Saturday, March 31, 2012


My nephew, only 4 months old, is going to undergo surgery in about 6 hours. He has a large abscess in the underarm area, probably a reaction to the BCG vaccine* -- against tuberculosis, a disease which is making a come back in Brazil and because my brother is traveling there at the end of the year, they're vaccinating the baby now.

It shouldn't be serious, since it's just a superficial growth and it hasn't affected deep tissues or the lymph nodes. And we all hope it's not, but my brother and mainly my sister-in-law are devastated.The baby has been so so brave, only whimpering, not crying, and he's had to go for many hours without nursing, which is heart-breaking. Please keep my brother, SIL and the baby in your thoughts and prayer, OK?

* Please, anyone out there reading who is militantly against vaccines, don't come out of the woodwork, or out of cyberspace, right now to berate my family members (or me, I fully vaccinated by boys), OK? I'll simply delete your comment.

P.S. I'm having a wonderful time at the conference, but I'm just so shocked with these news that my mom shared last night all the way from NZ. As we say in Portuguese, "I'm with my heart in my hand" (estou com o coração na mão) thinking of them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Health Care Overhaul: Not Looking Good...

I was listening to Talk of the Nation this afternoon and cringing as I heard the Solicitor General trying to defend the Individual Mandate before the Supreme Court.

It's not looking good for President Obama right now... I remember the night I watched the voting of the Health Care Law live and thought how the vote went right along party lines, but fortunately it passed in the end. I'm on pins and needles thinking that maybe the Supreme Court will strike the law down altogether.

I wonder what that means Barak Obama's chances of re-election. And, even most importantly, for millions of un- and under-insured people in this country.

Sigh. There are times in which living in this country is a real challenge for me. The worst part of all, I think is that the "other side" is so irrationally bound to their own beliefs that it is impossible to have a reasonable discussion (giving examples from other countries around the world, for instance) with anyone on that side.

Social Darwinism* is all that comes my to mind when I think of the "right" in this country. Isn't it funny that they're fiercely against Darwin and yet ardently espouse his principles when it comes to social issues? (of course they don't even know that...) sigh again...

* Used here in a general sense of the "survival of the fittest" concept which is surreptitiously present in savage capitalist mentality, not in the historic meaning linked to eugenics. Although, if one looks at the ethnic composition of the lower classes in capitalist societies, one can perhaps conclude that, however denied, the eugenic ideas seems to be "working."  :(

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Africa (and Academia) on my Mind... (A Long Overdue Update)

Jet leg officially "left me" on Tuesday,* which, coincidentally, was the day in which I most decidedly got back "into the swing of things" and returned to my regular schedule of staying up way too late (2 am on). It was one of those days in which little things go wrong from the beginning... such being late for office hours because I needed to cook lunch for the kids and baby-sitter AND wash & dry my hair [silly new cut that I am yet to show you]), then, forgetting to print the handout and having to come back and do it in the middle of class (wait! that was on Thursday... whatever... it doesn't matter!). The funniest thing is that I spent all day Tuesday writing this blog post in my head and now it's coming out totally different. (!)

Because of the departmental conference yesterday and today, I had to stay after work to help my students rewrite their papers for our panel, so it was a pretty long day, but nothing compared to yesterday. I have to publicly thank my husband for taking on my responsibilities with the kids and the house this week, just to do it again next week when I travel on Thursday for yet another conference (my very first fully funded conference since 2003!).

After my long day, I came back home and FINALLY began grading my students' paper... I have 42 4 page papers to grade. I managed to grade 10 and unfortunately that was all I did this week, thanks to the conference. Wednesday was busy, but OK and I again stayed up way too late, this time working with my students' conference papers and preparing my creative writer pp slides (4 poems about being bilingual).

And now come the past two days... in which I lived more or less in a academic dream-like state. I joked with K that for the past 2 days we were pretending that I was a "real" full-time tt academic [how would we ever manage the kids + house if I were to be full time is beyond me!]. I spent 13 hours at the university yesterday and I participated in two panels at the conference (both poetry readings) and went to the banquet in the evening with my students after finalizing the reviews of their papers -- that was so much fun! (both the banquet and revising their papers and have one of them practice reading it as we drove from one side of campus to the other).

Last night at the banquet I had the chance to meet the speaker of a distinguished lecture who was going to join our panel this morning. He researched Brazilian art for several years and I was thrilled that he would be able to join our panel!! Really late night again, this time transforming a 20 page publication of mine into a 10 page conference presentation paper and preparing the slide show.

I still had to finish the slide show this morning, which was pretty nerve-racking, but I am delighted to report that our panel was fantastic! My students presented flawlessly -- one of them for the very first time at a conference -- and everyone had lots of good things to say about our panel. Mission accomplished!!

The department chair kept exclaiming that I participated of so many panels (I also read a famous Brazilian poem in a faculty/student poetry reading panel yesterday afternoon)!

After the presentation I spent nearly an hour talking to this woman from Kenya, who is ABD and has a fellowship to teach at our university -- in my experience here, talking to someone about my scholarly interests and my dissertation is something that hardly ever happens, so I was delighted with the opportunity.

Africa has been constantly on my mind, and even though I don't/didn't have time, I began to select the photos that I will post to fb. The timing feels very serendipitous to me because thinking of Africa and my trip precisely when I am involved with a conference in which we were talking about Africa a lot!

I could go on and on, but I'm falling asleep on my keyboard here, so I will continue later, OK?

P.S. and I didn't even mention that on Monday we didn't hire the baby sitter because I had scheduled the boys'  dentist appointments for that morning and I was going to left them with K afterwards. Can you believe it that the appointments were actually for a week later, 3/26 and I had never realized it? Fortunately they had a 4:30 pm opening, but that meant the boys had to stay all day in town with us. Sigh...

* which was precisely what a friend had told me: 1 day for each hour of "lag" -- 7 hours : 7 days.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Very Best (not for last)

I'm just thinking that I'm plain stupid, because I just went ahead and shared the very best photo (for me) of my South Africa experience. So... if it cannot get better than that, how can I even share any of the others?

It makes perfect sense, on the other hand, 'cause who knows when I'll be able to come back and post more, it's just so impossible to decide which ones to share since there are thousands of them... thousands. So I've given you the best... first. I don't save the "best for last" here at Casa in Translation!  ;) (and let me just say that it was the best for me because I love felines with all my heart).

.   .   .

I have tons to do, but I spent the past few hours going through the Africa photos (for facebook -- if you're there, don't miss them!). I was looking at a sequence just now and I had tears rolling down my cheeks the whole time... it's just such an amazing, sacred experience... to be able to share a few minutes of a beautiful, gorgeous wild animal's life.

We stopped to see a large group of impalas and she came, this female (according to the guide) giraffe. She stopped to check us out, but eventually crossed the road. She needed to get to the water, you see? But she took her time, since there was this strange vehicle there, and she slowly made her way to the water and drank... while we watched her, for several minutes... It was magical and I hope to share the whole sequence with you someday, but for now, here's the moment I looked into her eyes thorough my camera lens:
And again I have no words.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I wish I could write more, but I have to grade, grade, grade... :(

So here's just a teaser from our trip:
because I don't have enough words to talk about what it felt like...

Anyone can comment (for now)

Thanks for the heads up, feMOMhist!

Well... I didn't know that people with wordpress/typepad or other accounts had had trouble commenting to blogger blogs either...

In any case, I've selected that anyone can comment here and while I really don't like anonymous comments which at times can be pretty troll-ey, I want to make it easier for people to comment. Let me know if it's easier for you to comment now, OK?

I have kept the word verification, though -- sorry! In any case, Blogger is using "captcha" style ones now, which apparently help digitize works in print, so it's doing some good, I guess.

Now... the only reason I haven't moved to wordpress is INERTIA... I'm just plain lazy. I actually have a blog there with the same name, to save it if I decide to move, but I keep staying here. Sorry about that, I know I should have switched ages ago.

I still need to figure out how to comment on some of your blogs, though...

PSA: Dear Wordpress blogging friends...

... I have been unable to post comments to your blogs! I get an error message saying that my email is connected to a wordpress account (even if I use various of my emails, not connected to any wordpress accounts) and that I need to login to do it. I'm sorry about that!

I will try to figure this out, but meanwhile, I really wanted to comment on Anjali and Gradmommy latest posts, but have been unable to. Maybe I'll just email you my comments instead.  :(

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Still Jet Lagged

I just wanted to write another "telegraphic" post... (waitaminute, people don't use the telegraph anymore, so they? do people even know what "telegraphic" mean anymore? Nowadays I think the right adjective would be a "tweet-like" post. How depressing it is to see one's world and vocabulary becoming obsolete... sigh).

In any case... I just wanted to write another "quick post" to let you know that I am still jet lagged. In fact on the first few days I felt fine, maybe because I was working, but yesterday and today that I didn't have to work, I'm feeling so tired... even after sleeping for about 10 hours last night.

There's so much to share and so much to write about, but I'm just exhausted every night. I hope to be able to blog more significantly soon, OK?

P.S. My little cousin, who was a cute flower-girl at my wedding got married this past Thursday in Brazil. I'm really happy for her and sad that I missed the wedding...

I can't believe that I missed posting on my son's 10th birthday! :( I don't know how I can make up for that...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Safe Return

A telegraphic post just to let you know that we arrived back home safe and sound. And I didn't really want to come back from Africa... sigh. The trip was that good and everything here sounds bland and boring... More later. Good night.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Out of Africa

The trip is fantastic as it should be, but I already feel like I want to come back to Africa someday and I hope I can. Too little time, obviously.

Another thing is that I love traveling so much I wish I could just live traveling. It would be crazy and insane and that's not how life is for regular people, so I obviously can't do it, but, generally, when I'm traveling (even when I go to Brazil for a couple of months), I don't really miss home at all.

I should be in bed (we arrived at this hotel close to 11 pm and it's 2:20 am for me now), but I needed to appease my internet withdrawal symptoms which were getting out of hand (sigh). Traveling is stressful and being able to spend sometime online makes me feel sane and happy.

A few highlights of the trip so far...

We went to Sun City for a day + night and... accidentally (I'll try to share more later), K, the kids and I got to go into the Palace (some images here) and up in the "King Tower." It was close to sunset and...we didn't have a camera, obviously.

Cape Town... all of it, particularly Table Mountain and the view of the city from Robben Island & the boat.

The drive from Cape Town to Cape Point... the views, the penguins, the oceans (yes, two, though that's not accurate -- the Atlantic & the Indian), wow...

Tomorrow at 6 am (remember, it's 2:30 right now), we depart for Kruger Park for two days at a private game reserve. I hope it's as awesome as the previous 4 days!

More later!! (this is my first time online since 10 minutes on the ipad on Monday. I was unable to plug in my computer until I borrowed an adaptor from my MIL last night and in this hotel even that adaptor won't work... :(

If there's internet in the safari hotel, I promise to share a few photos since now I'm using one of the hotel's computers).

Saturday, March 03, 2012

17 Hour Flight

We're about to leave for the airport. I hope we have a good flight, even though it's the 4th longest flight there is on earth.

The boys are excited because they just love flying on jet planes. :)

I'll try to blog from Africa as much as I can. Lots of people were also asking for photos on fb and I suppose I can open an exception and post there too...

P.S. I have before and after hair photos. The haircut is fantastic and goes really well with my new glasses. I couldn't post them last night because I was way too tired and today I didn't have time, but I'll do that later this week if possible.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Because Packing for a 10 Day Trip Is Not Enough...

... I committed to bringing (home baked [vegan]) cupcakes for my sons's class tomorrow, since he won't be here on his birthday, May 9th.

... and I have to submit mid-term grades for 24 students whose papers and journals I haven't even read.

Well... at least I did piles of laundry so when we come back with 10 days of dirty clothes, I won't have to do laundry right away. Now... how am I going to find time to put away those clothes?

And the cherry on the cake? We don't leave until Saturday afternoon, but... just wait for this one. The only date the nearly 2h away clinic for vision therapy had to do my youngest son's 2h long evaluation was... you guessed it, tomorrow afternoon! At 2:30 pm!!

Because my dad is paying for the treatment and has been asking me every single time I talk to him or my mom (which is nearly every day) if I've taken L to the doctor yet and we'll meet them in Africa, I really jumped at the chance to go tomorrow.

That means that we need to be all packed and ready to leave by NOON tomorrow when we'll take the cupcakes to the boys' school and pick them up. After the doctor's visit we'll head to my brother-in-law's house in Maryland because it's 1h from the airport as opposed to 1h40 minutes from our place.

Crazy, huh? Please send positive thoughts and any free energy that you have left my way, dear friends, 'cause I'll need it!

Expectant place

I finished teaching my classes. In fact, it was very weird because it was only one class. For the first time in a long time none of my (six) students showed up to class (this happened before to me back in Brazil when I taught English to small groups of students). There was a misunderstanding of their part -- because I won't be for the first class after the break. I was, still am a bit upset because we're really behind, but I will request that they meet on their own outside of class and catch up...


I feel expectant a about the trip, and a bit stressed about preparing for it, but hopefully everything will work out just fine. And I hope the haircut comes out OK too. I can post photos and then "poof" them later... ;)

Gotta go!