Thursday, August 27, 2015

UH! Merica (Regina Spektor)

Maybe it's a fitting day to share this song by super genius Regina Spektor.
:-(

(Note for years from now: another shooting today)

First Day

My first day went well, it's just hard to get used to the "mega commute" all over again! :-(

Good thing that last Monday and this Friday I was & will be car pooling with a friend (not next week, though)
:-(

I can't write much because I need to go to bed, it was a looong day...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Last Day... (and Memories of First Days Past)

... technically I have one more free day, Thursday, but today is the last day before I enter the classroom and begin teaching again for 15 weeks.

So many mixed feelings. It's hard to deal with all that goes through my head as I walk through campus...

... first, a strong recollection of those pretty magical, once in a lifetime days of March 1990, my first days in college. Huge university in Brazil (over 50K students, extremely large campus). Taking a super crowded bus by myself to the other side of the city, trying to find elective classes to fill up my partly empty schedule. Navigating a strange building, classroom locations, how to order course packets and buy copies of texts (long boring lines at the copy center in the basement of the building).

Meeting new people, outside of my own little private school, religious college campus (where my parents worked), marveling at how nice everyone was (topic of the very first conversation I had with my future husband a few weeks later).

Now I'm much older and I'm in another country at a completely different university, but the excitement I see in the incoming students is the same I felt. The energy is the same and I know I'm in the right place, I belong here. Sort of.

... I have much dimmer recollections of my first weeks each Fall in graduate school. Nothing really magical anymore, and it didn't cross my mind yesterday, but my first few weeks back in that campus in 2012 were pretty magical, but all that magic has gone away.

... Now I wonder -- will I have a contract for next year again? Will they ever give me a three year contract? I go to the welcome reception and see those fresh faced incoming graduate students and I feel despondent. Do they know they're destined to adjunct life? Have they really drank the Koolaid and thing they'll get a "real job" someday?

It's more bitter than sweet now. My colleague, that I have learned not to dread anymore, full of hir empty rhetoric, so not really integrated with the other faculty, at least apparently not with lecturers. Talking of the need s/he has to publish not to be outdated (spoken by someone who finished the degree in 2012. How am I, from 2008, but hopelessly out of the game, out of everything?)

Yeah, it's tough. So I try to enjoy my last day. I printed and copied the syllabi (though not the calendar for two of the sections) and I'm preparing the name tags that I use every semester. I'm thinking of what to say and hoping that the drive goes well.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Alphabet Browser Search Fun

Wow, memes are so last decade, but I still wanted to do this one, inspired by Geeky Mom. It's a fun time killer that you get by typing each letter of the alphabet into the browser address bar. I used both Chrome & Firefox. Would have loved to have done Safari too, but I'm on my pc desktop right now. Chrome is lame having nothing for a bunch of letters...

Chrome  /  Firefox

A: Amazon.com   /  American Express (with Amazon cart second)
B: blogger    (both)
C: catalog (university #1 library)   /    c_ _ _  : teaching platform at U#2
D: drmamaesq.com   /   dooce.com
E: exchange [outlook email from U#1]    for both
F: facebook.com  for both
G: gmail.com   for both
H: htttps://facebook.com --> That's not right!   /   heatherarmstrong.com
I:  imdb.com   /   impeafro.org.br
J: (nothing -- google search)   /  johnclarkmatthews.com/*
K: knie.ch (because of my last post)   /   kris.shaffermusic.com/  (got this link from my friend Jeannette a while back)
L: learnsecurity (training security site of U#1)   /   live.ccmunited.com/  (oh boy! a live music show I watched a few months ago)
M: mail (from universtiy #2)   /    mamaintranslation.blogspot.com/  :-)
N: nytimes.com  (!)   /   newsadventist.org   (my church's official news site)
O: (nothing -- google search)   /   office.microsoft.com
P: plus.google.com (not surprising! I never go there!)   /   pc-sda.client.renweb.com (kids' school grades site)
Q: (nothing -- google search)   /   quinntopia.blogspot.com/ (model train site my kids used to visit a lot)
R:  (nothing -- google search)   /   renweb.com (kids grades, this is getting boring!)
S: significados.com.br (great dictionary site, for teaching Portuguese!)   /    sites (university #1)
T: twitter.com   / tripadvisor.com
U: (nothing -- google search)   /   united.com
V: vimeo.com   / can't say
W: www.facebook.com   / weather.com
X: (nothing -- google search)   /   xs.gy -- what is that? (afraid to click)
Y: youtube.com    for both
Z: (nothing -- google search)   /   nothing

*wow, that was random! This guy made some hilarious stop motion animation adaptation of children's books that I once bought for my kids -- including Curious George goes to the HospitalMouse Soup and others -- and I googled him once a while back.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Brazilian Movie to be Released in 2016 - O Grande Circo Místico

(this post is a note to myself more than anything)

O Grande Circo Místico movie is based on a ballet and its music (with lyrics, so it's more like a musical) which is, in turn, based on a really strange poem by Jorge de Lima inspired by the origin of the Knie circus in Switzerland (I saw signs while I was there!!!) (Wikipedia entry). The musical contains my "most favorite" song, Beatriz, which is the song that plays in the first part of the trailer. I think it'll be a beautiful movie:

O GRANDE CIRCO MÍSTICO, um filme de Cacá Diegues from Fado Filmes on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

First & Last!

This was our first "stone fruit" purchase of the season from our local farm and also the last, since today was their last day open.
At least we made it before it was two late! (No such luck the past two years). As a result, I will spend a lot of time peeling and cutting this yummy fruit for freezing! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Blurry Back to School

The past eight years are a blur...

I can hardly believe I have an 8th grader and a 6th grader. I'm certainly not celebrating it. They do grow too fast. 

To my husband's chagrin (poor man, he knows I have too much to do and he tries to help keep me on track), I stayed at the school a full 2 hours after dropping off the boys. Talking to people. Because that's who I am. And because it's the first day of my elsdest's last year at this lovely elementary school. (And I'm going back to drop off their lunch and then drive them to the town pool -- a first day of school tradition).

My favorite moment of the morning, was when three high school freshman, former classmates of my son when he was in 7th and them in 8th last year (plus 3-4 & 5/6), walked into the school. One of them paused to look at his graduating class photo on the wall and that just warmed my heart and broke it a little -- grieving in advance for my son next year. I'm getting ready to cry BUCKETS on 8th grade graduation. Sigh...

Ok, now I have to finish cooking/preparing their lunch!

P.S. they were very mad at me for wanting to take photos. :-(

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Back to Real Life

I realized in the past few days that one of the big reasons why I love traveling and extensive travels suit me really well is that I'm quite good at "doing nothing" at home. And when you travel you see a whole lot of amazing stuff while "doing nothing." ;-P

I know I'm terrible that way and the worst  thing is that I'm not ashamed of myself. I work because it's best to keep busy in real life and I enjoy it, I truly do, but that's it. That's why maybe I should just be a full time non tenure faculty for the red of my life. and keep doing the minimum, not the maximum I can possibly achieve (as far as sometimes useless academic research is concerned).

Ok, I got to my office, then went to a meeting and now I have to drive my 76+ miles back home & stop at multiethnic grocery stores. More later!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Alpine dream come true

We didn't know if we were really going to be able to see the famous trio of mountains Jungfrau, Munch & Eiger, but we did! Here are some of the photos I took with my phone:
The idyllic Grindelwald:
Jungfrau:
Eiger & Munch:

Another one (with me!):

Looking at the Eiger and imagining how people climbed that rock wall!
Going back down on the train:
What an amazing day!

P.S. And we also had the privilege of seeing edelweiss planted by a small restaurant (the one portrayed above) 

The Eve of Going Home...

... the European leg of our "Epic Family Trip" was perfect. Seriously. It only rained twice, which didn't interfere too much with our sightseeing (we were in cities on those days).

Yesterday we went to one of the most famous spots in the Swiss Alps to see three mountains: the Jungfrau ("Young Lady"), Münch (Monk) & Eiger (man's name). This time we took the cheapest train ride, from Grindelwald (actually the Grund station, even cheaper) to Kleine Scheidegg. Someday I want to go to the "Top of Europe" (Jungfraujoch) and to James Bond famous Schilthorn.

It was amazing, particularly because the weather forecast had been iffy for the past five days. This short trip provided the perfect ending, the 'cherry on top' for our vacation with my parents. We drove them to the airport this morning -- they will spend the next 13 days in Madrid and then in Portugal visiting friends before they return to Brazil on the 25th.

The trip had a few challenging moments and we're really exhausted -- especially the boys who haven't been getting as much sleep as they'd like or need -- and this makes it easier to go back home.

I miss my cats, but other than that, I think I could spend most of my life traveling. ;-) Not really, obviously! I will now share some gorgeous photos from my cell phone, if its battery doesn't die on me!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Lovely

(this is a sequel to the previous post)
Hotel ("Motel")

And breakfast

One more week 'till we get home

The reality that our epic family trip is almost over is beginning to sink in. I'm getting emails that require me to respond to schedule meetings and emails from students that want to get into my class. I've had to make a late payment on a card and email them to try to waive the late fee.

I suppose I would love to travel on and on forever, but it's kind of comforting to think of going back home and living our routine lives again before our next trip comes up! (but only because there will be a next trip, sigh... I live for trips ;-)

We've been having a marvelous time here in Europe and I can't wait to post more photos, but until tonight, I had had very spotty internet access. Three different hotels we stayed at in Switzerland and Germany required we get a code via text (SMS) message in order to get online, but we CANNOT get text messages at all in our phones here. (note to self: never ever travel again without having a prepaid cell phone or plan in another country!!!)

Since I last posted we spent time in Geneva at a friend's house (where I was born, first time my parents came back in 43 years, very meaningful, special, emotional and thrilling), then visiting a friend in Frankfurt, visiting the Rhine (Rhein) River, my sons' dream: Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Berlin (an exhausting whirlwind, but GREAT, one day visit), Luther sites and tomorrow, Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Then we'll stay for six days at an aunt's house in Switzerland and do day trips with her. 

I have to go have breakfast now (first an only hotel with breakfast in this week of hotels)! But we'll have internet until we get home now. yay!

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Up in the Alps: the 400 versus the 200 View

In the past two days we spent nearly the equivalent of what it would cost to go to two theme parks for a day (or a couple of days in one park) with our family, but it was worth every penny! (if I could I would always spend money to go to natural sights instead of man-made "wonders.")

First place (and more expensive): Zermatt, to see the Matterhonr (taking yhe train to Gonengrat). Initially there were some clouds, but then it got clear & cloudy again later. K did a fantastic time lapse video of the clouds (not shared here).


Second: Chamonix, to see the Mont Blanc from the "Aiguillle du Midi". It was a lovely day with some clouds later. I took fewer photos with the cell phone because most of the memory is used up, sorry!


I can't decide which one I like best. It was my second time (and K's third!) seeing the Mont Blanc and I still think/feel it's one of the most incredible places I've always been to (and ever will). Seeing the Matterhorn  was a cherished dre & bucket list item and it was breathtaking. Kelvin (our 23 year old) liked it better than the Mont Blanc.

Which one do you like best, the 400 or the 200 view? ;-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Goodbye Israel

The trip is over and it was amazing! I Hope to be able to post about it when I get home, but I don't know if it's going to happen.

Our last day and half was at the sea of Galilee, at a very pleasant hotel was a beautiful warm pool:
Yesterday, my sons and my nephew were baptized in the Jordan River, which was very meaningful ending to a marvelous trip. We have 12 minutes to eat now and to go to the bus, so I've got to go!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Epic Family Trip: Some Cell Phone Photos

No words needed for this & next ones, right?
Sinai sunrise

Hotel in Sinai (cold pool)
Desert - next to "Solomon's Columns"
Amazing Red Sea reefs
Aquarium 

Eilat from hotel
Petra sunrise
Walking to Petra
First Glimpse