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Scenic Route "One must go without familiars in order to be open to influences, to change". ~ K. Hathaway

I am home and longing a bit to be "homeword bound"

USA | Tuesday, 23 March 2010 | Views [401]

I am trying to be optimistic, but as you can probably tell then homesickness is setting in.  I was told this would happen, "the first month you are excited, the next period of time - different for everyone - you are homesick, then once you have mastered the language and are really feeling like you are enjoying your time away from home, it is just about time to leave"...  So, I guess I am entering into that second period.

I am home in Viçosa - in one bedroom of a 4 bedroom apartment.  I live with other students of the university (who only speak Portuguese) and have a small white room with ceramic tile and a veranda that is connected to a roommate's room.  It is a nice place, although not yet cozy.  I am borrowing a bed, desk, and chair from one of the roommates and will try to go shopping ASAP to get my own stuff.  It will end up being a comfortable place to hang my hat once I am able to get some things to make me feel more at home. My neighbors are currently singing - it sounds like there are about 7-10 of them - and it is very nice, showing the warmth that a Brazilian family has.  I live on a small road but it is lively.  The apartment across the street is under construction and the road has enough traffic to keep you awake.  It can't be worse than Rio, though... If I was able to sleep through that I can handle anything (and I have earplugs if needed...)!

I am within walking distance of the University, although a bike will help a lot because it is a bit far - like walking from 11th street in the Fort to the Ag Campus, I think.  There are several stores nearby, although I haven't figured out which ones sell what I need.  I think within a week I will have it all worked out, though (just like in Rio) and will be ready to go out and explore!  Viçosa is very different from Rio, though.  It is nice, small, still Brasilian, but full of more casual Mineiros. Today, I tried to put on my best outfit for "fitting in" and for making a good first impression at the university.  However, I was totally overdressed!  What a change from Rio - where if I wasn't wearing heels I was stared at (or at least I felt like it - you know my "Keens" are ugly by American standards, but in Rio... You would have thought I had on moon boots...).  Most students go to class in jeans (skinny jeans are really in here), tennis shoes, and a cute tank top (girls) or just a good old t-shirt (guys).  It is similar to Knoxville in many ways... 

I did meet many nice people today at the university.  I was introduced around at the Forestry department and have a good feeling that I have found an advisor to assist me.  I believe I will be welcomed and will be able to be successful in my studies there.  I think I will have an office in the GIS laboratory on the 1st floor.  I am also planning to attend the Monday seminars that all graduate students are required to attend (just like at UT).  The university is similar to ours as well in that it has many departments to conduct the administration needs of a place like that - I found many of them today just looking for the right one. I will have a student ID card by Friday and will be settled in soon.  I do have a year to get comfortable but am hopeful that sooner rather than later it will start feeling like a home (away from home).

Missing you all back there and listening to WDVX to feel a bit closer to home and to remember how much I love it there and how much I am going to love sharing that culture with Mineiros (people of Minas Gerais) and this culture with East Tennesseeans.  I am enjoying this experience so far and will continue to build on it.

See photos here of the university and the city - I will post more soon of my home (once I get it looking like a home):   


Tags: the next leg

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