Our First Week in São Paulo

Last Saturday we landed in São Paulo and a whirlwind of a week began. With the exception of a small delay at JFK, our travel to Brasil went smoothly: all of our eighteen checked bags (including R.’s entire office set-up) arrived with us and both the cat and dog acted as if they were frequent flyers.

Until this weekend, we had very little time to explore and acclimate as my new faculty orientation programming started immediately. The school did a bang up job keeping us well-fed and organized while simultaneously pummeling us with information about the school, our students, and life in São Paulo and Brasil. Fortunately, with their help, we’ve avoided much of the red tape Brasil is known for: our RNEs (federal identification cards) were issued quickly and we only waited a week to have internet installed (hooray for watching Game of Thrones in bed tonight!).

Today and yesterday were blissfully our own in our new city. This spring, we purchased a car from a co-worker of mine so we took a morning trip to the mall to stock up on supplies (and almost had to take up permanent residency there when we couldn’t figure out how to pay for parking) before having lunch with a b-school classmate of R’s at the cutest bakery. We managed to get our apartment entirely unpacked and (mostly) organized, enough so that we could host people over for wine tasting. And today, we spent the afternoon strolling through Ibiraquera Park with the dog.

It’s hard to overstate how much we’re enjoying São Paulo. Every morning I pinch myself while walking the dog and admiring the flowering trees and stately mansions in Jardim Europa, quite the oasis in this concrete jungle. And while the language barrier is a challenge, it’s pushing us to take risks and use our Portuguese, often to much fanfare. Our biggest pain point has been navigating meal planning: we haven’t found our go-to grocery store just yet and I’m not entirely sure what items will reliably be in the produce section. But I suppose if that’s our biggest gripe, we’re doing just fine as we adjust to life as ex-pats in bustling Sampa!

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10 Quick Highlights from Spain

Highlights from Spain
Palacio de Generalife | Granada, Spain

I returned from my trip to Spain on Saturday and spent yesterday readjusting being home, doing laundry, and fighting jet lag. Our trip was the perfect mix of sightseeing and relaxation. Here’s 10 quick highlights from Spain:

  1. Indulging in jamón ibérico and croquettas at every meal
  2. Luxuriating in an Arabic bath in Granada
  3. Contemplating the devastation of war while viewing Picasso’s immense Guernica 
  4. Sampling churros in search of Madrid’s best
  5. Soaking up the sunshine along the Costa del Sol
  6. Admiring the Spanish countryside from the comfort of a Rail Europe train
  7. Meandering through winding streets in Marbella
  8. Imbibing the enexpensive, but excellent Spanish wine
  9. Admiring the bright pink and purple bougainvilleas in Seville
  10. Discovering the coolest courtyards of the homes in Cordoba
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South America, Finally

South America
Casa Rosada | Buenos Aires, Argentina

My desire to make South America the fourth continent I’ve visited is strong. I recently picked up Lonely Planet’s South American On a Shoestring to get a better sense of what countries I’d like to visit, when to go, etc. It’s safe to say that I think we’re traveling exclusively through South America for the next few years!

After much hemming and hawing of which country to visit first, I decided to stick with the original plan of visiting Argentina, but without a visit to Chile, too. Our trip is shortened a bit (we’ve come to realize that  our saturation point of vacation is about a week) and we’re going to go in the spring (i.e., Argentina’s fall). Since it can be brutally hot in Argentina, this will allow us to enjoy the trip a bit more and plan more outdoors activities. And the tourist season is also waning around this time, so we can expect lower priced hotel accommodations, too. (Our original plans had us going during the high season.)

I’m really looking forward to planning this trip. Between Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Bariloche, I think we’ll get to see a great deal of Argentina and have a lot of different experiences within a week.

 

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3 Autumn Adventures

Autumn Adventures
Sonoma, California

We’re back this morning, fresh off a red eye, from Maui. I can’t wait to share our experience on the island in the coming weeks. However, I’m already looking forward to our next few adventures, all of which are happening close to home (for once!). September and October are hands-down the best months in the Bay so I want to maximize our weekends as much as possible. Here are the 3 adventures I’m most looking forward to this autumn.

1. Glamping at Safari West: Since we moved to the Bay Area, I was intrigued by Safari West up in Santa Rosa. It’s a private wildlife preserve that’s home to about 400 African animals. When a glamping experience popped up on Travelzoo a few months ago, I quickly booked us an overnight trip and early morning safari in early October.

2. Sonoma: We’ve been up to Napa a handful of times, but have yet to venture over to Sonoma. We’re going to spend a weekend exploring Sonoma and I’m excited to check out the many eateries in Healdsburg in particular. I’m also hoping to pop into the Guerneville Bank Club, a retail and art gallery space that serves up Nimble & Finn’s ice cream.

3. Sharktober: When I was younger, I wanted to be a marine biologist. My fascination with sharks has never waned and after missing out on the Shark Stewards’ autumn trips to the Farallon Islands last year, I made sure to book early this summer. We’ll be spending a full day in October out on the water to (hopefully) observe Great White sharks!

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