After living in Madrid for two years, coming to Sao Paulo has been quite an adjustment. This massive city is full of extremes. Obscene wealth and vast poverty are visible in all areas. Enormous traffic jams are a daily occurrence, yet on the weekends at times the city can feel dead. I’ve come to know some of the most generous, warm, and caring people that I’ve ever met in my life, but on the other hand have been living in one of the most violent and dangerous cities in the world. There are few houses that don’t have high walls, barbed wire, electric fences, and a security guard. Favelas are scattered throughout the city and oftentimes are towered over by million dollar high rises (something that makes me feel sick to my stomach). It disgusts me to see such wealth amongst such poverty, a poverty that I have never seen in the previous countries I’ve lived in and visited. All of these aspects are ever-present in the metropolis, leading to a life style much different from anything I’ve ever known.
My days of strolling along Madrid’s windy, narrow streets lined with terrazas and tapas bars are long gone. I’ve said goodbye to being able to stay out safely in the streets until 2 am (or much later), and still be able to return home on a metro. Forget about buying clothes at reasonable prices, because most shopping items in Brazil (especially Sao Paulo) are offensively expensive.
Yes, it’s been hard to say “hasta luego” to Madrid, but unfortunately (or fortunately), adult life is not a party at the discoteca, and other than giving private English classes, Spain’s economic crisis doesn’t provide growing job opportunities. In contrast, Brazil’s booming economy and status as future host country of the 2016 Olympic games and 2014 World Cup make Sao Paulo a city with numerous employment prospects. Life isn’t as easy here, but it is a chance to grow, learn more about Latin America, and acquire a new language, Portuguese. So bring it on Brazil, it’s time to start this new adventure!