Belated Happy Easter, everyone! Also, it’s April Fool’s Day here. I hate to say it, but I did try to play a prank on a friend of mine by convincing him I’d gotten a boyfriend here in Brazil, but I’m an extremely bad liar (strange thing to be for an actor), so I’m pretty sure he didn’t buy it. I wouldn’t know, though–he didn’t reply after my punchline.
To clear the air though, I’m not dating anyone. At all. It’s only been a week, guys. I don’t have that much game. In fact, I’m not sure I have game at all. So there.
Anyway, it’s been day six in Brazil, and so far, I’m getting used to the independent life, aside from the fact that occasionally, the house I’m staying in makes noises like in Little Talks–“the stairs creak as I sleep; it’s keeping me awake.” I’m a heavy sleeper, actually, so it’s not so much the house that’s a problem (it’s this lovely apartment and my temporary host, Cintia, is really nice) but that last night, a horny cat was looking for partners in the street and was yowling up a storm, like some banshee out of the pit of hell, and that pretty much kept me awake.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Black Saturday–for all you non-Filipinos reading this, it’s the Saturday before Easter–was a pretty big day for me. For one thing, the shops that were all closed on Good Friday were open again, so I managed to get some pretty important things done with the other interns. Accompanied by Amanda, Klára’s host, the four of us headed to the shopping center to FINALLY get local SIM cards. They’re called TIM chips here, for the company that manufactures them, and they function on a pretty sweet system: we pay 0.50 reals a day and get unlimited text messaging. It’s a lot like the UNLIMITXT programs back home, except with TIM it’s more or less mandatory. This means that, considering I plan only to text, I can load up with ten reals worth of cellphone load (or credits, as they call them) and I’m set for twenty days.
Aside from getting my TIM chip, I finally managed to buy the red flannel/wool jacket I’d been eyeing at Colcci, still at its sale price. It’s about Php. 3,500, converted, but considering for an equivalent jacket back home (at Zara or Muji probably–I don’t think F21 or Topshop sells thick coats) would potentially set me back 5k, I’m happy. Also, Colcci is a pretty high-end brand here in Brazil, and while I’m by no means a name-brand kind of girl (those who know me know I frequently bum around in tank tops and rotating selection of plaid Baclaran button-downs), it’s nice to know I have something special from Brazil to take home.
Now the only things left on my list are a straw fedora and some Brazilian jeans, to fulfill my Jason Mraz fantasy. LOL.
From the shopping center, Matthias, Ciarán, and I more or less immediately headed to Wilson Souza’s 21st birthday party, which was my first “Brazilian”–actually, there were only three Brazilians in that place; the other attendees were two Mexicans, an Uruguayan girl, a girl from Columbia, coupled with the Eurasian mix of we three interns–house party, in the truest sense of the term. There was dancing, there were drinks (I didn’t drink much more than juice and water, though), and there were a hodgepodge of AIESEC roll calls (these elaborate dance sequences native to each LC) that we ended up doing until four in the morning. It was my first time to see both Matthias and Ciarán dance and, well, considering the stereotypical “white boy dancing,” they actually weren’t half bad. I was probably worse: this is the girl her dance teacher described as moving like a duck out of the water. Still, I had a lot of fun. I even managed to get through the Macareña, which, to be honest, I don’t remember actually ever dancing before.
…I am that lame.
They asked me to show them a few steps of a traditional Filipino dance, but as I didn’t have any pots, votive candles, bamboo trunks, or fans I couldn’t exactly show them one (the ocho-ocho and Spaghetti dances most certainly DO NOT engender feelings of national pride in me), so I ended up cribbing some steps from the Ang Huling El Bimbo video and sort of filling in the blanks as best I could. I know that at cotillions in the Philippines, the swing is still popular, so I did what I thought was a passable variation on that.
Since I stayed out until an ungodly hour, I ended up spending the rest of Easter Sunday at home, while the other interns either partied or were brought around to meet the families of their hosts. I ended up Skyping with Jethro, my friend from Devon, who now studies in Bristol, but is back in Devon for the Easter holidays. It was a marathon Skype conversation, rolling from three in the afternoon (when I finally got out of bed) to about half past midnight, when I finally had to cut the conversation short so I could do my Powerpoint for my first teaching session with Project TALK. Along the way, we had some pretty crazy dares, including Jethro half-daring me to do a video blog with a British accent, on the condition that it be at least five minutes. (Hence the title of this blog.)
Needless to say I spent the next two hours after I posted that fretting that I’d offended Ciarán and my friend JV, also known as The Doctor. Thankfully, there was no lasting harm done, except that now every time Jethro says “Banana Pancakes,” I sort of have to break into a British accent. I’m pegging one from Fullham, but I’ve yet to speak with JV so I’m going to have to work on it alone for now, with Jethro helping my pronunciation.
…It’s like learning to speak with an Asian accent all over again.
Due to the insane, sex-hungry cat, I’m not quite sure how much sleep I got, but I had my mom monitoring me on Skype to make sure that I didn’t miss home quite so much (cute and pathetic, I know). I think I got at least four hours, which by my book is a pretty long time. Still, I was plenty winded when I met Ciarán for breakfast before we had our first teaching session. Since I hadn’t eaten or drank much all day Easter Sunday, I ended up chugging down a lemonade and an acerola shake–a native South American cherry–as well as eating two sponge-muffins (like a sponge cake, but in muffin form; apparently in the UK they’re called ‘fairy cakes’).
We managed to make it to class on time, despite getting lost. Our first session had about six people, but despite the limited number it rolled along with minimal hiccups. I was constantly having to watch my talking speed though, but I think they understood me, and the discussion groups went along well enough. I’ve sort of developed a system where I ask them questions revolving around each of the vocabulary words we give them during the introductory presentations. It’s a bit tough–I’m better at talking then getting people to talk–but the students seem to be enjoying themselves, which is all I can ask for.
I live to entertain, really.
After our first session, I gave Ciarán his second guitar lesson. Thankfully, after consulting with both Nic and Jorel via FB, I sort of have a clear lesson plan in mind. I took him through scaling, taught him the bass part of Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am,” and since he wasn’t averse to learning a Taylor Swift song, walked him through “Treacherous.” He’s actually getting it quite well, despite battling with the classic finger-fatigue (and pain) that comes with being a guitar virgin. Carolina, blessedly, is a nylon-string, so there isn’t as much collateral damage as there was with me and Nic yelling at me to “Do the D! DO THE D!”
To celebrate a successful lesson, we ended up returning to the café where we’d had “breakfast” (I have a feeling all four of us are going to end up regulars.) to have more juice and pastries. Mais Café is shaping up to be one of my favorite places near the university. I could live off of their suco de laranja forever.
We bummed around the café, talking, until it was time for our next class from six to seven-thirty. That class was quite a bit bigger (fifteen instead of six), but also quite a bit more extroverted than our first batch. Among our “students” was Guilherme Cossich, whose house we’d visited a few days prior. Knowing someone in the class made teaching a little bit easier, and since we’d sort of managed to feel our way through the first time ’round, the second session was a bit more organic.
After Matthias and Klara finish their first session, we’re all going out to Afonso’s, which is the open-air pub/cantina place that serves really good cheap food. I’m heading out to meet Ciarán again at nine-thirty–because under Wilson’s orders I am forbidden to walk alone at night–and together with a friend of Thays’ we’re going to go to Afonso’s, where I am to celebrate both my first successful teaching stint and my last night at Cintia’s. I’m really going to miss my pretty blonde powerhouse of a host (as an AIESEC LC President, she’s pretty much a dynamo), but I am happy that I can finally do groceries, settle in, and maybe get another pair of Havais.
It’s only been six days! Who knows what adventures could happen?