Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rachel's 21st birthday (again!). Today is Rachel's birthday. Coincidentally, it was also another Brazilian national holiday so we were able to have a lie in and spend time with friends and family. But, it has been quite a surreal day. We spent the morning at a hotel saying goodbye to our good pals Mariano and Barbara, and their two kids Miguel and Sophia (pictured above at Miguel's first birthday party). The family are on their way to Seattle where Mariano has a new job. As I write they are currently in the air going from Natal to Sao Paulo to New York to Seattle. We thought moving to a new country via one direct flight with one baby was tough. With two kids, and for that long, that is one obscene journey our friends are taking. Mariano starts work within a week of getting there too. They are in our prayers!

Anyway, after the tearful goodbyes Rachel and I and Nelson headed off to Camaroes, our favourite seafood restaurant for Rachel's birthday. Nelson can't sit still for more than a fraction of a second so when the three of us go out to eat the usual routine is one of us chases around the premises apologising to waitors and customers who Nelson barges into or tries to impress with his numerous tricks. (But, as has been mentioned before on this blog, Brazilians are quite fond of babies so usually there is no problem). When the food arrives we take it into turns to eat, scoffing our delicious main courses down as fast as possible so the other parent doesn't have to go hungry for too long. Despite these shenanigans it was well worth doing.

And then I drove to the airport for the second time that day to drop Rachel off to get a plane to Recife as she is flying to Rio tomorrow morning for meetings. So, I'm home alone with Nelson. My skills as Dad are certainly being pushed to the limit without Rachel around. But, so far, everything has gone more or less according to plan... not counting putting his nappy on backwards, setting the fridge on fire, putting his ear drops in his eyes, etc. So, it's been a good day if a little rushed. I think Rach has had a good time which is the main thing.

Augusto the football player. Yesterday, one of my students, a fairly shy, short, wiry teenager who lives in our neighbourhood, came into class as usual, sat down and whispered something to his friend in Portuguese. His pal, an outgoing chap, promptly announced to the class that this was to be Augusto's last day in Cultura Inglesa! Now, it's unusual to stop attending a course mid-way through the semester so we pried a little further and this is what we discovered. Augusto is moving to another state (Piaui) further north to play football professionally. Apparently, he had already been turning out in Natal for ABC 2nds and 3rds and had even played a game at the Machadao stadium before. Now he has been offered the chance of first team football at Piaui Esporte Clube. He will have to say goodbye to his folks and move to a new city several hours drive away. He will be paid (I don't know how much) and he will continue his education and perhaps his English there.

I asked my brother in law (who knows a thing or two about football) if he had heard of this team and he said he hadn't. A wikipedia search reveals them to be ranked as the 128th best team in Brazil. There are probably as many football teams in Brazil as churches (that is to say, a lot!) and Augusto will be one of thousands of young men who hope to make the big time. But, let's hope he does well. At the end of the lesson we quizzed him about his chosen career. He said his dream is to play for Brazil and perhaps in Europe. So, keep your eyes open for the thin midfielder from Natal - you heard it here first.

Gringo Maclure reporting. Speaking of Brazilian football, let me finish with a shameless plug. One thing I've enjoyed about being in Brazil is I have had more time to write (as you can tell!). I do bits and bobs mostly online. I recently joined a community of webloggers who write about football. My name is Gringo Maclure and I try to provide the South American angle to the beautiful game. My first post went up last week. You can read it at


Neil said...

Or "Gingo" Maclure as the nice man on Real Life News has called you. Which I think is funnier...

Ross said...

Hey Dave, I like that you have time to write - it's quite a talent. You're stories of life in Brazil are very entertaining and well written.

I hope you find time to keep it up!