From: Elyse Gibson
To: Mom, Dad
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 12:34:02 PM
Subject: RE: Thinking of You
Hey guys! I'm here! I'm at the agency in Sao Paolo. All I have to say is: what a MISSION. Customs was fine - my agent there was actually really nice. No problems. No questions. Just a quick stamp and a smile. My bag came after about 20 minutes of waiting and overhearing Portuguese. Not the "The Car is Red" Portuguese. REAL Portuguese, of which, I understood nothing. Somehow I made it to an ATM and into a cab, where my adventure TRULY began.
My cab driver did not speak a word of English. Ok, that's not fair, he probably spoke 4 words - and considering I only speak one word of Portuguese ("Obrigado!"), you can imagine the mess that ensued. Anyway, he did not know the address of the agency I had written on an index card and handed to him. He said it was OK, and decided to try anyway. He called his company on the little radio intercom. There was some kind of conversation. Then the radioing stopped. I thought maybe the mystery of the address had been solved - until I spotted him thumbing through maps. And maps. And more maps. "Oh, great!" I kept having flashes of myself standing on the side of the road with all my bags, completely clueless. He pulled over. Asked a fellow cab driver for help. Before I knew it, I spotted the big red sign with the words "Ogilvy" scrawled on it. I probably scared this poor man to death - "THAT'S IT! YOU DID IT! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! OBRIGADO! MUY OBRIGADO! I MEAN MUITO, I MEAN, THANK YOU!" I somehow found my way inside - waiting in the lobby for a good hour (the guy in charge of the program was at lunch and the receptionist also didn't speak much English). I think I GRAVELY overestimated how many people here speak English. I might just have to learn Portuguese. I mean, I know I am in Brazil and their national language is NOT English, but still. I don't know what I was expecting.
I slept a little on the plane last night, but not too much. Probably 4 hours....Business class rocks! Even though it took me a good hour of studying other passengers manipulate their Star Wars chairs before I attempted (SO CONFUSING!)...all I know is right about now I could use a nap and a neck massage (I slept kind of funky) - neither of these will be coming anytime soon. I am just mustering all I have within me to remain smiley, charming and friendly. I want to make a good impression today!
I love you guys and miss you already!