Friday, January 11, 2008

Back in the good ol' US of A


I came back home to California on December 15th and enjoyed Christmas and New Year's here with the family. It is always strange coming back home, especially from another country. The first two weeks or so I really missed Brazil terribly, and really hated feeling cold all the time. (My blood got really thin down there close to the Equator). Now I am settling in a little better and am beginning to look forward to things here in the USA.

I have applied to Teach for America and have already been accepted to the final interview day, so think kind thoughs about me the first week in February. I will know by the beginning of March if I am accepted and where I'll be placed. So, I probably will be moving away from SLO yet again around June/July.

Until then I am going to start looking for a job, perhaps substitute teaching. I'm exercising, going on dog walks, and doing a lot of work around the house. I know that description makes everyone jealous.

Meagan, my Notre Dame roommate, is coming to visit me next week. Woohoo! I'm not sure what we will be doing, but it will be good times, and I will post pictures.

Best wishes to everyone and happy new year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Last Day of School

See what happens when you put ten 3rd graders in a smal room after giving them copious amounts of sugar. I love these kids!












































Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Iracema Falls

Taking advantage of the three day weekend. I took a day trip to Presidente Figueiredo and went to Iracema falls. Another really nice waterfall and this one also had some really cool caves nearby as well. Enjoy my ridiculously touristy pictures from downtown Presidente Figuereido. Enjoy! ;)
















































































Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fun Night

In celebration of Children's Day (October 12th) our school
had its first annual Fun Night. The older kids made booths with games and we had ourselves a little carnaval. It turned out well, and it looked like eveyone had a good time. One of the game was "prison" where you pay to put someone in an designated area for 15 minutes. I, as a teacher of course, got put there twice. Good time all around.











Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Art Class Fun with the 3rd Grade

Here's some pictures of my third graders during our art class. Sidewalk chalk is always a good time wherever you go.









Camp

What happens when you take 20 11-15 years olds camping in the Amazon? Surprisingly no serious injuries and a lot of fun. We took the kids on a school camping trip from the 5th-9th graders. We went to a simple family farm outside Manaus and let them loose for three days. There was lots of swimming, hiking in the jungle, and encounters with various creatures. By the end the two other chaperons and I were exhausted, but glad we bothered to help out. The kids had a blast although they complained every step of the way about having to do chores. We had them carry water in the house to wash dishes and flush toilets because there was no running water. It was pretty rustic, and the kids took baths in the creek on the farm, but they didn't complain about that at least. Anything is better than a regular school day I guess. Enjoy the pics.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Trip to the Interior

Over my July vacation I also made a trip up river to a small town called Anori. I went on a wood river boat called a recreio. People bring their hammocks and sleep in them for the overnight trips, which is what mine turned out to be. It took 17 hours to get there and about 15 to get back.

It's hard to believe there are a fair number of people who live on the eadge of the river out in the middle of nowhere. I actually attempted to explain to a Brazilian what the "middle of nowhere" or "no meio de lugar nenhum" means, and they agreed that we were in it. I feel like I am in the middle of nowhere when I am in Manaus, but that is nothing compared to what life is like in the interior of Amazonas. We're talking some serious isolation.

The boat ride is pretty comfortable, although I found out only too late that the food served on these boats is not exactly sanitary. (Let's just say I lost a couple of pounds after this trip unintentionally.) Anyways, it was a one in a lifetime experience, and I now I say that I have been river boating on the Amazon.

So here's some pictures and a video from the boat.









video

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Presidente Figueiredo

In July I had some vacation time and went north to Presidente Figueiredo about 2 hours north of Manaus. I went with some friends and we stayed at Marupiara, a ranch that is owned by some of the students at my school. It was gorgeous. There are waterfalls everywhere and lots of forest.

















We did some hiking in the jungle, kayaked in the river, and bathed in the waterfalls. Totally tropical paradise. Some of the streams are so clean you can actually dirnk out of them.


















We took one hike to get to a waterfall that took about an hour. It was really cool to walk in the forest. We didn´t see any animals really, but the plants alone are amazing. Our guide showed us this vine that holds water inside that you can cut open and drink. The best part about the trip, it was warm but not hot because of all the trees and there were almost no mosquitos. Amazing.


















We did see some animals at a refuge in Balbina. They had manatees, river otters, turtles, macaws, and many other types of birds.