Friday, March 27, 2009

March 27th - Hanging around this town.

Mount Caro - A.K.A. Face Mountain.

Last week I joined a Sunday morning hiking/walking group. And by morning I mean we meet at 6:30 in the A.M. Good times. Fingers crossed that my love of sleeping in doesn't overtake my love of getting out and about.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


The picture I'm posting is of my favorite neighborhood dog. Every morning the two dogs play around with one another. I tried to capture it one morning, and as you can see completely failed. There is another dog that comes in a close second because all you can see of him is him jumping up and down. All you see is a little black bob going up and down, up and down, for a minute or two. Pretty insane. What's so interesting?!

This past week I was in S. Nicolau to observe the TEFL volunteers on the island. We had two weeks of testing, and it was the only time that I would be able to go before the second semester started. For the week that I was there I shadowed the volunteers and followed them to their classes. Being inside the high school classroom (even passively) always reminds me that I sometimes miss it. It's always easier than it looks, and since the volunteers I observed were doing a really great job, it was easy to miss it.

S. Nicolau often gets the shaft in guide books, but I love it there. The people are really friendly (I probably know more of Brett's neighbors at this point than I do my own), and it's beautiful. A place where you can get a whole chicken dinner for 250$00 CVE or fresquinhas (?) from a neighbor is obviously a good time. The week went by fast and before I knew it, it was time to head back to the 'big city'.

Due to confusion with changes in the course plan and schedule, we weren't able to receive our schedules until Monday mid-morning (also the day that classes started). It's now Wednesday, and there is still some confusion as to whether I'm teaching Oral Comp. this morning, or Written Comp this afternoon, but if nothing else, I'm learning to just go with it. My initial OCD when I first arrived payed off though because I had originally thought I was teaching a Lit course and planned accordingly. I didn't teach it first semester, but now I have some basic materials and a course outline pretty much ready to go. During the first class I was able to introduce poetry and Robert Frost as the start point. Granted I'm more of a music than poetry person, but I guess Voltaire hit it right when he said "poetry is music". I am also teaching a beginner English course to 3* year Philosophy students.

Other than that, I'm just trying to get into a routine of some sort. I'm going on a hike slash walk this Sunday. The group meets each week at 6:30 am and goes somewhere different. I figure it's a good way to get some exercise, practice some Kriolu, and meet some people.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March 3rd - CARNIVAL

if you are watching a parade make sure you stand in one spot. Don't follow it. It never changes. And if the parade is boring run in the opposite direction. You will fast forward the parade. - Mitch Hedberg

This past week was Carnaval. The city has been openly prepping for the event for the past month. Every night, in a lot by my apartment, the Flors de Mindelo have practiced their routine. From what I understand there are three or four different groups that compete for the title of Carnaval King and Queen. I couldn't have imagined the amount of preparation that goes into the parade. By the end of the month I could set my watch by the songs they played every night while practicing.

Last week a few of the second year volunteers came up from Santiago. It seems like most first year volunteers go S.Nicolau the first year and then S. Vicente the second year. Our Carnival is more Brazilian and commercial, and S. Nicolau's is more traditional. It was really fun having other volunteers around. Especially since the ones that came are pretty tight and all very amusing. You could just sit back and listen and they'd have you on the floor laughing within five minutes.
The Santo Antoa volunteers didn't make it until Monday thanks to some boat difficulties. Luckily they still made it for the main parades and celebrations. We were also lucky in that the Sal ladies missed their flight and unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us, they had to stay an extra night. All in all a really good mix.

The parades started the weekend before Carnival and continued up until Wednesday morning. They party until the last possible moment. The big parade is on Tuesday and started around 12 and lasted all day into the night. My favorite group - Flors de Mindelo (just for territorial reasons) won the competition, although to be honest I kind of think that the float shaped like a castle kind of tipped the cake. The Flors had the orange and red float (complete with a fireman) - I don't have a pic of the castle just yet.

That's pretty much Carnaval in a nutshell. Obviously there is more to tell, but I'm tired of typing and I feel like the week was epitomized by a million small fun little things that would be really hard to generalize and explain.

February 25th - CARNIVAL

Santo Antao going prehistoric.

February 21st - CARNIVAL

Hotel Porto Grande


We have miniature golf here. I know. Be jealous.

I lost. I got killed by Ricardo.