It’s The First Of The Month (Originally Posted: October 5, 2013)

…not really.

I’m reflecting every month (and in between) on the state of science. How it’s all going. My reflections. Its the 5th, a Saturday night and I’ve been here (Brasilia, my first post) for four days. I’ve been to Brasilia once before for four days on a hybrid work/student trip. It’s nice enough, but I will always be partial to the coast. I know two people here: my University of Brasilia sponsor, Cristiano and a friend I made in Atlanta, Lenildo, who was visiting as a fellow at Emory and who worked for the Ministry of Health, now PAHO. If you have to know two people, I’m guessing that these are the ones to know.

Cristiano picked me up from the airport, delivered me to my housing, bought me groceries so that I’d have some essentials immediately (hello, toilet paper!), and then walked and drove me around so I’d be familiar with my new settings. Then I met with the School of Portuguese and the International Exchange office…all of this right off of the plane. Shortly thereafter, Lenildo took me to lunch and I passed out afterwards. After waking he came back and took me to a Walmart equivalent.

My place is basic. There is a common living room and kitchen and five individual rooms. I think 4 of the 5 rooms are filled. I’ve met a Jervassa, Bianca, Bridgette, and Marco, but I don’t think Marco lives here. I haven’t seen him since. But I met Bridgette fleetingly and haven’t seen her since either. I don’t know. The internet keeps going out, but you can steal from other floors and so far I haven’t been without. I’m hoping to meet more people in the Portuguese class I’ll be taking and when I’m out of the apartment. Right now I’m in the apt a lot. Lenildo, bless his heart, told me today (after we spent the afternoon at his friend’s house) that he doesn’t want me to spend too much time in the room because I’ll get sad. Truestory. Yesterday I got this super heavy feeling of loneliness. I think because many of my friends were at a Department party for school and I was seeing glimpses through social media. I expected this feeling and expect it will come back, but am looking forward to finding my rhythm. It’s only been four days so I’ll cut myself some slack (mostly because Vanessa told me to).

Regarding the work, I haven’t really started thinking about it yet, though I have posted some preliminary recruitment materials on my Research Facebook profile. I meet with Cristiano and Lenildo tomorrow to discuss my project as a whole and my work plan. I imagine that between class three times a week, archival research (and its subsequent translation-OY), interviews, and meetings, I’ll be very busy. It has been nice waking up to my own internal clock and gorging on TV. I felt like I haven’t pumped the brakes for at least 2 years. I feel optimistic about getting what needs to get done on this leg and that’s basically setting everything up. I have a meeting with the director of the sickle cell program for the Ministry of Health in mid-October and will be prepping for a major round of interviews in late November when I attend a national conference on sickle cell disease in Salvador. I will also be attending a health equity meeting afterwards, extending my stay.

Heeeeeeeeeere we go!

 

Here are some pics for the first couple of days here:

One of the "blocos" ... I live in Bloco G

One of the “blocos” … I live in Bloco G

Where the magic happens...

Where the magic happens…

C'mon son.

C’mon son.

In the new Black Student Union.  I was told that I could study there.  Post about the Union and Affirmative Action on this campus later.

In the new Black Student Union. I was told that I could study there. Post about the Union and Affirmative Action on this campus later.

The box of groceries that my sponsor brought me.

The box of groceries that my sponsor brought me.

Look Ma!  Cassava by the bagfuls.

Look Ma! Cassava by the bagfuls.

Right before I left the states, I invested in a real raincoat.  Good thing.  On Friday after a clear sky the entire day, I head out to walk to my portuguese placement test 30 minutes away and the skies open.  Happy to report I was as snug as a bug in a rug...and dry after an hour walking in the rain.  I am also happy to report that I finally FINALLY tested above beginner I level.  I even got a question on the test right that no one else did.  I'm still novice, but at least I'm not the lowest level novice anymore!

Right before I left the states, I invested in a real raincoat. Good thing. On Friday after a clear sky the entire day, I head out to walk to my portuguese placement test 30 minutes away and the skies open. Happy to report I was as snug as a bug in a rug…and dry after an hour walking in the rain. I am also happy to report that I finally FINALLY tested above beginner I level. I even got a question on the test right that no one else did. I’m still novice, but at least I’m not the lowest level novice anymore!

Dinner with Lenildo.  A first:  Tuna on my pizza.  It was kinda tasty.

Dinner with Lenildo. A first: Tuna on my pizza. It was kinda tasty.

Pois nao!

Pois nao!

Saturday, Lenildo took me to a birthday BBQ.  They plied me with food and drink and seemed to be amused with this American researcher.  They were all from the oral health area of the Ministry of Health.  A bunch of crazy dentists!

Saturday, Lenildo took me to a birthday BBQ. They plied me with food and drink and seemed to be amused with this American researcher. They were all from the oral health area of the Ministry of Health. A bunch of crazy dentists!

Chicken hearts!  Tried them a few years ago and now I'm good.

Chicken hearts! Tried them a few years ago and now I’m good.

delicioso!

delicioso!

my new city for a month!

my new city for a month!

 

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