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What to pack (toiletries, books, etc.)

 
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papergirl



Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Up in the air

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:12 am    Post subject: What to pack (toiletries, books, etc.) Reply with quote

Hello everyone! This seems to be a quiet forum...

I'll be moving to the southern part of Brazil (Santa Cruz do Sul) in early March, and I was wondering if anyone had advice as far as what to pack? What things did you wish you had brought (or wish you hadn't)?

I'm thinking about toiletries in particular. When I lived in Japan, I really missed deoderant with anti-perspirant and toothpaste with fluoride. I also couldn't find face wash for my oily skin, so I ended up asking my family to mail that stuff to me. I'd like to avoid doing that again by bringing everything I need the first time around. Did you find that cosmetics/toiletries were the same in Brazil as in your home country?

What about books in English? Books are so heavy to pack! Do public libraries have a good English selection, and is it easy for foreigners to access them? What about the price of books in stores?

Anything else you wish you had thought to bring? Bug spray? Heavy blankets (for winter)? Brita filter?

Any classroom materials that would be helpful to bring?

Thanks to anyone who can help!
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Manaus



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 52
Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brazilians have very good hygiene and I'm sure that you will find most toiletries that you need; however, most women do not use tampons, so you may want to take those with you.

As for books, they are quite expensive in South America, and Brazil is no exception. I'd suggest taking books with me if I were in your place. I've never bought an English book in Brazil, and found all of my Portuguese language novels in street markets where they are much cheaper.

I don't know how much more I can help you because I lived in the north; I only spend a few days in Porto Alegre and that's the extent of my travel in the south (besides RJ and SP).
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papergirl



Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Up in the air

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Manaus, especially regarding the tip on feminine products. Also, I hope my questions about toiletries didn't imply that I thought Brazilians were unhygienic. I just wondered if they used similar brands. My skin is pretty sensitive, so I like to use familiar brands that I know won't cause me to break out. I think to be on the safe side I'll bring a good stock of my own stuff, and that way I'll have more room in my suitcase coming back.

Thanks again for your response!
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Manaus



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 52
Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's ok, I didn't get the impression you were making a comment about Brazilians' hygiene. I just wanted to stress that they're even more hygienetic than Americans Smile, and that you should find a variety of whatever toiletries you're looking for.
At the same time, I think you're right in taking what you need if you have sensitive skin and don't want to risk it. Better to be safe than sorry.

As for bug spray and a water filter - that's up to you. You'll be in the south so the winters will be cold and honestly I don't think you'll need the bug spray in the south. HOWEVER, if you travel to the north of the country you will need bug spray and even a water filter won't clean the water.
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icehockey23



Joined: 28 Feb 2009
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Paper girl

I live in the south of Brazil but quite far from where you are going. Im a guy so toiletries are not that important to me but I agree with what Manaus said. Brazilian drug stores are pretty well stocked with anything I need but if you like your product then id bring it cause the selection here will be different and/or limited compared to what you are used to. But, unlike Japan the drugstores are pretty basic - Going into a drugstore in Japan was always a bit of a trip for me - like that face mask thing that sucks the fat outta your cheeks - unfortuantely none of that here.

As you probably know there is a cool season in the south in June - July and i have actually made use of a down vest on nights in Curitiba and Porto Alegre. Unless you are staying in a 4 star hotel there is no central heating so most of the foreign girls I know complain more about this fact in what they call winter here - the inside of your accomodation will probably be about the same temperature as outside. But when I lived in Japan this was somewhat similar - except no kotatsus here.

If you are a reader and are coming for an extended period of time bring reading material. Yes, in small towns here Eng books are hard to find and prohibitively expensive. Although, I think you are relatively close to Porto Alegre and there will be used book stores there with some English books.

For me what i miss most about Gringolandia are certain food items. You can get a lot of great herbal teas here - I recommend Erva Doce (Anice) but the normal "black" or "English" tea here is UNDRINKABLE. I bring it from Canada.

I drink water from the tap (in the south it is generally safe, and ive never had any probs, but wouldnt do it beyond Sao Paulo) but my Brazilian friends think I am Loco as they drink it from the bottle. Bottled water is quite cheap.

Enjoy your stay in Brazil
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icehockey23



Joined: 28 Feb 2009
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ohhh, more thoughts

Bug spray - probably dont need it in town, if you go to a sitio or something you might need it but you can get it here.

Eng books in Libraries - sometimes, but in my smallish town they are from the 1970s

In the South of Brazil there is some great food here but this is just my own humble opinion - the palate is rather tame so if you are into a good Thai or Indian curry, Mahbo dofu, or Szechuan - I bring my own ingredients from Gringolandia

If you are EFL teaching and with a school they should have the basics - one would hope but ive heard horror stories about Eikawas here. I think if i was to teach i would want my own good dictionary and maybe a good grammar reference but that is just me.

Cheers
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papergirl



Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Up in the air

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, thank you icehockey23! This is all very helpful advice. So you've taught in Japan too? I was amazed at how cold I was during the winter in the Kansai region, despite how relatively mild it was in comparison to Indiana's winters. But of course, that lack of insulation is the problem! This time I'm coming prepared with extra warm pajamas.

I'm glad to hear the water isn't too terrible. I'll try to stick to bottled or filtered water, but it's good to know that I won't get sick from fruit being washed in the water, etc.

As for books, I've just discovered that I can download books onto my laptop (PC only, not available for Macs yet) off of Amazon through their Kindle department WITHOUT purchasing the expensive Kindle Reader. So for less than $10 a book (and many classics are free), you can download books and save yourself the hassle of lugging them around in your suitcase. Available in most countries. And to save space on your hardrive, you can save the books in your online library.

If I can ask another question, how do people normally dress for teaching? It sounds like it's far more casual than Japan.

Thanks again! You've both been loads of help.
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icehockey23



Joined: 28 Feb 2009
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:04 pm    Post subject: Re: teaching attire Reply with quote

"more casual than Japan?"

Yeah definitely.

I dont teach but do emergency subs sometimes. Attire is pretty casual in the schools ive been in. Brazilians love jeans. Casual is definitely the word. I wear shorts, t shirt and sandals ( this screams gringo and not many adult Brazilians dress like this but after wearing a suit almost 24-7 in Japan i dont give a F) If you are doing anything corporte you would be expected to dress better.

Cheers
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