I wanted to share this really efficient way of drying clothes that we have in our apartment. They don't use dryers in Brazil like we do in the U.S. because the weather is so warm all year round, at least where we live, so it's common to hang your clothes to dry inside using a pulley system and I just think it's the coolest thing. I really want to have one of these in my house some day.
You can see in the picture below that the windows are always open in this room so the clothes dry remarkably fast unless it's a rainy day and then the clothes take longer to dry.
Wow, it's been a while since I've posted. Time to do some catching up!
Around January 20th I moved everything (by bus) from Cataguases to Vitoria and moved into my new apartment with Taciana. I'll post pics of the apartment sometime soon, but it's really nice and big and really close to the school. It's also super close to a Walmart which is kind of funny except I really wish there was a more local supermarket I could walk to but alas, Walmart put the other ones out of business...
I really hit the ground running getting ready for the upcoming CMAS (air quality modeling) conference in Sao Paulo. I dug into research and in just a couple of weeks produced a poster to present at the conference. Some interesting stuff going on here in Vitoria with regards to air pollution but while doing the poster I had some realizations. 1) I have a big problem: I have a very hard time organizing my brain to do research and unfortunately Brazil does not carry the medication that I take for my ADD. 2) I really fell out of love with doing research at the end of my master's because of the grueling hours spent in solitude in front of a computer and I'm afraid that love is not coming back to me. I was hoping that after taking a break from school and then being able to come to Brazil and study in a new place I would find that love for research again (maybe it wasn't ever there to begin with?) but it's really just not there anymore. It's not that I don't find the subject interesting, but I want to do more practical work and this just isn't cutting it.
Yikes. Tough realizations to come to after I've moved my whole life down south for this. But when I came to Brazil I really didn't know what I wanted, I just new that I had to take the opportunity to spend time here because I had such an amazing connection to this country. I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity no matter what, and so regardless of what I decide to do, I know I will have no regrets whatsoever.
Wow, I definitely didn't anticipate the complexity of assimilating into the Brazilian workforce. The fine print on my visa indicated that I had to "register with the Federal Police within 30 days of entering the country" and it sounded so simple, but it turned out to be a maze of bureaucracy. Several trips to different banks, notaries, long waiting lines, fees that were unexpected, and dozens of forms later, I am now set to receive my scholarship every month to do my PhD (huge sigh of relief!!). I really can't thank my friend Taciana enough. To say that I wouldn't have been able to do it without her is an understatement. Not only did I not speak enough Portuguese to have accomplished anything, but the various stops that we made were not close together and we (she) did quite a bit of driving. But after all of the headaches, it's all finally settled!
We also found an apartment to live in together. It's a bigger apartment than the one Taciana currently lives in, still 2 bedrooms, and is much closer to the University, which is definitely good for me since I will have to take the bus to campus. It's a really nice apartment and we lucked out on the the price because it is owned by a fellow PhD student (former professor, older guy that's super nice). We should be set to move into it by late January, which is when I will be going back to Vitoria (I'm now back in Cataguases). It's also a huge relief to know where we will be living and that it's affordable and in a good location - Barro Vermelho (Red Hill) District - which is located on the island, metropolitan area of Vitoria. Yep, I'm living on an island, pretty awesome.
While I was in Vitoria I also met with my advisor a couple of times, Neyval Costa Reis, Jr., and though I am told he is very busy (he also serves as vice-dean of graduate studies for the University) he was very helpful and attentive and thankfully spoke very fluent English - he did his PhD in England. We discussed my plans for the next couple of months while I am here in Cataguases and while the main emphasis will still be on learning Portuguese, he also wants me to present the research that I did during my master's at UNC to the air pollution studies group at UFES. That should be fine, but I am a little nervous about it for some reason. Actually, not as nervous as I am that he also wants me to present a poster at the upcoming 1st annual CMAS (Community Modeling and Analysis Systems) Conference held in South America (Sao Paulo) and it will be on brand new data that I just received. Way to hit the ground running, I guess! I'm actually really excited about this because I've always been better at doing several tasks at once, and not so successful at only focusing on one. I will certainly keep y'all posted on my progress!