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.
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.
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!