But things are back in full swing here in my neck of the rainforest. Some blog-worthy updates:
(1) Dear friends Michelle and Mark bought Gatinha a Christmas present: A FroliCat Bolt Laser toy. It's basically a laser for lazy humans (like us). You set it on the table and then the laser automatically moves around the room for the cat to chase. I tried to make a video of Gatinha playing with it, but it's really hot today and I think she's feeling kind of lazy, too. She just kind of stares at it with her confused stupid face and then loses interest. But during her more active parts of the day, she gets really into it.
Here's a video with other (less lazy) cats playing with it:
If I can get a video of her later, I'll share. :)
(2) You may know that some people say that the new year doesn't really start in Brazil until after Carnaval. This is definitely true in the teaching world. My students were pretty much no-shows from the New Year 'till the end of February. But this week that I've been back, I've gotten a TON of phone calls from new people who want to start classes.
Because I have enough interest to have the luxury of doing so, I'm only accepting private students at specific times that work with the schedule that I want. Friday is the only day that I teach classes before 2:00pm, I don't teach past 5:00pm on Fridays, and I don't work weekends. But this rule actually really worked out in my favor, because people are willing to buddy up in order to have room for everyone to get classes in between the times that I allot. So now I have quite a few classes with 2 and 3 students! Exciting!
Also, the school where I work has a bunch of people "graduating" this month. They have the option of continuing on at the school in the "post-advanced" classes, but they've finished their contracts and are getting their little certificates. Out of the 8 people graduating, 6 are leaving the school to do advanced private classes with me at my house. Kind of unethical? Maybe. I don't really care. I don't have anything to lose-- what will the school do? Fire me for "stealing" students that would be leaving the school either way? But to be fair, I didn't give any of the students the idea: they all approached me about it. (I think 2 of them had the idea and then told the others, actually. They're going to be in 1 group of 4 and 1 group of 2.)
I also wouldn't do it if the school's material wasn't so horrible. But it is. I've already complained quite a few times before. That's one of the many reasons why I quit. Except I didn't really, because...
(3) When I came back from vacation, my boss begged me to stick around for the next semester. A teacher quit while I was gone, and another one changed her availability after our tests this week. Seeing my upper hand, I made the following rules:
1. I will only have one group.
2. It will be a specific, now-advanced class that I've already taught quite a few times and that I really enjoy.
3. I don't have to go to the teacher meetings.
She didn't like the idea of me not going to the meetings. But after some back-and-forth, she accepted it.
These rules limit my interaction with the other teachers to potentially none. With only one group, I don't have to hang out in the teacher room between classes and listen to their asinine banter. By not attending meetings, I can achieve the same goal. With the advanced class, I also don't have to correct any homework assignments. So.... fair. I'd rather not teach it, but I'm trying to do a favor for my boss because she's also kind of my friend.
(4) Going home to the US allowed me to discover all kinds of new American TV shows. I have to say that American TV is really on the up-and-up. Alexandre and I have quite the repertoire of things to watch (not sure if I'm using the word "repertoire" correctly). Our TV
Parks and Recreation
The Big Bang Theory
And my guilty pleasures include:
Criminal Minds (yaaay Stephanie!)
Brothers and Sisters
Alexandre also really got into Judge Judy the last time we were in the US (which can be very entertaining! Hahahaha). So we watch cases from that on YouTube sometimes.
Based on these lists (and not factoring in Judge Judy), do you guys have any recommendations of things to watch?
(5) One of my top 2 favorite musicians/singers/bands whatever, Joanna Newsom, has a new CD out. Best English lyricist in the last 40 years, hands-down (I second [third?] her only to Bob Dylan and Paul Simon). I entertained myself on my 12-hour plane ride back home to Brazil by printing out the lyrics beforehand and listening to the 2-hour-long CD on my mp3 player. I can't imagine what the people next to me thought I was doing.
You'll probably hate it, but maybe humor me and check it out anyway, all the way through (some nice person put up a youtube video with the song/lyrics):
Have a good weekend!