so many words (and visions), it said - "Go to Sao Paulo"...

I know I must sound nuts, but I didn't just follow it on a whim. I had to be smart about it, and make sure I had a way to survive over here. I had a few friends who had mentioned I could earn a living here teaching English, and that they had a couple private students they could send my way. I also happened to have a friend with a friend who works/owns a language school who just so happens to be in need of a native English speaker right around the time I arrived... so... Enter Eartha. :)

I also happen to have made some very good friends in Sao Paulo... People who I now consider family... so knowing that they'll be here made me feel better and confident about the whole thing.

It wasn't easy though. It was extremely challenging trying to view apartments, finding my way around, and trying to get errands done (like getting the laptop fixed) with the language barrier. I had to rely heavily on those people in the photo above for help, and the stress during the first couple weeks has begun to catch up on me via breakouts on my skin. Which is part of the reason why I couldn't write anything till now.


But, after a very rocky start, I am now employed by 3 language schools, I have a few private clients, and I am renting a flat (with a flatmate) in a REALLY good location near the center of Sao Paulo! Seriously, it's almost a little scary how things have worked out so quickly. I guess this means I made the right choice in moving here after all!

The plan is to stay here for 6 months (basically until Brazil kicks me out) and just see what happens :)


Being in Sao Paulo makes me feel like I'm fulfilling my New York City fantasy. I've always wanted to try living there, and Sao Paulo is so similar to Manhattan, I may as well be calling myself a New Yorker!
It's similar because the city is just so compact, filled with skyscrapers... only it's about 10 times the size of NYC. All that everyone ever does over here is work work work - it's pretty crazy. Everyone is a workaholic... but Sao Paulo is where the money is, and all the Paulistas (what they call someone from Sao Paulo) are scrambling around for it. Money does make the world go round.
I'm hoping not to adapt this kind of mentality, although it is a little challenging, especially for someone like me who's basically running on credit. I want a good work-life balance while I'm here... Work hard, party hard -- and they DO have a really good scene here too...
A month in, and I think I've done a pretty good job. :)


It really wasn't my plan to be here for The World Cup. I just got lucky! I'm sure my football fanatic fans aren't very happy about me being here because I don't know squat about football... but I'll try to make the most out of being here!

I have received mixed reactions from the Brazilians about WC... Some of them love it and are really excited, some don't care, and some just plainly hates it. Word on the street is that the government spent and exorbitant amount of money for the World Cup, leaving a lot of the countries priorities (like food, housing, and all the other big problems) unattended... and the people are angry. I've actually seen the protests on the streets, I was here when the buses went on strike, and it can be a little intense.  

An example of some of the street art that started popping up regarding the dark side of World Cup

I can feel the excitement brewing though. Only a week till the first game and all I see around me are green and yellow! The hotels and hostels are slowly getting packed with foreigners, and pretty soon it will be CHAOTIC! I'm hoping it won't be as bad as Rio's Carnival. That experience drained the life out of me!


Yes. To a certain extent, yes.

Is it any more dangerous than, say, Los Angeles or The Philippines?

Não. I don't think so. I think there's a possibility of danger everywhere if you're not careful. My bag was stolen in the most posh neighborhood in Buenos Aires...a  place I never would have thought things like that could ever happen... So just like everywhere I go, I always have my guard up, and I carry my pepper spray... Just in case. Fingers crossed I never have to use it though...


I really feel bad about the month-long hiatus, but it couldn't be helped. I'll do my best to keep you guys updated on the World Cup happenings over here, and don't be surprised if the blog becomes a little bilingual. I gotta practice my Portuguese because one cannot survive Brazil without it!
It has to be said though, that I am having such a good time here. I'm always very fortunate to be surrounded by good people. I think it might be one of my superpowers... Knowing how to pick friends. :)
So wish me luck... Or rather, wish me Boa Sorte, and I'll speak to you guys soon!