Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pronunciation Book!

So this month, I wrote a little book.

I didn't want to mention it until it was finished, but now it is! I just got the bound copies finished yesterday:
The title and the artwork aren't exactly first-rate, but that's not really the point. It's a book to help my students here practice pronunciation at home. The book comes with a CD. Dear friends Mark and Michelle are providing the voice talent.

The book has 3 parts.
In Part I, the students are introduced to new/difficult English sounds and English sound combinations. They have to practice saying them, then they have some little quizzes to be able to recognize the different sounds in a sentence.
In Part II, they have to practice English intonation for different situations (yes/no questions, lists, questions with a preposition, etc).
In Part III, they have to practice pronouncing the past tense -ed correctly (most people reading this know how difficult it is for Portuguese speakers to say something like "I baked a cake" without sounding like Shakespeare ("I bakêd a cakeee").

I must say, I'm pretty proud of it. I wrote all the activities myself. It's 35 whole pages. :)

I included a little intro page that's basically a plea to my students not to give it to their friends to make copies. It's an all-too-easy thing to do here-- make copies of copyrighted books, I mean-- so this little reader that's not even copyrighted will make it past any copy place. I give private classes to 2 fellow teachers, and as sad as it is, I won't be telling them about it. That's just the way it is here.

But on a happier note, all of my private students so far have said that they want a copy, so maybe I'll sell out of my first 10 copies this week. :) :) I'd like to tell my students at the school about it, but that's kind of unethical, and if my boss found out, she'd probably get pissed off.

But anyway, yay! I'll keep you posted on the book's success (or lack thereof).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Goodbye, Grad School

Shortly before meeting Alexandre (before!) and into my first semester of grad school, I decided to drop out.

I hated the program (it was called a "Master's in Applied Linguistics" but should have been called "Teaching English for Dummies with no Linguistics Background"), the other students got on my nerves, the teachers were lazy and were not required to accept students' thesis projects.  (Think about that. You're a professor for a graduate program, but you're not required to be a thesis advisor. How many of them do it willingly? Right, like, none. Unless you agree to do their research for them and write exactly what they want you to write in your thesis and you have no original ideas.)

I took a leave of absence after my first semester, and have just been checking the "leave of absence" box ever since.  I never really planned to go back, but I wanted to keep my options (and my student email account) open. Also, the university in Campinas (where Alexandre is going to apply) is listed as a sister school with my grad school, but when I tried emailing various campus people to get more information about what that meant and if I could continue my studies here in Brazil, NO ONE could give me any information.  Awesome.

Anyway, I just signed in to check my leave of absence box for the semester, and I was informed that I have used up all of my "leave of absences" and I can either withdraw or come back to classes tomorrow. Right. That "leave of absences" grammar mistake was pretty much a metonymy of my life at that stupid school, so I'm done.

It's fine. After more experience in the ESL teaching world, I've learned that actual teaching experience is much more important in terms of getting a job than a Master's in Applied Linguistics, especially a Master's from a crappy school that doesn't know that the plural of "leave of absence" is "leaves of absence". Plus, I don't know if I want to actually TEACH forever.  I'd really like to get into something more administrative at a school. A dream job is developing textbooks and teaching other teachers how to use them. That is actually a job here in Brazil, with Cambridge Publishers.  So again, the experience is more important than the Master's. 

If I do anything to continue my education in the future, it's going to be when Alexandre is making buckets of money and can pay for me, because I'm totally over the student loans thing. It's going to be for a specific reason (like maybe a MBA in order to learn how to open an English school... who knows).   

So yes. Interesting little update. We'll see where the future takes me!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Blog! Ameriversary! Smartest Husfriend Ever!

I made the cooking blog!
Please send me recipes. :)

Last week was my and Alexandre's Ameriversary (not to be confused with our Braziliversary).  We went out for sushi, of course. It was hot outside and not a huge deal.  The Braziliversary is more exciting. But still nice, right? :) We got dressed up and I convinced Alexandre to take a picture before walking out the door:

Alexandre is in his last year of medical school. He graduates in November (!!), and he starts his residency next year. His residency will be for 3 years.

For a while now, we've been talking about his residency, where he should apply, where we'd want to live, etc.  Obviously, I want to get the heck outta hicktown.  He's pretty much guaranteed to get into his "home" hospital, but he's been studying like crazy to try to get into a better program, either in Campinas or Sao Paulo. But the hospitals in both cities are very competitive, so he always qualifies our conversation and attempts at planning the future with comments like, "but you know, we might have to stay here, so be prepared for that!"

However, he's been totally kicking butt this year, and getting some great compliments from his teachers and the doctors! One doctor/professor told him, "in my ten years here, I've only given 2 As [10s, for the Brazilians reading].  You're the second. Don't stay here for your residency-- go to Sao Paulo!"

Tonight, he started a prep course for the residency tests that he'll be taking at the end of the year (I think they're like the boards, but I'm not sure). He totally blew everyone out of the water and knew almost all of the answers.  Alexandre is really modest  (did you see his qualifying comments above?), so for him to say that he thought he did well says something.

Better yet, the teacher of the prep course is some renowned surgeon who did fellowships AND part of her residency in the US, and who know works at one of the hospitals in Sao Paulo that he'll be applying to!  He's going to try to make friends with her over the next few months (mostly by being awesome and knowing all the answers in class), and then pick her brain for (a) how to get into the good residencies in SP and (b) how to work as a doctor in the US, obviously!

Seeing his excitement today after his first class has really given me hope for my future here.  I know now that there's a good chance that we'll move to Campinas or Sao Paulo (my preference should be obvious). There's a good chance that I only have to live here in caipirópolis for 10 more months.

In short, and in spirit of the combined words theme of this blog, I have the smartest husfriend ever, and I have high hopes for the near future.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Food News

Every time I walk into the grocery store here, I just feel so lucky.

We have 2 big chains here, like Wal-Mart and Brazil's Pão de Açúcar (which I would compare to Whole Foods in its fancy imported-food-ness).  But my favorite place to buy groceries is the little local chain.  It looks like they just have a few stores scattered around the state, the majority of which are in our region.

The reason the local grocery store is great is because, unlike Wal-Mart, it's never crazy crowded.  (Oh, as a side note, I learned that the reason that our mall and the Wal-Mart here get crazy, unusually crowded on the weekends is because they're the only "superstores" within a 3-hour radius (if you can consider a mall to be a "superstore").  So like, people from the blue (i.e. nonexistent) places on Google Maps make day trips out of coming here, just to shop at Wal-Mart.  Sigh.  At least I live in the "hub", right?) 

Anyway, the other reason the local superstore is great is because it's SO CHEAP.  I mean, some of the fruit and vegetable prices are so low that they're practically free.  We can buy 6 bananas for 1 real (in dollars, that's about 50 cents) (which is logical, because bananas grow wild here and don't even need to be like, harvested). We can get a kilo of peaches for less than 3 reais. Onions are even cheaper than the peaches. (And, side note, a pack of Top Ramen is about 1 real, too. And a half-gallon of ice cream is usually over 12 reais.)

You may remember me telling you that Alexandre and I are trying to eat healthier this year.  I can't believe we've kept it up this long (and by "this long", I mean... a little over 2 weeks. Haha). But we've been making smoothies for breakfast and having big salads (usually with chicken and/or eggs) for lunch and dinner. That means we're eating out less and eating less red meat. So the bulk of our grocery store purchases are fruits, vegetables, yogurts, and juice.  Oh, and this chain of stores buys these frozen fruits from a local fruit company. So we pick up some of those too, because they don't go bad as quickly as fresh fruit does, and they're easy to add to the smoothies.

When I went to the store on Friday, I got our week's worth of groceries for about 60 reais (which, for a Brazilian, has the value of about 60 dollars, but it's like 30 dollars for me if I imagine that I'm paying with money from my American job). 60 reais is less than the price of sushi dinner for 2 at the nice sushi place in town. The point is, it's ridiculously cheap!

There are 2 grocery stores in the area that are even cheaper, if you can believe it, but one reason that they're cheap is because they don't have many employees working and they're downtown. So it's impossible to park, the lines are long, and the stores are ransacked messes (Americans, think Big!Lots). It's a great option for some people around here, but I have the luxury of having a bit more money and being able to shop in the middle-priced place.

I feel like this is the opposite of the US, where it's much more expensive to eat healthy, and eating cheap and eating healthy are mutually exclusive. Hence, the feeling of luck.

Yeah, my simple plastic trash can was 60 reais, too, which I thought was overpriced. And as we all know, electronics prices are insane here. But in terms of priorities, I feel lucky that the more important things (healthy foods) are cheap and affordable.

This price schema also changes my behavior. I'm more inspired to cook (and I've learned so many recipes!) when it's so drastically cheaper to eat at home.  I haven't learned how to cook with as many Brazilian vegetables as I'd like to have (chuchu recipes, anyone?), but I'm improving.

I have my "food" label here on the blog, but I'm thinking about making a separate section (maybe even a separate blog!) with just recipes, and readers who cook here in Brazil can share their ideas and recipes, too. (One problem I have is trying to find appropriate recipes online, because when they're in English, they're meant for American kitchens, and I often can't buy half of the ingredients here. Plus, nothing's in the metric system, and all of my cooking utensils are.) What do you guys think? Is it worth the work? Would you use the recipes? Would you contribute?

I'm off to make our lunch now. I'm thinking about inventing some kind of chicken/veggie casserole thing. We'll see where the food takes me! 

Happy Sunday. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Helpful, Interesting Blog!

Fellow teacher Fabio has made a really nice blog teaching English expressions to his Portuguese-speaking students. However, it's just as helpful for English speakers learning Portuguese, because it has the translations. :) :)

Check it out if you have a minute:


The Effects of Internet Anonymity

So there's this strange phenomenon that happens on the internet in general, and my blog specifically.

I think people think that, because they're not like, looking me in the eye, they can be totally nasty and rude and spiteful in the blog comments. I have a feeling these people say and do things that they would never say or do to people face-to-face. I'm making a point of not saying "in real life" to get to my point, which is this:

Someone who writes something on the internet is still someone. I'm still a person, and this blog is not an official newspaper that you're paying to get information from.  I never claim that my blog is a verified source of statistically accurate information for all of Brazil, researched at the Brazilian census.  It's just what happens to me personally in Brazil and how I feel about it. Other people in Brazil have different experiences. Check out the sidebar for a list of blogs to compare my stories to.

The reason I write the blog is two-fold: (1) I don't have a lot of friends to talk to here, and I wouldn't want to just complain about their country to them all the time anyway; and (2) I DO have a lot of friends and family in the US, and it's easier to keep them updated on my goings-on through a blog than by like 50 individual email threads going back and forth.

And what I don't understand is this: If you don't like my blog or my opinions or my perspective, why do you read it? There is one particular commenter (who conveniently has his profile turned off) who continually leaves sarcastic and rude comments finding ways to insult me. It's like... I don't watch Fox News for a reason.Think about that.

I get people who scan through my entries to find my few spelling mistakes and then leave comments telling me things like "you misspelled 'committee'! And you call yourself a teacher?".

I get people who tell me that my education ruined me (I think meaning my liberal/UC Berkeley education, though they might be a Portuguese speaker writing in English who never learned the difference between "education" and "upbringing", because they're the same word in Portuguese). This one makes me laugh because I imagine that if the person  has nothing better to do with his free time than put down some 24-year-old girl living in some small Brazilian town and telling little stories about it on her blog, his life must be pretty sad, and probably not spent in a job that pays better than mine or makes him as happy as mine does. So, dear Sir, I'll take your taunts all the way to the bank.

I get quite a few people telling me the opposite, that I'm just an American imperialist propagating American ideals (not the words they use) and ignoring all the problems that America causes in the world, and that I should say USAmerica because the word "America" refers to all of the countries in the 2 (3?) continents, not just the US, and my saying "America" for the United States is just another sign of my self-centered American imperialism.

So the word "America" has two meanings, and you can figure it out from the context, and me saying "America" reflects nothing of my values or opinions. Here, check out the definition from

  1. The United States.
  2. also the A·mer·i·cas (-kəz) The landmasses and islands of North America, Central America, and South America.

Besides, USAmerica looks and sounds ridiculous. (Let's think about the only other person who says "US Americans".)

Occasionally I come across blogs that seem like they will be good, but then the person just kind of gets on my nerves, so I stop reading it. That's it. I think it's because I'm satisfied in the rest of my life with expressing how I feel if I think someone is wrong, so I don't feel the need to attack people on the internet.

My conclusion is these people are usually cowards or doormats, and don't defend themselves or say their opinions in face-to-face situations, so the internet is their way to release all of their pent-up rage at those who they disagree with. (Alexandre says, "they don't look at enough porn. They should try that. It's healthier. And don't type that. Your grandma reads this. I said don't!").

And the thing that gets me the most is that these people always have their Blogger profiles blocked, and they don't have blogs of their own. If you've got such strong counter opinions, make your own blog and share it with people. I'll even link to it if you'd like. That's how you open a discussion.

So yes, I rarely publish these comments.  I know that one could argue that that's against the ideals of freedom of speech (which is one of the cornerstones of my "life-ruining education").  But here's how I see it: (1) No it's not: these people have all the freedom they want to leave the comment. (2) Imagine you are talking to some of your friends, and some guy walks by and yells "LOSER! YOU SUCK!" Are you going to like, ask to take a picture with him and save it in your diary or wallet? No.  I like to use my blog to reminisce about my time here, and I don't want it to be tainted by all this negative energy. 

So this is my appeal to the snotty commenters: This is not some reading requirement for your adult literacy class. If you don't like the blog, just stop reading it. Go find blogs that suit your interest and reinforce your previously-held beliefs about the world. Mine is clearly not that for you, and it's not meant for you anyway. 

To the other bloggers reading this, do you get similar comments? Do you publish them?

Just for fun this time, I'll publish all the comments that come up for this entry. And The Trolls will probably resurface, and the rest of you can get an idea of what I deal with.

Thanks for reading. With the next entry, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Portuguese Spelling Skills (and My Lack of Them)

I realized that this entry will be gibberish to pretty much everyone except Jamie. Sorry.

You, dear readers, may remember that I've only had about 4 hours of Portuguese classes in my life.  It's my job to teach languages, so learning them isn't that hard for me. However, the vast majority of my Portuguese acquisition has been through listening and speaking (since I live here, duh).

The result is that I can't spell. I'm terrible. I feel like an illiterate child. I apply English and Spanish rules.I have to read complicated things out loud to understand them.

My first couple of months here, I kept hearing people say what I thought was "se está com fome?" and "o que se está fazendo?" My Spanish brain was like "What the heck is estarse?!" (For the non-Portuguese speakers reading this who aren't laughing yet, when Brazilians speak very fast, they say "se" for "você", which means "you".)

It took me a while to figure out that /i/ and /u/ are not semivocales like they are in Spanish. (That means you don't have to write accents on words that end in -ia, but you do have to write accents on words like "fácil".)

I figured out pretty quickly that unstressed midvowels are raised (that means it's written as "e" or "o" but spoken as "i" or "u").

I really suffer with the s, ss, x, ç, c mess. But at least Brazilians have problems with this, too. So I don't feel so bad. The most common rule that Brazilians seem to remember from elementary school (akin to the "i before e except after c!" that Americans love to recite) is that a "c" before a, o, or u is written as "c", but a "c" before e or i is written as "ç" (that's easy enough: ç before front vowels and "a" is a front vowel in Portuguese). This rule is particularly nice because it shows through the spelling that, from Latin to Portuguese, there was a famous /k/ -->[s] / V+front change.

A big problem I have is writing what I hear and vise versa. Because my poor English brain doesn't hear a difference. Same goes for "u", "o", "ou", and "ol". (What the heck: posso vs. poço? polvo vs. povo?! Come on! And saying it slowly doesn't help me.)

Here is a quick lesson in the sounds of California English.I've got 2 main back vowels: /oʊ/ (like in "toe") and the famous western /ɒ/ (like in "father").
The popularity of these vowels marks California English and is what people use when they tease us. Sometimes my students get it right and I hear my accent being parroted back to me.

All right. All American English has 2 more back vowels: /ʊ/ (like in "luck)" and /u:/ (like in "you").
But Portuguese has exactly 1 of these vowels: the /oʊ/.

And Portuguese has the torturous minimal pair of /o/ (like in Spanish, and like in "povo") and
/oʊ/ like English. So Portuguese has a difference between "povo" (people) and "polvo" (squid).

Those of you who have studied Spanish can relate. You know how you suffer to pronounce the perfect Spanish "o"? Now imagine that some words use Spanish and some words use English "o" and you have to hear the difference. That's Portuguese (aka endless frustration!).

Knowing all this is helpful. At least I can recognize my problems. But I can't change my brain. I can't go back in time and ask my mother and grandparents to play Portuguese tapes or hire a Portuguese babysitter to train my tiny baby brain to distinguish between the sounds. The result is my accent and my complete lack of spelling abilities.

I know that some of you are raising kids here (or have raised kids here). I need those books that are used to teach kids how to spell. Like a Hooked on Phonics kind of thing, except in Portuguese. Do you know of any?

Before you jump in to attack, yes, I KNOW, English spelling is no walk in the park. It's even older and more inconsistent than Portuguese. I teach the language and empathize with my poor students. So instead of grouchy comments like "English is harder!!! Your suffering is irrelevant!" We can try fun comments like "I had similar problems in English, like the difference between the words "hungry" and "angry"." See how that works? :D Compassion, not hostility!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Visitors (White Woodpeckers)

We had some visitors in the palm trees growing in the yard of the daycare next door.

The trees grow high so, although we're high up, the visitors weren't so far away.

I'd put up my pictures/video but I found a better one online, so you can check it out here:

I'd always heard these birds and assumed that they were some kind of hawk or falcon. But then they were REALLY loud and obviously close by today so I tried to get a better view, and it turns out that they're not hawks, just very loud woodpeckers.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Little Updates + Soy Recipe

*I'm back to work and back in the swing of things, more or less. Except Almost none of my private students have started back up yet because Brazilians take a LOT of vacations. ... It's  kind of ridiculous. Like I didn't work for 10 days and I felt really bad. Does anyone have thoughts on this? Businesses close for every holiday. There's no concept of a "bank holiday" because every holiday results in mass city shut down and an excuse for people to drink or sleep or both, at least here in Caipiróplois (that's how to say HickTown in Portuguese... I made it up, haha). Like, even silly municipal holidays. (City Hall was built on this day? Let's close up shop and go to the chácara!) So if you remember once I counted, and the last school I worked at was closed for 25% of the year. ONE FOURTH.  How did this turn into a rant already? The point is, many of  my students are on 6-week vacations. I think some are working for part of that time, but they've stopped things like English class and the gym.

Another student admitted that January and February are tight months for people money-wise because they've spent so much of December spending money and not making any, and that some kind of car insurance/tax/I don't really know is due in January and it's apparently expensive.  And then everything's just gonna shut down again for Carnival 6 weeks after New Year's. So a lot of my students have said things like "Oh, let's just start up again after Carnaval. I don't want to come back to class for 5 weeks just to stop again for 2."

Ughhh. The result is that I'm spending a lot more time on my American job (which closed for exactly 4 days during the holidays) to try to make up for the lost money from my private students.  But the good thing is that I was expecting this lack of funds more this year than I was last year, so I saved up a bunch back in October and November when business was better, and I can pay my bills.

*In happier news, I bought a nightstand. The word for "nightstand" in Portuguese is one of the ones that makes me laugh: it literally translates to "mute servant". It's right up there with the word for nylons ("half pants") and answering machine ("electronic secretary"). Anyway. I could only buy one because our bedroom is too small and somebody (ahem) won't accept moving the furniture around, even though it would allow for 2 matching nightstands, because he insists that the sun will be in his eyes from the window (we have shutters on the windows and eye masks...).  So for now the room looks a bit lopsided, but it's still great. It's amazing what a difference a nightstand makes. Things always feel more permanent and comfortable when you've got a consistent place to set your glasses when you go to sleep. :) 

*My new year's resolution was to eat better and stop undoing all my work at the gym with delicious fried food. We do cook a lot, but when it's things like coxinhas, fried tempura and my grandmother's chicken and dumplings, it's not exactly healthier than eating out.  So during the break I looked up a bunch of healthy recipes and made a little menu, and went to the grocery store for healthier things.  We've been making smoothies for breakfast and trying to eat a lot more vegetables and less country gravy that my mom and grandmother mailed to us. (It doesn't help that they also sent me 2 bottles of the wonderful Girard's Ceasar Dressing, which has 23% of your daily fat needs in each serving...and to which Alexandre is also now slightly addicted. But I mean, it's healthy if it's on a SALAD, right?)

Part of my healthier eating (and also Alexandre's by default, since I do most of the cooking and shopping) has been less red meat (it's cheap and delicious here, and it's culturally common to eat red meat EVERY DAY) and more chicken and soy. The textured soy protein that we bought comes like this or like this and is relatively easy to cook with. (Sorry Kristin-- it's a new addition to the local grocery store! I totally would've bought it while you were here!) Yesterday we worked together to make a kind of soy stir-fry that a local vegetarian restaurant makes.

It came out pretty well for a first try!  Here's what we did:
1. Follow the directions on the bag for preparing the soy.  Just put it in water, boil it, and once the water is boiling, turn it off and let the soy soak for 10 more minutes. (However, it didn't say "add some kind of spices to the water, because the soy has zero flavor." So I'm adding that in for you.)

2. While the soy boils, chop up the veggies that you want. We used asparagus, onion, green beans, cucumber, and carrots. The carrots didn't really go well with it. I think green bell peppers would've been better. The vegetarian restaurant in town adds okra.

3. We steamed the vegetables in the handy dandy rice cooker while cooking the rice on the bottom. I added vegetable stock cubes (caldo de legumes) to the veggies and rice cubes (caldo de arroz) to the rice, because I looovvveeeee Knorr caldo cubes. (No, I don't pick tiny pieces off of the chicken ones and eat them. What are you talking about? That would be gross.)

If you're using the rice cooker, be sure to put a little extra water in with the rice to account for the vegetables absorbing it.

If you don't have a rice cooker (so sad), steam the vegetables and cook the rice separately.

4. Drain the soy from the water that it's in.

5. Put a little bit of water and a little bit of oil into a frying pan (like in the picture).

6. Once the vegetables are softened to your liking, take them and mix them with the soy in a frying pan.

7. Add in some smashed up peanuts or cashews (caju) if you'd like. I did. It came out well.

8. Add in whatever spices/salts/caldo cubes that you want. Remember that the soy is super bland.

9. To make thick and delicous sauce à lá Panda Express, do what Alexandre did:
a) take 3 tablespoons of corn startch (Maizena: Amido de Milho)
b) mix them in a cup or bowl with some water and soy sauce (enough water to thicken but not to be  watery...  good luck)
c) dump this mixed sauce into the frying pan

10. Add soy sauce and salt to your liking.

Ta-Da! So easy, right? Then you've got some rice on the side and some juice and you have a delicious and healthy lunch (aside from all the salt).  MMm!

That's all. Oh, someone killed the moth. Thank God.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bad Dictionary!

Do any of you entertain yourself by glancing at other translations while you're looking for something in your dictionary? Like, you're looking for a word that starts with "N" and you pass the N word in English and think to yourself, "hmm, I wonder how they translate that into Portuguese?"

Well, I do, and my dictionary translates the N word as "baianao/a". (For the Non-Portuguese speakers reading this, "Baiano/a" is "a person from Bahia."


Even Alexandre was offended, on behalf of his family from Bahia, and it takes a lot to offend Alexandre.

I'm gonna write a letter to the dictionary company to complain. Usually its translations are excellent and it's very well-made, unlike almost all of the dictionaries that I find in bookstores in Brazil. (There are quite a few dictionaries that I've picked up here (and promptly put down) that give only one translation for every word, like this:

pegar -to get
negocio - business
em - in


Apparently, this one isn't as good as I thought. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More Moth Battles

1. I'm back in my apartment and back to my life. Vacation is always fun, but being home and in your routine is great, too.

2. We currently have a moth trapped in the stairwell of our apartment building. I first saw it on Sunday while on my way to the grocery store. It was flying around by the door to exit the building.

It is by far the biggest one I've seen here, and therefore the biggest one I've seen in my life. I know I said that the other ones were big, because they were. But I couldn't imagine that moths could be this big, so I thought the ones before were REALLY big.

Obviously, when I saw it, I screamed and ran back up the stairs and made Alexandre go back down with me. Obviously. We live on the fourth floor of the building, and there are no elevators. Of course, when we went back down, it wasn't there.

There are little windows next to the door to exit the building. Alexandre insisted that it must have flown out one of the little windows and therefore couldn't have been that big.

Then, today, I was making lunch when I heard feet pounding up the stairwell, and then Alexandre came rushing into the apartment. "That moth! It's there! Oh my god, it's so big!" He exclaimed, out of breath.

"See?!!?!  I told you!" I felt so vindicated, but at the same time, panicked. It DIDN'T go out the window after all!

The evil moth has decided to hang out on the door of apartment 12 all day. I eventually had to leave the apartment to go to work, so again, I made Alexandre come down with me. I brought my umbrella down with me in case the moth was STILL there on the door, which it was. So I used the umbrella as a kind of shield and ran down the stairs (totally worked). After my classes at the school, we went out to dinner, and Alexandre picked me up, so I didn't have to go back into the building until we got home from the restaurant.

I made Alexandre go up the stairs, and I followed slowly behind, again with my trusty umbrella shield. STILL THERE.

So then when we got back into the apartment, I gave Alexandre my camera and asked him to go down and take a picture for you guys. Look what dedication he has to the blog!

So now you can see how I am only slightly overreacting (scroll quickly, Danette):
Look how big! It's so big that the camera picked up its eyes and it has red eye from the flash. If you click on the picture, it'll get bigger and you can see (also you'll notice that it has blue swirly patterns in its wings).  It's bigger than my hand. Think about that. Stretch out your hand and imagine a moth bigger than that.

So what I really wanted was the size perspective with the door, but Alexandre imagined that you all wanted to see a zoomed-in picture of it, and beggars certainly can't be choosers, especially in silly cases like this. So I went ahead and took a picture of our door so you'll kind of get an idea (I drew a blue line for you):

Do you see?!?! Can you imagine?!!?

I really don't know where this fear of flying insects came from. I mean, I was always kind of creeped out by bugs in general, but it didn't like, control my life the way it does now. I guess it's because I didn't encounter that many flying bugs, especially these freak mutated things that make their way into my once-safe human space. I don't know how logical this is from a psychological perspective, but my many brushes with death run-ins with these monster bugs have actually increased my fear to possible phobia status instead of decreasing it due to some kind of flooding effect, which one would expect.

Turns out it's an actual phobia: Mottephobia! Fear of moths! See? If there's a Latin-root name for it, that means I'm not just making it up. Also Danette (twin sister) is totally freaked out by moths, but we never had any kind of trauma from them. So it must be genetic.

I don't work out of the house tomorrow until 6:00pm. (I was gonna go to the gym, but now I'm not so sure.) I hope someone else has taken care of it by then. If not, well, it'll just be me and my trusty umbrella shield, braving the wilderness!

like Kirby.

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