Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Friday, 25 December 2009

♫♪ We wish you a Merry Christmas ♪♫


May the Joy of the Season
Fill your heart and home

May the Love of Friends and Family
Surround you where you go

May our Wishes for your Happiness
Follow you through the year

~ o O o ~

xmas 2009_3423

My day started out wonderfully with a phone call from Hamish. Coffee and gifts followed. I loved them all, the lavender candles, the gorgeous, super-soft socks that I'm so tempted to use as a pillow (these socks are really the softest thing I have ever felt!), a new keyboard (mine has been limping for a while now), a webcam. Yes, I finally caved in on the webcam. Students have asked for it and with Tat going to England, the webcam will be nice. Tat rather liked her beret. She's wanted one for ages. Jorge, I think, was most enamoured with his bottle of Chevas ; )

tatiana beret

The webcam was fun to play with. I still think it will take courage to use with students, so we'll see how that goes.

Webcam 03 copy cropped

I did manage to talk to a couple of friends today. It was great! Thanks : ) Our most profound apologies for the bad singing =Þ In short, it's been a lovely day. I hope your day was also good.

♫♪... and a Happy New Year! ♪♫


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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday....

Remember that song from the 70's?

It's been an eventful few days, appropriate to the time of the year, I suppose. It's hot. Yeah, I know I sound like a stuck record. 94°F in the shade with equivalent humidity isn't my idea of paradise. The locals take the heat in their stride though.

sleeping in the park

Sunday , we needed to head into town to collect a teeny tiny item we'd ordered.

Tatiana dandelion_sm

Tat was meeting an old friend in town, so only went in with us, then went off on her own, so I dragged my body guard around with me.


We first headed out to Vila Mariana to take the positivity photo. There was a lot of traffic, except for when this girl rode up. I decided to leave her there. Aside from her, this is the scene that greets me in the half-light of my early Tuesday mornings. This is the kind of graffiti I can live with, like the one we saw on the phone booth later, "More love please" or "Mais amor por favor", as it was written in perfectly rhyming Portuguese.

I didn't get a photo of the graffiti, but later, I did get a shot of one of São Paulo's oddities. Inside every phone booth, especially downtown where there is often not a spare inch of naked phone booth left, you'll find these stickers, each with a name and number, often with a service.

phone booth advertising

It took me a while before I discovered what they were advertising. Yes, I tend to be naive.

Our next stop was Praça da Republica, my regular Christmas (and any other special occasion) shopping haunt. We found the stall belonging to the little Japanese couple (odd that they're always tiny and wrinkled). They greeted us so sweetly. Yes, the order was ready and do we like it? Of course! With our business of the day concluded, we decided to do some stall 'window shopping'.

I was looking for some cotton pants. We approached one stall and a man with fly-away white hair popped out with a surprising request. Could I please take a photo of him in exchange for a pair of pants? I cut a deal with him. I'd take a few photos. If he liked them, I'd order something (he didn't have the style I wanted in my size). While I was snapping away, Jorge did some marketing for me, telling him about my photo restoration. He wants some photos restored as well.

lalaneshadas republica_peq

Not too far from his stall was the shadow puppet man. This guy is either crazy, determined, or just plain talented. He dresses from head to toe in black. He does a duet with his puppets. It's really well done. I caught his 'lady' looking at me. I think I interrupted her mourning over his death in this act. Jorge tossed some coinage into his hat and we moved on.

shadow puppet republica

From Republica and it's dozy citizens....

republica hobo_3108

...we made our way to Avenida Paulista to see the Christmas decorations. They weren't the best we've seen, but they were fairly good.

christmas 2009 - paulista - pipe organ

After browsing Livraria Cultura, a huge book store, we ambled along to Parque Trianon. It's a lovely little park where they've gone out of their way to preserve the original trees. Where they cut trees to make a path, they used the trees to make park seating. You can see an example here. The photos aren't that great. They're from when we were visiting Brazil in '96.

At the entrance to the park, a man tapped Jurgis on the shoulder and asked him for his year of birth. Jurgis obliged and was given an exciting run-down on the Chinese astrology for 2010 for those born in the Year of the Tiger. He then turned to me and asked me for my year of birth. Once I told him, he proceeded to tell me how bad the past year was for me, possibly even including the death of a family member. I thought he was telling me what next year would be like and was getting progressively more depressed. When Jurgis explained, the man went on to tell me that next year would be a total contrast for me. 2010 is apparently going to be 'my' year. Now there's good news! The man then gave us each an A4 page with tons of text... in Spanish! Apparently all these wonderful things are on that page. I'll never know.

3 seeds - year of the goat_3189

He then sorted through some seeds he had and gave us each three seeds, carefully selecting the best ones. We're to keep one seed, throw one in a river and give the third seed to someone to plant in some place that will benefit the ecology.

christmas 2009 - paulista

We finally left Avenida Paulista to go home. We went to Liberdade where we were told that the bus would take more than an hour to arrive, so we wandered among the Sunday stalls there. We finally got the bus, only to be stuck in a traffic jam caused by an overturned truck. Footsore and very sunburnt, I was glad to get home.

Oh wait... I haven't mentioned Monday to Wednesday yet. Sunday took an entire blog!

Monday, Tat and I went in to try to see Avatar. We ended up shopping for clothes (tickets were sold out) for her trip. On the way out, we bumped into a taxi driver we hadn't seen for over 6 years. He recognised us! Our cabbie from Rio.

Tuesday, I was out teaching. My student is the owner of a company and wants her employees to take up class with me next year. If I can pull this off, it will mean the end of my creative marking for the school!

Wednesday... oh... that's today. Tat gave me a pre-Christmas gift. She booked me in to the salon for a reflexology session, a hair cut and a manicure. I now sport bright cherry-red nails. I got strange looks when I suggested that all I need now is a black forest cake to put my fingers onto.

Ah yes... the in German above? Avenida Paulista had Festive greetings in many languages all along, even Arabic.


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The little blue guitar

blue toy guitar 2

I was waiting in the desultory heat for the bus that just wouldn't come. I think the mind starts creating entertainment when left in the limbo of a crowded sidewalk. Let's call it 'drama' for the purposes of this tale.

The current fashion in São Paulo is these giant handbags that I fondly call 'coffins'. This woman had a coffin she could easily fit herself in. Another lady rushed past, clutching her carrier bag of treasures. The coffin tore at the carrier bag and a small plastic dollar store guitar fell out. The woman motored on, not realising what had happened, quickly losing herself in the crowd.

Two policemen pulled up on their motorbikes and, brandishing guns, stopped a man from boarding a bus and questioned him. Coffin-woman came to her own conclusions. Her theory was that someone had robbed a bus, then thrown the little plastic guitar on the ground. "The guitar is evidence!" she'd proclaim, staring at it lying there as if it were a snake. I must tell you at this point that the little guitar was one of those really cheap, all plastic guitars, about 10" long.

The cops were still around. They were questioning every guy in a white surf shirt, beige baggies, carrying a backpack and talking into a mobile speaker earphone thingie (I've hit a blank on what they're called). Coincidentally, there were four of them.

I was worried that someone would step on the luckless guitar and break it. Explaining what I had seen, I picked it up and put it on one of the empty bus shelter seats. Either I explained badly or coffin-woman's story was way more believable, but the guy sitting next to the little guitar picked it up, sniffed it, shook it, listened for lurking evil, then gingerly put it down again.

Coffin-woman went up to the man and the guitar and expounded on her theory at length. We waited quite a long time, so the theory got more elaborate as time went on. Eventually, the strange backpack-surfer guys moved off in one direction and the cops in another, though the cops hung around a little way off, just watching. Coffin-woman's bus arrived. I was grateful.

Just then, out of the crowd came the original guitar lady... hot, bothered and looking quite desperate. The bus stops on this stretch run in a sort of alternating system. Some buses stopping at the one, the other buses stop then way further down. She had obviously been rushing to the next bus stop. She was back at our stop, as the bus she wanted stopped there. The first thing she did was scour the surroundings. She must have realised that she'd lost the guitar. I went to the seats to get it for her. It was gone! I looked everywhere. Now I'm wondering if the cops took it as evidence. It was nowhere to be seen. In her torn carrier bag was a little matching pink guitar. My heart broke for her. She eventually got on the same bus as me, looking very despondent. People who buy that kind of Christmas gift don't usually have the means to buy replacements. I wanted to give her a little something to get something for her kids, but the bus was jam packed. I was separated from her and didn't see her again. A pity really. I hope she found another way to get a little blue guitar for her child.


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Monday, 14 December 2009


“A Hug Is Two Hearts Wrapped In Arms”


em·brace (em br!sÆ), v., -braced, -brac·ing, n.
1.    to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.
2.    to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea.
3.    to avail oneself of: to embrace an opportunity.
4.    to adopt (a profession, a religion, etc.): to embrace Buddhism.
5.    to take in with the eye or the mind.
6.    to encircle; surround; enclose.
7.    to include or contain: An encyclopedia embraces a great number of subjects.
8.    to join in an embrace.
9.    an act or instance of embracing.

Hugging is something I've had to learn to accept and even more to give. That is still a work in progress. I come from a home environment where physical displays of affection were unheard of. As a young girl, though, I was rather exuberant in my hugging if and when I could find a willing victim. As a teen, hugging in my little social world was the norm and I was an eager, if somewhat idealistic, participant. Then along came reality. I learnt the hard way, not once, but a few times (yes, I'm a slow learner), that the world of friendly hugging I had built up around me was an illusion. The forest was crawling with wolves and my little basket of affection had been ransacked. I had been naivete personified, but no more. My fear of hugging or being hugged eventually became almost an aversion.

Life was not content to leave me in that state though. First, there was Jurgis, giver of bone-crushing bear hugs. Then love found new depths in the births of my daughters. Ah, the hugs of plump baby arms... ! Of course, there was the "Don't touch me!" phase Tat went through. That was rather disconcerting and amusing all at once. Once she'd grown out of that, she was more than happy to hug almost everyone she came into contact with. Combine Jurgis' bear hugs with the enthusiasm of an excitable puppy and you have Tatiana hugs : ) Brazil gave another blow to my 'armour' being a country where not kissing in greeting or hugging is considered bad form... cold and stand-offish. That was a tough one to come to terms with. This is not the best place for someone who isn't inclined to 'touchy'. Physical contact is constant here. Then came my immersion into the lives of others online... and friends... good friends. All this built up until I reached a point where I feel towards some that I would love to hug them, whether it's to comfort or out of sheer overwhelming gratefulness for their friendship.

A hug is a gathering together of something that is dear to you and holding it close. We all do it at some point. Think of the last eagerly-awaited gift you got, how you held it close before exploring it in detail, much like the child at Christmas who gets that toy he'd been dreaming of all year. And who of you haven't hugged a furry companion?

The trouble is that life hasn't been all that kind to many people and there are many out there for whom hugs are something to be tolerated instead of enjoyed. Hugging is a sharing of affection. One way we show our affection for our family and friends is by being considerate of their idiosyncrasies. Not trusting hugs is, after all, a wounded spirit. Ointment is applied gently and over time, healing can take place. Wounded parts need to be exercised too and that can hurt at first, but as it's worked, it becomes a little easier each time. And who knows.... perhaps the pleasure of hugging can eventually be felt again, as it was always meant to be.

"A silent hug means a thousands words to the unhappy heart."

"A hug is a smile with arms, a laugh with a stronger grip."

Sunday, 13 December 2009

It’s that time again


The tree is up.

The lights are keeping time to the carols.

Cards are being written and gifts wrapped.

It's Christmas and it's good : )

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Thursday, 03 December 2009

Glad it isn’t me

This is Rua Vinte e Cinco de Março (Brazilians love naming streets after dates... it's a local weirdism) downtown... everyone is out shopping for Christmas. 25th is where one can buy just about anything pirated (want that Gucci handbag or Rolex?), plus beads, some fabric and random clothing. Oh there's also the holiday-themed mega-stores.

Vinte e Cinco de Março or 25th of March, as we refer to it, is a place where, if you find the jeans you want being sold by the streetside hawkers, you try them on right there... yep... in the street. Freaky! I often get asked what a visitor to São Paulo should see. Without hesitation, I insist that they visit 25th. Naturally, you go there sans anything of any remote value. The atmosphere is to be experienced to be believed.

If you want to see more of 25th, stop by at my other blog on the subject here. You'll notice the place was markedly calmer then.


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Tuesday, 01 December 2009

A day in the life

boy at busstop

Note: I have, only now, found time to type this in. The 'blog' was written as my day unfolded on Tuesday. I'm struggling to read it, as most was written on the bus. Some was written while waiting on 'land', so you'll see me varying from past to present.

Getting up at 4:30am isn't usually my idea of fun, but now I'm grateful. I stepped out into the half-light created by the street lamp, grateful for the balmy, but still relatively cool air on my skin. It's going to be 31°C again today with humidity still up there in the 90's.

I'm loving the bus ride through the city, catching occasional glimpses of curtains of Christmas lights. Christmas is almost here and I'm grateful for so much! Hope seems to be the theme. Close to my destination is a wide, grassy island in the road. I spotted a kitten. No, not just one, but two kittens. The kittens were well-kept and playful - and on leashes! The couple were busy packing up their 'home' for the night, making sure to clean and apply deodorant, their neatly ordered, but homeless world fitting into their two backpacks. I saw them later, walking, a kitten riding atop each backpack. The impression I got was one of  hope. I doubt they'd been sleeping on the streets for long. Their pace is slow, steady and firm as they chat among themselves. Animals aren't allowed on public transport. I wonder how far they have to go with their two kittens.

11am and I'm back on the bus. My Tuesday routine involves leaving home at 5:30am. I get into town, teach, then get the bus home again. At home, I collect materials, grab some tea and a packed lunch, then head back into town. This bus ride takes me 2 hours. I go into town, then out in the opposite direction. I know it sounds long and, when I think about it, not worth it at all (it's one of those awkward times when there is too much time between classes to stay in town, but too little to really make the trip home worth it), but that's the way this particular cookie crumbles. It does make for great nap time, zone-out-to-my-mp3-player time, study or reading time, reflexology time, writing, or just sitting people-watching.

Ah... I got sidetracked! When I arrive in town for the early teaching session, I walk a few blocks to the school. It's quiet, pleasant and it's where someone had graffitied "Positividade" across a wall. That always makes me smile. One day, when I pluck up the courage, I'll take the camera to share the scene with you.

Near the school, there are two major roads that intersect. On the one island, I saw a blonde woman sitting rubbing her ankle and looking carefully at her elbows. I've been in that situation so often. She had obviously fallen. I went over to her, somewhat puzzled that no one else was helping her. Her face had a look of bleak desperation. Here was a woman who had lost hope. The neighbourhood is not a poor one. I wondered how long she'd been out on the street. She was well dressed, not your usual homeless type. Her perfume was alcohol. What drove her to the bottle? What drove her out onto the street? What robbed her of her hope and dignity? She refused my help and hobble-ran, clutching her purpling elbow, into the residential part of the area with its tall apartment blocks. I hoped, as she disappeared, that there was someone to love her once she got home.

Home. A refuge. A shelter from the winds of life. I have so much. sausage_rolls Hmm... the bus just went past an eating place and a delicious smell wafted in reminding me of sausage rolls. (This photo is from Ina Parman's site, where she gives a scrummy-looking recipe on how to make them) I think I'll make some soon, which brings me back to my subject. There was a time not long ago when I couldn't plan treats like that, a time when meals were stretched and stretched again. As a family, we have weathered some pretty major storms. It has had the effect of bringing us closer together, I think. We now take pleasure in the simple things in life (though a few of the more luxurious things go down just as well). We're also a lot more focused on our plans while still getting the best out of our 'here and now' or at least... we try.

I'm grateful for my work, which gives me new challenges every day. I work with some wonderful people. I love that I've had the opportunity to work with my daughter, something few mothers get to experience.

And speaking of family, I'm so, so grateful, more than words can express, for my family - Jurgis, Tat, my brothers, cousins, in-laws (yes them too *laugh*). Oh, let me not forget very dear friends who are like family to me.

See? I have much to be grateful for. We even found a turkey in the supermarket freezer! *grins*


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Sunday, 22 November 2009

Mowing the lawn

You didn't know we had one, did you?

lawn 2

Jurgis mowed the lawn today... with a pair of scissors. We went out and took turns to shove our faces into the newly cut grass... delicious!! Mowed grass is near the top of my list of all-time favourite smells. It is a smell we all dearly miss.

lawn 1

Jurgis has a chili plant tucked into the corner there. Behind it is a stray citrus plant. I forget which pip we shoved into the ground. Probably a naartjie pip (tangerine seed).

Thing is, we don't have lawn. We have a 2 foot square container that used to hold my nasturtiums before they all died out for some reason. I would then sprinkle bird seed in there. Heidi, the cockatiel, dearly loves fresh seed. Trouble is, the grass never grew to seed level, as the dogs would munch it. One day, I saw someone had tossed out a scrappy-looking piece of sod. I reaarranged my groceries I was carrying home and picked the grass up. Now we have our own piece of lawn and what a pleasure it is!! The dogs love it. The cat loves it. The bird would love it too if it got tall enough for seed, but she has nibbled on the actual grass. Above all, we love it. I often walk past and just run my hands over the cool blades. The container is at waist height, so isn't practical for walking on, though not for lack of trying. Today found Jurgis attempting to put his feet into the grass. Ever see a family gathered around a 2 foot patch of grass? We'd happily go back to mowing acreage again *sigh*

lawn 3

This was our lawn (see Jurgis mowing?) when Tat was little. The dog is Rocky, a friend's dog we were babysitting. At that time, we only had Gypsy, the shepherd. It was before Noble (the Great Dane) came on the scene. Kippy, I think that expanse would have been perfect for a river and pond, don't you?


Somewhat later, we lived in a house just a little further down the road. It was the last house we lived in in South Africa. Duchess, Tat's Dane, is more to the front with Noble closer to the camera... uh... grooming himself. That's me on the left, an old family friend in the middle and Tat on the right. Katey, yes, we were in West Riding on Marion Road with Embo behind us. That was Camelot in front of us. We watched that place 'grow'. Apparently it's now fairly built up with many houses.

Ah... one of the simple joys of life... cutting the grass, walking on it, rolling on it, running on it. Yep : )

I couldn't resist this last photo of Tat and her Great Dane pup, Duchess, playing on the lawn.....

lawn tat duchess

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Friday, 20 November 2009

Friday Happy Hour


I even supplied the drink. I can't tell you what it is, but Tat saw it on the menu, liked the appearance and promptly ordered it. No doubt, it was exotic, boozy, and very sweet, as Brazilian drinks usually are. She loved it.

This week was hellishly hot. Ok, so it wasn't hot by Aussie standards or anything like that, but, for me, travelling on oven-like buses in the noon sun, it was way too hot. I consider 35°C to be close to furnace temperature. Add the 80-90% humidity and I'm a puddle of molten me.

But... it's Happy Hour! I have to find Happy and find it fast. Exotic drinks help with that ; ) Hm... I need to find me some batida ingredients.

Happinesses for the week......

I got to stay home today! It's a public holiday. I was meant to go out, but because other people didn't confirm, the event was cancelled. I was grateful, as I didn't fancy the train ride or the schlep of lugging eats out in the heat... or even making the eats in question.

I'm thrilled because I had the chance to chat to a friend I don't get nearly enough time to chat to lately because of that really freaky time difference and my odd working hours : )

We had pão de queijo and cake today! Yay! Note, this isn't cake with frosting and layers... Brazilian cake tends to be more like sponge cake, but nice anyway. Due to the public holiday, we never went shopping, so junk food was in order. Oh and we had salad for supper. We haven't had a decent green salad in ages.

This week, I started a new student. I'm happy about this. It's a first for me, dipping my toes gingerly into the fine art of teaching a very basic student, but she's sweet and communication flows easily, each of us acknowledging the strengths and limitations of the language of the other. She laughs at my Portuguese, but learns (I hope). She's a private student, which makes me happy too. She's all mine! *chuckles*

I'm happy because my schedule is pretty full. There's room for a few more, but, for now, I'm happy.

Erm... I'm not finding too much with this heat to be happy about, but, on the bright side, I'm getting a Boere-tan (clothes tan).  Walking out in this weather has its advantages.

Heppie, Happy Hour, everyone!!

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Odd One Out

pp-odd one out

a mass of humanity

a fragrant heap of spice

each with its own

heady perfume

You are unique

vibrant, rich

adding flavour to the potpourri of life
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Thursday, 19 November 2009

What do you do?

What do you do for you?

The photo was taken by Felicity, otherwise known as Joy. We don't have tulips here.

I was talking to a girl tonight who felt as though her world was falling apart. I asked her, "What do you love to do for yourself, when the world seems against you?" She didn't have to think long. "Dance", she said. I could almost see her smile, "but I don't have the time." The smile vanished. She's at a crossroads in her life. I encouraged her to do something that gave her the time until she found a career path that brought her joy.

I know I need to find something. Lately, I found that my little inner candle had sputtered and was just a tiny glow. I needed to relight it. I'm having difficulty thinking of one thing that really brings me joy. I'm going to think about this some more. My student this morning was talking about the little courtesies we give each other. Just a friendly good morning and "how are you?" How much do we reach out to each other. I had stopped doing that this past week or so. I let life and busy-ness get in the way. So what do I do for me that brings me joy? Music does it, as does dancing (with total lack of rhythm or co-ordination), reaching down to stroke the cat, 'laughing' with the dogs, getting lost in a good book (or blog), touching nature...

... and then there's always chocolate ; ) So what do you do for you... something that brings you happiness in a crazy world?


Friday, 13 November 2009


I no longer know where I found this, but it is so good and worth sharing. The model in this photo, naturally, is Tatiana.

self esteem

I am me.

I am unique.

There's not another human
being in the whole world like me.

I have my very own fingerprints
and I have my very own thoughts.

I was not stamped out of a mold like a
Coca-Cola top to be the duplicate of another.

I own all of me......my body, and I can
do with it what I choose; my mind,
and all of its thoughts and ideas;
my feelings, whether joyful or painful.

I own my ideals, my dreams,
my hopes, my fantasies, my fears.

I reserve the right to think and feel differently
from others and will grant to others their right to
thoughts and feelings not identical with my own.

I own all my triumphs and successes.

I own also all my failures and mistakes.

I am the cause of what I do and am
responsible for my own behaviour.

I will permit myself to be imperfect.

When I make mistakes or fail, I will know that I am not
the failure......I am still O.K.......and I will discard some
parts of me that were unfitting and will try new ways.

I will laugh freely and loudly at myself......
a healthy self-affirmation.

I will have fun living inside my skin.

I will remember that the door to
everybody's life needs this sign:

Honour Thyself
I have value and worth.
I am me, and I am O.K.

(Adapted from Self Esteem by Virginia Satir)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

In the dark

A quick blog. I need to get to work...

national blackout 10 nov 2009  2

The photos from today come from the user-submitted photos in Terra News. Last night, our lights dimmed dramatically. The UPSs were screaming at us, so we powered down. Looking outside, the whole world (more to the point, our little corner of the world) had been plunged into dark. Oddly, in last night's class, I was talking to my student about the frequent electrical problems we've been having. This time, the problem was national though. Both Brazil and Paraguay were affected. Something went wrong at the main power plant. One news report says there was a short in the transmission lines from the power plant. A local news site mentioned atmospheric conditions. Naturally, the chance of it being human error is virtually nil ; ) The atmosphere is big... it can take the blame.

Life, as much of Brazil knows it, continued as normal, as can be seen in this quaint pub photo with it's beer bottle candle holders.

national blackout 10 nov 2009

If you'd like to read more in English, you can pop over to Yahoo news:


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Friday, 06 November 2009

Cow entities and pole dancing

Hm... I wonder if this title will draw attention? Tat and I went in to town this morning. Her South African passport finally arrived!! Thus, our picture of the month... This isn't the current passport. Our new passports are very snazzy! The pages are thick, embossed and beautifully watermarked with the Big Five and other indigenous treasures. A photograph just does not do it justice at all. It's a passport I'm proud to show. Herewith, a photo of our old passports:


Back to going to town and pole dancing...

Tat has been watching an anime film. I tend to glance over her shoulder and shake my head. The one part had these little demon-imp-like creatures that were getting in everywhere. Today, they were in our bus service! First, the buses were going strange routes (probably being diverted because of some obstruction in the road), then they were crowded. On our crowded bus, we had tuneless whistlers, deaf ipod users, and a manic driver. The second bus was only slightly better. The driver was grumpy too. We were glad to reach our destination.

We had another mission to accomplish in town, so we headed to the metro and scored a ride on one of the brand spanking new metros on the green line (they're all colour coded). The green line is the one that will finally reach our neighbourhood next year, which will make a huge difference to getting into town for teaching. From there we took a walk through a less-than-salubrious area all for nothing, as many of our town exploits tend to work out. It was hot... and extremely humid. We got the bus to come home. If the earlier buses were bad, this one was lethal! The bus driver must have been on psychadelic drugs or something. The bus was, as all the others were, crowded. He took corners like a Formula 1 wannabe. As we clung to the poles, we were joking about doing pole pushups, then onto doing pole dancing. Tat did the whole "Ride 'em cowboy!" scene we usually reserve for crazy drivers. When seated, she often puts her arms in the air and pretends she's on a roller coaster. Yep! Has to be seen to be believed! We were laughing about the crazy driving - not much else we could do - when we suddenly found ourselves a foot or so in the air! He'd gone over a speed hump and gravity lost the battle. Everyone flew up! I didn't fare too badly. I was standing in a pole-free space at a door, but Tat was directly under a pole. She went up and slammed her head on the pole. When we dropped to the ground, I, like a fool, was laughing hysterically, totally confused. Poor Tat was in pain. We got off shortly after. The woman next to Tat who came up to Tat's shoulder, if that, was teasing Tat and calling her 'Shorty'. She's lucky Tat was too dazed to slap her. Now we were hot, thirsty, miserable and in search of another bus. We managed to get one about 45 minutes later. Strange creatures abounded there too. There was one girl who (apologies to those who are easily nauseated) was picking her nose and wiping it on her armpit as she was holding the overhead pole... weird!! It made for a looooong day.

Jurgis has been sniffing and sneezing all week. He is now congested and coughing too. Tonight, Tat and I are congested, headachy and with sore throats. It could be the heat and pollution. It often is. If it is a cold. I will not be happy.

But... Tat has her passport!! Finally!! *grins* All is good! Oh and the 'cow entities'? That's pc gone crazy, much like São Paulo was today. We decided on the one bus that we were cowboys... no... cowgirls... no... un-pc... uh... cowpeople? But that is discriminatory against actual cows, so 'cow entities'. Everyone is happy : )


Thursday, 05 November 2009

One of those alphabet thingamebobs


Image from http://www.alphabetbooks.com/abc.htm. If I were teaching kindergarten, I'd spend more time there. Great illustrations. Check out the partridge in a pear tree under 'Christmas'.
Wow... while looking for an alphabet image, I stumbled across this:


Very clever!

Actually, I was looking for a melting alphabet. That would be appropriate. It's hot here. No. It's not hot. It's HOT. I don't do heat well. Yuck. Luckily, my noon student is on vacation and I only have the late afternoon until 10:30pm teaching stint. Poor Tat is out there in the heat.

A - Area: Concrete jungle aka São Paulo

B - Broken Bones: Right baby finger metacarpal, left shin (have an attractive ding there) and left knee.

C - Camera:  Canon Rebel

D - Dance: Even jelly wouldn't dance in this heat. Saturday late night fling-your-body-around-when-we-have-enough-energy fun with Tat, yes. Doubt any sane person would call it dancing though.

E - Exercise: See above dance response. Oh I do try other forms of exercise too, when energy levels and time permits.

F - Flavour:  Y'know they put chillies into booze here and apparently it's sweet? Next flavour to try if I can pluck up the courage.

G - God:  God as in a title? Or god as in.... everyone has one.

H - Height: 5'7 Average in everything. That's me.

I - Instruments you play: Um... attempted the trumpet because it looked cool. Desperately wanted to play the piano. Can pound out a version of Somewhere over the rainbow... the first line anyway.

J - Jobs: statistician of sorts and considering my woeful abuse of anything resembling a number, that was a Bad job; seamstress; upholsterer; sales lady, secretary, receptionist, teacher, jill-of-all-trades

K - Kid(s): "Children!" My most often used expression when Jurgis and Tat are around and misbehaving.

L - Living arrangements: A typically Brazilian, very narrow house with a strip going up the side that the dogs use as a race track.

M - Mom's name: Annetjie

N - Nicknames:  Corrie (vile), Có (Brazilians like to use the first two letters as a nickname), Tint (of course), Chicken (don't ask), and a few very unflattering high school nicknames.

O - Owies:  Right now? This minute? None *is grateful*

P - Pet Peeve:  I have a list. Litterbugs! Inconsiderate people.

Q - Quiet:  I crave quiet. I've forgotten what it sounds like.

R- Right or left handed: Right

S - Siblings: 2 brothers, 1 sister

T - Time you wake up: It varies between 4:30am and 9:30am depending on how early I'm teaching or how late I was teaching the night before.

U- Underwear:  Cotton (can't help but wonder why everyone always wants to know that in these quiz things)

V - Vegetable you dislike:  Okra. *shudder* <<<< yes!! Other than that, I love all veggies.

W - Ways you run late: Procrastination. Nuff said.

X - X-rays you've had: teeth, hand/wrist, spine

Y - Yummy thing you make to eat: I'll have to ask the family. Jurgis is napping and Tat is out teaching. I rather like my mac 'n cheese. Oh and desserts... and potatoes au gratin... and rice salad. Ok, it was a stupid question.

Z - Zoo: My house on a good day : )

Saturday, 31 October 2009

It's a kind of madness

This week has been one of changes... again. Some I can mention, others not. One of those changes was set in motion by Jaime (yep, girl... you're to blame for this one). Jaime blogged about NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I'd seen it a few years in a row, but never even briefly considered it. What made me look at it this year?

Some time back, I started writing a book. I think three people know about it, aside from Jurgis and Tat. I never spoke about it. It's too fragile, prone to injury due to the shards of broken ego and numerous other dangers 'out there'. Along came NaNoWriMo. I grabbed at it gingerly, hoping it would push me into finishing the book. I need to finish the book, for me. It's just something I want to do... eventually, not because it's a book, but because I want the story told.

Do I have time to write 50 000 words this month? Not really. The plan is to use my bus time and times I wait for my students to put as much writing in as possible. Will I do it? Who knows. The only way I'll find out is if I try, right?

I did something very unusual when I joined NaNoWriMo, though. I connected with Brazilians who are writing too. I don't go out looking for social events with the locals. I'm afraid my Portuguese will fail me and my person-to-person social skills aren't what they used to be after all this time. Not only did I connect with them, but I agreed to go to a meeting with them and I was even prepared to go alone! That was a big step for me. Luckily Tat came with. I'm glad she did. She lights up any occasion : )     

I needn't have worried. We started out at a book store (ooooooh so many books!!). I was browsing, trying to look inconspicuous, when a girl came up to me and mumbled something about NaNo and writing. Tat joined us and we started looking for the rest of the 'gang'. I said the most sensible thing to do was to write out a sign and hold it up the way they do at airports. This bookstore was crowded!!  I scrawled a sort-of sign on my notebook and Tat walked around holding it up. I think the other two girls were cringing! It was so funny! We couldn't take a photo, as they're extremely picky about photos in shops here. Tat had them announce that the NaNoWriMo group was waiting at the pocket book section and slowly the others joined. We ended up with 7 people in our group.

From the book store, we headed out to what turned out to be an extremely noisy bakery/cafeteria. I heard about 10% of the conversation around me, but it was still enjoyable. We laughed a lot. I didn't have my camera on me (next time I'll make a point of taking it), but Aline, the girl who organised the gathering had hers. I'm grateful. They were all lovely people. I'm glad I met them. I think we have new friends. In their favour, they managed to listen to my ramblings without laughing at my Portuguese. Oh the notepad Tat is holding? That is what had NaNoWriMo scrawled on it. It was small here in the restaurant, but it might as well have been a billboard in the much quieter book store!

All in all, it was a good day. I'm glad I went. Time will tell if anything will come of this. If I succeed, I succeed. If not... I'm not going to cry over it : )


Tuesday, 27 October 2009


You may have heard of it as a capibara, capybara, capyvara... or you may well never have heard of it at all. The capyvara, as we know it, is the largest known rodent, if I'm not much mistaken and it comes from Brazil. I've been told they can be found scurrying around alongside our riverside highways. Apparently plentiful in the cane fields of Brazil, I've heard they almost a staple diet for the cane cutters. For that matter, I believe they are food for the poor around the highways too.

capyvara babies 1 
Photo credit goes to Zooborns or the Buffalo Zoo

One of my regular pick-me-up sites I visit is Zooborns. The photos and antics of baby wild animals almost always puts a smile on my face. Today, I checked into Zooborns, only to find the capyvara. Yes, Zooborns spells it capybara. It's etymology is somewhat confusing. I think it is only here that we call it a capyvara. My Oxford dictionary sheds a little light on that:
n    noun (plural same or capybaras) a large South American rodent resembling a long-legged guinea pig. [Hydrochaerus hydrochaeris.]
    C17: from Spanish capibara or Portuguese capivara, from Tupi capiuára, from capi 'grass' + uára 'eater'.
Tupi is a local tribe of South American Indians. Many of our local names come from Tupi. Our last street address, both the street and neighbourhood were Tupi names. I love the way they roll off the tongue : )

Here is what Zooborns have to say about these giant rat-things:
"The Buffalo Zoo welcomed three baby capybaras on September 10th. The zoo tells us that the three babies were running around and even swimming the day they were born. The proud capybara parents have had three previous litters for a total of 20 offspring! Capybaras are the world's largest rodent with the largest recorded size at 232 lbs (105 kg)!"

capyvara babies 2

My first encounter with the capyvara was back in 1988. We were visiting the Johannesburg Zoo with Hamish. Ceinwen was bored by most of the animals, but when she spotted the capyvara, she lit up. She absolutely loved those ugly animals. Yep... 'ugly' was my first thought when I saw them. They have these long very yellow, very ugly incisors. Think giant yellow rat teeth. This lot hadn't seen a toothbrush in a while, let me tell ya.

capyvara Ceinwen

Sadly, I have no photos of Ceinwen with the capyvaras, so a photo of Ceinwen and Hamish will have to do.

Later, we returned to the Johannesburg Zoo with Tatiana. I figured, as I'd learnt my lesson with Ceinwen, having taken far too few photos, we'd take many photos with Tat. I was particularly determined to get a photo of her reaction to the capyvara. She was, for her part, particularly unimpressed with them, so no photos were taken. She did, however, enthuse over the ponies, so I got this really odd photo. I doubt she'll be impressed with me posting this photo, but... I claim the Mom's Amendment ; )

capivara tat

Sunday, 18 October 2009


Stewart titcombe - proteas

The photo doesn't do it justice. The painting desperately needs framing (we left its frame in SA) and I wish I knew how to clean it properly. After almost  half a decade in the house of a smoker, it isn't looking its best. That's the yellowy-grey you see at the top and bottom.

For those who are unfamiliar with the subject of the painting, it's South Africa's national flower, the King Protea. My gran owned a florist shop, Heather the Florist, on Rink Street in Port Elizabeth. Apparently Stewart Titcombe (1898-1965) was visiting South Africa and painting scenes of Port Elizabeth, a town he grew to love. On finding the florist shop, he asked if he could paint the proteas, then gave the completed painting to my gran.

We just got back from the shopping centre... with the new modem. I really didn't want to get one, but having online students tomorrow, I had no choice. I need a reliable connection to be able to teach. The modem isn't a total waste, as we can use it anywhere in the world, so that is a plus.

And so starts another week. I need to just mark the remaining test papers of those who passed creatively.... but pass they do. Keeping my fingers crossed for a calmer week though.


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Saturday, 17 October 2009

The little blog that tried

The good news is that I might get quite a few Kippy votes in today. We're on a dynamic IP address. Uh... this brings me to the bad news... while I was out teaching this morning, our modem was struck by lightning. I wonder if it was all the cursing I did at scammers and ISP's this week. What do you think? Anyhow, we have an old back-up modem on hand, but it is very dicey (reason it was replaced to start off with), as we're more offline than online with it. It took me a good while to load this compose page. I have no idea when or how I'm going to get this blog to post, so it may end up being a long blog. Good thing you all have nothing else to do other than read my waffling, right?

This week has been downright gruesome. Remember I posted about our ISP changing and how odd it was that they were going offline for 6 months? We got the call for that from our internet Carrier late on the Friday afternoon (well timed) before a long weekend. Monday was a public holiday. They pushed us to register with the new ISP within 24 hours or we'd lose out.  Now, anytime we have internet issues, it is well nigh impossible to get through to the ISP... even on a good day. Everything was very official with this whole setup. Who're we to argue? When you encounter regular oddities, you get to a point where little surprises you. This changover to the new ISP happened literally a day before the bill was due for the old ISP. On Tuesday, I got a nasty call from the old ISP. Why haven't we paid? Uh.... well... I have no intention of paying for a service I'm not using. "But you're signed up with us." No, we're not. Yes, you are. I told them about the call from Telefonica telling us that we were to change to UOL because Terra would be going down. The caller claimed to know nothing about that. The conversation went downhill from there. Jurgis was out at a client and I was home getting my knickers in a knot. They don't give you much leeway here before cutting your internet. When Jurgis did finally get to speak to them, we were in for a surprise (that's putting it nicely). It turned out that we'd been scammed into changing... by who, we don't know. When your Carrier phones you, you can hardly ask them to show ID. We had confirmation calls and emails from the new ISP, UOL. The 3 'players' in this little game are all massive companies. We are now registered with two ISP's. It's a mess. Procon, the consumer rights organisation says we can only take action once we have proof that we're actually paying both. In the meantime, we should just choose one to cancel with *muttering under my breath*

Thing is, we need to move. We've been needing to move for a while now, but we're taking advantage of Brazil's never-never attitude to procrastinate. We've been wanting to change to cable (we're currently on adsl through our telephone company). To install cable in this house before we move is not practical, as we'd be faced with two lots of installation fees... one here and one once we move. Now we have the bust modem... the pressure is on.

Aside from our internet woes, I have been headachy, generally feeling unhealthy and grouchy *snap... snarl* Our electricity bill arrived. The price of electricity has gone up... way up. The tax alone is R$50 (around US$30), 50% of the actual bill, plus an extra fee for street lighting. The electricity tax is threefold... a municipal, state and federal tax. Eish! If we got great service and had excellent facilities, I wouldn't mind, but we don't.  I was shuffling students again this week, as one of my Skype students had a power outage during our class this week and it wasn't even raining very hard at the time.

Jurgis just surprised me with a bit of information. I have been looking online for work by the artist, Stewart Titcombe, for years with little joy. It seems his paintings are now only being stewart titcombe - vergelegen sm sold, usually by auction. When I have a respectable connection,  I'll post the photo of the painting I have. Stewart Titcombe was visiting my home town of Port Elizabeth some time before I was born. He went into my gran's florist shop and fell in love with some proteas he saw there and asked her if he could paint them. This painting is of the PE harbour. I found it on an auctioneer's site. Something that took me by surprise here too is that the ship is named Vergelegen, which was the name of the one farm my gran had. She spoke of it often.

Ah the joys... shall I try to post this blog? Guess saving it all first would be a good idea...


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Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Bag lady

Some days I feel like one, lugging the world around with me. I never 'grew out of' the baby bag era of carrying everything, including the kitchen sink with me. I've been getting better at not carrying too much, but, as you can see, I'm still something of a hopeless case. My excuse is that I was a Girl Guide and my motto is "Be prepared".

Apologies for the colour in these photos. My video card driver was updated yesterday and now Photoshop screams at me when I try to work on a photo. It shows all white as yellow and does some other strange colourific effects.

teaching bag

My bag is what some here call a postman bag. Tat got us each one for teaching. I prefer the idea of a messenger bag. It's strong, sadly not waterproof, and versatile. Attached to the bag is a little pair of clogs Jurgis brought back from Amsterdam. I felt the bag needed brightening up.

teaching bag contents

Now for the innards...
1. Teaching book and folder with lesson plans. I had a different one in, but swapped it out for this photo, as the other one had the school's name on it.
2. My bright little notebook for random notes and blog-thoughts while out.
3. Headache stuff (Dorflex) and a mini-nailcare thing... just a nail file and orange sticks (I had good intentions).
4. Chase the Wind by EV Thompson. My current, rather tatty read.
5. My pencil case... with whiteboard markers, pencils, pens (all working), paperclips, etc etc.
6. Tissues (handy stuff that...)
7. A note pad that I scribble random notes to random strangers on : )
8. Psychedelic post-it pad for leaving little notes in random strange places : ) I have a ready note on there. Just needs to be stuck up when the urge hits.
9. Sunglasses case, complete with sunglasses.
10. Pen and pencil set sent to me by Tat's friend for Christmas last year. Hair pin sticking out underneath that my hair is currently too short to hold.
11. A diary that I bought in a moment of urgency when I saw my schedule take on a life of its own. I just knew I was going to mess up if I didn't have it all with me.
12. Small comb, hair-tying-up-thingie, Vitamin C sweets, Tic-tacs (sweets in question are old. I keep forgetting they're there).
13. Keys... with Swiss army knife. That knife is ancient.... I think from '96 or around then.
14. Soap I bought on the way home. I love spicy, fruity soaps and find them hard to get. This one is lemon scented.
15. My makeup... 1 cover stick and 1 lipstick... the most I ever wear.
16. A packet of Trident sugar-free gum, spearmint flavour, an old Trident wrapper, a copy of my ID card, and under that, barely visible, my business card holder.
17. Mp3 player, and just above it, the most awful lip balm I have ever used. Can't get decent stuff here. Blegh. I now use petroleum jelly with mint oil stirred into it. Works well.
18. 2 plastic bags... just in case. I have had to virtually swim home with my bag before. That is to protect the more valuable non-waterproof items. Pen - a more handy one kept in an outside pocket. The most used one too. Uh... and paperclip.
19. Little fold-up umbrella.
20. A wallet Jurgis bought in Lithuania. It's embossed with a scene in Vilnius. I commandeered it when my wallet wore out.
21. Bus recharge card and phone card. I always carry a spare phone card. Never know when you'll need it.
22. Um... a plant. Hen and chickens, to be precise. I filched a plastic water cup to keep it 'safe' in my bag. Oh.... I filched the plant slips too. I don't often have plants in my bag.
23. Bank slips, cash slips and random coins.

There you have it. Oh wait... my cell phone isn't on that pile. It goes with me too. Ooooh... I almost forgot. I have a wooden thingamebob that Jurgis made that makes carrying grocery bags home a cinch. It lives in my bag too. It wasn't in the photo because I had taken it to the kitchen with the groceries. He should really market those things. It's brilliant!  Picture this sort of thing made from a lightweight, dark wood (much more elegantly). I'll photograph it sometime.
bag carrier


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Monday, 12 October 2009

Monster activities


I had a nightmare last night about flesh eating monsters. In fairness, an 'offshoot' of those monsters was the wood element monsters who were happy to just observe the strange looking humans. Yes, we were science fictionishly strange looking.

I think my nightmare might have had something to do with the fact that I needed to mark test papers today. I'm not even going to elaborate on that subject *sigh*

Our internet has been down for most of the day. I mean dead... totally. Our internet is another long story, as unbelievable as most such stories are from this end of the world. We get internet via our carrier, Telefonica, and through our ISP, Terra. On Friday afternoon, we got a call from Telefonica saying that our ISP, Terra, was to be down for maintenance for 6 months!! What the heck? Six (6) months?? Who goes down for maintenance for 6 months?? They are changing us over to another ISP, UOL for those 6 months and for a time, we will pay the same as we were paying with Terra, but after that, the cost will go up by no less than 200%. I foresee an unholy mess.

Today is Hamish's birthday. I wish I could call him. I hope he is having a wonderful day. I wish I could celebrate it with him.

We had another storm here today. The wind was crazy!

Seems it's sardine run time in South Africa again. Do have a look at this link and be sure to click on the slide show. Amazing! The locals line up on the beaches in hoards to get their share of sardines too. On the east coast, the annual sardine run is a major event.

Hm... supper is smelling cooked and my stomach is grumbling. Hope you all have a great evening. I'm off work today (if you can count marking depressing tests as being 'off work'), as it's Children's day here.


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Saturday, 10 October 2009

I dream of stairs

In this past year, I have dreamt of stairs quite often, going both up and down the stairs. The stairs never seem to have a negative connotation for me. That, in itself, is saying something, as, for most of my adult life, I have had a virtually paralysing fear of heights and particularly stairs. I would actually visualise falling down the stairs every time, no matter how small the flight of stairs was, and 'feel' the pain of the fall very realistically. I have overcome that fear in the last year or so, thank goodness.

beach stairs
Photo is taken from a blog on interior decor relating to stairs.
This particular one is a scan, I believe, from the magazine, Vanity Fair.

Last night's dream was of concrete stairs leading to a beach. The stairs went down between houses, but were quite wide and sunny. I was with an older woman. I am not sure who she was anymore, but I know she was someone relatively close to me. She went on ahead as we went down. As we got closer to the sea, I saw that there were houses that were flooded out, looking much like the more recent flood scenes from São Paulo. I looked down at them and said, no, that I'd be going back up. I turned and went back up. The flight of stairs was long, but sunny and not tiring at all. I danced and skipped up the stairs. I felt light. The scenes around the stairs were greener... not all houses.

When I arrived at the top, under the shade of a tree, I found George Irvine, another 'ghost' from my past. Not a ghost really. He's alive and well, albeit pretty old now. Back when I was a child, my gran had me deeply involved in many church denominations. When my grandfather died, Rev. Irvine, our Methodist minister, sat on my gran's bed and comforted me. I had asked something about heaven and whether or not I'd go there. I was one very unhappy little girl, already pining for my grandfather. He responded in his delightful Irish brogue that of course I'd get into heaven. Sure and wouldn't St Peter welcome me? After all, I'd been baptised, christened, dedicated, and blessed in just about every denomination! If there is one person back home who knows my family story well, it is him. He saw us through many of life's dramas, including, much later, the funeral of my first child. I looked him up not too long ago when I was looking for my brother. I knew that if anyone could find him, George Irvine could, but I was afraid he wouldn't remember me or my family. He's become something of a religious 'great' in Port Elizabeth, my home town.

Back to the dream. I went up to him under the tree and asked if he could remember me. He looked a little blank, so I related the story of how he comforted me when Jim died... and how he was there again when Ceinwen died. I woke up then... still not knowing if he remembered me. In the waking world, I pretty much know he wouldn't remember me and it doesn't bother me at all, but somehow, it bothered me in my dream.

I'm noting this dream because I haven't been recalling my dreams lately, something which upset me, as I really like recalling them and sitting thinking them through. Besides, they're often more fun than the movies. I've always been a very vivid dreamer.... even when awake : )


Wednesday, 07 October 2009

Beautiful people

fa-cp - Flame in the vase

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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Tuesday, 06 October 2009

São Paulo style 'snow'

Actually, it feels like we're in a giant popcorn maker with white balls bouncing off everywhere...

This photo was taken in our carport. The hail you see is what came from our gutter.

At about 3pm, the heavens closed over and huge splats of rain came down. A few minutes later, we heard the distinctive clackety-clack of hail falling. Being insatiably curious, we headed to the doorways to see the hail. I got smacked on the head by a few large stones.

I was kneeling on our quirky 'headboard' to get this photo of our 'snow'.

The dogs were terrified, poor things. The plants got totally shredded. The little cordelyn looks like a giant rat has been gnawing at it and Jurgis' Lady of the Night is shredded.

At our front door.

We were expecting some fairly dramatic weather, as the South of Brazil has been getting tornadoes with wind speeds of around 82km/hour (50 miles/hour). I know that isn't a lot when compared to our Northern friends, but for Brazil, it's dramatic.

It's a time of changes out our way. Most of you have seen Tat's new 'do' and, naturally, my profile photo. One of my newer students owns a hairdresser. She's the sweetest Japanese girl. I made an appointment and she worked magic. She put gallons of goop in my hair too and used a straightening iron (what?! on me??). I never, ever use products in my hair and don't even blow dry, never mind use curling or straightening irons. Freaky!! I loved the hairdresser though. They had those magical reclining chairs at the washbasins, so you get to lie down while having your hair washed. Bliss! I'd go there just for that. The sweetie gave me the whole anti-frizz treatment free. Methinks she knows who'll be marking her tests ; ) Nah.... she's just a honey. If ever any of you are down my way, I highly recommend her!

corrianne hair - 2 october 2009_2920
Thanks, Tat, for playing photographer again : )

And speaking of tests... we're in full test mode here with the totally out-of-this-world weird marking system. 'P' stands for 'poor' in the reports. We have been notified that putting the 'P' in the marking system is just a formality and we are not  to use it for any of the students. The lowest we're allowed to mark them is 'R' for 'regular' *sigh* They pass, whether they study or not. Makes me wonder why we bother marking the papers. The one class gets their tests to take home and do there. More on the subject of tests... at the end of the last semester, we were rushed and pressured into getting the results in way before school ended for the term. During the holidays, one of Tat's students asked her where his report was. "Don't you have it?" No, he didn't. We asked the co-coordinator. "Oh, the students only get their reports if they come back to the school and ask for it."  Huh? Have you ever heard of anything like that? No reports get mailed out. The students had been back at the school for the next semester and were only given the previous semester's reports a good month into the new semester. Weird. I honestly don't know how they function.

Ok, I'm off to a student now, assuming she is having class, as she often cancels when there's rain. Rain + São Paulo traffic creates merry havoc.


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