Bon Voyage: We’re Moving Abroad!

Bon Voyage We're Moving Abroad
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We’ve been sitting on some pretty big news: R. and I are realizing a life-long dream and moving abroad to Brazil!

It all began during our trip to India last year when we had a chance to reconnect with with a friend and former colleague of mine. He’s been living in New Delhi, teaching at an American school for the past few years. We spent an evening with him, hearing about his experience as an ex-pat. And then we got home to the States and started to wonder, could we follow a similar path, too?

As you may know, I work in education and previously taught for several years. Most major international cities are home to at least one American school, which typically serve children whose parents work at the American embassy or an American corporation as well as local children whose parents want to give them an American education. Given my background, I decided to pursue a position at one of these schools and joined with a recruiting agency. I spent most of the fall months contacting schools, participating in Skype interviews (many in the wee hours of the morning due to timezone differences) and the like, until I finally accepted a position in São Paulo where I’ll be teaching at the elementary level again.

Bon Voyage We're Moving Abroad
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Now that we’re less than two months out from our departure date, our feelings vacillate between excitement and “OMG, are we really doing this?!” (A totally normal state to exist in, apparently.) We have our visas, plane tickets, a car, and housing, not to mention a few trips planned for the “fall” and “winter” months (actually Brazil’s spring and summer), but there’s a lot of be done: selling most of our worldly possessions, replacing cashmere with linen in our wardrobes (I literally have no warm weather clothes), attempting to learn Portuguese, maximizing the remaining weeks in California… the list goes on and on.

Bon Voyage We're Moving Abroad
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And so now, to respond to the frequently asked questions we’ve fielded from friends and family:

  • What about your pets? They are coming! And since they love laying in the sun and the warm weather, I think they’ll be quite pleased to escape San Francisco’s fog. We actually ruled out a lot of locations in Asia due to strict quarantine requirements, too, instead opting to look for positions in South America, Europe, and Africa where the import processes for pets are much easier.
  • What’s R. going to do in Brazil? He’ll work remotely and send me pictures of our pets looking adorable all day. Essentially, we’re flip flopping our current employment situations.
  • Why Brazil? First and foremost, the school that hired me sealed the deal. I loved everyone I interacted with during the interview process and during a visit this spring. It’s a place where I can grow and be challenged as a professional. Second, we’re incredibly excited to travel throughout South America, a place that we’ve longed to visit. And São Paulo is a major city with cultural events and an amazing food scene as well as close proximity to both beach and mountainous rainforest spots for weekend exploring. It’s just the right balance of the familiarity of a big city mixed with culture shock and discovery.

We know we’ll be ex-pats for at least two years (the length of my initial teaching contract), which will go by in blur, I’m sure. While we’re there, I can’t wait to fully immerse ourselves in Brazilian culture and not just experience a new city for a few days at a time. And obviously, I’ll be blogging more actively, both about our transition into our new lives as ex-pats and as we explore South America. If there are specific things you’re interested in seeing on the blog (e.g., where/what to eat, how to get an international teaching position, etc.), let me know in the comments below!

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Reconsidering Argentina & Chile

Argentina Chile
Buenos Aires, Argentina | via

About seven months ago, I aggressively booked award tickets for a trip in early December to take us to Argentina and Chile. I’m now having a bit of buyer’s remorse. (Fortunately, award tickets are easy to change/cancel!) Part of it has to do with timing: we’d be gone for two weeks right after Thanksgiving and right before the Christmas holiday. I also can’t quite decide how to spend the two weeks – if we go, we’d spend several days in Buenos Aires first and then a day or two in Santiago at the end, which leaves about seven days to fill. I’d prefer to go to Mendoza and Bariloche whereas R. wants to go further south into Patagonia and hike on the glaciers. #champagneproblems

With that in mind, at a minimum, we’re going to shift our first visit to South America to after the winter holidays. And I think we might change our itinerary altogether. Here are the options on the table:

  1. Spend two weeks entirely in Argentina, visiting Buenos Aires, Iguaza Falls, Bariloche, and Mendoza.
  2. Visit Colombia for a week. It seems like there’s a piece on how cool Colombia is every other month in Travel + Leisure and friends recently went and came back raving about it.
  3. Visit Peru in the spring. We very much want to visit Machu Pichhu and do it right (i.e., hike to the top) so we should do that one while we’re young!
  4. Eco-trek to the Galápagos Islands, which is not inexpensive by any means, so we’d need a little runway to save appropriately before booking.

If you have strong opinions on where we should go next, holler in the comments!

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New York State of Mind

New York State of Mind
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I’m working from New York City (or just “The City” if you’re originally from the Tri-state area) this week. I couldn’t be more excited about getting a taste of autumn on the East Coast since it’s been quite warm in San Francisco these past few weeks. At the risk of sounding like a basic bitch, I’m looking forward to layered clothing, tights, boots, and pumpkin spice lattes for the next few days (although it looks to be in the 70s toward the end of the week).

I have some evening work commitments, but I’m still managing to squeeze in a few (Italian) dinners with friends and I’m finally going to see my cousin’s son who is starring as Gavroche in Les Mis right now! I’ll also be picking up some bagels on Saturday on my way out to bring back to the West Coast. (Really excited about testing out these methods.) A week in New York always flies by, but hopefully I’ll be able to slow down a bit and enjoy the changing leaves.

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