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Day 1: Everyone hates Mondays

A wall in the Chamber features all the women who were elected and served as federal deputies.
A wall in the Chamber features all the women who were elected and served as federal deputies.

As part of my PhD thesis, I have gone to each country to interview key individuals and observe sessions and daily activities. I did a diary of the first two visits, but I did not have a website then. I DO NOW. So, with my supervisor's blessing, this is my research journal, and this is Day One.

Hopefully, I'll be able to do this every day. I say "hopefully" because being Brazilian and having family (not crazy relatives, actual family) in Brasília, means I get to stay longer than I did in the UK (one week) or in Sweden (10 days). Two weeks in Brasília usually means six days in the Chamber, so fingers crossed I get everything done.

Everyone hates Mondays

I used the day to get my bearings, mostly. I haven't been here since I participated in a much larger research project, back in 2009. A research project that actually had money and put me in a hotel and paid for my transport. What were they saying about PhDs living the good life again?

I saw an event on scientific advisory to the branches of government, which had the mandatory question "but all academics are leftists, so how can we believe them?!". And I met my informant, who is a long-time friend and we just played catch up.

The National Congress is beautiful on the outside and completely impractical on the inside, as are most of Niemeyer's buildings. It's long, very much maze-like, drafty in some bits, completely dingy and dark in others. The grandeur is often off-set by these office-like spaces with typical office materials to create partitions and the committee rooms are in these hallways that have really low-hanging ceilings (but the rooms don't seem that low). And on two different occasions I saw rooms set aside for evangelical neopentecostal worship - one for the Christian Social Party and one where all were welcome. So, you know, separation of church and state is in full swing.

I'm sure the architecture of the building will come up a few more times. For now, I'll leave it as is.

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