PUC: Part 2

August 19, 2009

I started Portugues Para Estrangeiros: Nivel 2 yesterday.  It’s a different show than the Nivel 1 Intensivo.  It meets three times a week from 5 to 7pm for a whole semester.  The campus is filled with students–a big change from our early morning classes during the off season.  They hang out like they’re in a Brazilian Beverly Hills 90210: near the açaí stand, around the pasteis vendors outside the back gate, sipping coffee by the coffee bar.  They chat and laugh and it’s a reminder that we need to work harder to make friends here.

On the first day, the main office told me three different rooms to go to for the class, in two different buildings, with a lot of stairs in between.  I wound up first at nivel 3, and then at a calculus class (definitely not the right place), and then finally in the right sala da aula.  The group is made up mostly of women who are married or engaged to Brazilian men.  There are a few women who are working here (yup, so far all women, until Scott comes with me).  It’s interesting to hear people’s stories, and mostly to pretend I understand everything that the 26-year-old teacher is saying (and since when am I older than my teachers?).  It’s the right move for me, since speaking Portuguese is important here, but it’s funny being a student again, at someone else’s universidade.


Class Picture!

August 7, 2009

This was our class at PUC-Rio.

PUC class


August 4, 2009

We had another good Brazil moment today. We were supposed to have our final for our Portuguese class during our second session today. We went for our break after the first two hours, as usual, and returned, ready for our big cumulative exam. We got to class and we waited. The professors were both there, however we all waited for the physical test to arrive. I guess they didn’t make copies ahead of time.


July 16, 2009

Here are some pictures of our school.  With five hours of Portuguese a day, it’s been like having a whole week of a college language  course each day (now that the teacher’s consistently show).




When Scott and I returned to PUC-Rio this morning for our Português para estrangeiros class, the teacher was there (!) and we were excited to learn. We discovered that Rosetta Stone did teach us enough for us to arrogantly think that we should move to the next level, out of the beginner class (we asked Party Time Ted what they were learning in the advanced class and were promptly put in our place), and then we figured out that we just need to lobby for an intermediate level class.

We also learned, as we were discussing how to express where we were from and our nationality (Eu sou Americana), that it’s okay to pull on the outside edges of your eyelids to express that you’re from Japan. At least our teacher thought so. We were rather alarmed. Did she really just do that!? Wild.

Portuguese para estrangeiros take two. Will we have a professor today? Can Scott and I learn some of this language? Back to the rain forest/zoo school to try again.

Also, for those of you who have been reading for a while, our washing machine now works. Another note is that you can get my blog as an RSS feed, so you get an email every time I write something new. Don’t worry, I can’t see who subscribes.

Não temos um professor

July 13, 2009

Our teacher didn’t show up on the first day of Portuguese for Estrangeiros.  Welcome to Brazil.

Scott and I woke up early, excited for our first day of school in Brazil.  We set our alarms for 7am, walked to class to be there early (school started at 8.30am).  We waited.  We watched students come and go from the office (it was closed), sizing up friend potential, waited to find out which classroom would be ours for the next three weeks.  We’re so ready to learn this language!  we said to one another.

We figured out which room to go to (112) and walked through the rain forest foliage, up some stairs and to a classroom.  We sat in the second row and waited more, listening to the getting to know you chatter of the other students.  There was Party Time Ted who was telling a sweet, innocent looking girl that the samba clubs of Lapa, spilling out onto the sidewalks and over to the Arcos, was like Bourbon Street, and Mendoza was like Tucson.  There were the three girls in front of us–one European, another British, blond and mousy with a wedding ring.  We surmised her husband got moved to Rio and she was shading in her life here, and an American hipster who sat quietly with them.  There were the two American guys behind us, one with a nylon computer case, the other in shorts and sneakers, blond buzz cut and Oakleys at the ready, maybe sad that he didn’t have his frat bros with him.  There were a few others as well.

And so we sat and waited, holding our receipts that we had paid in our hands, since our names, inexplicably, were not on the list.  At 9.15 (45 minutes late) a petite Portuguese woman walked in.  Portuguese para estrangeiros? Sim!  We’re ready to learn! The teacher didn’t show up today.  Come back tomorrow, she says.  If you haven’t paid yet, go back to the office.  Damn.  Not an auspicious beginning at PUC-Rio.

PUC-Rio, Gavea

July 9, 2009

Scott and I went to register for our Portuguese classes today at the local University, PUC-Rio.  It’s in Gavea, a neighborhood just north of where we live.  After standing in what amounted to the continuing education office for about half an our trying to make headway with the administration person who didn’t speak any English at all, we wandered around the campus for a little bit.  It looks like a zoo, in a great way.  There’s foliage everywhere.  To your left is the chemistry building, or the monkey house.  To your right, the cafeteria, or the savannah preserve.  It was awesome, I can’t wait to explore.

I had a good driving with my eyes closed moment today.

We have been asking around for good Portuguese lessons and everyone has recommended PUC-Rio, the local university here.  I found the course that we were looking for (intensive, for foreigners: Portugues para Estrangeiros Intensivo) and there was an online application (great! no need for phone calls! or exploring neighborhoods I don’t know yet by myself!)  The deadline to sign up was today (we didn’t miss it!) but Scott needed clearance from his boss to work half days for three weeks, but his boss is New York and this is a long way of saying that I had to call PUC-Rio and ask them what time registration closed today.

So I called, and no one spoke English, and I got transferred to another office where someone maybe spoke English, but they didn’t.  This happened a few times, I got different numbers, I looked words up one by one.  I spoke enough Portuguese so I got long answers in Portuguese that I didn’t understand.  In my frustration I hung up, worked out and wrote down the whole sentence in Portuguese like I was twelve, or in the (terrible) movie He’s Just Not That Into You. Eu quero saber a que hora e fim de prazo para applicar hoje por Portuguese para Estrangeiros Intensivo.  It didn’t work, they didn’t understand. Damn.

But it wound up being okay.  Scott and I are now taking Portuguese para Estrangeiros Intensivo from 8.30am to 1pm, Monday through Friday for three weeks.  Esta bom.