Monday, March 5, 2012

New Job! 21 days training in Houston!! :)

Dear readers,

              Despite the fact that I haven't written anything lately, I have been right around here. I read as many posts as possible, and even make my opinionated comments from time to time :)
              It turns out during my quest for that so desired Brazilian job, I received an awesome offer from a great company based in Chicago and new job will be based in Boston!! So we are not going anywhere for a little while! :)

Happiness by accident!! :)

              The new company is expanding and growing and needed me to hit the ground running, which is my specialty, but this time it was really crazy. I accepted the offer on a Thursday and on Friday they made all the arrangements to send me to Houston for a 21 day training marathon, on Monday.
              The new job is in the same Industry, but this time, I will have an opportunity to expand my experience in other areas and increase my future chances to find that dream job in Brazil.
              What is incredible and amazing all at the same time is that my new boss in married to a Brazilian and they have an apartment in Rio, where they spend most of their holidays and vacations, the boss is also trying to learn Portuguese. :)
               I have been working for this company for two weeks only and I can already tell you it's the best place I have ever worked in my life, yeah, it's that good. Everyone I talk to in the new company tell me they dream in retiring here. I will even be able to put Gil on my health insurance, full benefits for same sex couples, believe it or not, it's 2012 and it's the first time we have a chance to do that, to say that we are happy is an understatement.
               So, it turns out I have been in Houston since February 20th and will stay here until March 12th.
               I hadn't been in Houston for a couple of years and they were always fast trips, you know, your run of the mill, Aiport-to-Hotel-to-Office-Back-to-Aiport trips.
               This time I feel like am living here, 21 days is a long time and it's giving me an opportunity to get to know Houston again, since the last time I was here often back in the 90's. I am even absorbing some of the southern Texas draw and I think I am more polite than before already  ;)
                My "born again" impressions of Houston are great! I am in LOVE with all the awesome ethnic food options in Houston, Persian restaurants are all over the place. I am trying a different one everyday. Lebanese restaurants too. I love Lebanese food, we grew up with many awesome Lebanese restaurants in Sao Paulo.
                It turns out Persian and Lebanese are very similar. I have pictures and will make a nice post with more details, soon, soon, I promise.
                As most of my regular readers know, I don't like talking about negative stuff but this was a very personal close call to me and there is no denying that Houston is far more violent than my quiet life in coastal New England.
                I watched on the news that a 20 year old shot an 18 year old at a Karaoke place next to the Hilton where I am staying this past Sunday.  
                The scary part is that I almost went to the Karaoke place on Sunday night, because I didn't want to drive and I could walk to the place, which is also a Mexican restaurant specialized in Sea Food.
                 It was all over the news, they were drunk, one didn't like the other's choice of song for the Karaoke singing, this is Texas, everyone and their mother have a gun, bam, murder, too close for comfort if you ask me. I thanked my guardian angels profusely Monday morning when I watched about this tragedy on the news.
                 What really scares me about crime in the US is how totally random it can be. I am staying in a "apparently" nice part of Houston, near the fancy "Houston Galleria Mall" and something horrible like this happened right at my door step.
                 In Brazil, I know the areas to avoid, most crime in Sao Paulo happens in far away poor areas, near or inside favelas and it's usually drug related. Avoid favelas and avoid beeing involve with the drug business and you should be fine.
                 On another note, Houston, as many of you know, also has a HORRIBLE traffic, I don't get it, they have GIGANTIC freeways going in every direction. I noticed that most streets don't go under or above the freeways, they end in the highway. So there are very few streets that allow you to "cross" to the other side of the freeways. This is just my simple quick observation and speculation. I could be wrong and the heavy traffic here happens for a completely different reason.

A picture of Houston's typical traffic jams, they are everywhere, all.the.time!!

                 I also noticed lots and lots of super expensive luxury cars, like I have never seen it anywhere else. It's ridiculous, again, my plain superficial speculation could allow me to say that it's either a lot of wealth from "OIL" money or simply because housing here is so ridiculously cheap, people have money to buy fancy cars!! :)          

Porsche Panamera anyone! I see one of these every 5 minutes and I am not even exaggerating!!! :)
                On the other hand, in New England, not as bad as New York or California, but still way up there, real state prices just make it nearly impossible for people to do much more other than pay for their high priced mortgages or rent!! So we (New Englanders) drive old beat up Volvo's and Subaru's, Gil and I drive a 2003 Ford... :)
               Long story short, I am in love with Houston. Houston has grown into an awesome cosmopolitan city. Maybe it has been for a long time, but I just got to know it better now.
               Lot's of people from every African country you can dream of, Serbians, Croatians, Ukrainians, Lebanese, Iranians, Middle Easterners from several different countries. I went to the Mall on Sunday looking for a pair of Sunglasses, yeah, it's bright here! :) And I heard so many different languages it was amazing. I am really impressed by the great variety of immigrants in Houston.
               You can see it in the variety of options of ethnic restaurants, I am having a great time here!
                I also wanted to thank our dear friendly blogger "Ginger" from "Flowers and more" for the great recommendations of awesome Houston places to eat and visit.
                I will write another post with pictures of the awesome places only an expert local like Ginger would be able to recommend.             
                Thanks again Ginger.
Abracos to all