Saturday, August 27, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
If Brazilians value any single trait, it's optimism; it's being able to solve problems. And if the problem can't be fixed, just relax and forget about it. At the first signs of someone's stress, a Brazilian often says Fique tranquilo (fee-kee kdang-kwee-loh; Don't worry). It has a very calming effect.
If the bus takes off just as you arrive to the bus stop, don't worry. Fique tranquilo: There'll be another one in ten minutes. And you can make friends while you wait.
I heard this several times as I was dropping off Andy and Sam on their first day of school Monday. Andy was fine; no problem. Sam was sad; didn't want me to leave. He started crying and when I hugged him, he wouldn't let go. So we stayed a bit longer. Eventually we convinced him to play futbol with the other kids and he scored a couple goals; that put a smile on his face. We picked him up a bit early that day and he was happy, but then there were some more tears Tuesday and yesterday, but they are lessening as he becomes more comfortable with his teacher and classmates. I stayed for a couple hours yesterday, and will do so again today. Which ultimately is good for me, as I'm learning what the teacher is talking about, too! The drawback is less time to run errands and get dinner started. Around 4pm yesterday, Sam had been working diligently at his desk, then sauntered to the back of the class where I was sitting to give me a kiss. I said, "Hey, would you mind if I leave now? I need to go get dinner started, or we won't be able to eat! Okay? I'll be back in less than 2 hours to get you." He shrugged and said, "Okay." Hugged me, gave me another kiss and went back to his desk to work.
He's definitely getting more comfortable, and was very happy yesterday evening when I picked them up, as Sam's last class of the day was English. HE was the expert and helped everyone else.
Their school starts at 1pm and they are picked up at 5:45pm. So that's been a bit of an adjustment. So far it has meant very lazy mornings. (It's 10:30am, and we're all still in PJs!) That will change next week when our Portuguese tutor starts coming in the morning three days a week for the boys, then she'll return in the afternoon for me a couple days a week. Also, one day a week (on different days), the boys start at 9am. So that will get us up earlier.
The school staff has been very helpful and supportive. They are very loving. Andy said the other evening, "Yeah, and my teacher gives us all a kiss on the head when she sees us." Even the older students from the middle school have been very welcoming. One of the girls patiently waited while I was dropping off Sam, then introduced herself, in English. She was nervous about speaking English, but was very good! She was offering to speak to Sam in English if it would make him feel more comfortable. She introduced me one of her classmates who was walking by (who was also nervous about speaking English, but also did very well), and I shook his hand to introduced myself. After talking for 20 minutes, as we were saying goodbye, she asked how people say goodbye where I'm from. I said, "Bye. Or Goodbye!" She said, "We kiss on one cheek here. And In Rio, they kiss on two cheeks. We don't shake hands like you did." So when we said bye (or tchau - pronounced like the Italian ciao), we gave each other quick kiss on the cheek, and she said, "Yes! Like that!" In amazement. She was so happy to be speaking English.