Written by: Bill Feest
Moving to a foreign country where you don’t speak much of the language can be a challenging and frustrating experience at times. You come to accept that everything in your day-to-day life, absolutely everything, is going to be more difficult. Sometimes this is a fun and exciting challenge and sometimes you want to pull your hair out and just get back home where everything makes sense. I can honestly say I’ve gone through the whole spectrum of these feelings, but I was also surprised by something along the way.
The main corporate office that I work out of is in the busy, crowded, concrete jungle of São Paulo. When I first arrived here, I had no idea how to get around, where to do laundry, or even where to find a good meal. I spent three weeks slowly figuring it all out, and then my project took me elsewhere. For the benefit of speaking with some important people, I was moved south to the city of Curitiba. There I would get some face time with some people with very valuable information to me. But yet again, there I would have to go through the process of being completely lost and confused.
So I had another two weeks of figuring out the buses, my route to the office, the local cell phone providers, the restaurants, all the basics. Needless to say, it once again came with some frustrations and colorful language at times, but it was only a temporary move and soon I was on my way back to São Paulo. Now landing at Congonhas airport, a funny thing happened. Even though I had only previously spent a total of three weeks in São Paulo, as I was returning to the big city, it somehow felt like home. By simply spending two weeks in another city where I had no idea what I was doing, suddenly SP felt like a familiar place to me. It was actually very refreshing to have this strange sense of home and I welcomed the feeling.
It’s all about perspective I guess.