Thursday, June 25, 2009

School Blog

I'm blogging at yet another location.

Check out the blog I've been working on for my school by clicking here or going to

Be forewarned however; you shall see a bunch of photos of some really adorable children.

The blog is intended to be a repository for the students to review many of lessons we have done throughout the year, and of course, to see all those photos I've been snapping of them every week. I wanted to have it finished by the time I left Salto, but unfortunately I don't see that happening at this point.

I don't even want to think about leaving my school. I will miss both the teachers and the students very much.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Brazil

Did I mention that Brazil was beautiful? Yeah, it was. Here's a few more photos. Then I promise I will stop raving.

Reminds me of some sort of dream land.

Someday I want to retire in a place like this. They've got the mountains, trees, beaches, rivers, valleys, islands, forests, and some great sun.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Fulbright Seminar

Our regional enhancement seminar was amazing. We met up with other Fulbright ETAs in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil to share with one another our experiences. After spending two nights in Sao Paulo we took a bus to Barra de Sahy, part of the town, São Sebastião, 161 km away from São Paulo. This resort is likely the most beautiful place I have ever been in my entire life. The beaches were spectacular.

One morning we took a boat ride to a small island and spent the day basking in the Brazilian sun. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G

The food at the Aldeia de Sahy was great too. Tables of papaya, mango, fresh greens, seafood, meat, squash, beans, coffee, fruit juices, flan and more. Mmmmm.

Live music and dancing almost every evening. A little samba here, a little forró there. Throw in a little capoeira, and all of the sudden you realize that Brazilians really like their dancing!

I got the opportunity to chat with a Brazilian woman who was super intriguing. Fortunately she spoke some English and could explain to me what globalization meant for her and her village.

They put us up in cute little bungalow houses, but one night I attempted to sleep in the hammock hanging in the front porch. That endeavor was a little less than successful. I lasted about 2 hours. But, darn it, you can't say I didn't try!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sao Paulo

Just got back after a week in beautiful Brazil for a our regional enhancement seminar.

It was amazing to say the least! I loved meeting all the other Fulbright ETAs and getting inspired about what to bring back with me to Uruguay.

First we spent two nights in Sao Paulo, the largest city in South America, the fourth largest in the world. The cityscape from the plane flying in was quite impressive. Skyscrapers in every direction which would be expected from a city of more than 17 million people, I suppose. The first night we were there we ate a restaurant that served endless meat that waiters brought around to you on enormous skewers. Gluttony. That is the only word to describe such a meal.

While in the city we also got a chance to visit Jardim da Luz Park and the Pinacoteca Art Museum that had a special exhibit by the painter Fernand Leger. I enjoy his work.

It just so happened that the night we decided to stay in downtown Sao Paulo was the same day as the world's largest gay pride parade. While we didn't actually see the parade, we did see the aftermath. There were, um, interesting characters out and about on the streets. I was too afraid to take out my camera, but I did catch a shot of the riot control police trying to crowd after the event. My first taste of Brazil was errrr, hard to describe. If you want to know more ask me.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Busy as a Bee

This week has been extremely busy for me, so I am rather far behind in blog posts and responding to emails that people have sent me (sorry! I will hopefully get on that soon). Some people from the CERP had a farewell party for us at one of their residences, which happened to be in a beautiful old house. We had hamburgers, delicious desserts, and a Scrabble Tournament.

Similarly, some students had a small celebration for us that included, you guessed it, desserts. Ohhh my. You have no idea how many sweet things (smothered in dulce de leche ) I have eaten in this past week. My teeth are crying. Praise the Lord for toothpaste.

Last night the teachers from my school took us out to dinner at the Salto Shopping Center. It seems to be the place to be on Thursday nights because there is a bit of live Tango music and dancing for the most adventurous (or highly trained). We also went over to the inspector's house for dinner within the past week as well. Ahhhh, so busy! But I'm not complaining.

Tonight I am headed to Montevideo by bus and then tomorrow I will hop on a plane to Brazil. I do believe our hotels will have internet access, so expect to hear from me soon. Chao.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sunset to Sunrise

I didn't think the anything could be more beautiful than the sunset over the River Uruguay.

That was, until I saw the sunrise from my window. Wow! Sheer magnificence.

So this is what I am missing while I am busy sleeping. I need to wake up at sunrise more often (or not).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Business Cards

I officially have my first real set of business cards! Very professional. Thank you Fulbright. I love them.

I have to admit, there is nothing quite like saying, "oh yeah, and here's my card."

Choosing academia as a career path often delays little niceties like having personal business cards until well into the future. As such, I will enjoy these cards and hand them out like candy. Who wants my card? Please, not everyone at once.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Political Rally

I was surprised to find the principal street of the city closed down last week for a political rally. The street was blocked off to vehicles and a large stage was set up in the middle of the road. Imagine the one of the major parties in the US shutting down the main road of a city. Ha. No way. There would be a public outrage. I asked a man from Uruguay about the practice of blocking off the streets and he said, well look at who is in control of the government. The Frente Amplio is in power now, so if the Frente Amplio wants to have a rally in the middle of the street, why not?

In June, primary elections are going to take place in Uruguay known as the internas. This election will decide which candidate is going to represent each party in the general election. The candidates seem to be out in full force campaigning.

The front runner for the far left, Frente Amplio party, Jose Pepe Mujica, made an appearance at the rally in Salto and gave a rather lengthy speech. I was impressed that he spoke without a teleprompter, podium, or notes. Not many politicians can do that in our day and age.

I found it interesting when Mujica shared his stance on English language education in Uruguay. He is a firm proponent of promoting English acquisition because it is the language of technology, and if Uruguayans want to excel in technology, they must learn English. I don't think everyone feels that way, but obviously, most, if not all of the people I work with support English language education--it's more or less my purpose for being here--to promote mutual understanding among cultures and to support English language instruction in Uruguayan educational institutions.

I am excited to follow the elections in Uruguay, although its much more difficult having to understand the process first, get caught up on the issues, figure out the Spanish, and follow the reports. Nonetheless, there is nothing like coming off an election in the US, only to experience another one without the usual four years wait.