Monday, May 31, 2010

So expsensive to volunteer?

I've been thinking lately about adding to the list of 'things I want to do'.  Specifically, while I am in Brazil, hang gliding and surfing are amongst the adventure items on my list. 

But, as always, I can't help but think new places I want to see.  Hell, you travel halfway around the world (or in my case,  down into the Southern edition of my home continent); you should see some shit while you're there!  Originally, I was making up a 2 year plan (as in 2 years from now).  Ro and I really want to volunteer doing something GOOD.  Habitat for Humanity was what jumped out at me as being awesome, but I wanted to go to Asia, somewhere like Vietnam or Cambodia. 

I soon discovered that this would be financially impossible.  US$1550 just for the volunteer portion.  Not including the US$2000 flight from São Paulo.  Each. 

Then I started looking at areas closer to us, to (like I said) take advantage of where we are living.  Somewhere we could consider taking the bus or catching a much cheaper flight.   But....
Equador = US$1450
Brazil = $1550
Argentina = $1500

What the hell?  I can't afford that!  I am trying to offer MY services to YOU!  Not only can I not just simply 'volunteer' (work for free), I actually need to PAY to work for you?? Only in Backwards Land. 

The crazy thing is I still want to do it.  Jeez, it looks SO amazing.  But if I have to pay, I want to go somewhere different and awesome!  Ie. Cambodia.  Africa.  Even Equador. 

Buuuuuuuuuuuut that's just another thing to add to the 'list of things I want to do'.  Ro has always told me I have expensive taste....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

Rode to Copacabana on the bus today.  The bus is always an experience here but I'm pleased to say that it's getting a lot easier to navigate my way around the city.  I'm no longer feeling that terrifying pang when I go somewhere alone knowing I will probably need to ask for directions.  I think I've mentioned this kind of thing a few times in a few different blogs but I'm sorry, it just never ceases to amaze me how much more I understand and how much easier things are getting.  Maybe not easy, but definitely easier.  

I witnessed something really interesting that I haven't yet seen on any other bus ride.  A simple gesture of kindness which was kind of suspicious to me, to be honest.  I was standing on the bus which was getting slightly crowded.  As more and more people started piling on, I moved further towards the back to make some room.  As I was standing there, juggling my belongings, the woman sitting (below? next to?) me asked in Portuguese "Quer sentar sua bolsa aqui?"  I looked at her initially hearing only the verb "to sit" thinking she was offering her seat or another seat.  But seeing the confused look on my face she asked again.

"Quer sentar sua bolsa? (pointing at my purse)  Posso guardar aqui."

Wellll.... my suspicions were on high as she physically, but gently, guided my purse to her lap.  I mean, by that point I understood she was asking me if I wanted to keep my purse on her lap but seeing as I had NEVER seen this happen on the bus before (definitely wouldn't happen at home) I obliged her offer but kept hold of the strap.  Y'know... it's just strange when a stranger offers to hold your purse... not your typical act of kindness and I'm sure you understand why I was feeling a bit leery.  I kept an eye on my bag the whole time but the lady didn't even appear interested in it.  She just looked out the window and literally let my bag 'sit'.  
As soon as a seat opened up I thanked her and went to sit down, still considering the motive behind this good deed. 
It wasn't until I was on my way home, again on another crowded bus, that I witnessed it happen again!  A lady standing on the bus was fumbling with her things and as she was getting bumped around by everyone the lady sitting next to me offered to hold HER bag on her lap!  The Standing Lady was totally grateful and practically threw her purse onto the Sitting Lady's lap.  There the bag stayed until a seat opened and the Standing Lady could retrieve it and resume the ride sitting down.

What an interesting gesture.  I'm sorry to say that I am immediately so suspicious of people here.  I do consider myself to be a pretty naive person, wanting to believe that all people are good or at least have good intentions.  I've just been a bit conditioned to think that most people here are looking for opportunities to rob you and if you give them any, it's your own fault.  True to a point, but today helped me see another side of Brazilians - Carioca's specifically - and that is that strangers still look out for one another.  I don't see many Random Acts of Kindness here... not like at home at least, but any time I do, no matter which country I am in, I always feel a little warm feeling inside!  ****Cheese Alert, Cheese Alert***
But seriously, doesn't it feel so awesome to help another person out when they least expect it and to see it being paid forward as well?  There are so few of these incidents now that it really surprises me when they happen.  But, gives you a little bit more faith in humanity.....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Teaching update

Who ever knew that working out could feel so freaking great?  I'm working on a program from Oxygen magazine right now that is one month long and I'm already feeling great effects only a week in.  Damnit it's wonderful. 

Now, on the other hand, what to do with this extreme boredom?  Ro got a job (!!!) which means he has been understandably absent for the past week at work.  I am trying really hard to get more hours but so far it seems that I will need to be patient and let them come to me.  There are several prospects on the horizon, two of which I am pretty happy about.

I want to take it back to the gym now for a second.  When we first arrived, I was bothered and irritated by the methods they have at the gym.  Every gym you join (at least the one's I'm familiar with) have trainers that walk the floor, helping you out with your workouts.  I didn't find this awesome, simply because I couldn't speak Portuguese and they approached us every time we went asking if we wanted help.  I think I was more frustrated with the fact that I couldn't respond, couldn't accept the help anyway and wanted to be left to do my own circuit. 
Now my Portuguese is much better so when people talk to me, I can actually respond in my broken Portuguese.  So yesterday, while doing some one-armed rows on the seated row machine, a trainer approached me to help me position myself better.  We spoke a little before he commented with certainty that I was not Brasileiro.  (It really only takes about one or two sentences)  I asked him how he knew (obviously)... because of my sotaque.
We spoke a little about why I am here, I told him what I did in Canada, I told him what I do here.  He was really interested to hear that I am an English teacher because he has been *gasp* wanting native English classes!  My first potential aula particulare!!  The best thing is that the gym where he works is right across the street from our house so there are no transportation or time costs involved.  It could be really great to start teaching private students close to my house and I really hope the gym opens up some more opportunities for me.  Private and business teaching is where it's AT!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rio The Animated Movie!

Whaaaaaat?? An animated movie about Rio? So awesome!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Ohhh the long awaited update.  By me anyway!  I have been having trouble getting back into it AGAIN!  At least this time it's not just writer's block - I've been a little busy actually!  Emphasis on 'a little' but just enough that I'm not spending countless mindless hours online.
Also, Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album is AMAZING and it's absolutely inspiring me to write this blog right this second.  Buy and/or download this album right away (I say download because let's be honest, that's how I acquired it). 
ANYWAY.  What to talk about, what to say...?

This song 'Brushes' makes me SO freaking happy. 

Other things that make me happy at this moment in time.
1.  I got another class with the business school I teach with!  That means now I have TWO classes, hooray!
2.  I have THREE interviews set up in the next two weeks with other schools, one being another business school which I already know I prefer. 
3.  I went shopping all by myself tonight and then figured out how to take the bus home all by myself.
4.  I joined the gym FINALLYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.  Three months sans gym makes Homer something something.  Go crazy?  Don't mind if I do!!!!!!!  I hope you are laughing, Anna.
4b.  The results are happening REALLY fast at the gym - thank God for muscle memory - and I think I'm getting in better shape than before!
5.  I got my first paycheck.  R$90!  Whooooooo hoooooooooo!!!!!!
6.  I am going out for lunch with some other ex-pats girls that I met on Facebook...  It will be my first lunch with native English speakers since coming here!  (minus my mom and sis, of course!)
7.  "Rumours" is grrrreat!
8.  My portuguese has noticeably improved in the last month and I no longer feel so scared doing things on my own. 

Well, I think that's a pretty good list, eh?

Oh, I also think I should point out that while my mom and sister were visiting we discovered Paradise.  A.K.A. Ilha Grande.  I would reeeeally like to make it a regular destination spot since it's only about 2 hours away from here and is actually the most amazing place I've ever seen.  We snorkelled in emerald water, surrounded by fish.   Ro and I saw 3 squid, 3 sea turtles (one was making eye contact with us from under a rock for about 5 minutes before swimming away), lots of enormous star fish, lots of underwater fauna and HEAPS of different types of fish.  We had fun throwing crackers on my mom while watching the fish literally JUMP out of the water all around her to get them.  Ohhhh hahaha.  It was an incredible experience.  There is a whole world under the sea that is really missed by so many people!!!  Our next goal is to get our scuba license and explore the ocean a little further. 

Here are some funny pictures of snorkelling:

Walking to the first beach, Praia Lopes Mendez

On the way home....

What a great trip.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

One week in...

I don't have too much time to post a major blog here... we are going to head down to the beach pretty soon.  Mom and Sister are here and we have been busy busy busy!!!  Everyday doing something and I've been having such a good time getting to know the city with them.

Some hi-lights for me have been:

- Going out for Ro's sister's birthday to dance Forro (a traditional Brazilian dance from the North East)

- Doing the favela tour in Rocinha, Rio's biggest favela
- Futebol game at Maracana
- Visiting Petropolis and the Parque National da Serra dos Orgaos

Tomorrow we're heading to Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais (yay!!) and I will post some pics later as well! 
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