Moving countries...cities... neighbourhoods, can all be pretty daunting. I met a lady the other day who is just about to move to Chennai, India with her husband's work. She was pretty happy about moving there. I can imagine having curry every day is a pretty good draw, and there are lots of cultural links with the UK and maybe she might be just plain excited about moving somewhere new. I have to say I'm a little jealous. Not that I want to leave Sao Paulo anytime soon but I love the idea of the unknown. The running joke for us, is that now that we've got our Permanent Residency, where should we move to next? We have limited options now because the girls will be of (serious) school age in a few years so let's see..
Get some perspective!
I actually wanted to write about all the naysayers; all those people who hate the idea of Sao Paulo before they've even stepped foot in the city. To be fair, GRU is not the best introduction let alone the taxi ride down the Marginal into the city. Crime, language, traffic, cost of things can also be thrown onto the list. I've met people here who have hated Sao Paulo so much it seeps into their every day life... I always wonder if they are only like this in Sao Paulo or will they just move back to their own city and find something else to complain about.
Get in the right frame of mind!
- Make the effort to learn the language, seriously. Make some Brazilian friends. We went to our local bar almost every night and learned a lot of our Portuguese through talking to anyone and everyone. A few caipirinhas don't hurt either. We went on a 4 day holiday as soon as we arrived with 8 Brazilians and the entire weekend was in Portuguese - I didn't understand a thing.
- Find a house / apartment close to work / school so you have some sanity in your life, i.e. traffic-free.
- Adapt and use Brazilian products - I love Granada soaps, Arezzo shoes and Pao de Queijos!
- Make the effort to get to know the city - check out different neighbourhoods every weekend. This big, dirty city has SO much to offer.
- Get out to the beach as often as you can for a breath of fresh air. We're going for the third weekend in a row!