A day in the life

This one goes out to all my fans at home who have been trying to figure out what I actually do with my time here in Rio.

No one day is like another, but I’ll try to paint the average day.

8am. My alarm goes off. Nope.

8:30am. My alarm goes off again. Yeah alright. I try to remember. Is today a Wednesday when I’m supposed to be somewhere at a certain time? Or is today a Wednesday when I have literally nothing on the calendar? Or wait, is it Saturday? I usually find myself somehow in the kitchen and already in the process of shaking “snowflakes” (wanna-be Frosties, without Tony the Tiger) into a bowl before I actually wake up enough to think about whether I’m hungry. Within ten minutes of waking up to the real world I’m switched in to our crazy digital pseudo-world and checking emails, facebook and twitter while munching away on those snowflakes. I’ve usually got nowhere to be, so it’ll be pajamas through the morning.

9:07am. (Still on Harvard time.) After a long commute from my bed to the chair at the foot of my bed, it’s time for work! I’ve always been infinitely better at working in the morning than at any other time of day. At the moment work for my internship ranges from writing articles to doing research online about community-run media platforms in favelas, brainstorming questions for interviews with residents, and analyzing international news articles for a study on favela representations over time. I read a ton of news articles about favelas and then Tweet to either share them or call them out for counterproductive reporting that only perpetuates the stigmas surrounding Brazil’s low-income communities.

1pm. Get dressed and have a quick lunch with Jon or Stephen. Ya know, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? Sometimes John Oliver is invited instead. The three of them are basically responsible for catching me up on news from the US

1:30pm. My afternoons vary a lot a lot a lot. On Mondays, we have our weekly team meeting for work, but other days are usually open. I might work more, and if I do, I like to sit out in my apartment building’s courtyard area (from which I have a private view of Christ the Redeemer) or go to a cafe, although it has proven to be a mission to identify the places with wifi. There are hipster-looking coffee shops without internet and then tiny street-corner fast food joints with the best wifi in the area. The few Starbucks around town are notorious for just pretending to have wifi while in reality you’ll twiddle your thumbs off waiting for a connection. In the afternoon, “work” may mean more of the same from the morning, or writing some textbook pages for the English school I’m working for to sustain myself here, or doing my own research into mega-events. Before my fans start thinking all I do is work, on other afternoons I walk around exploring different neighbourhoods of the city, sit out on a beach, walk around exploring, do wonderful things like grocery shopping, walk around exploring, go on hikes with friends, go to markets and devour the most delicious fruit on this planet, or SOMETIMES, I even walk around exploring.

6pm. English class! I teach one-on-one lessons coordinated through a school. I really enjoy these, as one awesome side benefit is getting to meet a number of Brazilians in their 20’s and learn about their lives and opinions. Teaching English also keeps me constantly amazed by how bizarre and inexplicable our silly language really is.

Night’o clock. Dinner, sometimes with Jon and Stephen, other times with actual real live friends. A couple of evenings each week are always exciting, ranging from casual live music and samba street parties or churrasco feasts to longer nights out with ample amounts of caipirinha, which has truly become one of my favourite drinks of all time. With Brazil’s glorious winter weather, nights are a magical time to relax outside. On nights in, I try to practice Portuguese online or with my landlady, attempt read the only English-language book I have extraordinarily slowly so that I never actually finish it, scribble convoluted yarns questioning my life decisions and rambling about what I want to do in the future in a journal only to write something entirely different the next night, and fight the temptation to stay up all night just because I can.


  • The above schedule did not hold for the World Cup, when my life was 1pm: game. 4pm: game. 7pm: game.
  • The above schedule will fly out the window tomorrow, when I start morning Portuguese classes. So, oh well.
  • The car featured at the top of this blog has sadly little to do with my daily life.

It’s a strange lifestyle, but one that I am so insanely lucky and grateful to have.




2 thoughts on “A day in the life

    1. Not one particular type of fruit, but rather all the fruit at this market…mango, avocado, strawberries, watermelon, and a bunch of things I don’t know the names of but which were scrumptious!

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