Tuesday, 27 July 2010

From my apartment window.

I'll post more when I finish decorating the rest of the place.. :)

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Pictures from Cordoba!

I figured out I had to change the size of the pictures to get them to load (at least until I get a faster internet connection). So sorry if they're a bit small...
Below is a picture of Luc's birthday dinner at Las Margaritas which I had to include, just because I miss those mariachis (and Chuck) like whoa. I can only hope I'll find some mariachis in this town too!

Uncle Charly
Didi making hot chocolate in the kitchen

My mom playing Bananagrams

My cousin Nacho (Ignacio) dressed up as a lady of the night to celebrate inheriting this hat from my dad. He's pretty hilarious. He and Luc are only a day apart in age.

Uncle Charly and my mom singing at her birthday party. My mom is that blur in the middle. Flash looked bad, and there wasn't much light, hence the blurriness.

Nacho with an American exchange student we met. She was from Texas.. He taught her how to dance cuarteto!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Back in Campinas

and how nice it is too! Being away made me like this place even more.. As soon as I got off the plane my mood brightened. Today the high was 75 degrees..and there are beautiful flowers everywhere you look. So green and lovely. I think I may do a post of just pictures of flowers one day soon.

I'm writing this post with about a total of two hours of sleep within the last 40 hours. Tuesday night was Dia del Amigo in Argentina, and I spent it my friend Malena and a few of her close friends. They decided to get together at this cute apartment in Nueva Cordoba and make dinner. It consisted of homemade ravioli stuffed with chicken and spinach, and a creamy deliciousmeltinyourmouth sauce. I really liked the group and was able to answer a lot of questions they had about the States (two of them are taking a trip to Florida in the fall). I also got to hear really funny stories about growing up together (they all have known each other since middle school). I stayed there till about 2 am, then went back to where my folks were so we could get a ride to the airport for Campinas. The flight left super early so we had to be at the airport at around 4:30. After a three hour wait in Porto Alegre, (where I saw a DOUBLE rainbow y'alll) we got to Campinas at noon.

The superintendent of the school picked us up. He's a really genuine guy, and I know I'm going to like working for him. He and my parents hit it off really well too. They've lived in a lot of the same places (LA, San Diego, Quito) and he loves wine and golf about as much as my dad does.
He took us to EAC (my new school) and we had lunch there. He also showed me my classroom, which is spacious and has large windows that let in a lot of sunlight. The chairs are all different colors, ala rainbow. There are two enormous banyan trees outside, and monkeys in them.
He also showed us the main office, where the secretary had designed a little greenhouse full of all kinds of bromeliads and orchids. Orchids happen to be my favorite flower ever. I've tried having them at home, but they never do so well for some reason or another. She assured me that they grow really well here in Campinas because of the moderate climate. I think I'm going to have to fill my balcony with them.

All in all, I'm getting more and more excited about this new job. The school is so beautiful, and I'll be posting pictures of the campus soon. All the hallways are outdoors, and you can tell that everyone really appreciates and respects the natural beauty the campus offers. Their preschool is also a montessori school, which is something I have always been interested in learning more about.

By the way, I tried to post pictures of Cordoba in this post, but it was taking reallllly long. I tried uploading them from IPhoto. Am I doing something wrong? Are the files too big?

Well, if you can help, give me a comment por favor.
Ate logo,

Monday, 19 July 2010


Today is the final day of dentist visits, and my mom is looking and feeling much better. We'll be leaving for Campinas on Wednesday (we have to be at the airport at 3 am, so it'll feel more like Tuesday).
I'm really happy to be going back to Brazil. I'm curious about my job there, and the people I'm going to meet once I start working. I've already had some contact with some of the other teachers and staff at EAC, and everyone is really amicable. The overall vibe in Campinas is really positive, and everything is "bom" and "legal" for the Brazilians.. I'm glad I already have a network of people that can make me feel more at home and settled. Its always hard to move, and it makes me feel more at ease that I'm getting messages in my inbox on Facebook and gmail from people that have heard I am new to the school, and want to invite me out places.
I love being in Argentina, but its so different being here in winter than in the summer. The main purpose of my visit this time was to see family, and I saw tons of cousins, aunts, and uncles the first few days. I'll also be seeing a bunch of them tomorrow for a going away party they've arranged for us. Still, I am happy I'll be in the southern hemisphere for a while.. From now on, I'm keeping my visits to Argentina for the summer time here (December-Feb) and going to the states for the summer there. No more cold weather everrrrrrrrr. Argentina is so beautiful in the spring in summer too. The lakes are full to the brim, people are out enjoying the sun, and there are millions of wildflowers all over the mountains. It's a very different story here when it's cold because the climate is so dry and there is very little rain. Everything dies. In the last 6 years I've only been able to visit in the winter because of my summer breaks in Florida. I also get moody in when its cold.. I can't even take air conditioning at restaurants sometimes! My body just isn't made for weather below 50 degrees.

Following warmer weather will be easier now.I also looked up the weather in Campinas and it's 80 degrees there. AND its winter there too. I'll say yes to tank tops and 75 degree weather over 25 degrees and snow anyday.

This weekend I followed my folks to several neighboring cities here in Cordoba. La Falda, Cruz Chica, Yanti, and Cosquin. Cosquin is known as the capital for folklore music. We ended up arriving on the last night of their winter folk festival, and bought tickets to a peña. Basically a peña is a folk music gathering, where artists come in and play about 5 songs each. Folk music here varies greatly from region to region. You have Sambas which are mainly played with classic guitars, and drums called bombos, which I really like. As well as Altiplano music, which comes from way up North where there are more indigenous tribes so the music includes flutes and other Bolivian instruments So while all these bands are playing, you eat, drink, clap, and an MC introduces everyone and gets the crowd participation going. At one point they selected me to participate in a contest where I had to yell, almost like yodeling. It's a noise made by natives to show they like the music that's being played and it's kind of like an 'aay yayay yay yayyyyyyyyyyyy". It was super embarrassing, but I ended up winning because the other lady up there with me was too shy to yell very loud. I won a box of alfajores.

We also stopped at this amazing waterfall in Yanti, in a little cove that used to be inhabited by Comenchingones, a native tribe that used to live in Cordoba. It was such a relaxing little place, and the waterfall kept the place so alive because of the moisture. It was nice to see so much green, the only green I'd seen here thus far. Super beautiful.

I will be adding pictures to this blog at some point,by the way. Once I have a dependable internet connection again, I promise to upload some visuals. My apartment, food, trips, all that good stuff.

I've been studying Portuguese like whoa.
Eu estoy aprendendo muito Portugues. Eu gosto muito de falar, mas preciso de empezar as clases na sexta feira pra falar melhor,.
( I am learning Portuguese. I like speaking it, but need to start classes this Friday to speak better)
I think I wrote that the right way.. Grammer is a bitch in Portuguese. Its the articles that get me... meu deus.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


This morning it snowed for the first time this year in Cordoba. I woke up to tiny flakes falling outside the window, and then they turned into fat flakes. Unfortunately, the snow didn't cover much of the ground, I guess its still not cold enough for it to stay... it feels extremely cold however, so I actually don't mind if it doesn't drop very much lower than what the temp is right now.

In other news, my mom fainted a few days ago, and landed pretty hard on her face. She broke her two front teeth, and has a slight fracture on her upper cheek bone. Although it sounds really bad, it could have been much worse. She's actually doing really well, and we've had to beg her to stay put and rest a little bit. It's now a matter of fixing her teeth to get her back into tip top shape. We're not sure why she fainted, but I think it may have been a result of dehydration, since the night she fell she wasn't feeling so well to begin with and had already thrown up a bunch. She is currently in the process of getting two root canals and they'll be placing caps over the broken teeth so she'll look good as new.

In happier news, despite Argentina being a mess politically, they have made a step in the right direction. Yesterday the senate here passed a bill, making Argentina the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage. :) Adoption will also be legal for same sex couples. Pretty sweet eh? Hard to believe it passed, since generally I find that people are very opposed to that idea. But there is a large population of gay people in Buenos Aires, and since it's the capital, it proably swayed the senate in their decision. Thumbs up to the Argies :)

Friday, 9 July 2010

Argie town

Hello from Cordoba :) I got to Argentina on Wednesday, after a pretty crazy trip. After arriving at the airport at 3 AM, everyone on the plane was informed that the airport was closed due to a light snow and fog (as were the two other major airports in the area). Long story short, we ended up going BACK to Brazil to the same city we had just come from. pretty ridiculous. Three hours later, I hopped on another plane to make the trip back to Cordoba at 9 AM. Finally, I got to my parents' house at 1 PM, about ten hours after the original arrival time. The experience really forced me to use the little Portuguese I do know,because I was in a bit of a panic trying to figure out what was going on. I also managed to communicate with the airline workers at the airport in Porto Alegre, Brazil to use a telephone (which at first they wanted me to pay for, but I convinced them to allow me a free long distance call...nicely of course) to call my parents and let them know what had happened.

Anyway, now I'm here, and its been really pleasant. The weather is much colder than Campinas, but still not as cold as I had imagined. I love being near mountains though... The air feels cleaner, and it's a really beautiful landscape. It's all very relaxing :)
Last night my mom had an early birthday party. It was nice to see so much family, and catch up. My favorite cousin Mercedes came, as well as my first cousin Nacho from Buenos Aires. My aunt Alicia brought four exchange students that are staying at her house for a month, and I talked a lot with them too. Three of the girls were from France (and they spoke really good English, and some basic Spanish) and one of the girls was from Texas. They were all really friendly, and had a lot of questions about Cordoba. I took them to the Che Guevara museum down the road from my parents house, and they seemed to really enjoy it.
The rest of the night we ate (A LOT), sang, danced,and had some pretty good times. I'm happy I was able to come here before starting my job in Campinas. I like having a big family, and the fact that they only see me once a year, but we always pick up right where we left off. All the young people in the family are really warm, and they know how to have a good time.

Monday, 5 July 2010

My first week in Campinas

I arrived in Campinas on Wednesday morning last week. Since then, I've been exploring the city carefully, and leaving my apartment from time to time to take a look around. I'm feeling a lot of mixed emotions right now, and it may help me to write it all down, hence starting this blog.

My apartment is on a one way street in the middle of town. The neighborhood is called Cambui, and it's a very charming place. I think the most attractive aspect of the city is amount of greenery everywhere. From my window, I can see a dozen skinny palm trees that reach the 8th floor of the apartment building across from me. There are also lots of tropical flowers and trees, and it's hard to believe that it's winter here. Right now it is about 27 degrees Celsius, about 79 degrees Fahrenheit. I can definitely get used to a warm climate like this. Everyday has been really pleasant, and I've enjoyed walking around in a tank top during what is supposed to be the coldest month of the year. There are also a lot of parks around town. So far, I've discovered about 6 in a ten block radius. I can walk just about everywhere, but will be happy to learn to use the bus system to get to work once I start my job (about 4 km away), and the mall in the same area of town ( I need to buy some stuff for my apartment that I haven't found around my area). I also want to get a bicycle, but am waiting till I get back to do that.

I've made two friends so far. One is named Vitor, and he's the step son of my boss' secretary, Ivete. He's very friendly, has lived in Campinas his whole life, and attended a German school from k-12 grade. He works at the school I am going to work at in August as a 3rd grade teaching assistant. He's trilingual, and his English is pretty perfect. He took me to a restaurant named Fellini for lunch on Thursday, and I had a really good time getting to know him. He's 23 like Luc, and wants to be an actor. He intends to move to Sao Paulo in the next couple of years. He's also very good friends with another teacher who lives in my building. Her name is Meghan and she teaches 3rd grade. She found me on Facebook, and has been really great about giving me tips on where to go and putting me in contact with people. She seems very friendly as well, and I'm looking forward to meeting her.

Like I said, I like the city, and like it more and more every time I venture out and explore a little. Campinas is much bigger than I imagined, and I guess that's a good thing. I think the only thought that worries me is how to meet people that I can effectively communicate with. I would love to meet some other English speakers, especially people from countries other than the US. So far I've had trouble finding anyone that speaks English. Part of me feels like moving here has isolated me a bit too much, and I hope to be proven wrong. Still, I have heard that Campinas has tons of foreigners, and I may just need more exposure to the nightlife and bars to find them.

It has been an interesting week, all of the foreign hire teachers are on vacation, so I've pretty much been on my own. It has forced me to get my apartment in order, and learn my way around my neighborhood. I have already found two grocery stores, and cooked myself several meals. I've also been to two restaurants, even though it has been a bit difficult to order. I have to use Portanhol, which is the Brazilian term for Spanish speakers mixing Spanish and Portuguese to communicate. It's much better than being completely lost, that's for sure.. People get the general idea of what I am trying to say, which is great. Still, I can't wait to start my Portuguese classes at InterClass.

In my spare time it has been more of a struggle to stay entertained sans friends. I found out quickly that I will no longer be able to use American TV shows as a way to pass the time. Hulu, Netflix streaming, and all the video streaming on major TV networks within the US do not work here! I get a message that says they don't have international rights. Goodbye Office,goodbye 30 Rock, goodbye Glee, goodbye Top Chef....I guess this will force me to be more productive, to read more, and to spend more time outside. I know I'll be able to see movies in English, but I am waiting on my Brazilian ID number to get a membership to the video store. As far as TV, I have basic cable, but mostly everything is in Portuguese. Law and Order is shown what seems like ALL DAY EVERYDAY on the Universal channel (I've watched 5 episodes in the last three days). They also show Heroes. That's about it! In a way I'm happy this will ween me off television. I think it will also force me to live more simply, both as a consumer of "things", and entertainment.