Friday, February 21, 2014

First Day, No Internet

We are still having issues connecting to the internet. I have been able to get notifications from Facebook and email on my phone, but I can’t respond to anything. These issues ended with the Dean giving Catherine and me university computers that would connect to the internet. However, Facebook seems to be blocked in ILA (the language department in which we are working). This might seem trivial, but when the only way to communicate with other ETAs and students with whom we are supposed to be meeting, not having Facebook is a big deal. In addition, we don’t have access to internet in our hostel. So, Catherine and I found a way to entertain ourselves tonight: take words/objects around the kitchen and look them up in the Portuguese-English dictionary.

As for the rest of the day, it was fairly eventful. We sat in on/helped proctor a TOEFL test at 8am. It was interesting to see a standardized test taken in another country. We also met two of the four other faculty members in the department. I have noticed that my Portuguese has gotten better. This means that I can understand a lot more than I did a week ago, but my speaking abilities are still fairly low. However, we talked to a handful of new people today. Three guys were biochemical engineering students. Two of whom spoke English fairly well. Catherine did a great job of promoting the NucLi classes, though.

We also met a student who is studying to become a teacher. She helped us with questions we had about nearby areas, phones, laundry, etc. She also explained why so many people we saw were wearing rings. If there is a silver band on the ring finger of the right hand, the person is in a serious relationship. If there is a gold band on the same finger, the person is engaged. Lastly, if there is a gold band on the ring finger of the left hand, the person is married.

Rossana, Catherine, another professor and I then had lunch at a restaurant called Bamboo. This was Catherine and my first trip off of campus. The other professor then drove us around the downtown area and dropped us off near the shopping street. (This street is full of stores and cars are not allowed to drive on it. It is also several blocks long.) During this trip, we tried to buy phones and a USB modem to get internet for our computers. However, without a CPF, we were unable to do so. We think a passport will work, so hopefully tomorrow we will have unlimited access to internet.

The last piece of business today involved Catherine, Rossana and I meeting to discuss the game plan moving forward. We met in the office the university provided for Ingles sem Fronteras, which will be Catherine and my office. The meeting lasted two hours and we were rapidly going through all of the points we needed to discuss. After being told normally meetings aren’t very productive by American standards, we were very surprised how much we talked about/accomplished. We have the next month to plan classes, projects, workshops, etc. I also may be helping with a phonetics class and an applied linguistics class; both of which I am very excited to see.

As the day comes to an end, it is important to describe one of the hardest parts to which to adapt: the showers. This morning I took a shower in Catherine’s room because I needed to borrow body wash. So, tonight I decided I would take a shower in my own bathroom. BIG MISTAKE! Firstly, the long plastic tube hanging down from the shower head shoots out water (see accompanying pictures of the room). I figured that out after I put it over the side of the shower and it went all over the bathroom floor. Secondly, the shower door is not on the track and fell on me. Lastly, the water was fairly cold. I have decided from now on to take a shower in Catherine’s room. We have also decided that it is about time to look for a new place to live. We found out that Cassino is a beach town that people leave in the winter. Therefore, we are hopeful that we can find a furnished place to live that would work perfectly with our time frame. We shall see…

My Room

The bathroom: (See the water hose thing?)

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