Decisions, decisions. (Well, actually, just the one.)

11 09 2007

I don’t know if you all know this, but I have a big decision to make. In November, I need to tell the school if I’ll be staying on for a third year here. This was on my mind as I sat in the taxi and rounded the corner from Av. Julio de Mesquita onto my street. The temperature here today, this beautiful big sky, the sounds I’m growing used to, the ease of my job…I am confused daily by this choice. I suppose the trip to Ilha do Cardoso made me feel good about being here showing me I know how to get around by myself and have somewhat of a social life here outside of the school. So then it makes me think it’s possible to stay here beyond the terms of my initial contract. Should I choose to stay a third year, or even a fourth, the benefits increase exponentially. But now it’s time for me to make the first of many Pro/Con lists and you, dear Internet, will be the beneficiaries of my thoughts and worries:

First, the pros of staying: Salary increase, paid round-trip ticket home per year, familiarity with the language, more time to travel around, comfort with this curriculum, ease of staying in one place.

Second, the cons of staying: Missing family and friends, potential strain on my long distance relationship, not being in the States for the ’08 election, missing family and friends, missing family and friends, missing family and friends, lots of alone time, no exposure to American clothing stores or Starbucks, needing to change the name of this blog from “A Year Here/A Year There” to “Three Years Here / And Who Knows About the Fourth?”

Pros of going: Being with my family and friends, Starbucks, clothing, the potential of living and working in New York, ability to converse in my own language, starting over again.

Cons of going: Finding a job in the States, the cost of living (especially in New York), finding a place to live (especially in New York), not speaking another language everyday, not being in Brazil anymore, starting over again.

I am sure this is not the last time I’m going to put my thoughts down into words about this. But as the days tick by–it’s almost mid-September already, I mean, come on–I’m going to be fretting. I’m half-way done with my contract and it seems absurd that two months from now I’ll need to make a decision that will lay the grounds for the following 19 months. I foresee a great deal of running and deep breathing in the coming months to assist me in clearing my mind to be able to figure this stuff out.


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15 responses

11 09 2007
Sofy

Well, if you care, I want you to stay. Forever.
If you left Brazil, then you would go back to the States and see all your friends and family and be happy, and you’d forget about us and never come visit. And nobody here wants that, because we love you.

11 09 2007
Holly

Gina, we move constantly so I wouldn’t know from personal experience, but several other expats I know with less frenetic moving schedules have told me that the first two years are really a protracted settling in period and that it really starts getting good after that… just two second-hand cents from someone you don’t even know. Useful!

11 09 2007
Sofy

But also, if you go to the US you get all the TV Shows and movies at the right time, because everything airs here like three centuries after it was supposed to. So there’s that to think about.

-Sofy

11 09 2007
ginacoggio

Sofy, that’s a very sweet thing you wrote. I’m starting to like all you guys, too. (ha ha, kidding.)
And yes, I guess I do have to consider the movies as motivation to return to the States. And Whole Foods Markets and Taco Bell.

11 09 2007
Gerhardt

Fact is, if you stay another year or two, you will still have all the Cons of
going: You will still need a job there, New York will still be expensive (probably more so), and you will still have to start over again. So, if you stay, you will really only delay the enevitable. And it will be worse, because you will be more comfortable than you are now. Oh, and any strain on your relationship will only grow the longer that you are far away.

11 09 2007
Sofy

You know, you’re sounding very teenager-y. I think you’re spending too much time with us.

11 09 2007
ginacoggio

Gerhardt–you’re very right. I am not excited about this decision.
And Sofy, you are right, too. I am spending too much time with you all.
(kidding, again.)

11 09 2007
Sofy

That’s exactly what I’m talking about. We 12/13 year olds are sarcastic and “kidding” a lot of the time. YOU weren’t that way before.

But I like it. I feel weirdly closer to you now.

-Sofy

11 09 2007
ginacoggio

Don’t you think you learned that sarcasm from me (considering I’m older and much less innocent than you all?) I was clearly sarcastic well before I set foot in this lovely country of yours.

11 09 2007
Sofy

Well, sure…but we’re more. Or at least, I’M more. You don’t show us your sarcasm very often.

11 09 2007
ginacoggio

Well, it’s probably not a “professional” thing to do, you know, being all sarcastic with students. It’s a good thing you’re not one of my friends my own age, because I am pretty relentless with them. It’s all in good fun and it’s taken me a long time to master the sarcasm, but yes, of course, I’ve mastered it.

12 09 2007
Francois

Hey Gina, I’m missing you already and I haven’t even met you. All I can say in defense for Brazil is that you haven’t even settled in there yet. I have moved around the world from Chicago to South Africa to Argentina to Canada to…. you name it. It takes at least three to four years to become a “local”. Give Brazil the chance it deserves, STAY PUT!

12 09 2007
ginacoggio

I know I haven’t settled in, which is why I’m having a difficult time. Is it fair to leave a place before “settling in?” and how will I know I’ve indeed “settled in” before I know it’s time to leave? Yikes. It’s all so confusing. But thank you for your opinion!!!! I need all the help I can get! 🙂

13 09 2007
Francois

In your “Travelling” post you give a hint of who you really are. An adventure seeking, fun loving, explorer.
“All of the places I’ve visited so far–Rio, Bombinhas, Itatiaia, Sao Paulo, Trindade just to name a few–have made me feel adventurous and relaxed and excited and alive. How is it possible I would want to leave a place that fills me with such life?”
And in your Girl Scout post you vent your anger at those who failed to recognise it. However, you ultimately win. You’re the true girl scout. The -ie’s that got their wings are now probably way too deep in their comfort zone, probably never moved far from the zip code of their parents houses. All who read your post recognise your courage. Hey, go easy on the Girl Scouts. I’m sure if the organization is made aware of what happened they’ll be emarrassed!
As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!

13 09 2007
Francois

Sorry, that should read.
“I’m sure if the organization is made aware of what happened they’ll be embarrassed!”

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