About My Time in Brazil

February 2, 2006

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you may know that a few months ago, I left the high salary and stability of my job at Microsoft, and took off for Brazil. I’ll be returning to Seattle before the first half of the year is up, and I have plans to NOT look for a job. At least not in the traditional sense. My goals of coming to Brazil were as follows (in no particular order):

  • Improve my Portuguese (I had skeletal knowledge from my previous trip here, two years ago)
  • See my Brazilian friends again, and see a bit more of a beautiful country, but live like a Brazilian, instead of a tourist. (as much as possible… I’ve been traveling with Brazilians thus far)
  • Spend time away from my life in the States, do some heavy thinking about what I want, and spend time designing my plan for how I’ll get it.
  • Spend time on some of my hobbies like playing the guitar and working on my memory.
  • Look for Volunteer opportunities and spend some time volunteering with kids.

So far, things have been going well. I spent the first week partying, the next two weeks traveling (which also gave me time to do some thinking/planning), and now I’m back, working on the rest of the above goals.

I have had some time to think of my life back home, and I’m starting to appreciate the unique opportunity in front of me. I feel a bit like a guinea pig among my friends. I left my job to make a career doing something I enjoy. I don’t think I’ve figured out what my purpose is yet in life, but I do know I wasn’t going to find it in my job at Microsoft. On that basis, I left.

So far, the most fantastic thing about not having a job is how free I feel. I feel I have the opportunity to do absolutely anything. And for the first time, it will be without any expectations of where I “should be.” I believe that I’m at the end of a period in my life where I was influenced heavily by the expectations of others. A period that I think is ending at the right time… neither too early, nor too late.

Now that I’m freeing myself of others expectations, I’m just need to figure out what my own are.

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How to Define American

February 1, 2006

I was sitting at lunch today and showing Rodrigo and his sister Erica pictures from my going away party in Seattle. They were asking about my friends back home in the States, and I said something to the effect of “This guy is Chinese, she’s Venezuelan, he’s Indian…” etc, and they were confused a bit. I soon realized that in this country, whether the person has a Japanese, Chinese, African, or European origin, everyone is described as Brazilian. We talked briefly about how stupid they thought it was that we have distinctions such as “African-American” or any other conglomeration of nationalities. Now, this country is not devoid of racism, as you won’t see a proportionate number of dark skinned people in elected positions, but I thought their view was extremely interesting.
On the plane ride here, I read a 50 page summary of the history of Brazil, and they have a similar history in terms of bringing slaves from Africa. However, there historically has been a lot more mixing of races here, and therefore there are Brazilians that would easily pass as Caucasian, and those who would easily pass as African-American… and a rough guess would be that the majority are some blend in between.
No wonder Brazilians are good looking. Everyone knows mixed kids are hot. 🙂