I feel like I’ve neglected writing about my daily life in Curitiba, so I’ll try and cover that in this post if you’re interested!
I live in the downtown– 15 minutes walking from work, near to a bus stop [Curitiba essentially has an above ground Metro system], close to the university where I’m taking Portuguese classes, a grocery store, a park, etc. etc.
I’m living with one other Brazilian girl who’s the same age as me– she’s also an AIESECer and works part-time at the organization where I’m interning.
Here are pictures from out my window:
While my vertical blinds don’t do the best job keeping the light out, and it can be noisy at night, my doorman is quite pleasant, and everything’s been great so far! Additionally, the apartment is structured so that I have a view from about 15 feet directly into someone else’s apartment from our kitchen window. I can only imagine that this convenient set-up will either lead to me being a key witness in a murder mystery, or a steamy Brazilian novela…I’ll keep you updated.
Work has been great so far (despite a few internet glitches in the office- aka not being able to connect at all). In the office it’s all Portuguese all the time, which is both nice, and mentally exhausting. I’m working for Impulso, the microcredit branch of the organization Alianca Empreendedora, which works to develop low-income entrepreneurs through training, credit, and access to resources and a marketplace [see earlier post about their online store hosted by Walmart.com.br]
I’m currently researching online money transfer systems [like PayPal, etc.] that we can integrate into their web portal for international investors. The trouble is most services require 501c3 status to receive reduced nonprofit rates…does anyone know of some great ones that I’m missing? Let me know!
Once we get the system and portal in place I’ll move into the international investors recruitment phase– so I hope to get as many of you to try out investing on the portal as possible!
Some days I impress even myself when I convince Curitibanos that I’m Brazilian for a few minutes, or when they insist I must have been born in Brazil and then moved to the United States…other days I’m quite sure there’s someone from Fail Blog waiting in the wings with a video camera. It’s hard to say what tomorrow will bring.
I am however attempting to be proactive by taking Portuguese classes at the University here. They’re twice a week in the afternoon for 3 hours. When I arrived to the school for a placement exam, instead they just talked to me and decided that I would be placed into Intermediario para Hispanos, or Intermediate for Latinos, haha.
My teacher is a total hoot, I really can’t think of another way to describe her. It seems like a good portion of the class will just be listening to her tell hilarious stories.
For example: The first day she went on and on about why she really misses/loves her small town roots, as she grew up in a town of a few hundred. She told this story of how when she was 8 years old she woke up in the early hours of the morning and noticed that her parents still weren’t home, and her brother told her they were at the town bar. So she decided she wanted to go find them…but first she wanted to put on her duck costume left over from the school play [this was no ordinary duck costume– it was covered in real bright yellow feathers from head to toe]. So she got ready in her duck costume and then walked into “town.” When she arrived the doorman told her that ducks were not permitted in the bar so she couldn’t enter. After a little begging [but never taking off the head of her costume to reveal her identity] she was allowed in. The whole bar watched the little duck walk in to her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. None of them were surprised that she was in a duck costume– they were more worried that she was quite hot and sweating a lot in the costume. Her mom took her to the bathroom and took the costume off, but she was only wearing her underwear underneath. She said her parents never sent her home, but she was more embarrassed to be sitting in the bar in her underwear than she was as a duck in the bar.
She ended with, “And that’s why I like small towns, because when you’re 8 you can go to the bar at 5 in the morning in a duck costume, and not get sent home…you could never do that in Curitiba.”
The mental image of a little duck in a bar has left me laughing out loud by myself at unpredictable moments all week.