Brazilians do love their holidays. There seems to be one every couple of weeks – random little things that aren’t celebrated in the U.S., like the day of Brazil’s patron saint, the anniversary of the city, the proclamation of the republic (different from Brazilian independence day), etc etc. And it’s the type of thing where, if Wednesday and Friday are holidays (like this week), people don’t work on Tuesday or Thursday either. While it is nice to have days off, I don’t like the fact that capoeira classes get cancelled!!! And besides, I like my job, and I don’t want to experience too many delays in my research: I only have ten months here, which in the world of natural products is very little time to accomplish something.

I found THE BEST ice cream place today! This was not a good discovery… up till now I’ve been eating pretty healthily. But this place has a ton of flavors and toppings and, like the restaurants, is self-service: meaning you scoop your own ice cream – however much you want of whatever flavor(s), add your own toppings – and then pay by the weight. It’s brilliant. I wish ice cream places in the U.S. worked like that. If I was an entrepreneuring businesswoman I would totally open up a self-service ice cream place in the U.S. and see how it fared.

I have the lab all to myself today since everyone else is on vacation. I should have just hopped on a bus to the beach this week… oh well. I’m antsy to get the results back from the acetylation of a potentially interesting alkaloid that I isolated – hrm, many of you probably stopped reading after that sentence – suffice it to say that I may have found an interesting compound, but I won’t know until I get the NMR and bioassay results back next week.

If I had to describe my feelings about my life here in one word, it would be “content.” Living here is neither the whirlwind of joy and danger that is life in Salvador, nor the stress and busy-ness of life as a student, nor the monotony of life as a pharmaceutical company intern. I have a good job that I enjoy, I work at a relaxed pace and make enough money to enable me to live well here, I train capoeira every night with two groups that are definitely pushing and challenging me, and I go to sleep at a decent hour… content. I have a good group of friends that likes to chill out and play/sing/dance samba and forro in order to have fun as opposed to the “let’s get trashed in order to have fun” mentality. My life would be complete if only Sao Carlos was on the beach… but alas, nothing can be perfect 😉

For some reason, I feel like I have a ton of free time here. I think that the absence of TV/internet in my life has contributed significantly to that. As a result, I have much more time to write, to read… I wish I had my drawing stuff with me. And I want to learn how to play the guitar. I’m feeling rather out of it musically since I don’t have my own berimbau to practice and I haven’t yet found a piano in Sao Carlos. Maybe I could get ahold of a not-terribly-expensive used guitar at one of the shops downtown.

That’s all for now…