Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Few Months Into Our Second Post- Brasília, Brazil

We feel like legit Foreign Service people now that we are on our second tour. We can use words that make us sound a little less inexperienced , such as... "I remember my first EER season"  or "Before the rules changed for EFM DS Clearances it only took a few months, not this insane 9-12 months business!"  That also means we have had two wildly different experiences living life and working outside the US. 

What Post Brasília has over Post Jakarta: 

  •  Commute- most embassy folks live within a 15- 25 minute drive (not rush hour) to/from work and home. With rush hour add about 10-15 minutes. Traffic isn't an issue in comparison. 
  • It's a smaller city and it's considered pollution free. It's not scary to breathe in Brasília! 
  • Perfect weather- Despite having a distinct rainy and dry season, the highs and lows don't fluctuate much. If like the  weather to stay higher than 70 but lower than 90- this is your place.
  • You can drive! In Brasília most local people drive similarly to Americans, excluding the handful of crazies who do things that will make you shake your head in disbelief. 
  • Brazilians are fun! No timid, passive aggressive behavior here. If they feel it- they express it. You are welcome to express yourself as well- this goes for all emotions: love, humor, frustration, disappointment, whatever it is- go for it! Just don't expect your American friends to appreciate such gestures. 
  • Delicious meat, veggies, fruits and breads- The food here is easily a full step better quality than in the US. Anything you eat will have less "science" and less sugar involved. Clean eating isn't a problem here.  
  • Outdoor living and playing- the outdoor activities here are  nearly endless. Most restaurants have outdoor seating. It's wonderful! 
  • Beautiful city parks, national gardens and a fantastic freshwater lake. Be prepared to be outside most of the time.
  • Church life- Christians (Catholic, Protestant and LDS) in Brasília will not be alone. Lots going on here for the church crowd.
  • Alcohol: Brazilians know how to brew beer! Lots of red wine - BEAUTIFUL Argentinan Malbecs are about $20-$30 a bottle. Cocktail lovers aren't neglected though cocktails aren't as popular here as they are in the US. Your fancy gin and small batch bourbons are either not here, or they cost R$360 (over $100 USD). 
  • Pet owners have tons of pet stores to choose from.
  • Decent schools for kids of all ages. 

What Post Jakarta has going better than Post Brasília: 

  • Household helpers in Indonesia become part of the family. The hardest part of leaving Jakarta was grieving over my maid and driver's absence in my life. The service they provided was vital to our living day to day life there, but I also came to care for them as I would family. They were a part of our family and we loved them (Bu Nit and Pak Sumardi were the best!).
  • Shopping! Oh, the shopping in Indonesia is off the hook  awesome. Shopping for quality, handmade items is worth a trip to Indonesia all by itself.  
  • Fine restaurants- Jakarta has a few French restaurants, fairly  decently Mexican food,  excellent  Indian food restaurants, American style burgers and loads of pizza. I would be remiss to not to also mention the cool bars and nightclubs. 
  • Church life in Jakarta is a little harder to connect with but is thriving all the same.   
  • Jakarta Intercultural School, JIS, is heads and shoulders better  than most foreign Post schools. We miss it ever single day. 
  • Vacations and travel- the best vacations, cheap flights and fast getaways! 
  • A strong community feeling among embassy employees.