Thursday, June 14, 2012

DAY SIX: Rio de Janeiro!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been participating in the IREX Teachers for Global Classrooms program, which is offered through a branch of the US Department of State (it should be noted that all of the opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the US State Dept. - they are my personal and professional observations). After a year of challenging and exciting work, including an 8 week online course and a global education symposium in Washington, DC, I am finally in Brazil along with the 10 other American teachers of my cohort.

We have all been in the capital city, Brasilia for the past four days, learning about the Brazilian culture and education system. We've had some amazing experiences visiting classrooms in both public and private schools. I will post more regarding Brasilia shortly, but I just want to write briefly about arriving in Rio as I have not had a moment to update this blog.

My fellow teacher, David Angwenyi and I got on our plane in Brasilia early this afternoon and after a quick and uneventful flight on TAM airlines, we made our approach over the beautiful hillside surrounding Rio (pronounced HEE-Oh in Brazilian Portugese), we touched down and met up with our host teacher, Eduardo Vasconcellos and his wife, Janine. They were kind enough to pick us up at the airport and spare us having to butcher the language seeking a ride. Not many people here speak English, but in general, everyone I have encountered has been pleasant and accomodating. I find my self defaulting to some home-brewed patois of English, Spanish and severely wounded Portugese to get by. I also smile a lot and say, "obrigado (thank you)" often.

Eduardo and his wife immediately took us to a Brazilian BBQ restaurant for lunch/dinner. It's one they enjoy and frequent with friends and family. We took our seats and almost instantly were served an endless amount of beef, sliced onto our plates from a sword. While I don't usually eat meat, I have never had Brazilian BBQ before and I wholeheartedly subscribe to the idea that when in Rome, one should do as the Romans. I even tried chicken hearts for the first (and last) time. They were small, somewhat tough and reminded me of mushrooms. Not my cup of meat.

Eduardo is an English teacher in a part of Brazil called Nilopolis (he refers to it as a suburb). Rio is an enourmous city of about 8 million people. Imagine the city of New York sprawling all over gorgeous hillsides and spilling onto pristine beaches and you might get the picture. I am staying in a hotel in another Rio neighborhood/district called Nova Iguacu. Tomorrow, we are off to a local school for a visit and I am excited to meet with staff and students. Based on our experiences in Brasilia, it should be amazing. Check back to read more about my adventures south of the Equator (4 continents down, 3 to go!).

Meanwhile, here are some photos from today...

David, Eduardo and Me at the Rio airport.

Ready to eat!


Eduardo and his lovely wife, Janine.

Chicken hearts.

Utility tower outside the restaurant. Be careful - don't plug that hair dryer in here!


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