Friday, February 23, 2007

I'd give my left arm... Another quick post. After a great few days off for Carnaval we are back in to the swing of work. We stayed in Natal, found some nice beaches, ate some nice food and entertained the extended family on Monday. Thursday evening I managed to slip over on some wet steps and dislocate my shoulder. Thank God for a health plan and nearby hospital. A kindly Brazilian Doctor popped my arm back in place and now I have to wear a sling for five days. Rach has a cough and lost her voice... so Nelsinho is wondering why his Pops won't pick him up or his Ma talk to him. Poor lad.

Anyway, more news once we settle into our routine again and get internet at the house.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Carnaval approaches. Stupid blogger have made me sign up to google to continue posting. Anyway, here we are all sorted again. Not much has happened since the last blog except we are all better, settling into Natal and this week I have been mostly cooking pancakes... one for every Cultura Student at our centre - that´s nearly 400! Mev and Amy have gone to Pipa then to Olinda for Carnaval. All Brazil is on holiday until the middle of next week. More blogs soon, I promise.

Friday, February 09, 2007

What are we like? Just a quick blog today as internet access is at a premium. In short, we have moved to Natal and have all started our respective jobs at Cultura Inglesa. The whole family has been hit by a dreaded 24 hour virus - it was me first, then Nelsinho, then Rach today and Amy, Celia and Mark have all had it. So it's been a funny old week. That´s what we get for trying to move house, start a new job, begin teaching, unpack, all with a baby in the space of 2 days. More news soon!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Transitions. We packed up our house today - so it's goodbye to the Ocean view on Piedade beach. Rach and I will head off to Porto de Galinhas and leave the Grandparents to babysit for the weekend (I'm not sure who I'm more worried for: Nelson or Steve and Celia). Monday we move, Tuesday I plan lessons, Wednesday start teaching...

CELTA finished and I passed with a "B" grade which I was pleased with. One of the best things about the course was meeting some real characters. Fabricio (pictured), is a thirty-something Brazilian who teaches English. He has published Poetry in Portuguese. His knowledge of English grammar, etymology, history, Shakespeare, poetry and popular culture surpassed us gringos considerably. He was a walking encycolpedia of lesson plans...

On the course were other memorable types - Bruna who lives on an island and is married to a man who surfs for a living, the unusually named Hugo Alberqurque with the perfect English accent, Emily from Leeds who has flawless Portuguese and many others...

Things I miss about England #7: Safe Electrics.
Plug sockets in Brazil come in all shapes and sizes and states of repair or disrepair. The pins on the end of cables don't often fit because they may be too tight or too loose. Open wires are not uncommon and sparks fly whenever you switch some appliances on. Our apartment - despite being brand new - had dodgy electrics; the lights flickering or not working from time to time. Rachel's family's apartment has showers that give you electric shocks whenever you try to change the temperature or pressure. But today I learned a a bit about why this might be the case...

As part of taking our house down to move to Natal, our local Mr Fixit attempted to dissassemble our shower head for us to take with us. At one point when I was out the room, I heard a loud pop and saw a flash from the bathroom. I popped my head round the corner to see if our man was still breathing only to find him trying to undo live wires with a metal pair of pliers. He seemed pretty pleased with himself as he whistled away. Health and Safety, it has to be said, has not really made it to Brazil. I guess I'm generally OK with this until it involves the electronics of lifts, ovens or taxis. To mis-quote Prince Philip: "That box looks like it's been wired by a Brazilian". All I can say is, at least we're not in Chad where they barely get electricity at all. Every cloud and all that.

Things I love about Brazil #16: Guarana. Like a cross between Apple Tango and something nicer, Guarana is the best way to quench your thirst round here. Only available in Brazil or from shady corner shops on Euston Road, London.