Monday, June 28, 2010

Birthday Love

Ro's birthday today - 28 on the 28th.  It's a special birthday that only happens once in your life!  Ro's mom and sis have gone on a lil trip to see his dad on 'the ship' (he works on a ship).  So it was just the two of us.  But having the house to ourselves for the first time in - Jesus... like, I'm talking 7 months here... we haven't had a house to ourselves for the whole day in 7 months.  We were pretty happy to spend the day at home.

On your birthday you are allowed to have a servent.  Seeing as I definitely indulge in my birthday servant allowance, I am happy to be Ro's birthday servant too.  This means all of the obvious things.  No cooking, cleaning, washing, chores of any kind, work of any kind, moving of any kind (if you so choose). 

So, I woke up early to cook some breakfast - pancakes and eggs - and to bake a cake.  Only problem was, when we went to use our maple syrup (care of familia Canadense), it had mold in it!! BOOOO :.....(  Then, the cake I was baking turned out really flat and not cake-like at all. I swear it was more like a brownie than a cake.  So the morning was off to a rough start (for me at least).  I always set myself up with high expectations which isn't a great thing because any element that is off sort of ruins the whole experience for me.

So anyway, yadda yadda yadda,  Brazil game 4 started.  Made some more food.  Drank some beer.  Won the game! 
Now Ro is at work which is always sad on your birthday.  I'm just hoping that since everyone probably got trashed during the game, they won't be able to make it out to a restaurant of any kind and Ro will be able to come home to me! 


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Funny language expressions

As kind of a follow up to Danielle's post. I wanted to mention a few expressions in Portuguese that I either found or still find pretty confusing.

As I just commented in her post, Pois e was a really tricky one for me.  I had finally mastered pode ser  (and use it of-ten) but I kept hearing Ro's mom answering things with 'pois e' and not understanding what she was saying.  Definitely sounded like a term of agreement but I just couldn't match it with anything and definitely couldn't use it.
It was finally explained to me that whenever someone is talking with you about something you:
a) don't know much about
b) don't have much to say about OR
c) don't have an opinion at all
you can answer with POIS E!  

Person A (talking to me): Don't you think they should have put Ronaldinho on the Brazil team? Isn't that coach Whatshisface such a dummy???

I like to think of it as "I guess so!" 

How about the first time I met this lady at the gym.   This was back in the beginning and up until that point everyone had been saying "Oi, muito prazer! Tudo bem/bom?"  Like a normal person does when they are speaking to someone who clearly doesn't speak the language.
Well why in the hell does this woman come up to me and in her fiery fast tongue shoot out,

What the F????

Well, now I know (and also know that there are several occasions where you may use partial comecseta talk).
It means COMO E QUE VOCE ESTA?  In other words,  How are you?

Anywho, short and sweet.  Shall add more when I think of more!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A very very important day for Brazilians

The first game of the World Cup!  Let me tell you a little of my first experience in a true soccer country.  

The days that Brazil plays in the World Cup are actually like pseudo holidays.  Everything closes during game time, at least 1 hour prior to.  We're talking banks, grocery stores, businesses... Everyone gets to leave work at lunch time for afternoon games and come in late during morning games.
But because everyone was rushing to the busses and the metro it made for a lot of traffic and because Brazilians have no clue difficulties driving on a normal day, this understandably caused a catastrophe on the roads.  
Let me be a little less harsh on the Brazilian driving thing.  Just understand this: the rules of the road are optional in Brazil and with so many people pushing and shoving, everyone gets very impatient. 
So where was I?  Oh yeah, it was complete and utter mayhem.  

Lately I have started paying more money to take the 'metro' bus (its a faster subway/bus) which normally takes half the time to get to Flamengo (where I teach.)  This means my usual 3 hour bus ride has been taking only 1.5 hours.  Today however took the usual 3 hours AND I had to stand the whole time.
It was literally standstill traffic for more than half of the way so I was a little late getting home for the start of things.  I was actually still on the road at 3:30 when the game started when all of a sudden the road became almost completely deserted!  Like, nobody on the street whatsoever minus a few busses, and some people who were waiting for a bus to pick them up to take them to the game.  It was so weird.

So, as I was walking home, I could hear EVERYONE'S TV's turned to the game.  Sounds of the game were coming from all directions!  Clearly it was the only thing anyone in Brazil was doing today between 3:30 and 5:10 pm. 
When Brazil scored their first goal, the whole neighborhood went wild!  Even normally calm, cool, collected Ro went out and shook the netting that surrounds our balcony, yelling like a lunatic. Haha, it was pretty mental patient/just got a life sentence-y looking to me.  Pretty funny stuff.

So yeah, today was a very very important day for Brazilians.


Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup Mania

I have a question.  I am I the only one?  Do I represent a population of one?  Someone, anyone, if you're out there and you're on my side, please let me know.

Am I the ONLY ONE who doesn't give a CRAP about the World Cup????

I think based on your silence, I am.

Let's face the fact that Canada doesn't have a team and isn't really a big soccer country as it is.  This certainly would explain my lack of interest in a World Event of Soccer.
With baseball and hockey (and lacrosse and curling, har har) stealing the limelight, the only space left for soccer is with those 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation citizens who, as soon as world cup comes on, CEASE being Canadian and completely envelop themselves in their heritage identities.  Anyway, my point is, I'm Canadian through and through.  Never had a soccer team, not even by blood.  So now what do I do when I'm in what is arguably the soccer capital of the world and the World Cup is on?

What I do miss about World Cup in Toronto is seeing all of the cultural power come out from the dark.  Toronto is already an incredibly strong multicultural city.  There is most definitely a neighborhood to represent EVERYONE in Toronto.  The best thing to see during the World Cup (or any international event) is the masses of people coming out to cheer for their team.  You have a game of Italy vs. Brazil?  You can bet your ass that the bar will be packed half and half with fans from each side.  Greece won?  How do you know?  Because the Greeks have rallied in their cars and are driving up and down the streets honking horns and waving flags everywhere.  It's f'ing awesome.  

Here, it's all about Brazil.  Brazilian pride is searing right now in the streets.  Flags are flying everywhere.  Paraphernalia litters every corner of every grocery store, sidewalk, building top, restaurant.  Everybody is cashing in on World Cup-mania.  And me?  What am I most happy about?  I'm happy that Outback has a deal on wings and also that they are extending their happy hour time from 2 to 8 hours.  Bring on the World Cup!

Now, don't get me wrong because I completely understand the sense of pride that comes with competing in world events!  It's not like that!  Hello Olympics?  Was I glued to the TV every night in February (when they played 1 measly hour of the Olympics at midnight for my hungry eyes to see).  YES.  If Canada had a team playing in the World Cup, I would certainly be right up there, baring my Canadian Flag clad chest for all to see.

But, they're not.  And so here I am, confused and irritated that my students are canceling their classes because there's a game on.  Confused, but not really.  What can I do but just shrug and join the ranks?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

blisters on my feet and sometimes I hate transit in Rio!

Ugh!  So.  Busses in Rio.  They are hella complicated.  First of all, there does not exist any kind of schedule to be found online nor any phone number that can help direct you to the right bus.  How do you know which bus to take, you ask?  You just have to ask people!  Seriously.  Ask the guy on the street, ask people on the bus, ask the driver.  Just ask.  And how do you know what time the bus comes? You don't. You just wait.  Wait at a stop and hope that a bus that you need comes by.  Yeah, seems a little prehistoric to me too.

So, today after my class I had to exchange something at the mall.  Well, I should have worn flip flops because walking around in pointy heels makes your feet feel like they're on fire.  I actually think I saw sparks.
Also, side note, Barra Shopping is, like, the biggest mall in the entire world and I don't know my way around.  My feet were HURTING.

Anyway, when it was finally time to take the bus I couldn't stand any longer.  So, in comes the other confusing part of Rio transit.  At a major bus terminal there is absolutely no order.  Busses come and go without any direction as to where your bus is going to stop.  Also, amongst this madness, enter buses with the same line number but heading in opposite directions.  Tonight I learned this the hard way.

I waited for quite a while for a bus heading toward Recreio.  Seems that many people were waiting a long time because when the 179 bus came in, about a hundred people ran toward it.  Actually, the line was so long that I went to sit down again because my feet were hurting worse than ever.  When I had my chance, I jumped on.  Another lady jumped on behind me and asked the driver if we were going to Recreio and I heard him answer yes.  So, I paid my R$2.35 and got the last seat.  Then, I saw the same lady get off the bus one stop later.  It was then that I realized that this bus wasn't going to Recreio, it was the same 179 going the opposite way!  PUXA!!!!!  So I ran to the woman who takes the money and confirmed what I already knew.  But she spoke to me so quickly I could barely understand and then she continued watching the road, clearly not interested in the fact that I was on the wrong bus!  All I could ask her was "ok, so what can I do now??"  She told me I had to get off the bus and cross to the other side of the highway street.  No, actually it's a highway.  A major one.  With like 12 lanes.  And nowhere to cross.  Yet, I'm still expected to cross.  This is Rio.

The thing that really pissed me off is that I asked her for my money back but she said that because I had already gone through the turnstile, I couldn't have it!  AND they don't have transfers here.  PUXAAAA!!!!  MY FEET HURT!!!!

So, I got off the bus because what other choice did I have?  By that point, I'm serious, my feet had swollen up and I had crazy blisters happening.  The distance across the highway looked about 10 miles long.  The traffic didn't seem to be be stopping in either direction.  I was literally (figuratively) (haha anyone watch How I Met Your Mother?) dragging my feet behind me.  One. At. A. Time.
But still, I walked.

I walked to a corner.

And I caught a cab.

My feet hurt.  :(

Saturday, June 5, 2010

English is AWESOME

WOW, How much do I love teaching English?  THAT MUCH!  I feel like I have really found my calling!  It's like everything I ever wanted wrapped up in one job.  I get to be the boss.  I get to correct people.  I get to be the expert. I get to make the rules.  I get to explain things.  I get to charge what I want.  Hahaha, it's everything a bossy know-it-all girl like me could ask for. 

But seriously, it's HELLA rewarding.  I really really like seeing the progress of my beginner students and because my Portuguese is good enough to be able to explain things, I'm able to teach these beginner students.  I really try hard to have the whole class in English but, having been there myself, sometimes you just NEED clarification to make sure you know that you're on the right track. 

In Canada and the States they don't teach formal grammar so that has been my biggest struggle - figuring out how to explain WHY we say this and WHY certain prepositions go with certain words and WHAT a preposition even is!  But I've been reading all of the books and manuals I have, researching online all of the parts of speech, verb tenses & forms, etc and I find this 'English' stuff really really interesting.  

Also, it's totally helping my understand Portuguese on a whole other level.  For a long time I was frustrated because thing's just didn't translate and certain expressions just made no sense to me.  Obviously, you can't translate things word for word, but analying my own language has really helped me understand that we have so many of these phrasal verbs and expressions ourselves that I can't be all frustrated and judgey about things not making 100% sense to me in ENGLISH.  I am speaking Portuguese and what makes you fluent is understanding which situation to use said phrases in.

I'm honestly a bit surprised with myself for coming into this situation (moving to Brazil) with an as close-minded attitude as I did.  I'm disappointed in myself for holding onto my own culture for so long and having that superiority-complex that so many foreigners have when they move to another country.  The feeling of "things are done better in my country."  While that may be true in SOME cases (with reference to administrative procedures and certain social norms) I have to remind myself often (and Ro helps with that) that I am in a city that is MUCH bigger than the one I'm used to and there are MANY MORE people that what I'm used to.  Also, the reality is Brazil is still technically a 3rd world country so many things are not up to 1st world 'standards'. 

It's time to let go of my expectations of how things 'should' be done.  If I wanted things that way, I could always go back, right? 

But I'm here for the long run and now that things have started to take off with my work I'm even more determined to give things a real legitimate chance.... next step, our own apartment, but that is for a future post. 
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