The jeitinho brasileiro can be a difficult thing to explain… kind of like systems engineering! It’s a work-around, but the significance is bigger, much more broad than that- it’s a part of the Brazilian way of life. It is usually unconventional, it is not perfect, but in most cases it gets the job done. The solution we have found to be able to stay here in Brazil is a jeitinho.
Thursday morning, Keia, Joe and I resolved to go to ENCE to see who we could talk to and try to sit in on a class. ENCE is in Santa Teresa but not too far from the Lapa arcs. It’s not the best neighborhood at nighttime, but the three of us together should be okay. The coordinator we spoke with already knew our situation, and he assured us that there was no problem with us taking classes at ENCE. The only hold up was the paperwork the administration was going to release to us at the end of the semester to prove that we had attended and passed our courses. He told us to come to our first class the next morning, and that everything should be resolved by then. We came away hesitant to be hopeful, but hopeful nonetheless. A few email chains and another bus ride back and forth and we were sitting in a university class room for our first time in Rio!
The class itself had about 10-12 other Brazilian students around our age. A fairly even mix of girls and guys. It was intimidating at first because when more than one person is speaking all at the same time it is nearly impossible for us to understand what is going on. I think we all felt a lot better as soon as the professor started putting equations up on the board. The university library has the textbooks we need both in English and in Portuguese, although we are not allowed to take them outside the school. I’m curious to see what the other course will be like… and to buy a real notebook. They’re very expensive here and so far I’ve been using a Hot Wheels notebook which was just the cheapest thing I could find with actual lined paper.
We are scheduled to take Pesquisa Operacional II and Modelos Lineares Gernealizados at ENCE, and they are each offered twice a week: the first on Monday and Wednesday nights, the second on Tuesday and Friday mornings. It conflicts a bit with the one class we are supposed to take with Professor Orlando at UFRJ, and we would like to keep up with our Portuguese classes, so we are still figuring out the details.
We’ve mostly hung around Copacabana this week, going to the beach, exercising or playing volleyball, and taking some time to chill out. I didn’t end up going to forró on Tuesday, but Keia said it was fun. Since we went to a “Latin party” on Wednesday (surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of Latin american influence in the music and culture here, even though Latin America neighbors Brazil on all sides), we skipped the CS meet-up on Thursday to watch a movie instead. Last night, the girls in our group of friends got together to cook dinner at Nayra’s place. Then we met up with the boys in Lapa and just hung out in the bars and food stands on the street. Tapioca is becoming one of my new favorite foods. It’s cheap and it can be filled with anything you want. Make it a meal or a dessert, but it’s not like the tapioca you would think of in yogurt or bubble tea back home. The weather has been hot and dry and perfect for the beach…so I think that’ll be part of the plan for today. They have a program here called Bike Rio that’s very similar to the bike program in DC. There are stations all around the city, so once you find a station with an open bike, you call to release the bike and can ride it anywhere around the city. You just have to make sure you drop it back off within the hour, and the program is only R$10 for the whole month- as many uses as you please. Keia and I just made accounts, so we’re about to go exploring!
I’m sorry I don’t have any new photos today! I might try to make it up to Arpoador for sunset with my good camera this evening.
Love as always, Molly