Just another School Day…

Terça-feira, Março 18

Today was a fairly quiet day as there were no scheduled activities other than attending classes.  Alex and Mullen dropped into Fabiana’s classroom to read stories and sing songs.

Mullen reading a story.

Mullen reading a story.

Listening to the story.

Listening to the story.

Alex reading a story.

Alex reading a story.

Ij your happy and you know it . .

If you’re happy and you know it . . .

Other classroom shots.

Mullen and Hanna in class.

In class.

Baileigh and Emma in class.

Class

Alex in class.

Alex in class.

Tomorrow we will have dance lessons.

Presenting Canada to the Brazilian students

Segunda-feira, Março 17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Presenting to your own class can be intimidating.  Presenting to the student body of a school other than your own can be even more intimidating.  Today, we presented to the student body from the afternoon, or second shift, classes at Escola Crescimento.

Crescimento

Crescimento

Here is Emma’s summary of today’s presentations:

Today we had school in the morning, but most people did not go.  At 9:30 we all met in the library to go over and add to the presentation we were presenting to the afternoon students. The presentation was about Canada.  It talked about population of Canada and Brazil, and population of São Luis and Nova Scotia.  We also talked about Canadian food, music, people, sports and places.
We presented it twice in the afternoon 2 o’clock.  Once to the older high school students and another time to the middle school students.  The high school students loved Jimmy.  After the presentation they went up to him and took pictures with him like he was a celebrity. It was hilarious. 
Over all I think that the presentations went well and the Brazilian students enjoyed it.  Hopefully they learned at least one thing that they did not know about Canada today. 

Emma

As Emma noted, our students had to make two presentations, as there was not enough space in the auditorium for the whole student body. 

Our first presentation was to the 2nd and 3rd year high school students and the auditorium was full. These students are bigger and older than our kids which added to the intimidation factor.

High School students settling in for our Canada presentation.

High School students settling in for our Canada presentation.

Our audience.

Our audience.

Getting ready.

Getting ready.

Selina, from via Mundo.

Our second presentation was to grade 7 – 9 students.  This presentation was a little less intimidating as the students were smaller in number and also closer in age.

Our middle school audience.

Our middle school audience.

The Crescimento students were attentive to the presentation and cheered alot. At the end there was time for a few questions.

Georgia.

Fielding questions

After the presentations were completed, afternoon shift students returned to their schedule.

Tomorrow, the only scheduled activity is attending classes. Time for a much needed break.

Falo um pouco de portugues. (I speak a little Portuguese.)

Tuesday, March 11 by D’Arcy.

Tudo Bem?

Yesterday, we were given a class schedule to follow.  Juliana Camarao, placed the students into as many classes as possible because the Brazil students were all asking to have a Canadian student in their class.  Escola Crescimento has so many students that there are two shifts of classes – the first starts at 7:10 am and the second starts at 1:10 pm.  Whenever we have classes scheduled, they are during the same shift that our homestay brother, or sister, attends.  So, some of our students attend classes during the first shift, and others during the second shift.

With all that being said, today was a full school day for the morning shift and only a partial school day for the afternoon shift.  The reason for this is that we were having a Portuguese lesson at the via Mundo office. Our teacher was Jessica.

Hanna with our Portuguese teacher, Jessica.

One of our students with our Portuguese teacher, Jessica.

Jessica taught us some basic terms that we might need to use as we try to communicate with our new friends, and families. We were all making notes to have as our cheat sheets.  You can just imagine us in conversation, having to resort to our cheat sheet (notes) to try and make sense of what is being said or what we are trying to say.  The key word here is that we are trying.

Tomorrow we have an Arts Workshop at Crescimento School in the morning and then Beach Volleyball in the afternoon.

Até logo.

Getting our Bearings (Orientation)

Monday March 10 by D’Arcy.

Today was our first day at the school where our homestay brothers and sisters attend. Escola Crescimento is a private school located in the city of Sao Luis, Brazil (http://www.crescimento.com.br). Our schedule today provides us with an orientation to escola Crescimento and its neighbouring Maple Bear School. Maple Bear is a global school that has students from Toddler Level (age 2) to grade 6 and operates using a Canadian based curriculum (http://www.maplebear.com.br). We will have another opportunity to visit with Maple Bear on Friday morning when we will come back for Story Telling.

IMG_3418

Mullen, Hanna, Baileigh and Kristen awaiting the start of the presentation.

Kids awaiting the start of the presentation.

Emma, MacKenzie, Hanna, Mullen, Jimmy and Alex awaiting the start of the presentation.

Kids awaiting the start of the presentation.

Juliana Camarao, a director at escola Crescimento, greeted us in the auditorium and gave us a presentation about the school and its history. During this presentation, we had a group of character actors come into the auditorium and dance for us. These actors were dressed in traditional costumes representing the cultures and Carnivale characters that are familiar to Sao Luis. It was quite interesting to watch. We were not the only Nova Scotian students in attendance. There is a school group from Middleton Regional High School who are also on a school to school exchange with Crescimento. When the presentation was finished, there were snacks and some “Jesus” before leaving the auditorium. Not to worry, “Jesus” is a soft drink that is only made in Sao Luis. We sometimes drink it religiously.

Juliana Camarao

Juliana Camarao

Look at all the technology.

Look at all the technology.

The whole group with the dancers.

The whole group with the dancers.

Afterwards, we were taken on tour through the school. Each classroom has a full glass door so it was very easy to look in to every class we passed. Likewise, it was very easy for students to look out and see all these strange Canadians walking through their school. Escola Crescimento is a very nice school which uses technology very well. Classrooms are equipped with Apple TV and each student has an iPad assigned by the school.

Touring Crescimento.

Touring Crescimento.

After touring escola Crescimento, we then had a tour of the Maple Bear Canadian School. We were invited into classes and given an opportunity to speak with students and see the work they were doing.

Maple Bear School

Maple Bear School

Waiting in lower floor of Maple Bear.

Waiting in lower floor of Maple Bear.

After touring Maple Bear, it was break time and the Crescimento students were very curious about the Canadian students and their impressions of their school and of Brazil. Lots of sign language was being used to help communicate.

Alex.

Alex.

Waiting for rides.

Waiting for rides.

Homework getting completed.

Our girls, working on homework.

In the afternoon, we had a orientation session with via Mundo, the educational tour group coordinator. Via Mundo operates as the liaison between escola Crescimento and the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board. During this orientation session, Selina Sell, one of the representatives from via Mundo, talked to us about the different cultural perspectives that exist in a school to school exchange. She also gave us a brief Portuguese lesson and a back pack for us to carry our supplies around. In the back pack was our class schedule, a can of “Jesus”, chocolate candies, cashews, a book with the story of Maranhao (the state which Sao Luis is part of), and a yellow via Mundo shirt which will be our school uniform while attending classes. After Selina’s presentation there were even more snacks for us. It will be hard to go hungry while we are here.

The via Mundo Back Pack.

The via Mundo Back Pack.

Tomorrow, we will get to go to classes and we also have a Portuguese lesson in the afternoon.

Traveling in threes

Update by D’Arcy…

They say that things happen in threes and the start of our Brazil exchange would prove to be the same.  To start, we met at Stanfield International airport at 3:00 pm to begin the check in process for our journey to Sao Luiz, Brazil. Not only will our journey take place over three calendar days but we will have been in three time zones, landed in three Brazilian cities – Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Sao Luis – and travelled on three different planes. Finally, we are scheduled to arrive in Sao Luis just after 3:00 am on March 9, which is the third group of three days in the third month of the year.

Before passing through security.

Before passing through security.

Stanfield International (HFX)

Waiting to board flight to Toronto.

On our way to Toronto.

On our way to Toronto.

Our first stop was Toronto, on flight AC 619, departing Halifax from gate 20 at 5:05 pm.  We arrived in Toronto at 6:40 pm, local time, and made our way to gate E80 where we would board our second flight with Sao Paulo, Brazil, as our destination.  We had a wait time of approximately 4.5  hours, which was lengthened to 5.5 hours as our flight was delayed due to a late connecting flight from Vancouver. We passed the time playing cards and exploring Pearson International Airport.

Penguin Wall Colouring (Pearson International)

Alex and Georgia colouring Penguins in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

The second flight was aboard a Boeing 767 and was a smooth ride throughout.  We departed from the gate at approximately 12:25 am and arrived in Sao Paulo at 12:25 pm, Sao Paulo time. On this flight we were served a meal at approximately 1:00 am and breakfast at around 9:00 am  There were no issues and everyone fared well. After passing through Immigration, we picked up our luggage and proceeded through Customs and made our way to the TAM check in desk where we re-checked our luggage for the third leg of our trip from Sao Paulo to Sao Luis.  Now began our 10 hour layover in Sao Paulo International Airport.

Kristen and friend 2

Kristen helping a little boy colour a picture.

Boeing 767

Inside view of the plane to Sao Paulo.

IMG_6468

The view out the window.

The final leg of our trip was aboard an AirBus 320. TAM airlines flight 3180 was scheduled to depart at 10:00 pm but did not leave the gate until approximately 10:25 pm. This was probably the shakiest flight of our journey as we experienced a little bit of turbulence on our way to stopping in Brasilia. We arrived in Sao Luis at 3:10 am and were greeted by friendly faces with beautiful smiles waving Canadian and Brazilian flags.  Our journey to Sao Luis was complete and now we look forward to the experience that awaits.

AirBus A320

Finally in Sao Luis, Brazil.

The end of an era…

Wow, the past two days were emotional! As of today, my two terms on the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) Board are over. I have spent the past four years working with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met – people who also live & breathe tourism every day. I have tried to write this post many times this evening, but between exhaustion & emotion, am finding it difficult to find the words… Instead, I will post one photo and try to put it all into words tomorrow…

Thank YOU TIANS!! I’ve learned so much in the past four years!!

Butterflies, Peanuts, a Ferry, a Barbeque & Surfing

By all accounts, Evan is having a wonderful time in Brazil! I asked him to jot down a few notes each day so that I could share his activities with those who are interested.  The following is what I received: (the boy does not share his mother’s gift of gab – everything is to the point!)

  • March 1st, 2012.
  •  Flight to Toronto and Sao Paulo delayed
  •  Butterflies
  •  March 2nd, 2012.
  •  Land in Sao Paulo at 11 – 11:30 local time
  •  3 hr bus ride in 33C heat
  •  Caught up with everyone
  •  Relaxed
  •  Went to the club
  •  March 3rd, 2012.
  •  Went to the beach
  •  Boogey Boarded
  •  Paddleball
  •  Peanuts
  •  Swam
  •  Relaxed
  •  Cresting
  •  Ferry ride
  •  Playstation with JV, Caio and Gabriel
  •  March 4th, 2012.
  •  Canoeing
  •  Stand Surfing
  •  The Beach
  •  JV, Caio, Gabriel, Caroline, Scott and Bruno
  •  BBQ at Caios house
  •  Playstation with Caio, JV, Gabriel, Caroline, two other people
  •  Gift giving
  •  hubairos (a drink – was added after)

We’ve Skyped with him each day. On Saturday, his first full day, he spent the day at the beach. The temperature was 36*C so that was probably the perfect place to be! He had been boogy boarding and playing with friends and JV’s dad. His only complaint was a headache which was probably a combination of heat & dehydration. I mentioned that his cheeks were looking a bit pink from the sun and he replied that JV’s dad had put 100SPF sunscreen on his face. I didn’t even know that sunscreen came in numbers that high! We are so grateful that JV’s dad shared the following photos with us:

Evan, JV & Gabriel catch a wave

Evan "boogey boarding"

 

Caio, Gabriel, Evan & JV on the ferry from Santos to Guaruja, Brazil

The boys play "beach tennis" in the water at Guaruja Beach.

Based on these photos, I can’t help but wonder what 13-year-old boy wouldn’t be having fun?!

On Sunday, he was up early and went canoeing which he reported was “awesome”! (His father is now dreaming of father-son canoe trips in D’Arcy’s homemade canoe this summer…)

We had a message at suppertime that the families of Caio, Gabriel & JV (as well as one other boy who Evan hadn’t known before) were all at Caio’s home for a barbeque and would we be able to skype with them? We all ran upstairs to the computer and it was obvious that Evan is being well looked after! It did this worrying mom’s heart good, and I have to admit, I shed a few (okay – more than a few!) tears of relief & happiness!

Caio’s sister posted the following photo, taken at the barbeque:

Evan's Brazilian family(s). No wonder he's so happy - they look like a fun group!!

We thanked Caio’s & JV’s families for taking such good care of Evan and for welcoming him so openly with love & friendship. JV’s father has good English and the others do their best. Evan has been communicating with a lot of sign language, I think!

Being away from his sister, he has been eating peanuts and other tree-nuts and has been enjoying them! He’s tried a new fruit, grown in Brazil, which he really liked, and raved about the pastries that he’s had. It sounds like he may come home with a few extra pounds at the rate he’s trying new things!

Last night Evan gave Caio & JV’s families the gifts we had sent from Canada: a photo book of Nova Scotia, 1L jug of maple syrup, blueberry jam, peanut butter, Nova Scotia fridge magnets, and – at the boys’ request – Kraft Dinner, gum & Cadbury mini eggs! He had been waiting to get the family all together at the same time.

Last night was to be an early night as they all had to be at school for 7:30 this morning. I woke up this morning to find a message from Evan, asking where his travel alarm clock had been packed – whoops! Hope he woke up in time and didn’t make the boys late… The school day there runs from 7:30a.m. – 12:50p.m., which I would assume is because of the heat. I’m looking forward to skyping with Evan tonight to hear about his morning bike ride, and time at school. They were scheduled to have some Portuegese lessons and attend one of the High School English classes. I’ll be interested to hear what the Jean Piaget school is like from his perspective!

It is definitely a relief to know that he is having such a wonderful trip so far and hasn’t felt lonely at all. I struggle with finding a balance between wanting to Skype with him to hear about what he is doing, but also wanting to give him space and independence. Actually “seeing” him interact with his new family put many of my fears at ease, and the photos they’ve sent have brought a huge smile to my face. I can’t wait to hear about today’s adventures!!

* By the way, Evan has somehow “pocket-locked” his iPod touch and doesn’t know the code to unlock it! Any helpful suggestions on how to unlock it without access to his iTunes are welcomed!