I have been in Brazil for 58 days. This means that I am still very much in the honeymoon phase that any new assignment brings, but I am enjoying it (except the tropical mosquito disease I caught that took me down for a couple of weeks).
My neighborhood is muito legal (very cool) - very safe and has lots of important things around including a cute bookstore and a gelato place. I am fortunate to live in such a good area. My apartment has kind of an odd layout but a nice view. It has four and a half bathrooms and two and a half bedrooms. If Hannah was toilet-trained,she wouldn't feel sad and confused by the lack of green space to do her business in the neighborhood.
Brazilians love dogs. Hannah receives many more 'bom dias' than me on the street each morning. However, the number of perfectly groomed golden retrievers may give her a bit of a complex since her hair is pretty short right now. However, once her hair grows back, perhaps she too will visit the 'pet shoppy' (dog salon) each week like all the cool kids in the neighborhood.
Graffiti is encouraged and is everywhere.
Getting Internet at home was a glimpse in to the bureaucracy that exists in Brazil. I did receive SIM cards for my phone the second day in country, thanks to four months of Portuguese, but it took me about three weeks to get internet at home. The bureaucracy here is a challenge, but in general, people WANT to be helpful.
The food here is already winning me over. The famous cheese bread (pão de queijo) and mangos are practically daily staples, and drinking smoothies and fresh juice is something I've become accustomed to. The largest Japanese and Italian immigrant communities in the world are in Brazil, so I eat great sushi and pizza here. My favorite place so far is Hito. You eat rodízio-style (all you can eat -- not a buffet, but several courses and as much as you want). Enjoying feijoada is a Saturday delight, though one must partake in a sesta immediately afterward. Admittedly, Brazilian coffee so far leaves a lot to be desired. I am still searching for the best, but I have been told that much of the good stuff is exported. For now, I maintain my monthly coffee subscription to Stumptown.
Brazilians are some of the most outgoing and friendly people you will ever meet. It is evident that this culture is free and that people are generally happy. Sure, there is poverty, corruption and petty crime, but people here are resilient and find ways (dar um jeito) to overcome these things and not get down because of them.
I feel grateful to be here and look forward to all that is in store over the next couple of years.