Monday, February 28, 2011

So apparently I am about to spend several months in South America.

It's still somewhat unclear to me how this happened, or why exactly this seemed like a good idea. I remember filling out a lot of forms last semester, many of which described in detail why I was so desperate to go and live for three months in a country where they speak a language of which I have only the most rudimentary grasp. I also seem to recall a lot of excited running and yelling upon reception of the letter which told me that this is the way I would be spending the spring semester of my junior year. It all seemed so thrilling and distant and completely feasible. But somehow, that distant plan is mere days away from actually happening. So you should all mentally prepare yourselves to go to the lab while I finish my cookie. Or whatever.

As I find myself very disconcerted by my extreme lack of knowledge of what is about to happen to me, I will comfort myself by telling you what I do know.

I'm leaving from San Francisco on March 9th, and landing on the 10th in Fortaleza, the fifth largest city in Brazil, located on the Atlantic coast in the northeastern region of Brazil. I'll be living with a Brazilian family, taking classes with the 21 other students on the SIT Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development program, and hopefully learning a ton. My homestay family is unlikely to have internet, so my communication with home will probably be limited to free time at our program center, where I'll do my best to keep in touch. The most reliable way to reach me will probably be through email (, and from what I'm told it sounds like it usually works best to set a time to talk on Skype (mollymnelson) in advance. I'll also be updating here when I can. I may not have the opportunity to get in touch with anyone for a couple of days after I arrive in Brazil, so don't worry if you don't hear from me for a little while!

If you like, you can send me letters or postcards (and I will probably pee myself with excitement every time anyone does), but I've been instructed to urge you all to please NOT send packages - apparently they tend to get tied up in customs, cost a lot of money, and not necessarily get there at all. Letters are slow but fine, though, so my mailing address will be as follows:

Molly Nelson C/O Bill Calhoun
Caixa Postal 52814
Agencia Aldeota
Fortaleza, Ceara

On June 22, I'll be flying to Buenos Aires, Argentina to see the lovely Nina and have an all-around fabulous time until July 19, when we'll arrive back in California together.

For now, I'm doing my best to trust that my past self actually did have my best interests in mind, and to subdue the terror.