Sunday, June 17, 2012


To this point I think it's fair to mention that this blog has been pretty rose-tinted. Not everything has been perfect, as I'm sure you can expect. Culture shock alone leaves most people feeling pretty worse for wear their first couple of weeks, let alone the many complications I've experienced here. While this post highlights many of the more negative moments of my stay here in Brazil, they in no way dampen the awesome times, and I'm so incredibly happy that I got this opportunity to work here.

That being said, the first complication after arrival was my job change. As you remember, I had been prepping to teach English to children, whereas now I teach English to adults. While this perplexed me at the start, the job ended up being perfect for me, and I'm enjoying it more than ever. I feel very lucky in this regard, as my main reason for coming here to Goiania was the job I found. It could have just as easily changed into something completely irrelevant or just plain terrible. I've heard of this happening to other interns here, and I really am thankful that this has been such a great professional experience for me.

This past week, quite a few other changes have popped up. Some are trivial. For instance, I now teach class at 8am instead of 1pm. Sure, I get up at 6:30am, but the walk to work is much cooler, I have the rest of the day to myself, and I have more students in my class. Can't complain about that. Another change, a bit more serious, is that I found out my job ends at the end of June. I had planned to work into July, but now I won't be needed past the 30th. This would have upset me if the third, rather abrupt and intensely frustrating change hadn't happened just the day before.

I got a text message at 7am Thursday morning as I was getting ready for work. Bruna was awake too but was having breakfast across the hall at her sister's apartment. The text said that I was going to change hosts this weekend, but that I need not worry because my next host was already set up. Wifi, my own room, and an even closer proximity to work were all reasons cited why this was going to be very beneficial for me.

Stunned, I stared at the phone for some time. I'm not a morning person anyway, and having been told you have to vacate your current residence for an unknown reason in 72 hours left me pretty speechless. I took the phone over to Bruna across the hall to see if it was all true. Yes, she admitted; her family was coming into town to buy a new apartment. They needed to move out ASAP, so I couldn't stay. That's fair.

But, why wasn't I told sooner? At least warned? Many reasons for that. My favorite and most irritating reason is that this had all been planned from the start. Everyone knew I was staying 2 months. Everyone, except me, also knew that I would only stay with Bruna for 1 month. I was assumed to have been told about this adjustment. Nope. Just found out. Via text. I'd like to stress that part. As a good friend of mine here said, "It's like a bad breakup." Or that Sex and the City episode with the Post-It. Except instead of losing a bad boyfriend, you're losing the roof over your head in a city you've just barely come to be familiar with.

Now, you're probably asking, what's the real problem here? Sure it sucks to be uprooted, but you've got an even "nicer" place waiting for you. Isn't this good? Well, I guess it has the potential to be good, except all that text message lead-up about where I'm living was bad information. The truth is that no one really knows who I'll be living with. I've done some work on my own and have some back-up plans, but nothing has been officially confirmed by AIESEC.

All this paired with the metabolic crash I had earlier today has left me feeling pretty tired. I was at Bia's house last night for her birthday party, and she invited me to stay the night. When I woke up this morning, I had terrible stomach pain along with weakness, hot-flashes, and nausea. This has happened to me before, and normally I wait for the worst of it to pass and try to get something into my stomach. That approach didn't work this time, as I watch myself get pale and clammy not once, but twice! Lovely.

Bia's kitty and I got to hang out

Bia's family took me over to the local public clinic where I was suited up for a saline solution IV after just giving them my Georgia driver's license and my mother's name. I'm told it's all free! The family was really nice about everything, and they even gave me a lift home so I wouldn't have to brave the buses in a weakened state.

No cultural experience is a complete without a visit to the hospital

So, there you have it: a more realistic addition to all the rosy posts I've been writing! ;) However, to be completely honest, most of the challenges I've faced here in Brazil have turned out well in the end. My job is awesome; my health has been pretty solid. And about this current housing crisis (ha!), I really think it'll work out, especially with some work on my part and help from friends. With only 2 weeks left to go of working, I want to thank my friends, both local and abroad, as well as my family for helping me with everything. It's been a whirlwind, but I've never been alone!


  1. Beckie is helping me set up an account so that I can communicate with you. This is my first message to you. Grandma. More to follow.

  2. I hope you feel better! And you're right. No matter how awesome the trip, there will always be setbacks. I'm with you on the whole housing thing, it would have been nice if they had at least warned you ages ago, but I'm sure it will all work out in the end.

  3. Just reread your latest challenge and can't believe that they didn' t inform you sooner about the change of plans. We are so very proud of you and how you have adapted to all the different situations in a foreign country. I hope things are going better today and there aren't any new ideas to confront you. Also how positive you are. Grandpa has always wanted to go to South America and now he can read all about it via Lauren. We love you, Grandma & Grandpa

  4. You're a tough cookie. I love you, and I'm so proud of you for facing all of these challenges with such a positive attitude. You're the best!

  5. For someone attached to an IV you look beautiful and I'm relieved you are feeling better. You have weathered your challenges graciously and have adapted to several changes with a great attitude. Although communication there has been poor at best, things do have a way of working out. You are always in our thoughts. Lots of love, Beckie

  6. Even through all that, with an IV drip in your arm, your are smiling! Lauren you are a fighter with a tremendous amount of patience, two great qualities! I am so proud of you. I am so impressed with how you have handled all the things thrown your way, big and small. You sure have a lot of fans back home, we are all rooting for you, Go Lauren!! Love you, Dad

  7. Hang in there Lauren. Things will work out, they always do, usually for the best. Hope you don't have any more of these episodes. Love you, Rick