Sunday, August 30, 2009


I recently realized that if I'm not creative with the way I write up these blog posts, it's quite possible that they'll quickly become repetitive and evoke feelings of resentment instead of excitement in my readers, especially as temperatures in the northern hemisphere start to drop. My blog could very well read like this for the remainder of my time in Brazil:

"Sunday was perfect. I played soccer on the beach and swam in the ocean. Monday was perfect. I played soccer on the beach and swam in the ocean. Tuesday I went to class from 9am-7pm, then ate dinner and went to bed. Wednesday was perfect. I played soccer on the beach and swam in the ocean. Thursday was perfect. I went to class from 9am-1pm, then played soccer on the beach and swam in the ocean. I went back to class from 5-7pm, sandy but content. Friday, Saturday, and today were perfect. I played soccer on the beach and swam in the ocean. Check back next week for more updates on my life in Brazil."

Fortunately for both you and me, I actually did more than that this week! On Monday I had a meeting with the documentary filmmaker with whom I'm going to be interning while I'm here in Rio. He has a number of projects going on right now, but I'll be focusing on a film called "Beyond Babel" that follows language change around the globe. I've been doing fascinating research this week on endangered languages in New Zealand, Alaska, and Ireland, as well as studying how Jacques Derrida's writings on the Tower of Babel remain relevant in the midst of today's culture of globalization. While I was in the meeting, he received a call from National Geographic offering $3 million to make a worldwide special on rainforests. One more project on the table. He's kind of a big deal. On Wednesday I took the metro to the music stores in the center of Rio; two hours later I took the metro back to Zona Sul with a brand new acoustic-electric classical cutaway guitar over my shoulder. I consider it a celebratory gesture to myself for landing two awesome internships in the past two weeks. Now I'm going to spend a few hours each week writing bossa nova songs dedicated to the girls of Ipanema and Leblon. That night, at the urging of my friend David and a British dude named Nick who's staying in David's homestay, I made the spontaneous decision to attend my first professional soccer game at Maracanã Stadium. It started at 9:50pm and featured Rio's two biggest club teams, Flamengo and Fluminense (this particular matchup is called the "Fla-Flu"). The stadium wasn't full by any means, but it didn't need to be. Crazy fans from both teams were flying enormous flags, screaming incomprehensible chants, and banging African drums the entire time. There were illegal fireworks after each of the two goals (it ended in a tie, 1-1), and my voice was long gone by the time I got home at 2:30am. On Friday I spent a few hours catching up on letters and post cards (so if you sent me one, get excited!), and yesterday I spent a few hours exploring Leblon. I found an absolutely amazing nature park ten minutes from my apartment called Parque do Penhasco Dois Irmãos, with hiking trails, a pond, a soccer court, an amphitheater, sculptures, and spectacular panoramic views of the beaches at Leblon, Ipanema, and São Conrado. Apparently it's one of Rio's best-kept secrets, because it was completely empty during the two hours I was there and because nobody I've spoken to has heard of it! I've been feeling adventurous lately, so I'm challenging myself to investigate a new aspect of this marvelous city every week. I'll let you know what I find...

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