There are many ways to illustrate insanity.  And I am sure I have successfully used many such illustrations over my lifetime.  Yet this is a new one for me:

  • 6 Currencies
  • 5 Countries
  • 4 Sets of Time Zone Changes
  • 3 Continents
  • 2 Hemispheres

all within one month.

It all started when the project that I was working on in Calgary was wrapping up pushing me into the tumultuous yet exuberant and sometimes scary process of finding out where I will be working next.

As I was wrapping things up and waiting to hear what was brewing I read an email asking for experienced trainers to consider moving to Brazil for a few months to help out with the induction efforts needed in our new office there.  Loving to experience life in countries other than my own and having not done so for about two years I tossed my name into the proverbial hat.  It didn’t take long for me to get a nibble and soon I was feeling like a kid at Christmas really hoping that I would get that pony as I waited for things to become finalized knowing that there was always a chance the opportunity would fall through.

So on St. Patrick’s Day I was celebrating the end of our project in Canada (country #1).  Two days later I was heading to the UK (country #2) for a meeting in London that would last through the 24th allowing me to return to Calgary on the 25th.  After a day in the office and a day in the mountains I headed home (or at least what I consider home when I am not traipsing elsewhere) to the US (country #3) and the fine city of Chicago.  Needing to apply for a visa for Brazil I had a little more than a week to hang out there, and of course decided it was necessary to get out of town for one of the weekends and head to Detroit for the NCAA Frozen Four (not another country but one of the time zone changes).  I was there until April 11th upon which I had essentially a layover in Chicago before heading to Brazil (country #4) that evening.  As if that weren’t enough, a number of my co-workers were heading to Buenos Aires, Argentina (country #6) the weekend of April 24th since we had a three day weekend getting off Monday the 26th in lieu of Tiradentes‘ Day the previous Wednesday.

To recap, I left London on March 25th and landing in Argentina on April 23rd and in between spent at least three nights in each of Canada, the US, and Brazil.

Now for the answer to the mystery question “why are there 6 currencies when there were only 5 countries?”.  That is because my Skype credit is in euros and none of the countries that I was in use that as their monetary system.

Thus I have been in Brazil, sans the side trip to Argentina, for two weeks now and feel as if I am getting settled.  It was a bit of a rocky start in that one of my bags didn’t arrive until 3 days after I did, yet that did get me some good perks from the airline.  I am staying in a service apartment which means I have a small kitchen area yet they clean for me daily and once I was able to get a cook pot bigger than 4 inches around from the front desk I have been able to make a few reasonable dishes.  I am sure I will do even more cooking soon.

Because we are working with US clients and we are an hour ahead of NY time we work a slightly shifted day starting around 10 in the morning and finishing around 8 in the evening.  Generally lunch is outside of the office so we get a good break in the middle of the day, well actually it’s a bit towards the beginning as that isn’t really shifted.  So often there is a mid-afternoon snack run somewhere as well.

The hardest part about being here is not knowing the language.  I am slowly learning a few phrases to help me navigate the city yet am no where near were I wanted to be after a couple of weeks.  The pronunciations are hard (and this coming from someone who speaks French) and while the similarities to written French help me read signs along the road speaking and hearing it are a completely different story.  There is a fantastic web site (livemocha.com) which does a Rosetta Stone style of education for free with members helping to correct other member’s work.  I have just started lessons there so I am sure I will have more to say about this later.

That said, my co-workers in our office are very helpful at teaching me a few things each day and helping me out when it comes time to order lunch.  It also helps that there are a few other folks here from the US that are a bit further along with their Portuguese who can help me on the weekends.  And it is another benefit of being in the service apartments, most of the front desk staff know enough English to steer me in the right direction.

I realize this is short for already being gone for two weeks and I promise to send things out in a timely fashion from here on.  Look for new posts every Wednesday morning with maybe another post before next Wednesday to get me on a schedule where the Wednesday posts will focus on the previous week and weekend.

Oh, and of course there will be pictures, especially from Buenos.

Tchau,

Wendy

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