This has been one very intense week (understatement of the year). I'm sitting here trying to remember details from the beginning of the week and having trouble doing that.
Monday, I gave my students their test results. They failed dismally. Trouble is, they are lacking basic language skills and are being tested on intermediate understanding with questions like, "Which program sounds more polemic and is likely to attract many people? Why?" Now, 'polemic' is not a word taught to foreign language English students... teens at that. Polemic is the same in Portuguese, so basically, the students were being tested on their understanding of Portuguese, not their use of English and what teen uses the word 'polemic' anyway??? I walked away from that class feeling defeated.
That night, or was it the next day, Tat and I were in her room. She was trying to decide what to keep, take with, toss, donate, etc. We ended up going through old stored make up. There were some of my lipsticks from South Africa. What was I thinking? Other than the fact that they were good lipsticks at the time and had awesome colours. Well, as she was tossing, I was messing around, 'testing' each one. Uh.... I got a little carried away. We had a good laugh though. Note, I never usually wear makeup. I stop at lipstick and at a stretch, eyeliner and mascara (Tat insists) for special occasions. Ignore the frizzy hair... the current 'joy' of my life.
Wednesday rolled along. We headed out to Poupa Tempo with huge optimism, armed with copies of more documents than any state department could ever want. First, we went to the orange desk. No, we can't give you your RG (Brazilian ID). Yes, we know you had one before. We argued about Tat's constitutional right to an RG and showed all the documents. Ok, said the lady behind the desk. Go and pay at the 'bank' and take the slip to the desk at the 4th door on the left. We paid and went to the 4th door, found the desk in question. There were a few people behind us, but no major queue. Nice. Tat went in. I wasn't allowed with her. People came and went. It's very quick, they said. I read a chapter of the book I brought. Quick? They said around 5 minutes. The people who were after us had left ages ago. Tat eventually came out, her face registering her disappointment and showed me where they had drawn lines on the local version of her birth certificate. The wording was wrong!
They packed us off to the cartorio. The 'cartorios' are notary offices. There, we'd have to pay a fee and get them to change the wording. Ok, we could deal with that... except they weren't very obliging. It turns out that because the document was drawn up at the wrong office - don't ask me... it's a mystery - when we first arrived, we need an attorney to start a legal process to claim Tat's right to a Brazilian RG. That, according to a cousin of Jorge's, is a very long, drawn out affair. We then waged war on the bank within Poupa Tempo for a refund of our fee, as it was 'not their policy' to give refunds and don't we know the fee can be held for us. Until when, was what I wanted to know? The aliens are coming in 2012 and I don't want to be dealing with that paperwork then. They 'made an exception' and gave us our refund. Hmph! My one student commented today and wanted to know why they call it 'burrocracia' or 'donkey-cratics' because donkeys are rather more intelligent.
So now we have to apply for a visa at the offices of the British consulate. They are in Rio de Janeiro and they're sooooo easy to get hold of. Methinks they're hiding from Brazilian bureaucracy. Not to mention the fact that it will cost us a fair penny to get a visa *sigh* I think it's a conspiracy. Do you know that on the visa application form, they actually ask straight out if you're a terrorist or support a terrorist organisation? Who the heck answers that truthfully if they are?
Thursday morning, I collected a package from the post office. Rather big for the book I was expecting. In it was no less than a tartan teddy, a few other bits and bobs, including mixed spice for hot cross buns, and First Light, which I've been waiting for with the eagerness of a child before Christmas. It was worth it! I'm so lucky I have a job that has me whiling away my time on public transport. First Light was written by my friend, Michelle Frost. I know and love her writing, but the book drew me in... totally. It is science fiction and yet, not. It spoke of another world, yet one we could recognise easily. Full of hidden twists, riddles, symbolism... it was a light read, but a meaty one. The end was satisfactory, while leaving me with plenty of food for thought. Hm... methinks I should write a proper review ; ) In short, if you want something different to read, this book comes highly recommended by me.
That leaves today, which I fully planned to spend most of the day checking out the blogs of my friends that I'd been neglecting, as I only had two students. Uh... let's just say the day has gone by and I've achieved little more than zilch.
I'm having a good chuckle here. As many of you know by now, Yahoo 360° is finally dying... again... next month. So Yahoo, in all it's wisdom, gave us a tool to download our blogs. Tat and I thought we'd give it a try, just for the heck of it. My archive turned out to be all of 32mb. When I clicked to download it, I got an error. Tat wasn't so lucky. Yafooey coughed up her 'archive', which included all her images and... wait for this... ALL her blogs in one text file, running into one, in html format!!