Thursday, June 30, 2005

De Charleville

Bonjour! ça va! tous mes amis brésiliennes!!! je te manque! Well, this is a quick entry because the Institute is about to close.I've been here since Monday and slowly start to have a routine. Charleville is a very cute and calm little town, in the region of Ardennes-Champagne, so that means there's a lot of goog champagne around. Also, another very popular drink is the "Raspis" (I think I got the name wrong, but I'll make the correction tomorrow). Anyway, the French love this drink, which is drunk with water and has Anis flavor. As you can notice, drinking is of course one of my strategies for interaction... The French here are polite and are always saying "Bonjour", "ça va!", but they are also a bit reserved, they don't often start a conversation or make any effort to take any conversation a little further. But "peut-etre", it's my very poor French which is making me have this feeling, because truth is, communication is quite hard and I'm trying to study as much as I can, also watch TV and read every single sign, because I feel frustrated not to be able to express myself. It's an exercise of patience and perseverance, and as I always tell my students, miracles don' happen, so I'm just waiting for the click! Actually, within the 3 days that I've been here, I can already feel an improvement, specially in my listening and reading. Speaking is a bit harder, but I'm confident and those French just need to give me a bit of time! Also, it rained a lot today and the temperature dropped a lot. After two weeks of intense "chaleur" heat, it's good on the body but I hope it doens' t last very long. How are things in the other corners in the world, specially in my dear Porto Alegre? It's quite funny, sometimes I feel as if I was living in a paralel universe, like if my life in Porto Alegre kept going and at the same time I'm having this double life in France, so surreal it feels to wake up in a medieval-looking city, spend the day listening to French, be alone a lot, not talking much but having a good time by myself. Life feels like a great adventure, with its ups and downs but also giving us the opportunity to learn something, to become better people. Love you all, Nanda

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Last night in Barcelona

My dear friends! It´s gonna be really hard to tell you everything that I´ve been doing in the last few days... Also, it´s 2 am and it´s so hot... Tomorrow is my last day here, I get the train to Paris at 9pm, so I still have the day to visit some sites and take a last walk around this amazing city. Actually, this is maybe the best thing to do over here: walk!!! I´ve been walking so much I have blisters in every possible part of my feet, but I keep going, because after all, I won´t be here forever. What I like about here is that you have both the charm of the europeans city and the spirit of the latins. It´s a very international city though, with tons of tourists, from everywhere you can imagine and even a lot of foreigners living here. My friend Xavi was telling me that even though this is the land of the Catalans, more and more there are people from different parts of Spain and the world so spanish is becoming more usual. Catalan is a very strange language. It´s a mixture of pretty much everthing: French, Spanish, Portuguese. Sometimes, it´s really easy to understand as some words and sounds are very similar to Portuguese, but speaking is another story and to be honest, I´m already struggling a lot with my broken Spanish to even bother trying to speak Catalan. Although, I did learn a few things: salad-amanida, gracias - merci, fish- peix, more-mes, bye - adieu. You can see, some words look like French and others like portuguese. Anyway, there´s so much to tell... I promise I will write a whole chapter on Girona and the countryside of Catalunya, which I visited with Xavi two days ago. It was one of those unforgetable experiences, being in a car, driving around small medieval towns, feeling how people live, having the possibility of being part of it, even if only for a few hours. I love big cities but enjoy a lot getting to know the "inside" of a country, specially if you are with someone from there, who can show you the real thing and not what only tourists see.(Ah, I went to Dalí´s hometown!!!) So Girona is on the list. I also have to write more about Barcelona and my mornings on the beach by the Mediterranean. Para os brasileiros do sul, sofrendo com o frio, devo dizer, ba!!! É tudo de bom. As praias que fui sao praias de cidade, mas para mim, só o fato de estar na praia e no Mediterraneo, torna tudo super divertido. Hoje, acho que por pouco nao sofri uma insolacao. O mar estava ótimo, o sol queimando a valer e fiquei horas na praia. Depois, resolvi ir caminhando até a Rambla para economizar o dinheiro do metro (sim, meu sangue judeu nunca esteve tao ativo e borbulhante!!!) mas nao me dei conta que era muito longe, quase duas horas de caminhada. Bom: 4 da tarde, eu nao tinha tomado café da manha, nao queria comer ali porque os precos triplicam, com bolhas em todas partes imagináveis dos pés, sol a pino na cabeca,louca para fazer xixi, lá pelas tantas pensei que a minha pao-durice me custaria um desmaio em pleno calcadao de Barcelona, o que de certa forma está de acordo com o meu estilo dramático, mas, aguentei firme e acabei sucumbindo e gastando 5 euros por um buffet chines de qualidade discutivel. Já que estava gastando uma pequena fortuna, decidi que comeria o máximo que pudesse, e assim o fiz. What a mistake... Depois de 3 horas na praia, duas horas caminhando no sol e mais toda comida gordurosa na barriga, bateu uma bobeira daquelas. A Rambla estava lotada, parecia rua da Praia nos seus piores dias (perdao pela comparacao, mas é que naquele momento, eu poderia estar no paraíso, mas se nao tivesse uma cama, seria como o inferno...), eu andava a dez por hora, os pés sangrando, os olhos quase fechando, aquele monte de gente, falando diversas linguas, cuidando para que nao me assaltassem... A saída foi caminhar até a Praca Catalunya, encontrar um banco na sombra e tirar um cochilo...Sorry, doens´t sound very exciting, but try going through everything I did!!! Cochilo tirado, passo número dois para dar um up: chocolate e band-aid. Things were definetly getting better... Bom, nao era justamente sobre isso que pretendi escrever, mas lembrem que viajar nao é só passar e viver situacoes glamurosas, há sempre aqueles momentos em que a gente quer mesmo a nossa caminha e um pouco de silencio para repor as energias. Acho que é isso, viajar nos tira da rotina de tal forma, que há momentos em que é necessário dar uma parada, respirar fundo para poder continuar. Sao muitas emocoes, como diria o Rei (o nosso Rei, I mean, the Brazilain King)! Now, getting mentally prepared for France and my journey by train. I know (I mean, Í REALLY KNOW) that my French will suck big time... And those French people better be patient with me!!! I´ll keep you posted! Moltos petons de Barcelona and enjoy the winter in Porto Alegre for me! hehehehehehe

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Barcelona!!!!!!!!

Hola, amigos!!! Well, I should be writing in Catalan, because that´s thelanguage most locals speak here!!! Anyway, thanks for all your comments, and about the photos: yes Claudia, I did buy the camera, exactly how you taught me, but putting the pictures on-line seems like a whole different story and you all know I´m not a computer wiz!!!!
Sunday was the last official day of the Reunion. We had brunch with some people, said good-bye, and then I went for a walk down on Broadway with Norma, Charlie and later Zoran. We enjoyed some drinks at a middle-eastern puband a lovely Indian meal. with lots of curry! The party was definetly over when we got to the Pub, at IH, and there were a bunch of early 20´s students watching basketball on a big screen. Basketball in the pub??? Yes, some things do change... Went up to our room, had one last toast and went to bed, the next day was going to be busy. I will write more about the IH experience, and about the book, Dante: I´m not sure whether it´s good material for a book but I certainly havea lot to write about!
On my way to Barcelona- I shared a cabwith Dennis the Dutch and got to the JFK airport quite early. Luckily, was able to change my flight, so I left NYC at 6pm and not at 9pm. I took an Iberian flight, with a group of American teenagers who were going to study Spanish in Spain. For some reason, watching teens makes me feel a bit old... Damn it! Well, couldn´t sleep on the flight and by the time we got to Madrid I was 7 hours ahed of schedule and I knew this time the clock difference was going to hurt me big time at some point!!! Long story short: made acquaintance with a Peruvian girl, Carmen, who also wanted to go straight to Bracelona, went to the main bus station, bought a ticket (24 euros...) and managed to miss the 9am bus... Well, thank God they accepted to change our ticket, so we took the 10am bus... Now, I´m really getting tired... Carrying that huge backpack around, the heat, lack of sleep, and trying to focus on my Spanish abilities... My brain was melting. So I spent most of the 7-hour drive to BCN sleeping on the seat of the bus, only sttoping at Zaragosa for some pictures and bathroom. Finally,Barcelona!!!!!!! Very hot, lots of tourists, we went to the station where I waited for my good friend Xavi to pick me up. Xavi is also form the IH times but couldn´t make it to the reunion because he´s building a new home for his family in Girona. We hadn´t seen each other for 11 years!!! So, here I am, atXavi´s lovely house just outside BCN, thesun is shining and I´m just about to go to the beach and then take a long walk around this amazing city!!! My body feels more rested and I think I´m slowly adapting to the new schedule. NYC was amazing but I´m ready for the European part of my trip! Love you all, adios, Nanda
PS - with all these languages in my mind, I´m wondering how myFrench is going to be like...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

New York!!!!!!!!!

My dearest friends and family!!! So sorry for taking so long to finally write here, but believe it or not, I have been extremely busy and as I write I am missing one of the parties of the International House Reunion I have organized. It has been an amazing experience, being in NYC feels just like being home, so familiar everything seems to be. But most of all, it is being here with my friends, some of them I hadnt seen for more than 10 years, is quite an emotional and overwhelming sensation. Sometimes, I find myself back in the early 90s and remember how I used to be, the dreams I used to have. all of us have changed, many have gotten married and have kids, but the spirit and connection we shared here in this students house is still there and you can see it on people's faces. I'm sharing a room with my best friend Norma, just like we used to back then and there are people who came form all continents. Yesterday I performed a dance piece with Thomas Sullivan. he played the trombone, the piano and I spoke about old memories while drinking a beer on stage and then we danced together. It was great fun. Then, the party went on in the Pub (where I will be going in a few minutes) and later in my room (it used to be like that- my room was always the meeting place) and even more, we went to another pub down on Broadway and finished the night at Charliie's room, listening to his great stories. Charlie Quint is from South Africa and he was definetly one of the most popular (if not the most) people over here and it has been sensational having him around again. Anyway, I'm indeed extremely happy, and to be honest, haven't had the time to miss Brazil that much. It's just been a roller-coster, not much time to think, just living life at its fullest, like in the old good days. I'm already setting my mind for the next step, which will be my trip to Spain on Monday. I'm going to be there for 5 days, after which I go to France to begin my studies! I was very happy with all the lovely messages, thanks a lot, keep writing, I love you all. this trip has just reaffirmed to me how important friendships are and I'm very glad to have around me such great people and friends. A special hello to my student, send your comments in English! Nanda

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Few days

Hi Ça va Olá