February = No Man's Land. We're at a strange time of the year, where the summer holidays have ended and term has started up at the start of February but in reality everyone is waiting for Carnaval to finish (end of February) before they really throw themselves back into normal life. For an English teacher this means 3 weeks of teaching half-empty classes knowing that half the group won't come back until March, at which time they will promptly fail their tests for not having been in any lessons. Even the students that are here are not really here in spirit - homework doesn't get done. It also perputates the notion that Brazilians (at least up here in sleepy towns) know how to relax. Essentially, December through to the end of February is chalked off for summer. Any work done during that time is clearly a fortunate coincidence.
I am applying to take CELPE-Bras, the official government test for foreigners learning Brazlian Portuguese. Last night, Rachel and I found that their official website had only been updated at the end of last year and the application page was shut down. Apart from this demonstrating the vulgaries of Brazilian beaucracy, it also reinforced the iron law I'm talking about here. When I suggested to Rachel we should call a number to try and make progress, she replied: "I wouldn't bother this week. Just check back after Carnaval".