Captain’s Log (Originally Posted: October 8, 2013)

April 17, 2014

Captain’s Log 007
I’ve been here a full week in this new habitation of orange juice and skinny jeans. About 47 left. But who’s counting.
It seems I’ve taken to recording sounds when I move in. Here are some Brasilia sounds:
Some thoughts so far:

  • i’m beginning to interact with my apartment mates more after almost a week of locking myself in my room watching ‘girls’ and catching up on sleep. there’s only so much shoshanna one can take after all, plus i finished the series. right now there are three folks: alain-a doctor who’s studying tropical medicine, jervasso, a prof of some sort, and a young lady named bianca. all i know about her is that she scored the best room.
  • we have a weekly cleaning service. i think my mates don’t wash the dishes and just wait it out till they get washed each week. and yes, there is a separate door for the cleaners in each apartment.
  • i’ve started my research officially today. went to the children’s hospital. thought i was going to get a tour and meet some folks. in addition to that, i observed a couple who were told for the first time that their child is diagnosed with SCD. the mother cried. she thought her child would die by age 5-you know, according to google. it was intense and unexpected.
  • also. full steam ahead. i have officially started entering items in my calendar for me to remain organized as i have a meeting with the person who led the charge for affirmative action at UnB, persons involved in the initiative around the health for the black population at ministry of health, professors here who share like interests, and the governmental agency that deals with the promotion of race-all in the next 3 days. yep. this is happening.
  • i feel like my porto is increasingly getting better and worse at the same time
  • seems I’m transferring myself from the politics of sickle cell in the US to the politics of sickle cell in Brazil. Oy. Its clear I will have to tread lightly and be a neutral as possible. can’t afford the cut off.
  • after class today i went to the cafeteria (I thought it was the sole source of food at 30 minutes walking distance from me but there is mini fake lake-side dining at the gas station about 15 minutes away if i get desperate. seriously, its like a restaurant)…any way i went to the cafeteria and it was swarming with young people. i mean hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of them. and of course there was a line to pay for lunch and then the line(s) to receive the lunch. too many lines, too many people. i left for the almost empty cafe steps away.
  • this bug situation. i went to the housing office to see if i could switch rooms. i was told no. i was told that they only come between 5 and 9 so make sure door/windows are closed and there is no light to attract them. i was told that the housing manager had to dispose 2 kilos worth of bugs from his own house (so why should this privileged american be any different-he didn’t say that. but i felt him thinking it). i was told to deal with it. alrighty then. i will.
  • the first time i walked to campus, i heard what’s best described as audio feedback. loud and screeching. i thought it came from a machine. i soon found out it came from the trees. presumably insects in the trees and not just in the evening. daytime too. its kinda amazingly loud and i suppose everyone here is used to the sound. i recorded it on my way to class today:

O fim … for now.