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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