Friday, August 1, 2003

Week 8 in Brazil

E entao amigos, como vao? 

I'm wrapping up the academic portion of the program here — took my final exam this morning, what a pain in the butt, like we’re supposed to study while in paradise… de jeito nenhum!

Although I must admit that paradise is sometimes an exaggeration (somehow the stench of overworked sewage systems detracts from the idyllic setting), it still seems absurd to spend our afternoons studying… which is why many of us have perfected the art of studying at the beach (that is to say, we pretend to study until someone else from the group shows up to pretend study as well, which usually results in happy, sunny hours with not a book in sight).

And so my academic program endeth, on the beach with coco water and a smile.

I did of course get a lot of work done on my research project (despite the time at the beach) but there is still so much more to do.  I spent the past several weeks, making observations in an elementary /middle school in Vitoria, speaking with teachers and interviewing adults students (who attend at night).  Unfortunately, I had a limited amount of time to pursue my research (given the rigorous academic schedule) and things in Latin America tend to meander along at a very slow pace in any case, so… I think that if I truly want to use the results of my research to write my master’s thesis, I’m going to have to return to Brazil sometime over the next year (how very sad for me, I’m sure).
And so my research stops, with too many questions for it to truly be at an end.

My crazy Brazilian family is already asking when I will return, so they can welcome me with loud shrieks of joy.  I of course am counting down the seconds to when I get to leave their nut house, though I will truly, TRULY miss the children (yes, even the whiney shrieky one).  And so I leave the wacky Brazilian family behind, certain that my family has, in no way, ever approached their level of wackiness (and that’s really saying something!)

I completed Capoeira last night with a video camera attached to my face so that I got out of actually having to perform in front of the hordes of Brazilians our professors invited to watch our (or at least my) shameful lack of coordination.  Too bad I never thought to borrow the video camera from my family sooner, maybe I could have avoided all those crazy evenings of contortionist play.

And so my Capoeira days are over, leaving me covered in bruises, hobbling through the streets of Brazil with a videotape and berimbau clutched in hand.

Tonight I head for Rio de Janeiro on a bus.  I begged my fellow travelers to fork out the extra money for an omnibus semi-leito (partial sleeping bus), but there seems to be a communal crisis of money at the end of this trip – I really don’t understand how the crisis can be that great when even I can afford to pay the extra TEN DOLLARS to travel without another passenger reclining in my lap, but hey…  at least they all agreed to pay the extra two dollars to have three more inches of space.

And so my time in Vitoria comes to a close.  It’s been interesting and fun and messed up all at the same time.  I can’t wait to see what Rio brings the second time around!  One final excursion to end the trip in style.

Ate mais…

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