the adventure of the notebook

When you live in a country where you speak the language and know how to get around, you take being an adult for granted. Part of me feels like I’ve reverted to childhood here, as I am completely incapable of doing almost anything without a chaperone or translator. Despite the fact that my friends love when I speak Portuguese, I’m not sure the rest of the city does (or can understand me) and this makes ordering a sandwich somewhat terrifying. Seriously. I actually don’t eat at all unless I’m with people.

So today I woke up to the first day of sun we’ve had since my arrival with a new energy and courage, and made my decision. I need a notebook for work (oh yea, I start on Monday!) so I’m going to buy one today. By myself. Yes. I will not only find a store that sells notebooks, but I will figure out how to get there and then ask for one. In portuguese. Yepppp.

I left the house having pretty much no idea where I was going, except the knowledge of a mall around the corner that might have a store that sells notebooks. Funny enough, the malls here have really easy names like “Shopping Center 3,” “Top Center” and “Shopping Paulista.” Even I can’t mess that up.

Unfortunately, Shopping Center 3 didn’t have a store I could find with office supplies, so I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous day and stroll down Avenida Paulista.

Avenida Paulista at Bela Cintra, a block from where I’m staying

I have to segue here and just mention how much I like this city. It’s known in Brazil as a cidade cinzenta (the grey city) but coming from New York I think it’s way more colorful than that. There’s certainly less “colorful” (read: crazy) people here, but there’s just as much to look at and just as much creativity on every wall, if not more.

Even the buildings here are happy.

Up and down Avenida Paulista, all of the phone booths (which are already funny looking) have been decorated and painted and dressed up. Rodrigo told me he saw one last week that was wearing cashmere, because it was quite cold out.

Some of my favorite phone booths on Avenida Paulista.

After visiting several malls, and asking multiple people to no avail “onde posso comprar um caderno?” only to not understand their response unless it was “não sei” (which isn’t exactly helpful), I realized… I miss Target. Then I remembered a store that I went to with Caio to buy hangers earlier this week. Kids, you’re going to laugh when I tell you what it’s called. It’s no Target, but…



So, today was a grand success. I walked around alone, took some photos, fell more in love with the city AND I bought a notebook! I’m all ready for my training tomorrow and my first class on Monday. It might seem like a small thing, but it was an adventure of sorts. One adventure down, many many more to go.

And I strongly believe… if everything in your life is an adventure, you’re doing it right.


Beijos! xx


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