After a single week one thing is abundantly clear – this is not one of my typical travel adventures. In the past when I arrived in a new location I had a very clear game plan for what I was going to see, how I was going to make the most of my time, and how I was going to enact said plan. From the very onset I knew my time in São Paulo would be different for one major reason: I would not only be trying to work, but would be staying for 5 months with family friends. They would be there to help me with language and navigation issues, offer advice on things to see and do, introduce me to people and provide a safe environment from which to explore. What I did not anticipate was how distinct it would actually be. On my second day it became abundantly clear.
Early Saturday afternoon Norton, Olivia and I went out to have lunch. We arrived in a trendy neighborhood just finishing up a local farmers market and stopped in a little bistro for lunch. As I sat there sipping on Pineapple juice with mint, Suco de abacaxi com hortel, (which is easily my favorite discovery here in Brazil) I realized I was in a unique situation: I sat at a table on the corner of an intersection, looked around and saw nothing but locals. Friends meeting friends for drinks. Friday night hangovers being cured through late lunches. There were no tourists bustling about. Heck, as far as I could tell, there were no foreigners at all. I had plunged deep into the heart of local life.
At that moment it hit me: this is going to be such a unique experience. I brought this up with Norton through our conversation over lunch and he summed it up best, “Yeah man, you are going to live São Paulo.”
My first week was interesting. Most of my time was spent settling into my new room, editing photos, updating my portfolio, reading, taking my portuguese lessons and practicing new photo techniques. I have seen very little of this insanely large city. A couple of days I kept telling myself, “you need to get out, you need to get out,” but I would then get lost in a photography tutorial and spend the rest of the day on it. This started to bother me at times because I felt like, “I am here! This is Brazil! It’s a new city! I should be going non stop all day to see everything I can!” I didn’t want to be doing my opportunity a disservice by not fully participating in it. Of course, when it is 36 C (97 F) with the humidity of a gorillas armpit the desire to go out into a mass of concrete is low. While I may have had a few days where I was tough on myself, I have now come to see things this way: In the last 2-3 months working and preparing to leave I have not had time to spend an afternoon quietly reading. I have not been able to devote the time I would like to editing photos. Before now, finding time to learn and practice photo techniques was like finding a needle in a haystack. In the last week I have made time for all these activities.
This is a good thing. It is healthy for mind. It is healthy for my body. It is healthy for my soul. Moving to a foreign city and working is not the same as popping in for a visit. There is a different pace. Recognizing this and adjusting my frame of mind has been instrumental in allowing myself to get settled. Of all the things I’ve done this week, this is one of the most important.
| never stop exploring |