GSK Rio de Janeiro Blog 2
It has been nearly two months now, since I arrived in Rio. Time flies by when you are having fun! The past month has been an eventful one with my family, friends, work and the Olympics.
I was lucky enough to be invited to celebrate Fathers Day with a very good friend from work called Yula. In Brazil, Fathers Day occurs in August, which is somewhat different to the UK, occurring in June. The Brazilians celebrate every occasion, no matter how big or small: any excuse to spend time with the family. Father’s Day in Brazil follows to same format as the UK: eat lunch, give presents and reminisce about stories of the past. Yula’s family are lovely people and having met them on a previous occasion, embraced me as one of their own. We ate feijoada (pork and black bean stew) with farofa and then we had brigadero (chocolate and condensed milk) for dessert. It was a lovely way to spend Fathers Day with my ‘adopted’ family and it gave me a chance to reflect on how lucky I am to have such a loving family too. It also made me think about how fortunate I am to have been given the opportunity to experience Brazil and to be able to learn new skills or develop existing ones.
Every evening and weekend brings something new, whether it is trying a new cuisine, visiting a new place, seeing a new movie (this month I saw Batman) or witnessing a wardrobe malfunction on the beach (or rather lack of swimwear!). This month, I tried Petisco food. A group of friends, Rodrigo, Renato and Rayani, took me to try out this new type of food. It consists of a selection of soups, mainly vegetable. Then you have a selection of nibbles with varying degrees of spiciness, including: grilled chicken with garlic, spicy sausages, bread with cheese, chicken balls, dried beef and grilled bananas – all very tasty with different flavours. However, it isn’t the healthiest of foods, so I had to go running as a result!
The new place that I visited was a neighbourhood in the city that I hadn’t been to before. The beautiful neighbourhood of Santa Teresa is situated high up in the mountains. In order to get to the top, you can catch the Bondi (tram) to the top or get a bus or taxi. It is easy to tell if you are in the centre of the neighbourhood because you are immediately surrounded by quirky multicoloured houses that overlook the rest of the city from their heights. Tourists and locals flow onto the cobbled streets due to overcrowding in the bars and restaurants, with Samba music following them. Small Boutiques of art, jewellery, clothes, food and gifts fill the empty spaces on the roads. The views across the city are stunning. That evening, I ate dinner at an amazing restaurant called Aprazivel. It is a giant tree house built into the mountains, with views overlooking the entire eastern side of the city. At sunset, visitors can view the lights of the city turning on whilst the sun dips behind the mountain. The experience I had here made this neighbourhood one of my favourites.
Work is going well: I am having a really enjoyable experience whilst learning invaluable techniques, skills and knowledge. My Portuguese has increased dramatically, enabling me to talk to colleagues with ease and get around the city problem free. The work is complicated, and at times I have made mistakes. However, it is a learning curve and every day I learn from my errors, making sure that I don’t make that same mistake twice. My position is in marketing intelligence. Being half way through my chemical engineering degree, I haven’t encountered any previous experience with this area, making the work both difficult and challenging. My boss is teaching me to become, as he calls it, a ‘superstar analyst’. The information I am gaining and the set of skills I am learning and developing make my days at work really enjoyable. Some of the skills I am developing are Portuguese, interpersonal skills, analytic skills, organisational skills, initiative and presentation skills. All of which I will take away with me and use in future situations and positions.
I am very jealous of anyone who had the chance to go and see the Olympics in London. I had tickets to go, but I had to sell them as I am obviously here in Rio. I managed to catch a few events at work, but it seemed like the atmosphere was the biggest thing I was missing. However, I am not too bothered because I am having an incredible experience here in Brazil. I now have a valid excuse to fly back here to see the 2016 Olympics! Construction is underway, with the athletes’ village being built directly opposite work. Since the Olympics started in London, there has been a growing atmosphere of excitement among the locals, which peaked when the Olympic Torch was handed over to Brazil. I look forward to watching the Paralympics over the next few weeks.
In my last and final month here in Brazil, I will be travelling outside of Rio de Janeiro. I am visiting Foz Do Iguacu (Iguacu Falls); an Island called Ilha Grande and other small, historical places. In my next blog, I will inform you on my trips there and the experiences I will have encountered in my remaining 4 weeks. I am sad that I am more than halfway through my journey here, but I am looking forward to returning to Birmingham and putting my new skills to use.
Thanks for reading