First day of work was like none other. Experiences fluctuated from state of total excitement to confusion, disbelief, blank stares, amazement and a brief thought of “what am I doing?”….. see for yourself.

  1. Commute – awesome – brand new metro line, half empty. Lavinia’s apartment is sitting on top of the final stop so could NOT be more convenient. Then persistent line of buses so jump right on and 20 minutes death ride to the Olympic park. Death ride because there is a special lane only for the Olympic buses which makes it fast but also makes the drivers feel as if it was a racing track. My god – buses full of people going over 100 km/h. Then 15 minutes walk. This whole experience actually brought me back to high school – exactly the same commute without the death feeling.
  2. Security check – of course the body scan buzzed. After a bit of back and forth – we realized my belt triggered it. Yes, my uniform belt. The security guys had to help me take it off because the buckle got stuck – but who puts a security trigger into uniform when 50 thousand people are “supposed to” wear it? Brushed it off as interesting 1st day moment at work when 3 government security guards with guns try to unbuckle your belt/pants  – oh well.
  3. Check-in at 1 pm. Bumped around a little as a potato because “ella fala ingles”. Scan of my barcode revealed that I am not scheduled to work on Day 1, to my huge surprise. If you recall my schedule was confirmed 3x since July. I literally printed it 2 days ago again. Nevermind, you can work anyway – off to Table 3. Apparently, I am a member of Italia team today – me and 6 other Brazilians. Got a pocket of repellent, sunscreen, water, sun glasses and snack – off you go.
  4. Walk through – 20 seconds in Portuguese, then do it yourself. Oh, and you are on football today, not tennis – did we tell you? Not sure if that really mattered at this point as I was glad someone knew I was there, period. Did I mention I am the only English speaker out of the 6 groups – 1 out of about 50 people? It is awkward to be singled out because you speak English – the odd bird out. I should be picking up Portuguese in no time given this immersion. Especially when your leader and workforce operations manager speak no languages that you do (this is a dilemma that I should take on as a manager and see how I’d do)
  5. Work assignment for today – ticket scanning for Turkey & Iran football at 5 game. Someone must have thought I spoke Farsi or Turkish because of my fabulous Portuguese. In 3 hours I switched to silencing audience in football stadium so that the blind players can hear the bell in the ball. One break for dinner which is on the other side of the park – in a large tent with hundreds of people, buffet style. Done at 2200. (Try to silence a Brazilian crowd at soccer match – literally impossible – opposite of what they like to do in stadiums)

First day impressions:

  • Exhausted from standing for 8 hours. Standing is much harder than sitting so will stop complaining once I get home.
  • Boa tarde will never be erased from my memory – after saying it about 2,000 times in 3 hours.
  • A bit of chaos in organization and very lax approach to workforce management – but incredibly nice people – whatever confusing titles they may have. They truly do care about the volunteers and are happy to be here.
  • My schedule that I asked to bee reprinted is completely different – no night shifts anymore – all day shifts (notification email came 2 days after it went into effect – meaning the email that I didn’t work on Friday, came on Saturday). A bit of a problem but also advantages in seeing Lavinia in the evenings and not commuting in Rio at midnight.
  • Hoping for cool weather as all of the above in heat will NOT be fun!

Wish me luck and strong legs!