Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tough Second Week

…Two more to go before write-up and presentation time; then it’s off to the south of the country (not exactly sure where, yet…), then…? I can’t believe the time—it’s just flying by.

The week has been particularly hard, for a number of reasons. I am really starting to miss some of those true constants: family and the ability to make it back to Brunswick from school in three hours or less; friends, both at school and at home; Wellesley, in all its ridiculous glory; and, of course, Ultimate. Our team splits into A and B teams at the end of the fall and the team list was recently posted. As I read through all the names, I realized I only recognized about half of them, maybe less!

It’s easy to get lost in this eternal summer, and think that time has stood still and everything will be waiting right where I left it when I get back. But of course that’s not the case, it can’t be. And recognizing that as I prepare for more transition will be crucial.

One of the reasons that this week has been so hard is due to my continual struggle for independence and against common sense. Don’t worry, common sense continues to win out, in the form of an armed escort to the bus stop as I’m leaving CUCA for home every afternoon. So far since CUCA’s opening there have been multiple students who’ve gotten mugged, including one girl who was robbed at gunpoint. All the professors get an escort to the bus stop, but I really hate it. I have stopped taking my laptop there, and really, it’s thanks to some good sense, and more sheer luck, that I haven’t had anything happen to me so far.

I feel like I’m treading very on a glass floor, and one wrong move, the whole thing will shatter. The only thing I’ve ever had stolen from me before was a bike, when I was 10 and living in West Philly, but somehow I feel like getting robbed here would be more mentally debilitating than anything else.

The fact that I am constantly thinking about it is probably a good thing, but I have just felt way too on edge lately.

Class at CUCA is going really well (see picture of another glorious sunset!). My students are bright and engaged, eager and curious. I’ve gotten about half a dozen invites to lunch with them, and a dozen more ‘Orkut’ (pronounced orkooch…Brazilian equivalent to Facebook) invitations.

Friday, ‘deu uma volta’ (I took a walk around the bairro [neighborhood]) with Beatriz, a 15-year-old, from my class. She has 5 brothers and sisters and lives about three blocks away from CUCA. Though I know I’ve mentioned a lot about it being dangerous above, it’s only really dangerous when you’re sozinha (alone) and when you’ve got a backpack/bag on you—that tends to draw attention. So I left my bag at CUCA and walked with Beatriz to get to know the neighborhood a bit. We went to her house, where I got to meet her mom and a couple brothers and sisters, including her 19-year-old brother, who’s deficiente—handicapped. I’m not sure exactly what handicap he has but it’s pretty debilitating. He can’t walk or even sit up without help and clearly has limited mental capacity. But he was really happy to see a new face, I could tell, and I think it meant a lot to Beatriz that I was willing to go with her. Her mom was also excited to meet me and Beatriz raved on and on about class, which was a bit unnecessary.

Beatriz warned me before that her family was poor, and I shouldn’t expect too much. I didn’t know quite how to respond to that. Even if I’m not “rich” by American standards, or anything, if she knew how much money I bring into that world, by my plane ticket alone, she’d probably be shocked. And when I met her family, her house was pretty humble—four rooms, she shares a room with three brothers and sisters, and one TV, no cable—but it was the house of a family that was living comfortably with what they had, sharing what was maybe not a ton, but you can tell they have enough, and they’re happy, and what’s more, eager to share it with whoever shows interest.

I was planning to do the next class on food, but I think I’ll save that for Thanksgiving day. One of my students had an interesting class idea, one I think will work—child games and songs exchange. I’ll teach them the ones we play in America, we can do some Brazilian ones too. I can only come up with ‘Duck Duck Goose,’ ‘Quack Diddly Oso,’ and Mafia, so if any of you have other suggestions, please let me know!!

1 comment:

Cristle Collins Judd said...

How about these?
*Ring around the Rosie
*Capture the flag
*Musical Chairs
*London Bridge
*Freeze Tag
*Jump rope rhymes
*Dodge Ball
*Red Rover
*Wa! (Sarah added that -- she says it's a Bowdoin Daycamp game)

Let's see how long your list gets!