I have an app on my phone called “Days Until” and it does a little countdown until an important event. I like to stay up until at least midnight every night so I can refresh it and see another day pass away before I get to start on this new adventure. Today marks 62 days left until I board a plane and head to Brazil to begin a two-year teaching contract at an international school there.
While I know there will probably be a lot of things I will miss about living at home, living in California, living in Murica, right now the thing that stresses me out the most is leaving my dog. How I will ever explain to the dog that I would take her with me if I could? How long will she whine and scratch at my door until she gives up? Will she ever get the hang of Skype? When will we develop the technology that allows me to text my pup?
Anyway, here’s the down low on my Rio gig:
- I have a two-year contract to be the English Language Developer at a private international Christian school in Rio.
- My job will involve assessing every incoming student, determining their English abilities, then providing appropriate measures and modifications for them to succeed.
- I expect the first few months to be really hard not only because it’s a new job, but I will also be adjusting to a new culture. There will probably be tears.
- From what I hear from other people living there about life outside the school, most natives have some command of English that they are eager to practice on you. But I have started a Portuguese program and am really hopefully to become fluent!
One of my best friends and I will be living in an apartment that happens to be about five minutes from the beach. :) We’ve worked together, lived together, and traveled together before, so we expect no real problems except wondering HOW WILL BRAZIL HANDLE THE AMAZINGNESS THAT IS THE TWO OF US>?!#@!? Someone should warn Brazil.
- Sadly, I will be arriving after the World Cup is over.
- Awesomely, I will be there for the summer Olympics!!! It is a total life dream to attend an Olympic event, specifically beach volleyball, and I will sell my soul to be at a game.
- A huge perk of the job is that furnished housing is secured for me and rent/utilities comes right out of my paycheck. I also get a grocery card, free meals at school, and a health insurance plan.
- They speak Portuguese in Brazil. Not Spanish. I am surprised how many people don’t know this. The Portuguese colonized Brazil while Spain basically took over everything else. Slaves were brought in from Africa, tons of Europeans immigrated to Brazil for various reasons over the years, and now “what is Brazil” appears to be pretty open to debate. . . this is something I hope to learn more about once I live there. But whatever it is, I don’t expect to be able to pigeonhole it.
From what I’ve been able to glean from ex-pat blogs, Brasilia is about the beach, futbol, family, friendliness. Like any big city, Rio will pose its dangers, but I’m not too afraid, having spent a fair share of time in sketchy places. I LOVE the beach, I love the idea of loving your body and putting it out there. I don’t mind if people are late to a gathering, because odds are I will be late, too. I love sports in general, so while I will lament the lack of SF Giants baseball, I’m happy to catch futbol fever.
Rio is pretty far south…I will be 4-5 hours ahead of Pacific time, depending on the part of the year, as they don’t do Daylight Savings. I will be close to Argentina, Antarctica, the Amazon, Chile, Ecuador, and a million other things I have always wanted to see.
- I’m scared out of my mind.
- I’m excited out of my mind.
- When have I not been out of my mind in one way or another?!
- 62 days.
(Fun fact: Leana and I met at work, when she heard me say I liked Twilight, a somewhat taboo subject at our uberconservative school, in the lunchroom. Then I got invited to a St. Patrick’s Day party and we became besties and now that is our friendiversary.)