Almost exactly one month in and we probably did the most gringo thing we’ve done our entire stay in Rio (other than the day tour, of course). Monday nights are Pedra do Sal nights, the “samba bar” in Centro. I use the quotation marks because while there is samba music, occasionally even a live samba band, the place itself and the streets surrounding it are entirely too crowded with people to ever actually dance. This past Monday, Keia and I met up with the Kevins to head to Centro for the event after relaxing and sleeping pretty much all afternoon. We knew a few people from a Facebook group for exchange students were going, but we had no idea how many. When we arrived at the metro, there were some foreign students hanging around (we’re pretty easy to pick out in a crowd), and a bus full of 40-50 gringoes later we were there. On the bus I got up the courage to talk to one girl from Rio who was surprised at the number of foreigners. Keia and I tried again today to speak only Portuguese with a little less success; it is difficult to remember in moments of exclamation. I’m trying to speak with as many people as I can, but I’m thinking there might need to be a day we go Cold Turkey. Most students from the intercâmbio group had only been in town a few days to a week. It was nice to get to know a few more people in our situation and who were on nearly the same Portuguese speaking level. There were UFRJ and PUC students, all a bit lost like ourselves, even some other systems engineers.
As for our situation, we nearly have permission from U.Va., PUC, and UFRJ to make everything work out. We still need to be told which courses from the ones we have found will count as our equivalents, but there are at least 3 options per course being taught at PUC with the subjects that we need. Things are looking up. If everything remains on schedule, classes being August 8th and end the same time they would have in December.
As for this morning, Keia and I got up to run before class. I really should exercise more often, and I’m thinking maybe we can help motivate each other. It was one of the students in my class’s last day today, so a group of us went to lunch after class at a nice place (with dark beer- rare) very near our pousada. We passed the rest of the day with more mundane tasks like picking up laundry and buying groceries. Tomorrow I plan to cook the lime and coconut milk, fish and shrimp dish my mom sent me. This evening after dinner a few friends came with us to see Batman in theaters. A fairly relaxing day in all.
Not sure what the rest of the week will bring, but as always, you’ll be the first to know.