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Flavio Suguimitzu :: Blog

August 13, 2010

This week turned out to be tougher than I had originally expected! Living alone is no joke; which is why when I do decide to move out, I am getting a dog.

Most of the week I was either working on my project, or spending a lot of time on itunes listening to music and/or watching (more like attempting to watch) tv.

Strange to say, I am starting to like the Portuguese language a lot more. It could be because I am surrounded by people that only speak this thus forcing me to like it. But at the same time, knowing that I can say, "I can communicate in 4 languages", brings me a lot of joy. Now I can say for certain that learning theory is not the best way to learn something. You need to actually go out and 'experimentar', and this can apply to any subject.  

It is sad to say that I will miss Brazil. It has been good to me as I have been good to it. The environment and culture are the things I will miss the most. They way things work around here is not like in Miami. Although you do have your certain individuals here that are liars and thieves. But the majority of the population has have a certain trust that is no longer seen back at home. For example, at a Kilo restaurant, you can go and pick your portions, go outside and enjoy the food. After you have finished your meal and have had your drinks, you then go back inside and pay your dues. Back in Miami, any restaurant like this would probably not work. Now it is not fair to say that all citizens of Miami are like this, however unfortunately there are people that like to destroy this type of trust among latino-americans and thus why certain communities of White Americans detest latinos, especially in areas where the latino population is not common.

The culture here is also another ideal that I will miss. Here people have a different mentality when it comes to the meaning of life. Now I'm not going to say that the answer is 42, however the idea that they have is the reciprocal of ours back in the states. People here do not live to work. Here their biggest passion along with being brazilian is futebol (soccer). And while your can read in magazines and textbooks about Sugarloaf and the amazing Christ statue; these mere landmarks are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to experiencing the actual culture of Brazil. Culture is like an artists canvas. You can have a mere drawing of a portrait, or you can have a canvas infused with rich colors that define and makes it stand out above the rest. Passion is what creates the second canvas, and it is what the brazilians have.

I know, because I saw it. I experienced and I lived it. There is only one word that can describe what I felt when I experienced this and that word is: envy.

Envious of what they have as a country, and what we lack in America. Not to say that in latino areas of the United States you had some small groupings rooting for their country; ironic as they should be rooting for USA and not Argentina, Uruguay or Brazil. But when the whole country absolutely stops what they do, and I mean a complete shutdown of the entire workforce; this is the passion they have for what they love the most. It is not about the amount of money they make. Brazilians will cheer and scream no matter what size tv they have, or whether the channel is in HD and its being Tivo'ed. 

I have seen this canvas of passion and explosive sentiments; and it definitely kills our view on life.

Countries throughout the world have their culture that is defined and solid. So intricately designed that to confuse one for the other would be taboo. Italy created their monumental masterpieces, and Brazil's love for soccer are some to be mentioned. I sometimes wonder what people think of our legacy. The creation of a privatized Federal Bank? The deprivation of solid education for our youth? The idea of having teachers think of our youth as $ dollar signs instead of students.

Envy is definitely the word I would use to describe Brazil's culture, and I have no regrets participating in the PIRE program. Out of my 4 years at Florida International University, this has been the best (and only so far) experience period. I would not trade the last 2 months for anything in the world and if I had the opportunity of doing this again, I would jump on it in a heartbeat.

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August 02, 2010

This week had turned out to be a sad week. Just as one got better from Dengue... Gabriel, the other guy who traveled with us to Brazil also got Dengue. Not to mention the Professor had his brother's wedding over the weekend and was not in Rio, but Sao Paulo! Which left me with one question. What is one suppose to do on a Friday night? So I went over to my phone and started dialing numbers of the local students from the university and we ended up taking one of the most random trips I have ever taken since I arrived to Brazil 7 weeks ago. 

We went to Icarai and went to a small bar to have a couple of beers and then had to decide where the rest of the night was going to be spent at. After walking around aimlessly trying to figure out where to go. One of my friends had the craziest idea to take a bus all the way to Copacabana. Now mind you, this trip isn't entirely crazy... but at 1:30AM it kind of is.

So we walked to the bus stop hoping for a bus to pass by. There were plenty of busses, however none that went remotely close to Copacabana. After 45 minutes of waiting we had all lost hope, until on the horizon we saw a bus with the name "Gavea" on the front. One of my friends screamed out "ahhh caralho! Olha Gavea!" (which means "well I'll be damned... look Gavea") So we hopped on the bus and low and behold 30 minutes later we were in Gavea... which is less than 5 minutes away from Copacabana by taxi. The rest of the night was spent at a night club there in Copacabana, and we left at 5:45 in the morning. We all opted to go get some after-party munchies and then waited for 7:00 to pass by since the buses would start working again. (this is so we wouldn't have to pay about 70 reais for a taxi)

We managed to get a bus by 8:30, and got home by 9:15.... All in all this was one of the first times I had seen the sunrise since the day we landed in Brazil. Here the sun rises at around 6 in the morning.... way too early for my taste.

All in all, the weekend had turned out better than what I had expected. Now I hope that by next week, I am able to finish my jammed pack tentative schedule so I can go and enjoy one of my last weekends here in Brazil just like this one; no plans, just go out and do what comes to mind. IMHO these are the best nights!

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July 26, 2010

This weekend was a blast! We went to a southern region here in Brazil and took a boat tour. Honestly this was better than a cruise because of 2 things: 1. it was only 20 reais / 2. it was ALL DAY!

Seriously an all day boat ride that takes you to 4 beaches around the islands of Grand Island and takes you to a restaurant on an island (food not part of the 20 reais) all for 20 reais is a bargain! The boat thankfully was not full like the other boats that were out that day and the day was perfect... sunny and not hot. 

 

This was our boat ^

Amazing remote-advisor ever! ^

 

We also went snorkeling and all these fishes were in the water! It was an amazing experience as it was my first time snorkeling and with live animals around me!

 

Overall this was an amazing experience and no photograph can express the gasp of breath I lacked when I was in awe at this sight:

 

 

 

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July 22, 2010

Finally got my mainboard switched out of my mac! ^_^

I am VERY pleased with Apple's worldwide support!

However I don't think Brazil is very fond of Apple products as now my spacebar has a mind of its own and likes to give me spaces only when it wants to.This last sentence literally took me 1 minute to type because of the spacebar.  -_-;

But my replacement part is already on its way! thank god.

 

This weekend we went with Esteban to one of the forts that guard the bay entrance. But other than not being able to understand the tour guide, it was a pretty neat experience. Afterwards we went to eat at a very nice seafood restaurant and ate the most amazing shrimp dish ever. One of the best things I've had to eat in Brazil to date!

Next weekend we plan on going to the Christ on top of the mountain and also, if weather permits, go rent a boat and go island hopping! Finally... water activities! Cool

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July 16, 2010

This past week has been a very hectic week.... everything has gone wrong! (not in terms of the research project) But this week, my roommate was sick and not to mention my Macbook Pro decides to fry its graphics card -_____-

Can things get any better?!

Well called the Apple store and at least they have Authorized repair centers here in Niteroi AND I am under warranty! :)

 So this week has been very frustrating and since my roommate has been sick, this weekend we really could not do much, so no new pictures or adventures to post up online. hopefully next week he gets better and we can go out!

Now its just time to play the waiting game for my graphics card to get here since they have to order it from the States.... -sigh-

What a way to test my patience :P

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July 06, 2010

Week 3 has been one of the most eventful week in Brazil so far. This is because the quarter final games of the world cup was held this week. Unfortunately Brazil lost, which caused a blanket of sadness to fall upon the city. Many people shed tears while Holland took the victory over Brazil. 

But now that Brazil is out of the world cup, it seems like Brazil goes back into its normal daily cycles. Which is not bad, but now we dont have those 'game holidays' anymore :(

This weekend Esteban took us on an 'adventure'. When he says he is taking you to the beach, beach-goers beware... what he really means is that he's going to take you on a 2 mile hike up a mountain!!! Took us about 30 minutes to accomplish this, but the tears and blood was worth the climb. Once we got there we saw a nice view of the city of Barra and Leblon. Literally, it looked like a 3d version of SimCity. The view was simply amazing.

After that we finally got to go to the beach, and its true; when you see a lot of people on the sand and not in the water... its for a reason. The water was FREEZING! Although we went in, we certainly did not go back in  :)

 

So far our trip has been a blast. Our advisor here is the best and goes well out of his way to tend to our needs. I am loving every single second of this trip! 

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June 25, 2010

Now after settling down, we come to find this place a bit like home, without all the technological luxury. Going to the Sendas (supermarket) every other day to buy food, and knowing what to buy in advanced because you dont have a car to take it all back so easily; the daily routine is starting to set in. 

We still did not have internet until Tuesday, so my part of my research project was put on hold until we had reliable internet at the apartment. But the people that came in were very nice, tried to talk portu-nol and it wasnt a hectic experience as i expected. After the internet was put in place, and Dr. Esteban gave us a monitor to use, everything was on track!

This week however the weekend started early. It was more like a 4 day weekend because Thursday was a Neteroi holiday, and Friday it was the game of Brazil vs Portugal, so nothing opened either. A couple of the students that we know here actually went back to their home region for the weekend! So that goes to show you that Brazilians take their World Cup seriously.

The days here have been nice and you cant really complain. I was able to find a gym (called Academia here in Brazil), and the walk to it from the apartment is no more than 15 minutes along the bay. So its a pleasant walk from the apartment to the gym everyday. 

 

Last Saturday Esteban went out of his way to get us tickets to a boat ride that took us around the bay between niteroi and rio. Very very nice and beautiful ride indeed.

 

 

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June 18, 2010

The flight to Brazil was better than what I had expected. 

 Once getting here, we got welcomed with open arms from Esteban and we felt right at home. We got to the flat and it is beautiful. This is what the balcony view looks like:

 

The university is literally 2 blocks away and everything is basically walking/bus distance.

I love the concept of the kilo restaurants which is basically get a plate, fill it with what you want and pay for the weight. Amazing.

Unfortunately the internet here is a lot slower than what we had expected but we are hoping that this gets resolved soon. The 3g usb sticks they gave us only work so well when it wants to. But for the purpose of our research, it gets the job done.

We had minor setbacks with getting our project started, but Esteban has done more than enough to make sure that we have all the necessary equipment; from getting us access to the grad labs to getting equipment that needed to be taken to the apartment! 

Next time I do another abroad program, note to self: Learn the language ASAP before arriving! >.< 

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