Saturday, June 21, 2008

Before Everything

Hello, welcome to my ''blog.'' Now, ''blog,'' that's no word anyone would self-apply where I come from, but I guess the world's changing, and, in order to adapt, I suppose I'll have to throw a few words every now and then into this thing or, at least, write a little something when interesting things happen. I hope I don't insult anybody or any culture, although your greatest risk of reading this blog will be boredom. The entries could very well be long and uninteresting. If, at any point, you lose interest, just click ''back'' and return to YouTube, CollegeHumor, or any other websites of a more inappropriate nature. You could also try reading a book or going outside.

Last spring (That's American spring, not South American spring, which is...some other time.), I took a job and received the funding for an internship at the International Poverty Centre in Brasilia, Brazil. Never mind what I'm doing at ''IPC.'' The name of the place implies nifty anti-poverty stuff, to which I'll hopefully make a good contribution. From the time I got the job, I was totally psyched about flying down to the Southern Hemisphere where I'd surely have South America in the palm of my hand in no time. Whether or not that's happened yet...well...I'll get to that later. How long I'll actually end up staying in South America and what countries I'll visit are up in the air.

I made minimal preparations for this trip. At the beginning of the school year, I cracked away at a ''Teach Yourself Portuguese'' book every day for...a few days. I haven't looked at that book in...well...a few months. It wasn't until shortly before my departure date that I nonchalantly mentioned to my mom, ''Um, Mom, you think I should maybe, uh, get some immunizations or malaria pills or something before I leave?'' Fortunately, we were able to schedule an appointment at the travel clinic in Austin, where I was prescribed ninety days' worth of those pills that hopefully won't make me crazy (although seeing Cindy Crawford in my dreams wouldn't be SO bad), some antibiotics (for when the diarrhea gets a little chronic), and I received vaccinations for yellow fever and typhoid, which gave me yellow fever and typhoid-like symptoms that same night, right before I was about to leave for another trip up north with Shep and Harcourt (my homeboys from college). I was also told that, in order to avoid health risks in South America, I shouldn' anything. We'll see how that pans out.

I still went on that trip. It was worth it. We tackled five cities in eight days, including Detroit and Milwaukee. Why'd we go there? Because they're awesome. AND, I came home...sick...again. Great. I was determined to go anyway, even with a 100.6 fever, and, yes, I did go. I packed up my two backpacks, weighing, in all, about three thousand pounds, completed the Peace Corps medical forms I should have completed about a decade ago, sent them off, and Mom drove me to San Antonio, where the first leg of my flight to Rio de Janeiro would begin. What happened after that will wait until next time.

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