I skipped work on Friday to take care of apartment stuff, but all the people I needed to talk to were not in their offices, and it ended up being a wasted day. Yeah for those of you who didn’t know, I’m moving. My current apartment is 1) Expensive: like four times the cost of normal student housing. My professor thought that because I’m American I’d want to rent something expensive… ah, not so. I’d be just as happy living in a tent actually. 2) Annoying: my light has burned out and my toilet has broken, and it gets stuffy at night but if I open the windows I get zillions of these brown beetles that are attracted to the lights. So it’s either a comfortable but buggy apartment or a stuffy but bug-free apartment. Anyway, now I have to skip work on Monday too in order to move.
My research is going at a snail’s pace, and the reason why is that I STILL have to ask for tons of help with everything, and I’ve never minded asking for help but in this case I feel like a freaking baby.
Running NMRs for example: something I’ve done hundreds of in the states. Well here, you have to first sign up for a time to have your spectra run, then prepare your samples – no more than 15 mg, dry them in the dessicator first, and inject TMS vapor into them (never did THAT in the states!) – then fill out a form that your research advisor has to sign, and then bring your samples to the NMR technician at the appointed hour. And all this for a 200-MHz machine. I wonder what they’d think of Hamilton, where first-year organic chem students can OPERATE THE 500-MHz BY THEMSELVES.
Saw my first giant capoeira brawl this weekend. Cativeiro was going to have a street roda on the calçadão at noon, but when we got there we found Capoeira Iorubá already having a roda. Some of the more advanced (visiting, I might add – no one from São Carlos) Cativeiro students invaded the roda without really asking permission, and the games started to heat up… I stayed to the side because I felt the energy was not really good. Eventually the mestre got into a grappling match with one of the Iorubá guys and the whole roda exploded into a fight. The police came and started searching peoples’ bags for weapons.
I freaking hate stuff like that, it’s so unnecessary. Yeah I tend towards the hippie “why can’t we all just get along?” philosophy in capoeira… although I’m not naïve enough to think that this is actually possible, I’ve always tried to be the amiga de todo mundo and I’ve generally succeeded. Now there are going to be bad feelings between the two groups, and no more rodas on the calçadão.
I get sick of Portuguese sometimes. Sick of only being able to express myself in very simple terms, without any of the eloquence and intelligence that I feel normally characterizes my verbal expression in English. I get sick of having to ask people to repeat stuff, to talk slower, as if I were a child. I wish I could communicate with people here without the language barrier between us. I hate the fact that I have a really hard time making small talk in Portuguese, which can lead to a lot of awkward silences.
Finally, I feel out of touch with my friends and family in the U.S. I love my life here, but I miss them and I wish they were here with me.