This is writing about an adventure.
I am a teacher. But before that, I am a writer. And before that, I am a people watcher.
I live in Brazil, in a city of over a million people called Campinas. I moved here in July 2006 to teach 7th grade for two years at a private school. In the US, I taught high school in New Haven, Connecticut. Part of this writing is about figuring out how to work with younger people–how to wade through all of their energy and questions that are interminable, how to get them to push themselves in the classroom in ways they couldn’t imagine before. Another part of this writing is about being away from my family for the first time in my life. (Summer camp and college don’t count in this case.) And another part of this writing is about learning to live in a new country and having to learn a new language. How, for instance, does a girl who breaks her foot in the middle of the street manage to get herself to the hospital when she knows very little vocabulary? (Read on…! You’ll find out!) As time passes, I am living day to day, seeing the country, still mixing up words like “freckle” and “penis,” and telling salespeople I need bigger breasts.
“Adventure” is an understatement.
Year 2 Update:
Seventeen months in and a vida brasileira is treating me well. I’ve had a few visitors come from the States, including my wonderful boyfriend who leads a luxurious enough life that he was able to spend several months here and traveled around Brazil with me and on his own.
As this year progresses I am beginning to realize how quickly time passes. Before I know it, I’ll be moving on. My contract is up in June and at this point (January 2008) I have no idea where I’m headed next. I like the adventure of moving. Maybe I’ll be in New York this time next year. Maybe I’ll be in Europe. Maybe I’ll be just as confused then as I am now. But whatever the case, I am in my final six months. Year 2 in Brazil has been much more calm than Year 1 in Brazil. So far, no broken bones, no climbing of any spindly rock needles, and no grave mistakes in the Portuguese language. Some might say because of the lack of these adventures life has been boring. This is not true at all. And the reason it’s not true is because of these guys. They rock.
EDIT: What Comes Next?
Turns out I do know what I’ll be doing this time next year. In June 2008 I will be moving to Manhattan to teach at the United Nations International School. To say I am thrilled is an understatement. Leaving here and leaving my students will be hard, I know, but I have such good things to look forward to, thereby making the transition an easy one. Easier than the transition here, in any case.