Monday, September 3, 2012

Two years later.....
I live in Rio. Living the dream.....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Time is passing quickly here.... It's been almost two weeks already!

Saturday I go up around 8 to go the the school and give a conversation class. I was supposed to go with Alex, but as I was getting ready he asked me if it would be ok if I went by myself and also asked me to give his, I grabbed a taxi and a van and headed to school. Conversation class was easy, although since most people are on vacation not many students came. Then I gave Alex's class...without any preparation...the poor students probably learned nothing during those 2 hours, haha. Ah well.

After class, around 2, I took the can back to Niteroi and headed to Dani's house for a barbecue celebrating her mother's birthday. I stayed there until about 7 or so, just sitting and eating and relaxing. After that I headed back to Alex's house. I went with Betty, the girls, Karen and Livia, and their neighbor Dani and her kids to the shopping mall to watch Shrek....we were going to see the 10:00 movie, but it was sold out...soooooooooo they decided to stay until the midnight showing. We did some shopping and then got food. There is this restaurant called Beluga that specializes in do I describe it? It's like a giant cake of hash browns, except in the center there can be anything you, meat, cheese, veggies....and oh. my. goodness. it is delicious.

So, we went to the movie, which was funny, I admit, although I haven't even seen all of the Shrek movies. By the time it got done it was 2 am, and we raced the clock to get out of the parking garage before the clock ticked past 2 and added more money to our ticket, haha.

I went to bed when we got home, but the others syated up a little longer...I had great intentions of going to church in the morning, but alas I, along with the girls, slept until...well, very late on Sunday. By the time I woke up Betty had already gone to church, come back and was already back in bed. We finally all were awake and up around 2, and Karen and I went to get some lunch. After eating, I donned my running clothes and I ran while Karen rode her bike.

Later Alex and Livia came out also with the dog. It was late afternoon and the sun was low over the was beautiful...and felt awesome. After getting back to the house, we got ready for church, where I ran into another old friend of mine. We got home from church close to 10pm, ordered pizza, and I went to bed early (12:30). This morning I slept in but was awakened by the sound of be specific, there was a guy knocking out a wall in the apartment...I was like, um, what is happening here?? Alex decided to put a new door in the wall of the apartment, and the worker guy was smashing away at the wall. There is now a giant hole in the wall outside of Livia's bedroom, where I'm sleeping.

I went out to get more credit for my cellphone and ran into Tia Dani (neighbor) and her daughter Marianna. I went up to there house for a little while before we all headed out to do some shopping. I wanted to by some boots from a shop down the street..I ended up falling in love with some at another shop. Also fell in love with some shoes and bought some workout clothes...Brasileira style. Yes, today I gave in and bought shoes. I did. Here is the proof.

I then donned my new workout pants and went to run on the beach again, this time with Livia. She rode her bike and I ran and she rode her bike (rather fast, I must say) for about 45 minutes. The beach really isn't that long, and since it was dark it's not really safe to go all the way up the hill to the museum, so instead we went back and forth several times...people were watching us as we went, because honestly I haven't seen many women running fiendishly like I do. There were tons of guys out running, but not women. I hate running around lots of people, whether I'm in Brazil or in the USA, but it's either run on a crowded beach sidewalk or use a treadmill or don't run at all....easy choice. Plus, it's fun to go with the girls on their bikes, and the view is tremendous. And, as my mother knows, I do enjoy watching/critquing other runners, especially the cute ones. Guys, that is. Hahaha just kidding. Well not really.

ANYWAYS it was fun, and now I'm back at the house watching Passione, one of the great dramatic novelas.....

Friday, July 16, 2010

i only get manicures in brazil, and other news

Hellooooo. In case you're wondering where I'm staying, this is Icarai, Niteroi in Rio de Janeiro.

It's cool and rainy right now. No praia for me...maybe next week. My "tan" from spending a week at Hilton Head has already faded. Where did I get such light skin??? All of my other family members turn a dark burnt brown color during the summer....but not me. The good news is I will be wrinkle free and happy when they all start to shrivel up as they get older.
Yesterday I took the bus to Plaza Shopping, which is the nice shopping center here in Niteroi, and met Virginia for lunch.
She ate two humongous rolls of sushi---and I did not. I had Yoggi, topped with fruit and nuts, and it was DELICIOUS.We took the van to Alcantara where we went straight to the tiny little salon where I used to get my nails done last time I was here. If you know me, you know that I am not one to go to salons and such and get manicures, pedicures, facials, and all that rot. However, this is not exactly a 5-star salon, if there is even such a thing. The girls that work there are nice and it's unbelievably cheap. For a full manicure and pedicure, including nail trimming, filing, foot massage, lotion treatment and these awesome designs, I paid only 18 reais....which would be about $9.

Nice, eh? Aren't you ladies jealous? Pretty shweet. And let me tell you, these Brazilian beauticians are waaaaay more fun to talk to than your typical Tammy (if you haven't seen the Bon Qui Qui nail salon sketch, click here for some creetal gel).

After about two hours in the salon...yeah, it's a slow process...I went back to the school, conveniently located one street over, and joined a class of young kids who were going to throw a party for me...however, it turned into another celebration of Alex's birthday, which was the day before...complete with yet another round of foam-spraying. Ahem. did I forget to mention the foam? Well, party foam is very's the consistency of hair mousse and yes, it does come in flourescent colors.

The other day I was sitting in the foyer of the school, minding my own business, when Alex came bursting in and showered all of us with the foam. Some, including Virginia, were lucky enough to be able to dive under the desk and escape with minimal damage, while others, including myself, got doused. The entry foyer was covered in the stuff. Good times. Thank goodness it just kind of disappears after a while. Anyway, round two of the foam wars occured on Thursday...apparently a few years back Alex got it full in the face from the secretary, Eliane, and now there will be no end to the foaming. Unfortunately I don't have pictures, but I have this foreboding feeling that tomorrow, which is the last day of class before winter vacation, is going to bring yet another shower of the fluffy stuff. I'm gonna wear a trash bag to my conversation class.

Today I got up early-ish, 8am, haha, and took the bus for Copacabana to meet Virginia. At the bus stop I asked a lady just to make sure that the right bus passed there, and I made a friend for life. She was getting on the same bus and talked to me the entire one-hour ride to Copacabana, telling me all the awesome places I still need to go in Brazil....

Virginia and I went to get our hair cut at her hairdresser and then we headed to Rio Sul for some serious shopping. After lunch, of course...went to a restaurant in the mall and ordered chicken with farofa, broccoli, and rice, and after a few mixups which scored me some free french fries we dug in. It was deelishus. I adore farofa.

At one shoe shop we had a hilarious time talking to the owner and one of the salespeople...the only guy in the whole store...he was so NICE, haha, and we taught him English phrases and he ALMOST convinced me to buy a pair of 5-inch stilettos, especially after he called me Giselle, but I RESISTED (for now). Hwever, I did buy a dress in another store. And it was discounted from $700 reais to $100....SCORE.

Around 5 Virginia and I made a quick ice cream stop...(the first since being here!!) and then headed out to catch the bus. And it was pouring. The thing about Rio is, when it rains, things get messy. And traffic gets TERRIBLE. People just shut down when it rains! For example, Virginia was supposed to sing at a restaurant tonight but because of the rain they just canceled the whole show since people don't like to go out in the mess.

Alrighty, I win the prize for the longest blog ever. Thanks and goodnight...

P.S. The 12- and 13-year-old students (guys) were dying to know if I had sisters; when they found out how OLD my sisters are they were severely disappointed. However, they decided to settle for my younger cousins instead. Hoo boy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

being a rock star. well not really.

Already a week has passed by....I only have four weeks and 1 day left! SO sad. :)

Lots of stuff going on, lots of stuff coming up. Monday we had a little party at the school with a bunch of students, lots of food, lots of pictures, haha. If you have an Orkut account you can see the pics that one of the students took...he's studying photography and the pics are really good. That's the thing about coming here--I am a novelty and therefore I get to feel like a rock star for a few days, bahaha. I'm kidding, of course, but it is super fun hanging out with the students. They are CRAZY. They love to have parties. Any excuse for a party.

This week is the last week before a two-week winter vacation, so the students are taking tests and having parties, and lots of times they just don't even bother coming. Oh well. Yesterday after we got back from the school, I went to my friend Dani's house and ran on the treadmill in her gym, then ate pizza with her and her sister and basically did nothing all night except hang out.

And how is my Portuguese, you ask? It's excellent. Bahaha. But seriously, it's pretty good. I understand most of what anybody says, unless they speak especially fast or have a strange accent. I completely blend in here.

Today I was walking in the street with Virginia and someone muttered "Giselle Bundchen" at me as he passed. Score! I mean, with her big nose and dirty blonde hair, we are twins.
I wish!! Now if only I could get myself a Leonardo DiCaprio, my life would be complete.......

JUST KIDDING, mom and dad.

Anyways, tomorrow going to meet a friend for lunch, do some shopping, get a manicure, go to school, then hang out with friends later. Friday I'll go to Copacabana for a hair appointment, then do some more shopping, then go see my beautiful friend Virginia sing in Ipanema.

So yeah, I'm having long as I don't think about what awaits me in August, I am blissfully happy.....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Oi from Brasiiiiiil.

Well. I was gonna go to a restaurant with my friend to watch the game, but then we decided not to go out, and so I stayed at the house. However, I was super sleepy and decided to take a leeeetle nap before the game....aaaaaand I slept through the. whole. thing. All the way into overtime. However, I did manage to wake up in time to see the Espanha! Looking forward to Maracana in 2014.....

Thursday I went to PBF, the English school in which I worked previously, and visited with students. I can't remember a lot of their names but I do remember many. It's so awesome to see them. That night I went to my beautiful friend Dani's house and had dinner with her, and then just hung out with her and her mom and boyfriend at the house. Friday we went to Plaza Shopping, which is the big mall here in Niteroi...and I didn't buy anything. NOTHING. I practiced self-control. It was difficult. I tried on a pair of boots that were just amazing and yet I took them off and resisted. I deserve a prize. LIKE SOMEONE CAN BUY ME THOSE BOOTS. hahaha.

But seriously, I don't think I'm gonna be able to leave here without more Brazilian stilettos. I just can't.

Saturday I went to PBF to do conversation class, and hey, I was only 45 minutes late. NOT my fault. Well, kind of. Alex (the owner of the school and the one who is kindly letting me stay with his family for 5 weeks) left the house at 7:30 AM and since I was hanging out with Dani until super late the night before I decided I would just take the bus and the van and go later. Class started at 10:30. I woke up in plenty of time. I left the house in plenty of time. I went to the street where the bus passes, which also happened to be the street of Livia's and Karen's school, where they happened to be having a dance exhibition, and Livia was going to perform. So I decided to stop for just a short meenit.

The kids were dancing to oldies, like tunes from Grease and they had all these awesome costumes from the 50s and 60s. SO CUTE. Ended up taking a little longer than I thought. Then I had to wait for the bus. Then when I got to the center of Niteroi, I had to wait for the van, which took forever, then the traffic was terrible, and naturally I arrived soooo late. Oopsie. When I got there there class was almost over but I went in anyway and just chatted up the students.

Let's talk about vans and buses for a minute.

Buses are pretty easy, because obviously they have numbers and routes. Vans are a little more tricky, because sometimes they change routes depending on the day and time and passengers and whatever the driver feels like doing that day. There used to be a van that passed by the house and went all the way to Alcantara, where PBF is, but apparently the vans are all illegal anyway because they drain money away from the buses, so now vans only go from the center of Niteroi, and not from the beach where I live. Anyways, I have had my share of slightly panicky moments in the past that the van I'm riding in is not actually going to pass where I need it to pass.

For example, yesterday I flagged a van for Alcantara, and the driver asked me if I was going to centro, the center of Alcantara. It's been a while since I've been there, so give me a break, but I couldn't remember 100% if I needed to be dropped at the centro or the Alameda, which is the street. I just said, sure, the centro. I recognize the streets and such around the area, so I can always just have him drop me when we get close to the school. Except he went flying by so fast I didn't really have time to stop him. Slightly worried, because I was already super late and if he wasn't taking a roundabout and coming back the same way I was gonna have to take ANOTHER van to get back, or else walk like a mile through Sao Goncalo, which is not known for it's beauty and safety. Ha. Thankfully, he made a roundabout and I got out a few blocks from school. Ah, I love the vans. Always an adventure.

I went to McDonalds with Virginia, my fellow PBF teacher and good friend, and with some of my students, and then I went back to Icarai with Alex around 2. After an awesome nap, I decided to meet Viriginia in Sao Franciso, which the beach near Icarai, and have dinner at one of the many food establishments on the beach. We had pizza---SO. GOOD. Then later her brother and his girlfriend joined us later, and we had more pizza, haha, and just sat there, talking and people-watching.

This morning I went to church with Betty, Alex's wife, and then this afternoon, well, as you know, I slept through the World Cup Final.

I think this blog post is way too long.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I’ve flown a few international flights in my day. Just a few. Usually have a nice big ol' jet with personal tv/entertainment stations in for every seat, even in economy class.

Apparently there was a reason my flight was so cheap. Not that I’m complaining. However, when I walked into the plane, I immediately noticed something was dirty, and small and just a tad bit decrepit.

Also, when I sat down, just three inches from my face, rising above the seat in front of me, was a head of bleached, white......dreadlocks. Not just any dreadlocks...real, dirty, filthy, looks like you-know-what dreadlocks. I almost lost my cookies right then and there. For the rest of the flight I had to stifle my gag reflex every time I looked up and saw the matted, filthy pieces of "hair". And when the woman's pillow fell down behind the seat and landed on my foot...just about
fuh-lipped out and had to stifle a scream of horror. GEEEEEEEEEERMS!!!!!

When the plane lifted off, I was legitimately terrified for the first time ever flying that the engine was going to drop off right then and there. It was SO LOUD in that plane....and for a while I sat there contemplating the fact that there were only four inches of plastic and metal separating me from utter, complete destruction.

Ah well. I survived. I'm here! And, on the bright side of things, the descent into Rio was one of the most spectacular sights in the world. Flying over the millions of acres of farmland, I was amazed at the colors and patterns of the crops, and the mountains that literally rippled across the landscape as far as I could see...

Alexandre, Karen and Livia met me at the airport and we headed to their house, where I ate arroz e feijao, e pure de batata...and then went to PBF where I saw a bunch of my old's like I never left....
But now, I'm exhausted from not sleeping for 36 hours and ready to hit the hay...stay tuned.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

shame on the disciplined people

Grad school. I've written about it before. I need to say a few things, some good, some bad.

Today, we went to the Dept. of Juvenile Justice, ie the Detention Center. I had a one-on-one interview with a juvie about reading, as did all of my fellow EDRD 600 classmates. As soon as the group of young men came into the room, I saw the kid I wanted to talk to. Tiny kid. Adorable. Name is Archie. I made a beeline for lil' Archie as soon as we could choose our partners, and we had an awesome talk. I asked him a lot of questions, but thanks to my awesome journalism classes in undergrad and my many interviews as a writer for the Collegian, it was a great talk--more of a conversation than an interview. He was a really smart kid and I'm looking forward to meeting with him again next week.

Now for the bad part...future teachers of America--grad students--do you really not know what it means to look professional? Do you really think that having your chest hanging out (ladies) is going to be a good idea when you're in front of a roomful of 15-year-old boys? Do you know what a button-down is? and heels? Do you think baggy t-shirts and jeans are what the prof has in mind when she says to dress professionally? I mean COME ON. If you want to get a job, you do not interview someone like this:

Granted, in this case, a full-on suit would probably be a little intimidating for the teenager that you're interviewing, but if you don't respect yourself enough to look nice, then why should they? I'm just saying!

I'm not going to rant. But listen...every single thing we have learned in these education classes applies to high-risk, resistant, urban kids. That's fine. It's important stuff, and I know I'll have plenty of these kids. However, I have NO idea how to teach the AP kids. The ones who are motivated and disciplined and who need a challenge.

Because I guarantee you, the sort of junk I'm being told to teach is not gonna fly in an middle-class AP group of kids. And according to professor X, these types of kids pretty much don't exist. Well, guess what--I was one of those kids, and there are plenty of them out there.

Not everyone in this grad program is going to get a job at a high-risk, urban area, and not every single kid hates reading and teachers and school, and not every teacher is going to want to encourage her kids to read stuff like this:

I want to be prepared for the disciplined, driven kids when I get them. I am positive that when I ask profeesor X if any of our ed classes for next year will focus on AP curriculum, I will get a not-so-veiled response about how I am closed-minded and even racist. Upper-middle-class white girls! Such snobs! So closed-minded! They should be punished for their desire to have the kids do something other than personal responses and read books other than trashy YA novels! Shame!

It may seem like I am exaggerating, but honestly, I am not. In fact, ask Shannon, to whom X referred, in so many words, as a priveleged snob, to her face, in front of a whole class. For the entire time I have been in ed classes here, I have felt like I should be feeling guilty for the type of education I had. I am told every day that the way my English teachers taught me when I was growing up was terrible. Obviously, that is why I am so stupid now, right?

It also seems that with a few exceptions, the people in my classes have these humongous chips on their shoulders...they hated their teachers, they hated the way they were taught, they hated actually having to work hard in high school, basically. I'm sure some of them had bad experiences because let's face it, we've all had some terrible teachers. But....did it really ruin your life? Really?

I try not to let my feelings show during class, but I'll admit, my jaw has dropped at some of the things that are said/worn by the future teachers of America, and I have exchanged many appalled glances with Shannon at some of the things that X says. Because let's face it, I'm a well-educated, professional, middle-class white chick and I am bad.
The End.