Friday, 22 February 2013

Tchau Estados Unidos!

Whoa 70 page views yesterday!  Hopefully I didn't bore you and you'll keep reading.  I'm sure it'll get more exciting when I'm actually somewhere!

Greetings from the Raleigh-Durham airport.  Ever the multi-taker, I'm hiding in a corner with my earbuds practicing my Portuguese as I update.  Currently, I'm on the lesson that boggled my mind when I was refreshing my Chinese as well- I'm learning the words for "ladder", "umbrella" and "sunglasses"when I don't know any food words yet which are kind of necessary for survival.  Well, maybe umbrellas are too if arachnids are going to rain down from the sky.  Wonder if there's a word for spider-umbrellas.

Anyway, even though I'm not quite out of the country, I've made sure to immerse myself in internationalism.  I went to the couchsurfers potluck last night in Raleigh which was a blast.  There weren't any Brazilians but I did meet two girls who spent a semester in a different part of Brazil and raved about it.  Apparently I need to try the feijoada in Rio (I don't know what that's supposed to be either- I miss the two dorky, male graduate students who shadowed me in Taiwan, never speaking but instantly google-imaging any hard to explain Chinese words with an image on their ipads).  Another guy I met traveled around Brazil and had several contacts he suggested I get in contact with, including a hostel owner in Sao Paulo who I found is currently in Nashville but his hostel has a bar and it looks like a fun place to hang out.  And there seemed to be a decent number of people who were relatively new to couchsurfing but I definitely met some seasoned vets who have been members for six years and had good advice about best practices in general.

Potlucks are always a blast but this one made me realize how NC State has really gotten me used to being surrounded by incredible diversity.  Last night, I met people from China, India, Denmark, France and Columbia... besides the Europeans, it wasn't too much different than the ethnic composition of the physics department.  I was also surprised at the disproportionately high percentage of people who work in Information Technology and engineering.  Perhaps those jobs have flexibility and a decent salary to promote traveling?  Also the average age of most of these couchsurfers is mid-30s, which is a little older than I expected but maybe, along similar lines of reasoning, that population has more job stability and income to afford to travel?  I did meet a decent number of State graduate students- the host was getting a masters in math education and planned to teach in China this summer.  Meet a bunch of engineers.  Drank some delicious wildberry sangria, ate a delicious Moroccan Tagine, warm brie on french bread, sweet potato chili, yum yum in my tum.
Some of the food at the potluck

Anyway, I should get back to Rosetta Stone, currently working on "Meu brinquedo esta  quebrado" ("My toy is broken")

But before I go, as promised, a picture of me and my cactus head.  I just woke up and look awful but Elfie looks supercute as always.  Reason #37 why it's good to be a hedgehog: you look adorable even after partying all night.  I miss my snugglemuffin already but I'm sure Lindsay and Sprocket are taking good care of her!

So excited to be in Brasilia- I should arrive there 9:10 AM and I have no idea what my host researcher has planned for me but I got invited to a soccer scrimmage by a video-gamer-guy who I was chatting with for awhile last night.  So that'll be a good opportunity to meet people in Brasilia and he offered to take me around afterward.