About My Blog

In 2007, I had just graduated with a degree in Linguistics from UC Berkeley. I was (reluctantly) working on my Master's in Applied Linguistics and (happily) teaching English at a private school for adult internationals in California.

look how young and disheveled we were! 
At that school, I met a wonderful student named Alexandre. I was totally against the idea of dating students, but a dear friend and fellow teacher (Alexandre's teacher) played Cupid and tricked us into spending 1-1 time together.

Long story short, she was right, and we were perfect together. Alexandre went back to Brazil, and, because we stayed in constant contact and he continued to express his undying love for me (therefore proving I wasn't just some study abroad fling :), I decided to try out Brazil with him. So a few months after his return, I, too, hopped on a plane headed south.

us, soon after I moved here in 2008,
back when we were still skinny
Our original plan was to test out my life in Brazil for 3 months (because that's how long my tourist visa was good for). I was open to the idea of staying because I could just continue with my career (teaching English) and because I was almost fluent in Spanish (making Portuguese acquisition easier). But to be safe, I had told my job that I was coming back; I had gone on a leave of absence in my Master's program. I was still maintaining my life in the US, like car and cell phone payments... expensive piece of mind.

But after renewing my visa and then, later, being faced with the option of moving apart or getting legally married in Brazil, we chose the latter, and my stay here became indefinite. That one sentence makes the ideas of deciding to move permanently to a foreign country, marrying someone, and figuring out how to get a Brazilian visa sound sooo simple! They weren't, but our feelings for each other were. So we went for it.

We lived in a small country town in Brazil, because Alexandre was going to medical school there. But then he graduated, and he decided to join the military as a doctor for a year before starting his residency. He got offered the choice of living in a beach town for the military position, and we decided to take it, so then we lived on the São Paulo coast for almost a year. Now we're inland again while Alexandre does his residency.

Small town life in Brazil was hard to get used to after living in big cities in California, but upon reflection, it was a good way to start out here. The city was manageable and costs of living were super super low, and we were also able to get our precious cat, Gatinha. But after two and a half years in that small town, I was ready for bigger and better things!

Anyway, I had originally started the blog just to have a more efficient way to tell my family and friends about my life here. But this blog has become much bigger than that. It's a way to explore all of my hobbies and interests (like language, writing, food, nature, and birds). It's been a way for me to connect to people with similar interests, to discover people in similar (and in very different!) situations, and to reflect upon my life in Brazil and how I've changed and how it's changing me. Through people's comments and reactions, this blog has forced me to think twice and better about how I view and react to life in another country. All of that reflectin' led to this disclaimer post, which I think sums up how I feel about living abroad and why I have a blog at all.

on vacation and visiting family in Bahia in 2009
If you're thinking about moving to Brazil and/or teaching English, I hope that this blog can help you. But I'd like to point out that my experience was unique in that Alexandre was here first and, with the help of his strong and stable family, had already set up an independent life for himself, with an apartment and a car and everything. My easy transition into this country probably would've been much more difficult (or wouldn't have happened at all) had this not been the case. It was also vital that I was able to just keep doing the job I had been doing back home, which was also the job I was trained for. I don't know if I would've come if I would've had to start teaching for the first time, or if I'd had a job that wasn't easily transferable. The last factor was that I'd saved up a lot of money before coming, which made my transition affordable.

So living in a foreign country sounds exciting and exotic (and it is!), but it's still LIFE. You wouldn't move to another city in YOUR country without a job, a house, and savings first, right? So I guess I'm just saying to make sure you're prepared. That, along with a VERY open mind, will make or break your experience living in Brazil.

These are the posts I've written about moving here and about teaching that may help you out and get you started, if that's what brought you to my blog in the first place:

*What I first thought about teaching and what to do before you move here (kind of outdated, but still helpful and popular)
*More teaching tips, and my first thoughts on teaching private English classes
*How to be successful with private students
*Types of private students and their pros and cons
*What I thought about Brazil after living here for 1 year (some thoughts have changed)
*What I thought about Brazil after living here for 2 years
*Why Portuguese is hard for you

And here's a post that blogger friend Lindsey wrote on renting an apartment in Rio de Janeiro (some of it holds true for other states, too).

I also have a "Teaching English" label that will have other posts related to teaching.

After a lot of food and recipe posts, I decided to make a separate cooking blog. Feel free to send in recipes!

If you'd like more posts on my adventures in and musings over learning Portuguese, you can check out my PortuSpanglish label. :)

For everything else, check out the "Good Posts" tab at the top of the homepage. Oh, and you can find lots of other Brazil-related blogs at the tab with the same name.

Happy readings!
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