The Writer.

Year 1:

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.


16 responses

24 09 2006

Hey Gina, A fortuitous event of an overly vocal neighborhood dog, lead to to the New Haven Independent site to find the Westville Alderman, where somehow your name scrolled by and I remembered from a year plus ago that we’d never managed to connect! And now it seems that you’ve moved on to another day, and another adventure in Brazil. Funny, how everyone claims that New Haven is such a small, too small, a place and yet it’s amazing how two former Providence-ians managed never to run into one another. Congratulations on taking such a leap. If you do find your way to Thailand, I’ve been doing work there and might be able to connect you to folks. Safe travels,
Aly from Providence

2 10 2006
Margaret Clark Jackson

Olá, Gina, estou mandando um super abraço para Você de Starksboro. Em Craig me deu o seu nome, e resolvi escrever.

I live some of the time in South Starksboro, and the rest of the time in São Paulo… first went to Brasil in 1978, and it has become an important part of my life. As I hope it will with you. An amazing place with wonderful people. Including my daughter, who counts herself as brasileira. Trust you are really getting to study the language, despite being in the Escola Graduada ghetto…. it makes all the difference.

Just wanted to drop this note and offer whatever information, input, help I could… both my kids are currently living in SP… Laura is studying psychoanalysis and Daniel, who graduated from Middlebury and later Georgetown, is working at an NGO.

Bom, por ora, tá bom! Emma Lou said that she thought your mother might like to talk to me…. estou totalmente às ordens…

Um super abraço


Em tempo: Do you have a nonblog e-mail address??

17 10 2006 » I’ve Done it All

[…] Gina sent this to me from Brazil. If you are not familar with her blog, I urge you to check it out. A little background: I know Gina from school at Northeastern, and she’s a great writer. Right now she is, in her words: “embarking on a two-year trip to Campinas, Brazil to teach English and Social Studies to 7th graders at Escola Americana de Campinas. I know nothing about where I’m going.” […]

1 11 2006
Damien See

Hey Gina!

How’s Brazil treating you? You ever coming down to Malaysia?

Cheers! 😉

29 03 2007

Your blog is amazing, I would love to hear more about your teaching experiences in New Haven and Brazil. Do you have an email?

8 02 2008
Gui Leite

Hello Gina,

I’ve just stumbled on your blog and have really enjoyed it. It’s great to see the city where I live through a fresh pair of eyes.


8 02 2008

Ah, welcome! I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Thanks for leaving a note!

28 02 2008

How enjoyable to read about your life in Brasil, uma maravilha! Obrigada.

29 02 2008

De nada!! Fico muito contente com sua felicidade!!!

7 04 2008

Hello Gina! Greetings from Nottingham, England. Strangely enough i came across your blog via a google image search for Axl W. Rose, but i was pleasantly surprised to find someone a great deal more attractive.
It may be a cliche but it really does rain here often, so i can’t imagine the type of tropical climate that you enjoy in Brazil. Keep up the good work and remember, beauty and intelligence is a killer combo, that fool in Blockbuster probably fancied you!!
All the best


7 04 2008

Well, James, you’ve got me properly blushing. I had fun reading your comments in my version of a British accent, which, according to me, sounded awesome.
Thanks, and welcome!

28 04 2008
Em Craig

Oh Gina….you’re writing is so delightful…..and your MOM is the best about sharing all the wonderful news about your ‘doings’…..
Keep up the great work …..a fan of your writing, Em C.

17 05 2008

te invito
a leerme
aqui en word…

18 06 2008

Oi Gina,

Encontrei seu blog por acaso e adorei te-lo lido! Voce tem um estilo natural de escrever que prende a atencao do leitor. Moro em Atlanta, na Georgia, mas sou do estado de Sao Paulo (Ribeirao Preto), com amigos em Campinas. Fiquei feliz que tenha gostado de sua experiencia no Brasil. Obrigada por descreve-la.
Welcome back! E boa sorte em Manhattan!


18 06 2008

Oi Janilce,
Muito obrigada pelas suas palavras boas!! E bem vindo ao meu blog!
Nunca foi para Ribeirao Preto, mais eu tenho amigos de la…
Um abraco,


19 06 2008

ms.c Good luck in manhatten!!!

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