Oi, Feliz Natal pra você e toda sua família (ENGLISH Merry Christmas)
Hello! Today is Christmas Eve. I wanted to share a little bit since I have been absent and wish you a warm holiday season.
This semester was amazing, I met my very first excelente amigos brasileiros from Recife, Dennis and Caio. They are finishing their internships at Texas A&M as we speak. The first place they suggested I go when I get to Recife is the “Beach of the Hens”, in Portuguese Porto de Galinhas! Funny story- because I just love how Portuguese sounds (so foreign!) when Dennis quickly pronounced the beach name for the first time I literally exclaimed “Oh my gosh, that sounds like paradise!” It wasn’t until I asked them to help me spell it so I could google it that I said, “ooo, umm, the hen’s beach?”
Anyway, the hen’s beach: amazing. I suggest googling it. My first Brazilian destination indeed.
Dennis and Caio, yours truly:
I already know the dates of my stay in Brazil! I leave straight for São Paulo on February 28th for the 5-day Fulbright orientation. There I’ll meet the rest of the U.S. Fulbrighters, the ones I haven’t yet met through email (foi um prazer em conhecê-vocês!! virtually anyway). Also, I’ll get a peek of my second destination for 6 months.On March 4th I’ll hop on a plane and go to my first destination, Recife, in the state of Pernambuco. I will remain there until July. I’ll meet the Brazilian family I’ll live with soon thereafter.
Earlier in the semester I finally met the very helpful and kind Professor Jose Dubeux from Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco. Among many things discussed we spoke of potential Rural Extension projects I can be part of. I’m interested on the project in which I may be able to visit small farmers’ sites where new technologies were introduced by a recent university project. There I may begin a study to see how well the small farmers implemented the technologies or even if they adopted the technologies at all (very similar to what we do here at the Borlaug Institute in terms of development agricultural work). Other activities include traveling to different sites of Pernambuco, as it is a diverse state and its agricultural background ranges from one of the most developed to one of the least.
He suggested I take few classes so that I have the time to do as much research and exploit all the sources the federal rural university has to offer, in terms of research tools, faculty and their extension projects. These classes will be free of charge as the Federal Brazilian higher education institutions are free of charge (isn’t that sweet?). Thank you Brazil!
Less than a week ago, I also met Dr. Franzolin Neto, my second hosting professor from Universidade de São Paulo. He very kindly invited me to an event for Texas A&M aggies and students from Universidade de São Paulo who had done exchange programs. I’m so happy every time I meet new Brazilian amigos….they’re all such a delight.
Finally, I finished my graduate classes two weeks ago, American Diplomacy and Military Strategy in the Conduct of Nations… phewww! Graduate classes demanded a lot more and I’m overall very happy with my grades and all the learning I did. It was a tough semester while I worked full time, but well worthwhile.
These few past weeks I have begun the visa application process, the Portuguese learning, and I even met with Dr. Feagley at the soil sciences department and borrowed his books on Brazilian agriculture, EMBRAPA, CERRADO, etc. January 2012 comes, I’ll be ready to launch into the brainstorming for the year-long research!
So with these accomplishments I want to thank you for being part of a journey with me this year and helping me become a better human being. From the bottom of my heart I wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a WONDERFUL HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012! Or in lovely Portuguese, Um Excelente e Feliz Natal e um Ótimo Ano Novo :)