Tuesday, June 30, 2015

seventh and eighth days of captivity in Hanover, NH

June 30th, 2015, Hanover, NH

Well, I didn't write anything yesterday because when I got back to the dorm I laid down in bed to watch a video and next time I opened my eyes, it was 2 in the morning.

At that point I just kicked off my converse, pulled off my jeans, turned to the wall and slept fo rthe rest of the night.

Yesterday was the first day that I finished preparing my lessons early enough. By early afternoon they were all planned. Well, of course. I was meeting my baby for my birthday at night.

I was pretty tired yesterday. Even though I got to my room early, I could barely keep my eyes open. My kingdom for a RedBull.

My students brought me cupcakes and I taught them how to sing happy birthday to you in Portuguese.

Even after eating the chocolate cupcakes I was still really tired.

Today I slept till 6:45 in the morning. So glad I had all my lessons ready.

Tomorrow I really have to wake up early because lessons didn't get prepared at all. I was busy with meetings and payroll stuff all day.

In the evening we went downtown for a special event where they were going to serve us a typical meal ... well, as typical as they could get.

It was a fun time practicing the target language. On the way back, I said good night to my students when we got close to our dorms, and they promised me they'd speak portuguese. Sure I believed them. Why not? It's not like they don't take advantage of the time I am away to speak English to each other. ...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sixth day of captivity in Hanover, NH

June 28th, Hanover, NH

Who would have thought that I would have to do differentiated instruction at a 12-day immersion camp with a group that consists of TWO students! Well, yeah, for at least one hour a day I will have have to create to separate classes. Yay! more work for me. The thing is, they did really like their individualized attention and were glad I did that. Well, in Brazil we say if you're out in the rain you're there to get wet. Let's get wet then - and give the people what the people want.

But today I did have a feeling that I am doing my job much better. I'm finally getting the hang of it. The classes went on much smoother than before.

The students also are doing much better. I don't know what is going on in their brains right now, but they seem enthusiastic and are talking and understanding  a lot more.

The cultural event was Futebol Brasileiro. It was really fun! I gave them some futebol vocabulary, we talked about the world cups in which Brazil was champion or almost got there. We DID NOT talk much about last year's uttermost humiliation. We did go over some curious facts about soccer, and the Maracana's losing their place as largest stadium in the world because it reduced its capacity from 200,000 to 78,0000.

Well, I am exhausted. And tomorrow it starts all over. Boy! Well, at least the students are actually learning.

I miss my baby. He dropped me off here in the morning and drove home. :'( That's why it rained all day. The sky was crying with me.
But I don't think about missing him when I am teaching or racing through the hallways to get stuff done, only when I am by myself. And today, even by myself I couldn't think much, because I was falling asleep. We didn't really fall asleep on the early side  last night ...

Then I woke up at 4 to prepare lessons for the day. 

Tomorrow is my b-day so we will meet again, just that this time we will meet halfway, in Brattleboro (no idea how to spell it - it's new england).

As much as I want to be with my baby, I don't want to go back to that stupid apartment. I have nothing to do there all day. I will just sit around miserable remembering that everything I own is in storage and we have no perspective of finding an affordable house that meets our checklist. Then I will cry all day and be a pest to my husband when he gets home. 

I was up at 4 this morning preparing classes because last night ... well, last night I was with my baby.

The lessons got done by 6. But the cultural event for the evening wasn't. I had to do it during the day.

I really don't like it how the book and the drills seem to not match on purpose. I'm going to ask Michael if he wants me to write actual matching drills for that book - for a small compensation of course!

Okay, I am literally falling asleep as I type. I should go now. Shower and bed.

P.S. Ew! There was human hair in the shower stall! What was I thinking to forget my flipflops. I hope I don't get some weird fungus and die.

Fifth day of captivity in Hanover, NH

June, 27th, 2015, Hanover NH

This place is a Babel Tower! I never know which language I am supposed to speak when I walk through the halls. I am learning bits and pieces of greetings in French, Chinese, and Arabic, and conducting fairly intelligible conversations in Italian and Spanish.

This morning my alarm didn't ring at 5. OF COURSE NOT!!!! IT IS SATURDAY!!!! When you are in captivity, you don't keep track of the days of the week. LOL.

Hectic morning. I checked the clock at 5:11 and jumped out of bed, straight to the shower, then I still have time to prepare today's powerpoint. I did that till halfway through breakfast. Can't believe I still had time to sit down and eat.

My class started 5 min late, but then I ended it 5 min late. Only then did I find out (from my AT) that they had added an hour to my schedule today. Well, gone were my plans to prepare lessons for tomorrow, write drills and get the cultural event for today and tomorrow done.

My love came to see me today, so I knew nothing would get done at night.

Oh brother, is there anything better than seeing the one you love and actually being able to sleep with him! We take those things for granted, you know, we really do. So glad to be in a motel room with my baby and not in the dorm. 

The cultural event tonight went very well. Carnaval was supposed to be the event. But it didn't turned out be so. The planning was too overwhelming, I had no time and I could find nothing that I wanted, so I did a last minute change of plans, and it turned out much much better. I switched to a Brazilian musical night. We learned about some of the great names of Brazilian music and their musical styles. I got to brag about the fact that the mother of two of them was my downstairs neighbor, and we even danced some samba ... well, I sort of moved my legs in an awkward way that might resemble samba to the untrained eye of an American.

We had fun talking about how many of those artists were responsible for great changes in in Brazil, not only culturally, but politically as well. Many of them spoke against the dictatorship back in the 70s and were exiled or had their music censored because it spoke against the political regime.

The evening turned out to be better than what I had planned. Students want more. Musical Night Part 2 ... when can I fit that in?

Well, I will think about that later. I am with my baby tonight. Keeping a married woman from her husband for 5 days is a very evil thing to do. Very Very EVIL. So let me get off this computer and go enjoy a scary movie with him.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fourth day of captivity in Hanover, NH

June 26th, 2015, Hanover, NH

OMG! Someone was in the bathroom this morning when I wanted in ... So that's what happens when students arrive. Your privacy is over! Now I have to wait to use the shower!

Ok, I will get up earlier tomorrow.

The meal last night was the best one I had had so far, but the meals today were just as good. I guess the caterers were waiting for the students to arrive to start making the good stuff.

Last night I was freaking out trying to the make a list of cultural events, just so Michael could come look at it and tell me they were all wrong. Back to the drawing board I went. Cultural events have to be more about fun and experience than about doing hard work. After all, at the end of a day of sheer torture in a foreign language, their brains are pretty fried.

The only time students are allowed to speak English is at breakfast. I am using the word allowed very loosely. Staff is supposed to speak in the target language 100% of the time so if we want to torture them a bit more, we can go and sit with them during breakfast as well. I did that today.

Hanover is a cute town. Have I had time to walk around much? I have ran out of TUMs on Tuesday night, CVS is a 10 minute walk and I still haven't gone buy TUMs. ...

My classes today went a lot slower than what I had predicted, but I know exactly what I did wrong. I should only review during the last class of the day, and I did it right after lunch. Fatal mistake. If you don't cover enough stuff the AT won't have enough materials for 5 hours of drills and will have to improvise. ... I can't do that to Ceci.

Tomorrow I have to get into the go-go-go rhythm of this immersion program. After the evening event (a very good movie called Rassias in China) I had a chance to talk with David, a Spanish AT. He, like me, was thinking about all the stuff he'd done wrong through the day and how he could make it better. I really like that we can do this self-evaluation. That's the only way we can actually improve.

Rassias in China was a nice movie about the whole Rassias Method and how Chinese teachers of English were trained in it and started implementing it in their classrooms.


My eyes are really hurting right now and my brain has pretty much shut down. I will go to sleep. Tomorrow I will get up as soon as the alarm rings, shower, and finish up these lessons, and the cultural activity.

I can't wait to see Dean ... We facetime every night, but really ... I sort of need more than facetime with my baby ... even if he is glued to his computer for 4 hrs a night. I think I am addicted to my husband ... Come on, Saturday night! Come quickly!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Third day of captivity in Hanover NH

June 25th, 2015, Hanover, NH
I have been stressing over lesson planning all day today. There isn’t a single good chunk of time to sit and plan. I am finally on to it, it's 9 pm.

Students arrived at around 4.

Before that, Ceci and I were sitting down, writing as many drills as possible. Well, that means I have to prepare a class that will include the structure for all these drills, and I have about 3 hours left to do that.

Today I had quite a long conversation with Andrew, one of the Italian teachers, in Italian. It is soooooo exciting to speak all these different languages!!!!!!!!!!!

Andrew wondered why I wasn’t working for him as his Assistant teacher since I could speak Italian so well. Well, I wished I was, but the Master teaching position was paying better.

Today I also met my students – two different ladies in completely different walks of life. Exciting. 

We had dinner together and talked about hour families and plans and jobs. It was a good chat. 

I had forgotten how much I enjoy telling people how much I love my current job. I do. Everything about it. My students(even though some of them really get under my skin), my co-workers, my principal and vice-principals – I am just so grateful to be where I am. When I think of what a terrible place I was in before ... ever since I got this job I have been in heaven. Even when I was feeling overwhelmed with classes last year, I wouldn’t have traded my job for another one, especially for the one I had before – oh how unhappy I was. I like telling people about these things because it reminds me of how much I have to be thankful for.

So, yes, it was interesting reminiscing today. I updated Joel Goldfield on what has been going on in my life. last we talked I was a newly wed. 

Also I like talking about the good things in my life so it gets my mind off the things that are making me sad. The fact that the farm house we really wanted but that is lost to us forever. The 170 acres of land just a couple of miles away from us that we will never be able to afford. 1-7-0 acres of land … less than 1k per acre. ... ugh... a spear through my heart. Well, I will count my blessings, and keep my knees on the ground.

Today Ceci and I also walked to town to a Brigadeiro store and talked to the owner. She will give our students a little culinary class.

Oh, I will stop writing now, and go back to lesson planning. 3 lessons for tomorrow and 5 hours of drills to go with it. I’m freaking out a bit. Just a bit.  ...
Ok, I am freaking out a lot. ...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Second Day in Hanover, NH

June 24th , 2015, Hanover, NH

It's 1 am. Why do I do that to myself? I just can’t get to bed on time, can I? No, I don't think I ever will. No self-discipline whatsoever. ... And I am hoping to raise a human being. This poor child will be messed up. 

Well, I got my books today and was trying to figure them out.  Also I will only have 2 students, so I am trying to figure out how to do enough drills to last 5 hours. The ones that came with the drills aren’t enough – and aren’t good enough.

I am so worried about preparing for my first class. Today we had a couple of hours of training and a chance to talk to more experienced teachers. It was so nice getting advice from them. And also learning the techniques from the Rassias method. I never did master teaching with rassias, so this is all really new and quite overwhelming. And I just got my books a couple of hours ago.

Oh, dear, not everything is perfect. Meetings are very flexible here. They are supposed to happen, but they don’t. Or they are not supposed to happen, then they do. I’m confused out of my mind. I was told to wait till 3 to go to payroll. At 10 of 3 I txted the person in charge and he replied wondering I was not at the meeting, everyone was there already. … :/

Oh, Joel Goldfield did arrive today. He had lunch with us. He recognized me right away. He even remembered my email address. Wow, we haven’t seen each other in 7 years. Either he's got good memory or he really liked me. He told me he was the one who told the Rassias people to hire me this time around because he remembered what a great job I did before. I did? Wow, thanks! You're really nice. Then he reminded me his son was that teenager who used to come in to his office and help a few times. Wow! No way! That guy who gave me a ride couldn’t be that little kid. Well, yes, it could.

I have loved meeting and talking to the MTs and ATs today. Also trying to speak their language - it has been fun.

It’s late, but that’s because I was talking to hubby for a while about this house we might put an offer in. I am excited and sad at the same time. We have been upping our max and for the money we are willing to pay now we could have gotten much better places that we passed because they were above our old max. L

It has also been fun talking about Blobby. People who have kids ask me questions and also have been telling me about their experience with their kids. I love and have fun listening to them. I have no idea what is ahead of us, and I have this feeling I have it all under control, and at the same time I have a feeling that I am mortally wrong about thinking I have it all under control. I really I have no idea what I am getting myself into. Neither does Dean. This is us, walking right into the storm of the century absolutely clueless of what the heck we are actually doing.

Well, I really should get to bed now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

First day in Hanover, NH

June 23rd, 2015, Hanover, NH

I am finally in my bedroom. This was an insanely hectic day. I’m not going to shower, I don’t care what my conscience says. I am not leaving this room anymore, to go anywhere. ... Well, maybe if someone yells, "Paul McCartney is out here!" I will jump out the window (and hopefully fall right on top of him).

Last night I went to bed at 1 am, getting stuff read for the ESL potluck at school. This morning I was up at 5 am, rolling bread and banking … and thinking, “students better think this is the best meal of their lives or I will collapse right there in the classroom.”

My HS students loved it, and so did the people we invited. Our principal and vice-principal didn’t have a chance to show up. That's too bad, since one of them is retiring - I was really hoping she'd have a chance to eat our yummy foods. But other teachers at our floor did show up for at least a quick bite, and some did stay longer, and they ate all of it.

Then I hopped in the car to NH. It took me exactly 2 hours to get up here. And it took me another hour to figure out where to go. Then another hour to find parking.

At the entrance of the office building I met John Rassias himself. Wow. The man responsible for this whole mega structure, the man who revolutionized language teaching in the Peace Corps ... Yup I met him.

Later on, for dinner, Mr.Rassias sat at my table. It was fun and exciting meeting the man behind all of this. He is very friendly and full of energy – for someone in his 70s, that says a lot. I want to be like him when I am his age.

And I have been meeting new people ever since. I just accidentally got a ride from the son of my old mentor, Joel Goldfield, who is supposed to arrive tomorrow. I wonder if he still remembers me.
Now that I am wearing my pregnant outfits, it is quite obvious to people that I am carrying a little person in here. It is both fun and annoying. I understand everyone is sort of looking out for me, but I really wish everyone wouldn’t be so worried. I’m fine. Really. I am fine. Yes, I mean it. Just, oh, stop asking. I am perfect.

But they did send me to bed, and I did what they said because I am exhausted.

I also met Ceci, my Assistant Teacher. She is a very fun and sweet young lady who goes to the same college where I started my Masters Degree. Her family is all from Rio.

I am freaking out a bit bc I haven’t seen my book yet, and I know the drills that come with it aren’t good. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Do you know what June 18 is?

Thursday was an interesting day. For those who know me, I use the word interesting very freely; I use it for lack of a better – clearer – understanding of what I really feel about something.

Well, let’s start with “it was Paul McCartney’s birthday”. And I, along with millions (maybe billions) of other fans, took it to twitter to say happy birthday. I used to do fancy birthday wishes in the hopes that mine got retweeted by @PaulMcCartney. Apparently I am not the most creative person out there. But yes, my day is pretty much Paul center on June 18th. Out of every ten words that cross my mind on every June 18th, eleven are PaulMcCartney (yes, one word), and that night I usually dream about him as well. 

I am just thankful my hubby isn’t jealous of Paul. Why would he anyway? The guy is 73, and I am, well, 21. They guy is ubber famous and I am, let’s say, not.

And yes, I know I am slightly crazy (okay, maybe a little bit over-the-edge crazy), but shut up. Whoever isn’t slightly crazy about something throw the first stone. So, yes, shut it. You know exactly what I am talking about.

Okay, day goes on. It is a regular work day. Slaves go to work on regular work day, and so do I – and glad I have work to go to. And even though Paulie was everything I could think about, I did do my job. I have to say I forgot my lunch at home, but I did my job.