The Last Three Months
So I thought I might fill you in on what I have been doing for the past few months in Blumenau. I really liked Blumenau and am a little bummed that we are leaving the weekend before Oktoberfest starts in the city! :( Blumenau is famous for having the second biggest Oktoberfest in the world and I was almost going to be there!!! I did, however, get to see lots of fun Oktoberfest decorations and lots of dirndls and lederhosen in the stores!
I was teaching at two different English schools and had 5 classes and one private student that I had to leave this week. I was really surprised at how much I liked teaching. I had all upper level students who already spoke and understood English for the most part, so I was teaching advanced grammar and conversation all in English. The only problem with teaching is that to actually have a memorable class, I had to spend about 5 hours preparing for one 2.5 hour class. And they only pay for the 2.5 hours that you are at the school... Luckily, I wasn't only teaching for money and I really enjoyed having some responsibility after almost a year of feeling like a teenager! I got to make lots of fun interactive PowerPoint presentations and games and it was generally not really like going to work at all. I was instructed not to tell any of my students that it was my last day until the final class (which I thought was kind of B.S.), but my last class yesterday got the news early and brought me flowers and cupcakes and passion fruit mousse (delicious!!) and wrote me a really nice letter. It was a really great send off and really unexpected considering I had only been teaching them for about 4 weeks. Some of my students even started crying! I was really touched and am still a little in shock that I made an impression, but it's a really nice feeling.
Other than teaching, I was taking a Portuguese class for about 3 weeks that was eventually cancelled due to the fact that I wasn't paying and the other students were leaving, so that's that... I actually felt that I learned more studying on my own than I did in class, just because I could take my time on things that I have trouble with and breeze through things that I understood. Just in the past month or so, I've started to understand things quickly enough to respond in a normal rhythm, which makes having a conversation possible (not easy, but possible.) It's a really nice feeling to be able to communicate, but I still have a lot of work to do on vocabulary and correct word order. In Campinas, I might look for another class or maybe a group of ex-pats that I can learn more with.
|Friendly or gang-related?|
We will be staying in a hotel for 2 weeks to have time to find somewhere to make our new home. I am looking forward to living in the state of Sao Paulo because there is just a lot more going on there. There are tons of multinational companies located in the greater Sao Paulo area, which opens up a lot of opportunities for me. It seems to be a good place where both of us can pursue our careers (it's a difficult place to find with an International Business major and an Agriculture major!)
Overall, we have heard a lot of good things about the city and to give you some Wikipedia facts:
- The weather ranges from an aveage high of a chilly 76.6 in winter to 86.0 in summer (Seasons? We don't need no stinking seasons!)
- People that live in Campinas are known as Campineiros (thus, my post title)
- The city is composed of 74% white, 5.6% black, and 18.4% pardo (which I just learned is a Brazilian term for any shade of brown) so we will not be a minority, just incase our worldly South Dakotan friend was worried! :)
- The region has over 10,000 medium to large companies, to name a few: IBM, Dell, Bosch, Motorola, Samsung, 3M, Unilever, and Honda.
- There is a very large separation of rich and poor, similar to Sao Paulo or Rio, where the richest 10% make 70 times more that the bottom 10%. The separation isn't as vast in Blumenau, so this will make a big difference in the culture and appearance of the city.
- Campinas is the home of the 2nd best university in South America (UNICAMP) and lots of other Universities.
- It is also a cultural center, meaning that there will be something for us to do!
- It is a twin city of San Diego (I don't really know what that means, but San Diego is a cool place so hopefully Campinas is too!)