I got to escape the fast paced city life of Sao Paulo for a long weekend at the beach. The first beach I went to was called Ubatuba. The town is also know as “Chuvatuba” because chuva is the Portuguese word for rain and it rains so much there. Sure enough, it rained while I was there.
We stayed at Tribo Hostel which was cozy and clean and had a friendly staff. Celise had stayed her several times. It is just 2 blocks from the beach. I spent 2 days in Ubatuba hanging out on the beach and watching the skim boarders do their thing. To see an awesome video of what they do, check this out!
We met some nice locals and even got invited to someone’s home to make an amazing rice and seafood dish with fresh crab. We did a photo shoot with a mask on the wall, had an awesome time reminiscing about our lifeguard days and posing like Baywatch, and an old man tried to kiss me when I asked to take a photo of the 2 of us. Sneaky!
Brazilians have a very sing-songy way of speaking. Their intonation goes up-and-down all the time. The way that the adapt English words into Portuguese is very cute. They love to add an “y” at the end of all of the commonly adapted English words. Here are some of my favorites:
They also like to put the “y” sound on the end of names like:
And my personal favorite line that I got was from one man who told me, “Biggy Thank You!”
The goal of the ECVA program is to get the host family comfortable speaking in English. I bought some notebooks for my host brothers to keep a daily journal in English. I just asked them to write about what they did, someone they met, or something interesting that happened each day. Then they read it to me, and we discuss what happened. I correct their mistakes and make a list of vocabulary words that they need to work on. I divide the lists into different topics such as food, sports, computer and technology, furniture, shopping, etc.
For the most part, my host brothers just enjoy conversing in English with me. We often make lunch or dinner together. Cooking and eating together make easy conversation topics. Sometimes we watch TV together. The other night we watched a couple of episodes of The Simpsons in English. I let them use the Portuguese subtitles to help them understand. Watching movies in English is always a good way to teach people expressions in English.
Joao is more advanced than Paulo, so I sometimes call him on the phone just to make him practice speaking English. Paulo and I have more simple dialogues. We talk about what we did each day, and what we should make for dinner. We also talk about our families and their differences. Celise came over one day to help with our lesson (you can see her and Paulo in the photo).
My name is Heidi Smith, and I am the Program Manager of the ECVA program. Today I am embarking on a 1-month journey in which I will participate in the program and gain experience tutoring English in Brazil. I am really excited to experience the program first-hand in order to better understand how things work. I will be trying out different teaching methods and approaches. I will keep you posted on all the juicy details that make traveling so much fun.
My first homestay will be in Sao Paulo for a couple of weeks. I have never been to Brazil and don’t speak Portuguese. I will have to get by using English and Spanish to communicate with the locals.
I’m not exactly sure what to expect. I have a mental image of walking the colorful streets in Havianas passing people dancing to Samba. The smell of Brazilian barbeque fills the air, and everyone is smiling. Can you picture it?
Wish me luck!