Alexandre's dad, a huge history buff and History Channel addict, let us borrow the DVDs for the first and second season of HBO's series, Rome.
I don't know if the show was/is popular in the US, or when it came out, or if it's still on, but man, is it engaging! It's got drama, politics, romance, fighting scenes, old English... something for everyone! We started watching it yesterday (after Alexandre's favorite team's soccer game, of course) and have watched... 6 episodes. That's 6 straight hours, since HBO doesn't have commercials. But I'm sure everyone reading this has had at least one season of a TV show on DVD that they watched in some embarrassingly short length of time.
It's Alexandre's birthday on Tuesday. He absolutely can't stand surprises and made me give him his present already. :oP He received a nice and girly gift... a picture frame with pictures of us and of a forest from our road trip, and a poem that I wrote that my students helped me translate into Portuguese. I think he was hoping for a new video game controller, but that will just have to do. :) On Tuesday we're going to sushi (surprise) and then to a bar with some of his friends.
In other news, we're well into South American equatorial summer, which means that just about every day, we have some bout of crazy heat and a few hours of intense wind and rain. If the rain is overnight/in the morning, it's nice because it makes the heat slightly less intolerable. If the rain is in the afternoon, it's nice because it's a great break from the heat. The only problem is the unpredictability-- it's unfortunate when we (and by we, I mean Alexandre, since I usually drive to work) gets stuck walking home from the hospital or the gym in the rain. Oh yeah, and the bugs. But luckily, we haven't had any more incidents with giant killer moths, and the cat is pretty good at taking care of the rest.
Some of you may remember mentioning in my blog with the tips for teaching English in Brazil that the dress code for jobs in general is much more casual than that of the US. My cultural instinct is always surprise when I see the other teachers wearing cut-off tank tops and legging-pants to work, and then I remember that it's simply a different standard here. I discussed it once during my training classes for Old Job, because my boss commented that I was dressed awfully formally for a job training-- I had a button-down blouse on over a tank-top! Another teacher in the training, who had lived in California for quite a few years, pointed out that Americans always dress up more for work than Brazilians, and chaulked up the difference to the heat and lack of air conditioners in Brazil. "It's hot here!" she said simply. "We understand that people don't want to wear suits to work when it's 95 degrees in the office."
I saw the epitome of this the other day when I was watching GloboNews, which is like CNN. A Brazilian news reporter was interviewing a British economist to talk about the global financial crisis. The British man was wearing a suit and a tie-- he was on TV, after all-- and the reporter lady was wearing a track suit jacket, leggings, and flip flops. I can't imagine what they thought of each other! :)
We found someone to watch the cat during our respective vacations: a nice student of mine named Carol. She lives with her mom and they have a cat and a big enough house, and she was excited about the idea. Today, we took Garbage over to Carol's house so the cats could meet and we could be sure they didn't want to kill each other. Like almost every Brazilian middle and upper-class home, Carol's house had a big gate and lots of little rooms. The gatinha had plenty to explore and was thuroughly comfortable and entertained. The cats were a bit skiddish around each other, but overall were friendly and comfortable. We feel a lot better. :)
I guess that's it for now. I miss you all very much. As Auntie Tammy informed me, I'll be home in 30 days! :D