October 7, 2012

Vou Ser Campineira!

So if you haven't already heard the news, Fernando got a job!  He will be working for Monsanto, which is one of the leading agricultural reasearch companies in the world and the creators of Roundup.  And the job will be in Campinas, Sao Paulo.  For those of you that don't know (which, I'll be completely honest, I didn't know until a year or so ago) Sao Paulo is a state as well as a city in Brazil.  Campinas is about an hour west of Sao Paulo and has a population of a little over 1 million people, but is the center of a metropolis of 2.8 million.  So yeah kids, I'm moving to the big city!

The Last Three Months

So I thought I might fill you in on what I have been doing for the past few months in Blumenau.  I really liked Blumenau and am a little bummed that we are leaving the weekend before Oktoberfest starts in the city! :(  Blumenau is famous for having the second biggest Oktoberfest in the world and I was almost going to be there!!!  I did, however, get to see lots of fun Oktoberfest decorations and lots of dirndls and lederhosen in the stores! 

I was teaching at two different English schools and had 5 classes and one private student that I had to leave this week.  I was really surprised at how much I liked teaching.  I had all upper level students who already spoke and understood English for the most part, so I was teaching advanced grammar and conversation all in English.  The only problem with teaching is that to actually have a memorable class, I had to spend about 5 hours preparing for one 2.5 hour class.  And they only pay for the 2.5 hours that you are at the school...  Luckily, I wasn't only teaching for money and I really enjoyed having some responsibility after almost a year of feeling like a teenager!  I got to make lots of fun interactive PowerPoint presentations and games and it was generally not really like going to work at all.  I was instructed not to tell any of my students that it was my last day until the final class (which I thought was kind of B.S.), but my last class yesterday got the news early and brought me flowers and cupcakes and passion fruit mousse (delicious!!) and wrote me a really nice letter.  It was a really great send off and really unexpected considering I had only been teaching them for about 4 weeks.  Some of my students even started crying!  I was really touched and am still a little in shock that I made an impression, but it's a really nice feeling.

Other than teaching, I was taking a Portuguese class for about 3 weeks that was eventually cancelled due to the fact that I wasn't paying and the other students were leaving, so that's that... I actually felt that I learned more studying on my own than I did in class, just because I could take my time on things that I have trouble with and breeze through things that I understood.  Just in the past month or so, I've started to understand things quickly enough to respond in a normal rhythm, which makes having a conversation possible (not easy, but possible.)  It's a really nice feeling to be able to communicate, but I still have a lot of work to do on vocabulary and correct word order.  In Campinas, I might look for another class or maybe a group of ex-pats that I can learn more with. 

Moving Plans 

Friendly or gang-related?
We have completely packed up our apartment in Blumenau and we are staying at Fernando's parents until we move.  The company will be paying for a moving truck to take all of our stuff and will be paying for our trip to Campinas next week.  Fernando starts working on October 15th and while he is working I will be looking for jobs and an apartment.  Right now, neither of us have any idea which areas of the city are bad and which are good, so it makes shopping for apartments online a very difficult task.  I attempted to use google maps to find areas that look nice, but generally even when you get down to street view, you can't tell if the graffiti is friendly, "I like to draw pictures on walls" graffiti or "I'm going to knife you and steal all your belongings" graffiti... I will update you when we know where we are going to live and all that jazz...

We will be staying in a hotel for 2 weeks to have time to find somewhere to make our new home.  I am looking forward to living in the state of Sao Paulo because there is just a lot more going on there.  There are tons of multinational companies located in the greater Sao Paulo area, which opens up a lot of opportunities for me.  It seems to be a good place where both of us can pursue our careers (it's a difficult place to find with an International Business major and an Agriculture major!)

Overall, we have heard a lot of good things about the city and to give you some Wikipedia facts:
  1. The weather ranges from an aveage high of a chilly 76.6 in winter to 86.0 in summer (Seasons? We don't need no stinking seasons!) 
  2. People that live in Campinas are known as Campineiros (thus, my post title)
  3. The city is composed of 74% white, 5.6% black, and 18.4% pardo (which I just learned is a Brazilian term for any shade of brown) so we will not be a minority, just incase our worldly South Dakotan friend was worried! :)
  4. The region has over 10,000 medium to large companies, to name a few: IBM, Dell, Bosch, Motorola, Samsung, 3M, Unilever, and Honda.
  5. There is a very large separation of rich and poor, similar to Sao Paulo or Rio, where the richest 10% make 70 times more that the bottom 10%.  The separation isn't as vast in Blumenau, so this will make a big difference in the culture and appearance of the city.
  6. Campinas is the home of the 2nd best university in South America (UNICAMP) and lots of other Universities.
  7. It is also a cultural center, meaning that there will be something for us to do!
  8. It is a twin city of San Diego (I don't really know what that means, but San Diego is a cool place so hopefully Campinas is too!)
Where is Campinas you wonder? It is about an hour west of São Paulo city and about 8 hours north of us here in Santa Catarina.  It is home to an international airport for those of you that want to come and visit and it is also driving distance to a World Cup stadium (again for those who want to visit).  And for those of you who would like to see it on a map, you can google it, because it is too difficult for me to import a map on this thing!


  1. Yup, those are the "perks" of teaching-- now you see why Mom and I are always so swamped in the school year!
    I'm excited for your new adventure, even if Nando is going to work for the big evil! ;)

  2. Let me know when you finally decipher the graffiti... :) have a safe move!


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