Friday, May 29, 2009

Welcome to Brasil!

I've been here all of 5 or 6 hours and I'm already taken by Brasil (no 'z' here, that's the Anglicized version). My flights all went smoothly, other than there was a 45min delay out of Miami, but that was no big deal (it let me finish watching King James dominate the Magic in game 5). Customs was a breeze and I was picked up by 2 members of the lab, Ramon and Pricilla. We went straight to UFMG and into the lab, because Santuza (my professora) was teaching a class. First culture 'adjustment' crazy drivers! I had heard that they were, ahem, aggressive. Yeah I'd say so! But we got there no problem. Both Ramon and Pricilla speak nearly fluent English, which was very nice since I was pretty tired after my flights.

When we got to the lab I caught up with Dr. Teixeira and she outlined the project I'm going to be working on primarily (with Ramon). Then she showed me around the Biology Institute.

What a great situation I'm in, she's already bought me lunch (first Brasillian steakhouse, check), offered me a bike, and a cell phone. Not to mention she set up my housing, which starts Monday, and she is putting me up in her bonita casa. Their place (I've already met her 13 year old daughter who went to lunch with us, they only have half days of school; and will soon meet her husband, Greg, who is from Lubbock, TX) is really nice (pics will be up eventually).

Her and her husband are also taking me to a party this evening and taking me around town tomorrow (I think) and there has been talk of going further out Sunday into the country side. Also there was mention of a trip to Rio. Wow, I am so lucky!!!

I won't get into the science details here, but the project sounds pretty interesting, and will be all new techniques (at least in practice, I know the theory behind most).

Ok I should probably get a nap in. My head is swimming with all of the language and science. I may be too excited to sleep, but I'll try...

'Til later...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Location in Indonesia

I just found out today that I will be an assistant at an Islamic boarding school (i.e. a Pesantren) called Al Urwatul Sidrap in South Sulawesi province. The school has apparently never had a Fulbright ETA before, but that's about the only potential negative to the assignment. I was intrigued by Sulawesi because of a video I saw talking about it's unique animal life, and it's also pretty close to Papua which I've always wanted to go to. I figure I'm at a Pesantren because I talked about my interest in learning more about Islam in my grant.
I'm the only Fulbright ETA in South Sulawesi, but there are 5 or 6 more ETA's on Sulawesi in various locations. I haven't figured out what city the school is in yet. I also have several former ETAs to email along with this years ETAs. I also got a mailing from the US branch of the Fulbright today.
On the Brazil front, I have everything packed up and am pretty much ready to go!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ready (?) for Brazil

Brazil is only a few days away now, and I can hardly believe it! Since I posted last I finished my last semester at UR (much easier, and very successful), then went to Myrtle Beach and had a great week with my friends (my few pictures: before returning for graduation. The grad weekend was amazing; certainly one I will remember for a very long time (and for all good reasons!).
After getting that important piece of paper I had about a week to kill before my science meeting in Philadelphia. I spent that time vi sting Danka and her hometown, Baton Rouge. That was a perfect break, I got to see where Danka is from and her dad took us fishing. Everything went great until I tried to fly out of Baton Rouge Sunday morning. I ended up being on three different flights out of BR that morning, but I finally got to Philly late that night. I then spent Monday at the ASM meeting, but also had time to check out Philadelphia and some of its history (Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, etc, Pics: I then flew out Tuesday evening after presenting my poster (a few potential follow up ideas from at least one big name (too me anyways) and hopefully a collaborator that will make this into a much bigger paper).
I've been home now just short of a week, and have managed to catch up with pretty much all of the family and friends not to mention unpacking all my junk! now I have a few more days to mostly get myself prepared for Brazil. I leave Thursday morning and have about 18 hours of travel putting me into Belo Horizonte early Friday morning.
Next time I post I'll be in Brazil!