As my time in Fulbright has hit the sixth month mark, I want to tell you what I’ve been doing with my free time.
First, as a Fulbright ETA in Brasil, I am scheduled to work approximately 20 hours a week and volunteer on a side project for another 20 hours. The 20 hours of work include meetings, planning, and grading and often doesn’t include a significant amount of classroom hours. Coming from teaching in an elementary classroom, this is a huge shift that leaves me feeling a little lazy and finding myself at home a lot.
What does one do when they find themselves at home?
- The Gym. Well, I’ve joined a local gym, a short walk up a hill from our home. I try and make it there 3-6 times a week (they aren’t open on Sundays). But actually…who am I kidding? I almost never make it 6 times a week. I also originally hoped to do classes and lift, but after a few weeks of 7:15 a.m. Jump class, let’s just say I don’t go to classes that often anymore.
- Friends? I’ve made a plan to get out on the town and spend time with friends at least once a week. (I know this doesn’t sound like much, but it usually ends up being more…it is just nice to set a minimum). On Sundays, I’ve started spending time with an Expat group, a friend of ours hosts a meal and we all get together! It is so nice to have connections to home (&the rest of the globe).
- Travel. I often find myself adventuring away on long weekends, short weekends, and school breaks. I just got back from visiting a friend in Fortaleza and my familia in Mato Grosso. Exploring Brasil is something that is important to me, whether it be hiking nearby or getting on a plane or bus to a new city.
- Gringioca. My roommate and I are currently exploring the possibilities of selling tapioca out of our dorm room (nonprofit because our Visa doesn’t allow). It gives us a lot of experience in marketing and pricing our foods. Business is an area where we both needed to learn and it gives us a new and safe way to practice.
- Blogging (&Books). It may not seem it on this blog, but I’ve started up one that I up keep mostly. I read…a Belle-embarrassing amount of books here in my down time. Sofia and I don’t have a television and we can’t be out on the streets roaming after dark because it isn’t the safest, so I read. I’ve read 88 books (and will finish #89 before I fall asleep tonight) and usually I just post a small review to Goodreads and on my Litsy account, but lately I’ve started blogging about my reading adventures, whether it be adding to my Female Author Project or commenting on an aspect that spoke to me in my LifeShouldBeLit blog.
- Volunteering to Teach about Volunteering. GlobeStrong is a nonprofit that visits schools and presents in English (and Portuguese) to teach students about the culture of volunteering and its importance. I’ve been collaborating and going to presentations to help share the love of the many ways volunteering can take place.
- Teaching Teachers. On Fridays throughout the semester we have the opportunity to volunteer to teach public school teachers English. These teachers are English teachers however many feel unqualified and are seeking professional development both in the skill of the English language and as a professional in the classroom.
- Writing. I’ve had a lot of time to blog and journal. This is shifted into working on writing projects as a hobby, hopefully someday finishing one of them and enjoying the final product. Either way, this is a great time to explore that love of mine.
- Cultural Events. My roommate (CoETA) and I spend a lot of time finding neat cultural events ranging from capoeira to cultural fairs and street dances that we try to visit a few times a month. Most often it involves dancing or art, but sometimes it is a baby shower or another neat event.
- Chores. Between groceries, laundry, cleaning the floor, cooking, and watering our plants. Sofia and I are very much homebodies always tending to our nest. It has been a great adventure living in such close quarters, but one that hasn’t felt like a sacrifice at all. In fact, we’d make a terribly boring sitcom. (Also we have to pay our bills at the bank every month and that takes forever…I miss the days of online bill paying or mailing checks).
There are more little things we are doing and now that we are both getting back from our 14 day vacations, there are more things we hope to accomplish in our next 3 months (Only 3! Time flies!) There is a lot of future things to consider and a lot of wonderful opportunities here to enjoy in the present!