What stays the same, doesn’t do so for too long.

Angus Larsen - Brazil


October 25, 2016

It has been two weeks since I moved in with my new host family, but there has been much more that has come along with that. It feels as though my whole routine here has now made a 180 degree turn and there is much more on the exterior to observe and write about, so I’m taking up this opportunity to reflect from the interior.

Rio Vermelho (my old town in Florianópolis) and Lagoa da Conceição (my new town) are almost like worlds apart, when you have tried living in both. The other day, I was talking to someone about how, at my old host family, there was no viability to have WiFi in the home and they almost fell off of the back of their chair when I told them the only opportunity for internet is dial-up (yes, world, that is still a thing!). Living not much more than a 25 minute car ride from the little town, she knew hardly anything about it, let alone that even on her island, there were families that did not have the possibility of buying wifi. This is just a little taster of how much my worlds have changed.

The direction I have taken with my apprenticeships has changed significantly too, so that I now work two apprenticeships. The first apprenticeship is at an LGBTQ+ and human rights NGO that provides rapid HIV/AIDS testing, safe sex resources, counselling and a bunch of education throughout various communities in the Florianopolis area most notably to trans people and the LGBTQ+ crowd. The second apprenticeship is at a social entrepreneurship, working with philanthropy and aiding local organizations, activities and projects kick-off, with a specific focus on social good and development.

Working at both the organisations is interesting, given that they have various areas of involvement, as well as the fact that philanthropy and the fundraising culture is in it’s very early stages and many of the terms I use at my internship are still being found in Portuguese. I feel, too, as though I am learning two languages, especially at my LGBTQ+ apprenticeship, where I am not only learning the local gíria (slang), but also the Trans slang that surrounds me and allowing me to connect more with the many people who seem to work here. None of my work is an organised plan like the work I have ever done, and despite flexibility still being in my stretch zone, it is growing on me.

I have to be honest, it is so exciting when you start to connect dots. Getting started with these apprenticeships has made me realise how much I am building on myself, pursuing things I really want to see myself continue doing and starting to see the read thread in my personal CV. Furthermore, as a workaholic, this is adding a little more sugar to my coffee, given there will be a fair bit more work to be doing from now on.

Living with my new family, too, means a complete change of lifestyle and a re-realisation of just how different every Brazilian family is. Here I have everything I need, seemingly, at my fingertips and communication is easier. Structure and daily routine hardly exists, at least not in the same way that my last family had. Food has become healthier, I am eating a lot more fruits and vegetables (although the carbs somehow continue to come through…).

I often question whether I have maintained some stretch zones and things to work on, but it seems more as though they have taken on a variety of different forms, and will continue to do so as I continue living here. Nevertheless, I feel busy, motivated and more engaged with the new communities that surround me. I hope that streak continues.

Angus Larsen