After university, my life turns to a new page starting from Brazil…
So, I’ve been in Brazil for 2 weeks now. I know it’s kinda late to start my blogging journey in Brazil, but it’s rather late that never. There are a lot of things the past two weeks that i don’t think I can remember all of them on this note. Sorocaba, where i’m living and working, is not a really big city. It is a small city with the top industries and factories in the country. People are very peaceful, at least the ones that I’ve met, not just AIESECers. it’s somewhat similar to Quebec city.
The first thing is that Sorocaba this time of year is just as cold as Toronto’s autumn. Having mentioned that, it’s not very warm inside the house like in Canada, because houses here are totally built with bricks like in Vietnam, not drywall, and it lets the cold sips in slowly and never seems to get warmer later on. Lucky I brought my thick warm Who R U jacket for autumn, but unlucky enough, it is very uncomfortable to wear to sleep, so now I’m having a flu… My throat hurts whenever I breathe (because when you have flu, your thoat, ear, and nose are connected, making it never annoying – explanation from my pharmacist cousin =D).
Second thing is that, it’s very hard to find Vietnamese or typical Asian ingredients here. They do have Walmart and Carrefour but it seem like this city is mostly Brazilian, not like Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. It would be a challenge for me to learn how to cook and think of new foods with these new ingredients I find here. And typical Brazilian food always has cooked beans over rice. the food is always with sauce or oil, never dry or simply fried.
The biggest Asian community here in Sorocaba and Sao Paulo state in general is not Chinese, but Japanese. they cook the most authentic Japanese food I’ve tasted compared to Toronto. And the most shocking thing Ive just learnt is that tempura is originated from Portugal, and when the Japanese refugees came to Brazil, the Portuguese taught them tempura, and surprisingly they made is better and famous around the world. Tempura here looks like a mix of legume in batter and fried in oil like a fried cake, not separately like what i’ve seen in Toronto, or the recipe books. I should be more careful to choose the cooking books later on… Luckily I come here by the time they have a japanese festival. It was super crowded and the food was super good. it takes place on a japanese themed park, built by the city as one of the five green spots of the city, pretty legit.
There is a bad thing for me when I came to Brazil. I didn’t learn any Portuguese beforehand. About 99% of the interns here in Brazil already know Spanish, which is like 90% close to Portuguese, with all the male and female word complications…. The languages that I’ve known so far is vietnamese, english, and chinese madarin, which don’t have that male and female separation. However, I have to say it’s not all hard to learn. there’s a website called livemocha.com that teaches people how to learn basic languagues for free. it works like rosetta stone, but you can send your assignments and actual native people will get online and help you fix the mistakes. It’s very helpful, although there are some words I need to change from what I’ve learned just because they are too formal or not used oftenly. For the past two weeks, I can guess what people say to me and can talk very slowly to my colleague, which I am very excited about.
My job here is quite relaxing so far. I have to calculate the monthly expenses over the past year in order to plan for the expected expense and income for the next year. The business is very young and the idea is unique, so it has a lot of growth in the future. My boss is very cool. The first thing is did when he met me was taking out his iPad and take a photo with me, telling me to send it to my parents :)))))) He is very nice, and he shares all the things about his business, and pays for my lunches. He takes me around with him when he buys supplies and does comparisons (kind of market research). I like it because I like to move around a bit, not just staying at the office all day long. He is very eager to improve his English, that’s why I was chosen (along with my Finance background of course). He even takes me out with his family at weekends and go eat, have lunch, and see around. I have a chance to try bacalhau (salted cod fillet) and grape juice, which is very very goooooooodddddd. He has an older sister who is also learning English, so she is also excited to meet me and asks me to help her with the practicing 😀 She took me out to see cinema and bought me a movie ticket for Spiderman, although she bought the wrong one with Portuguese dub 🙁 I did manage to guess the content of the lines, and learn some new words (hehe) My colleague is Lucy, and she is also very nice. In the morning when we wait for him to come to the office, I learn Portuguese from her, and I teach her English, so it’s a win-win situation 🙂 (at least I feel the dificulty of learning English as the second language).
My host is only temporary for now. The host is a family of an AIESECer here. his name is Guilherme. His family is sooo nice to me, and they are very kind. Gui’s parents are teachers, so their kids are well-raised and are smart. I really have nothing to complain while I’m living here. The guest room where i am staying at is even better than the hotel rooms I’ve stayed at. Food is always filled in the refrigerator, and I can use the kitchen whenever I want (that’s the most exciting part) They even take me out to their family gathering. The Italian family is very huge, and very kind. It makes me miss my big family in Vietnam, with my relatives and cousins…. We are just like that, crowded and full of love. Guilherme has a god son, 3 months old, chubby, and breathtakingly cute 😀 The family give him the nickname buddha because of his chubbiness 😀
I also want to mention AIESEC. Whereever I go, I have a big group of friends who are supportive and friendly to me. I can’t even believe i’m living my life here in Sorocaba, Brazil. I can’t even imagine all this opportunities I have here and all the places I can travel to in Brazil if it’s not for AIESEC. I learned a lot, and I overcame a lot. This is certainly just the first two weeks of my 3 months in Brazil. there will be more to come in the near future 🙂 Next time i’ll talk more about buses and cars, and foods in Brazil 🙂