Friday, October 12, 2012

Hello hello!
Long time no see! Almost a year after the last post I decided to update everyone. Where are we now?

Well, we are still in Brazil and still happily married. Is life simple? Well, I guess the answer is a simple "no".

I am still at the same job, which I love and gives me the flexibility I like. It has gotten more intense over the year and travel more frequent. Suffice to say that I am reaching the 40% travel time as was in the job description.

A. has had it much tougher though. After finishing his exchange program and his MBA he then looked for jobs. And let me tell you, even though Brazilians are socially friendly, the job market here is definitely not open to foreigners. People place a huge value on personal references and on knowing candidates personally, which makes life easier once you are in the industry, but makes it 100 times harder when you are from outside looking for a job in the country. So after a few months trying A. got a job in Manaus. Now, where is that?? Well, literally in the middle of nowhere. Think Anaconda, think dense forests, think big rivers and no roads... and then place a 1.5 million people city in the middle. Yup, Manaus is located in the Amazon, right on the banks of the Amazon River. And surprisingly it does have 1.5 million people living in it. And a free trade zone where tech companies pay no taxes to setup. Even most Brazilians would not consider moving there for a job. And that is how an Indian ends up in the Amazon.

White is city, black and brown are rivers and green is forest... (white is cloud cover)

Manaus has barely any other food besides the local fare. Which is fish heavy and, according to A., too bland (no surprise here, huh?). No concept of being vegetarian ("he is very radical, since he could just scoop the fish out and eat the sauce...") and no idea about the rest of the world. You see, most people there come from the small towns and communities scattered in the forest in the region and have arrived in "the big city". So they see Manaus as a very cosmopolitan place. But if you've been anywhere else you can see that this is just a big "small town", very isolated and set in its ways. Foreigners are to be seen... they use it as a launching pad for short 4 day expeditions to the jungle and then get the hell out. Which means A. has been in a Portuguese only environment. 

In the middle of nowhere, on the Amazon River.

And how far is Manaus from Brasília? A whopping 3.5 hours flight! Very far... further even than Paris-Oslo, our previous commute. And much more expensive than the cheap flights in Europe too! So we have been seeing each other 2 or 3 weekends a month. But all of this is about to change...