Monthly Archives: February 2012

Can’t live without a fridge

45 days in and I finally managed to buy a fridge. Going without a fridge for that long wasn’t hard, but it sure didn’t make my life any easier.

What definitely helped was this very cold winter that has sat upon Europe this season. Not that I am complaining, this is nothing compared to Eastern Europe right now or Minnesota’s last winter. Thanks to unusual temperatures such as -10, -15 °(unusual for Bordeaux, of course) I was able to use my window as my fancy glass door mini fridge. Keeping ones food fresh has never been more fun.

That worked for a month, then it was just picnic weather and I was left with no place to put my food. So, I was fridgeless.

So I saw it as a time for desperate measures. I had to buy a fridge. Not expensive, but like everything here, I measure the amount of money spent on that as how much wine I could have gotten.

Nowadays; ONE USED MINI FRIDGE = 20 LITTERS OF WHITE WINE.

Not bad, at least I’ll keep my cheese fresh.

  • Photo’s post: My old, fancy and energy free, window fridge, and the one I just got.
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Can’t quit learning – part 2

Moving is improving, at least so far.

I like to think I become a new person every time I move, not necessarily a better one, but someone that understands it’s own needs and particularities better.

I lived in Brazil for 18 years without truly knowing who I was. I studied and grew up surround by the same group of people all along, we were together for my entire life, and I am not necessarily talking about best friends here, but classmates and acquaintances.

Growing up in a place where everyone expects you to behave and act a certain way gets hard.  It gets to a point where you become a caricature of yourself, you do things without knowing why you are doing them, just because that is how you’ve been doing it all along. I never had any room to change, to grow, or even understand who I was or what I was doing there.

So yes, I believe that moving is improving, at least it is when you learn how to take advantage of it. I am not afraid to settle, I know it will happen, I want it to happen one day, but until then, I’ll just jump from place to place and see what I like.

  • Post’s photo: The view from house in Pirapora, Brazil.
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Can’t quit learning – part 1

In Walking the Bible, Bruce Feiler mentions that the “contemporary methods of learning” were “traveling, talking, and experiencing.” I have only read the first chapter of the book yet, but I have been eager to continue ever since a  a friend posted this quotation under one of my previous posts.

A couple of weeks ago, in french class, I had to write an essay in which I talked about myself; my life, desires, hopes, habits and fears.

Ma plus grande angoisse est d’arrêter d’apprendre, et devenez stupide, bête. Je pense que si je lire et apprendre quelque chose tous les jours, je serai bien et satisfait.

On my essay I talked about how much I fear becoming stupid, how I have the constant desire to learn, and that if I can read and learn something everyday, I will be pretty satisfied. And that brings me back to Bruce Feiler’s quotation.

My life for the past years has been a pretty good exemple of how the contemporary methods of learning work. Particularly when talking about self-knowledge. Every time I move away I get a new chance to not only work on my social behavior, understand and explore my points of view, but to also learn about my particular mental states, beliefs, desires, and sensations.

Moving is improving, at least so far.

  • Post’s photo: The view from Laura and Augustina’s cabin in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina.
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Can’t settle

I admit that I never quite know where I am going next, but a funny fact is that in the past two and a half years I have lived in 7 different houses, in 6 different cities, in 3 different countries.

I am always packing and unpacking and I’ve gotten quite good at that. That is the easy part, the hard part is getting used to a new place over and over again. I just finished my second week of classes at the University of Bordeaux 3 – Defle, and I feel like I got a pretty good routing going on already.

I have 16 hours of class every week, 3 pretty easy going teachers and a few good friends at Defle. About 3 or 4 times a week, Australians Jess and Jenny, Swedish Hillevi and I have dinner together, always alternating between our dorms. Cooking and eating in a group is great, it is always more fun and even healthier in our case. On our table there is always some bread, cheese, veggies and meat. Not forgetting the most important of all; the wine. Our dinners are long, most times we start cooking 18:30 and always chill around afterwards, drinking wine and munching on some good fresh made baguette with Camembert.

A couple times a week we go to the grocery store, usually on Mondays, since that is our day off. Thursdays and Fridays we go out for a drink or just get together again. We’ve even met up to go jogging together, even if that means just running up to the bakery, getting some bread, and running back home.

Occasionally I go out with Rotex and Rotary Exchange Students, those are still fundamental in my life, I don’t know what I would do without my Rotary Family.

Routines are not always a good thing, I have always been afraid of falling into them. But in a foreign country, where I can’t speak much of the native language, having a routine means safety for me. If I’m having fun and enjoying my time throughout my week, why not just repeat it until I go back home?

Not gonna lie, I could really get used to this pretty easily.

  • Post’s photo: Moving out of the Petrie’s with Roch’s help, December, 2011.
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Can’t stop dreaming

Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out of a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what I might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?

Flynn Rider: It will be.

I never thought I would ever watch Walt Disney’s Tangled, nonetheless feel like Rapunzel (without the golden hair) and quote it as my life story.

But jokes aside, here are the facts; I did spend eighteen years of my life wondering what was out there, dreaming of throwing myself into the world, and thanks to the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, I did so. Two weeks after my eighteenth birthday I packed a suitcase and left for Apple Valley, Minnesota.

I had the American dream, I lived the American dream. And yes, it was everything I dreamed it would be. For two and a half years I had a great time, I made unforgettable friends and lived with amazing host families that gave me nothing but love, and took me in as one of their own.

Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?

Flynn Rider: Well,that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.

Right now that is what I am doing, I found a new dream, and I am out again living it.

So, cheers to that.

À bientôt.

  • Post’s Photo: Hitchhiking through the Patagonia, July 18th, 2011.
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Can’t compare

21 days and counting. I have been in France for 3 weeks now and I still get mixed feelings about it.

It is impossible to compare this with my year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Before I left Brazil, I actually thought this would be easier than going abroad two and a half years ago.  This is not as intense, it is just a lot harder and different. When I first went to the United States, I already knew enough english to get around; I could communicate with others and express myself however I wanted to. Now, in Bordeaux, I can barely introduce myself in french and carrying a conversation is out of the question. The fact that I haven’t learned a language since Middle School doesn’t help either, I learned english and spanish as I was growing up, and later it was just a matter of improving those skills.

French is what I came here to learn, so I’ll work on it, I’m not scared. When I first arrived in Bordeaux, I took tests and had interviews that measured my ability to write, read, listen and speak the language. I got placed on the second level for beginners, which isn’t bad, considering I’ve only had one semester of french. So I am right where I should be.

  • Post’s Photo: My first essay in french. Embarrassing? Maybe, but definitely memorable.
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