zondag 20 maart 2011

I'm alive and kicking

Dear family, dear friends,
dear trainees, dear AIESECers all over the world,

Today it has been more then 2 months ago I write to my blog, I feel bad for not keeping you up to date about my life in Brasil. My dad has a saying that goes: no news is good news. In this case this can be applied to me!
I'm really enjoying my experience in Brasil, professionally and personally. A new year, new and good intentions... for what it is worth, since 2011 started more then 2 months ago. I think it is time for me to share my good intentions with you.

 Numero 1, as a friend recently invited me to become part of a facebook group called "Dagen Zonder Vlees" (Days without meat), I decided 2011 will become the first year of my decreased impact on our lovely planet, called Earth. By lowering my meat consumption I'll hopefully reduce my ecological footprint, preserving earth for future generations. Thank you Romy for pushing me!

You can find more information on the following sites:
For english - http://myecology110venetia.wordpress.com/
For dutch - http://dagenzondervlees.be/

Numero 2, do more sports because there's a truth in the latin saying: "Mens sana in corpore sano".According to some people it might be to late to achieve the "Mens sana" but at least I can try to achieve a healthy body. So, the plan is to go to the company gym twice per week and to go swimming twice a week. The swimming is no problem, but I have to pick up going to the gym again.

So, I can become a healthy man again (as the example of Da Vinci)

Numero 3, I want to spend more time on my blog. It would be a great achievement for my self to keep you updated once a day but I'm realistic and prefer to set the goal to once a week! However during the next weeks you can expect more stories about Christmas, New Year, holiday at the beach, carnaval in Rio (yes, I went to carnaval in Rio! yihaa!) and many many more things.

Thank you for reading my blog, because you are my motivation! See you again, soon!

Pieter - the mens insana in futuro corpore sano

zondag 9 januari 2011

12 horas de Churrasco

What we call BBQ in Europe is called Churrasco in Brasil. This is one of the most famous ways of eating meat and by far the most preferred one. I’ll give you a quick overview of the Churrasco dictionary that I’ve learned so far

Churrasco = general word for the BBQ
Churrasqueira = the equipment, this is the BBQ, the grill, the spears for the linguiça,…  Most houses have one of these and some appartments have one on the top floor. Usually this inclues a small bar and a freezer for the beers. These are usually under a roof because in Curitiba, it can rain very heavily for a short (or long) period during the summer time. 

Churrasqueria = a BBQ restaurant. This is very nice, you pay one price to get in and they keep on coming back with whatever meet you want.  Waiters serve the meat at your table and you can choose which piece you prefer: well done or a point.
Linguiça = a kind of sausage, only used on the BBQ. The key to success is to pinch them with a fork halfway the grilling time otherwise the juice can`t get out.

Costela (ribs) = It is the same part of the meet that we know as “ribbekes” (but they’re better than those from “Den Amadeus”). The meat is grilled in its entirety for 4 – 6 hours high above the fire. The size of the ribs is much much bigger then in Beligum and it’s wrapped in plastic so the juice can’t escape and the meat doesn’t dry out.

Picanha = filet steak or according to google translator = “runderlende” one of the finest pieces of meat.  Alcool = not to drink but to light the fire, it`s much more fun than using these white or beige cubes to light the fire JMayonaise = it`s not the sauce we know but cooked potatoes, with eggs, vegetables (not too many) and the mayonnaise (= like “kouw patatten” in Belgium). This is the only side dish to Churrasco, so no cucumber, no salad, no other vegetables. Just meat, mayonnaise and drinks.

Cachaca - lime - beer

Brigadeiros = this is the best and most famous Brasilian dessert. It is made of butter, condensated milk and chocolate (that’s why I love it). They are put in the freezer and then rolled into small balls. Sometimes people put extra chocolat on the outside. My host family was so nice to let me organize a churrasco for my friends on the top of the building. The roof has a churrasco, a fridge and everything we need to enjoy the party. My mum loves to cook so she helped preparing mayonnaise and brigadeiros. It was a very nice evening and the first one of many…

See you all on January 29th for the next festival of flavours =>12 horas de Pizzasco…


Thank you for attending - it was amazing !

zondag 5 december 2010

My second trip - Foz d`Iguacu

Hi everybody,

Two weeks ago I spent an amazing weekend in Foz d`Igaucu, about 800 km to the west of Curitiba but still in the same state, called Parana. Foz d`Iguacu also forms the tripoint between Argentina, Paraguay and Brasil. Doha and Divakar accompanied me on this adventure to the amazing waterfalls of Foz.

We left on Friday evening for a 9 hour bus trip from Curitiba to Foz. We arrived at Foz around 9 in the morning and went straight to Hostel Bambu! At noon we visited the brazilian side of the Waterfalls of Foz d`Iguacu. This was so amazing that it`s better to show you pictures instead of talking about it...

The waterfalls from the Brazilian side

Divakar & me going crazy

Divakar, Doha & me enjoying sightseeing

Very close to the falls!

During the bus trip through the park the guide told us not to feed the animals and to avoid any contact. However, during lunch we ran in to one animal. Eager to follow the guide`s advice I did not feed the animal... until it started running after me and I was holding a sandwich he really seemed to like. Since I didn`t like the look of his teeth I just gave him the sandwich... In the picture below, you can see his friend, he was much more friendly, probably because he had already eaten...

More beautiful animals in the park...

After the waterfalls we went to the bird`s park. This is a park with a lot birds = offcourse but the amazing thing is that you can actually go in to the cages and have bird`s flying over (or against) you!

A toucan, famous bird in Parana, very close to me

In one of the other cages there were a lot of parrots flying over our heads but they were so noisy and aggressive we didn`t have the time to take pictures. In the evening we had a kebab and enjoyed the swimming pool and a caipirinha! Thank you Eddy for making such good caipi`s...

At sunday morning`s breakfast I met 2 people from the Kempen! In the end we spent the entire day together. The next day we went to Paraguay. According to Doha and Divakar, Paraguay is much more like Marocco or India compared to Brasil. It`s very crowdy and most Brazilian`s go there to buy cheap alcohol, clothing and electronics. On the cultural plan there`s nothing to see. So below => AIESEC UA in Paraguay!

En zoals het hoort, over de linkerschouder he ;)

Behind us you can see the generators in white
After our short trip to Paraguay, we were heading for the Itaipu dam. This is currently the biggest dam in the world. The one that is being build in China is bigger but the Iguacu river flow is larger creating more energy. This dam also forms the border between Paraguay and Brasil. 10 of the 20 energy generators are Brasilian, the other 10 are from Paraguay. However Brasil buys the majority of the energy generated by Paraguay because Paraguay doesn`t need this energy. The reservoir is huuuge, our guide made a very nice comparison: `This dam holds 4 cubic metres of water for every one of the 6 billion people living on this planet.`
BTW: I`m going totally the brasilian way of life, wearing brasilian national shirts and talking football with colleagues all day! Go Coritiba, Paranaense & Atletico (Curitiba`s three football teams). Curitiba will also be one of the host cities during the 2014 World Cup!

We ended the weekend with a delicious international lunch:

From left to right: Sophie - Doha - Pieter - Divakar - Philippe
Thank you Doha, Divakar, Sophie and Philippe for the amazing weekend!

To Sophie & Philippe: enjoy the rest of your stay in Brasil and I`ll see you next year on the Grote Markt van Antwerpen voor nen Duvel of twee!

See you soon,


zondag 28 november 2010

Working at Electrolux - Trabalhando para a Electrolux do Brasil

Dear friends,

It`s been a long time since I gave attention to my blog, I`m sorry but I`m still alive and kicking! 

My average working day in Brasil is probably not really comparable to a European one. But what do you expect, 10,000km away from the fast moving, consumer- oriented capitalist Belgium...

My average working day looks like this. I get up around 7am, take a quick shower and I leave for work around quarter past 7. I take two busses to go to work and I spend around 45 minutes. I arrive at work around 8:15 and the first thing I do is go for breakfast. I start working at 8:30, after half an hour we have a fitness exercises, an initiative to promote sports and exercises within the company. The company also has a fitness room, a football field and a basketball field. After this I work until 12:15, we go for lunch at the Electrolux restaurant for about an hour and we start again around 13:15 latest. At 4PM there’s an afternoon snack for trainees (local as well as international). After this 15 minute break we finish the necessary stuff for that day and end between 5:30 and 6:00 depending on the work load.

Electrolux do Brasil - Curitiba - CIC
I will soon start my fourth week of working with Electrolux do Brasil. In the beginning it was very calm because my department had several end-of-month deadlines to meet. During this first week, my predecessor, Cagri showed me how the databases work and what he does on a daily basis. In the second and third week I got a lot of trainings from Jaqueline, my colleague and made my first reports & analyses! These trainings are mainly on the job trainings so facing real problems, it`s something else then boring theories in classes and this is very motivating for me.

So trabalhando para Electrolux do Brasil, eu gusto muito!

The next blog about my second trip is coming soon! 

dinsdag 2 november 2010

The first weekend - the first trip

Hi everybody!

My second AIESEC meeting was a lot of fun afterwards we met up with some OGX people and I got introduced to the X-flow! I will also be helping some people from the ICX team in upgrading the reception booklet & a promotion movie for hosts.

In the afternoon I went to see Thiago play American Football, lots of fun and I almost got run over because I was a bit to close to the back-line. At night I joined Thiago's family to a family party for his aunts' birthday, we had Guarana' (a typical brasilian drink) and brigadeiro (a very nice dessert). After we were dancing for quite some time and had lots of fun(pics on facebook).

Sunday morning our brasilian friends went voting and then we took the car and drove to the praia! We had an amazing weekend! On the first day the waves were so big that we were almost surprised by the power of the sea. In the afternoon Liege went to buy fish that we BBQ'ed at night. We spent the rest of the night around a fire at the beach. Monday and Tuesday were the same: lazy days at the beach, eating fish, enjoying the company, getting a bit of sun, having fun in the sea with waves up to two metres, ... On Tuesday we also visited the old part of the city of Paranagua'. It was very beautiful and I had a very good fish menu there. Thank you everybody for the amazing weekend, special thanks to Liege & Bea for driving and to the parents of Liege that we could stay in the beach house. I love the brasilian hospitality! My host parents were a little bit worried about where I was, they thought I was coming home on Monday but plans changed and we came home one day later. So I'll have to think about this in the future. Sorry Thaïs!

I ended my first week in Curitiba with a "bolo de banana" = banana cake. A perfect ending of an even more perfect first week in Brasil!

And tomorrow ... is the big day!

Electrolux do Brasil ... here I come!

zaterdag 30 oktober 2010

The start of a new adventure

After a week of saying goodbye, arranging VISA papers and booking my plane ticket it was time to actually take the plane. My parents picked us up in Antwerp and my brother would meet me at the airport around 3. At the airport we spend half an hour rearranging my luggage because of weight restrictions but after this the check in went very smooth and I got my boarding passes right away.

After an emotional goodbye from my family and Romy I headed for gate 47, for the Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. While waiting I met some people that were also going to Brasil. One of them was Igor, a three year old, very active and very cute boy. The flight went very smoothly and we arrived soon in Frankfurt. The luggage was automatically sent to the next plane so we only had to find the right gate which was no problem. However when we went for a quick bite after finding the gate we ended up passing security three times because there were no restaurants near the gate, luckily we didn't have to carry our luggage.

The flight from Frankfurt to Sao Paolo was very nice. Since it was a night flight most of the people were sleeping. Since I don't fall asleep quickly I ended up sleeping only 2 hours of the 12-hour flight. Luckily Karate Kid & Robin Hood were there to keep me company. The arrival in Sao Paulo was good but early. Since we left Frankfurt at 11pm we arrived in Sao Paula at 6 o'clock in the morning local time...

In Brussels they told me I would be able to pick up my luggage in Curitiba but Brazilian law obliges you to pick up your luggage when arriving in Brasil to get it scanned again for domestic flights. Although there was a bit of queuing to do, the luggage was well registered and I received my last boarding pass, gate 1C for flight 3357 to Curitiba, boarding at 11am! This meant waiting for about 4 and a half hours. These passed fairly quickly since I met a Brazilian that had lived in Turnhout - 25km from my home town - for two years. Another Brazilian, called Ivo Silvestre, returned home after living in the US for 12 years. After sometime we agreed to meet each other later in Curitiba and maybe go to visit his Uncle at the praia (beach)... so good plans were in the making!

The last flight to Curitiba went very smoothly, in less then one hour we were in Curitiba and I was preparing to meet AIESEC Curitiba! And what a reception... 8 people were waiting for me with posters, papers and a lot of enthousiasm, I really appreciated that after being awake for 35hours, this was a true reward!

Thank you @CT for the warm welcome!

We left by car towards Curitiba and on the way we had lunch in a Churascarria. A concept of all-in BBQ, you take your veggies and pasta or patatoes at a central table and then waiters come round with all kinds of meat: chicken, porc, coração (chicken heart), argentinian beef, ... very very good! Then we went to Felipe's place, the VP ICX of AIESEC CT. I could take a shower there, which was very nice, thank you Felipe! After a short off road trip and Jackie's excellent driving skills we made it to the praça da Espanha for some frisbee action.

Around 6 pm Jackie dropped me off at my host. Thank you for taking me around Curitiba the entire afternoon Jackie, you rock! At my host, a warm welcome awaited me. Thiago is my main contact person, he speaks english and he is a former AIESECer now working for an IT firm. His dad is Afonso, he works in a resort in Sao Paulo and is only here during the weekend because of his work. Thiago's mother is Thais, she's very nice and we usually conversate using two dictionaires (I use a Dutch-Portuguese and she uses an English-Portuguese one). This often leads to funny situations... Thiago has two sisters, Leticia and Bruna. Bruna is 17 years old and she's studying in Germany for one year. Leticia is 24 years old and she's also working. We spend the afternoon talking about Brazilian & Belgian culture (and offcourse eating waffels and chocolates!) and I also started unpacking and decorating my room with flags and pictures (thank you girls!)
In the evening we went to taco's ( a mexican restaurant) and I ordered a gringa (a salad the size of a football) and Thiago ordere a caipirinha for me (awesome). In Brasil it is normal to just order one dish with 3 or 4 people and then eat from it all together. A very nice way to get to know new dishes. By the way we got home (around 11) I fell asleep in the car, being awake for more then 40 hours with a mere 2 hour sleep on the plain, quite tiring...

Thaïs & Adriana



The next day I woke up early and started up my blog. Afterwards I joined Bruno and we went for a swim. Later on we went to the AIESEC Office, there are once again plenty of pictures on facebook. I joined an AIESEC meeting of the ICX team with Bruno. Then we went to a party of an alumni of AIESEC and after picking up Thiago's fiancee we went to Crossroads, a rock bar to look at a performance. By the time we where home, I was once again starting to fall asleep, but I enjoyed the day so it was worth it.

In a few moments I'm getting ready to go to shopping mall Mueller to attend a meeting of the communications team of Priscilla, Bruno's anamorada (girlfriend). It's something else, an AIESEC meeting in a shopping mall but we'll see!

So my first days were very good, I would even say basically full of awesomeness! I would like to say thanks to all the new people I've met in the past days, AIESECers, alumni, trainees, members, friends, friends of friends, my host family, ... 

Special thanks to Thiago for being such a super host, Bruno for showing me around town and involving me into AIESEC and Jackie for driving us all over town for 2 days.

I will see you again soon my blog!

vrijdag 29 oktober 2010

My first blog ever

Hi everybody!

Welcome to my blog about life in Brasil. I prefere to write it in English so my brasilian friends and trainees in Antwerp and all other people that don't speak Dutch can also read about my adventures. If you prefer to read it in Dutch you can always use this link: http://translate.google.com/?hl=nl# Although it's not always as accurate...

I hope you will enjoy my stories about Brasil. If you want to come by for a visit, you're always welcome!

So... see you soon in Brasil!