Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July... I'm leaving the country

Well, I'm off to Brazil in just a few hours. After leaving Portland International Jetport at 11:05 am, I'll arrive at Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (cooler -- and more accurate -- name) at approximately 8:19 am on Sunday. It will be a long two days, with layovers in both New York and Atlanta, but hopefully the Brazilian sun will be well worth the journey.

Did you know that Atlanta is only about 150 miles closer to Rio de Janeiro than Portland? And it's about 1000 miles from Portland to Atlanta. So I am taking two flights and spending over 10 hours just to go a tiny fraction of the way to my destination. If only the Portland International Jetport lived up to its name and actually had international flights....

If you find it slightly ironic but also slightly fitting that I am leaving my family, my friends, and my country for almost six months on Independence Day, don't tell me -- you have no idea how many people have already made that joke. But it's true, I will be exchanging fireworks for Seventeen Again (with Zac Efron) and Escape to Witch Mountain (never even heard of it), and hot dogs and hamburgers for airplane peanuts and a big box of Mike and Ike's. However, rain is in the forecast tomorrow for Maine (as it has been for the past month), so I'm sure I won't be missing much.

If you've read this far and are still wondering what I'll be doing in Brazil, here's the deal: For the first few weeks, I'll be taking some intensive Portuguese classes and learning more about Brazil. After that, I'll be enrolling in classes at PUC-Rio, the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. I'm hoping to learn about Brazilian culture and literature, as well as public health in Brazil (both because I know it will be fascinating and because I kind of need to graduate). I know I'll be living with a host family in Copacabana (just one block from the beach!).

And that's pretty much all I know. I'll report back, though -- that's what this blog is here for. I decided it would be more efficient than postcards or mass e-mails or even Twitter (random great quote about Twitter I read today: "Nobody expects to learn anything significant from a tweet, and nobody does. The point is just to create the frantic sense that something is happening."). However, if even this blog isn't significant or intimate enough for you, I will also be available on Facebook (obviously), on email and gchat (, and on Skype (louisahsmith). Or any other modes of communication you may think of.

I hope you continue to follow my blog, and I'll see you from the southern hemisphere!

P.S. I'm still looking for a catchy title for this blog. Suggestions?

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