these are the posts tagged ‘school’:

these lingering summer days

with test daf scheduled to a month from now, my days are spent describing graphics and improvising 2-minute speeches about random events in my country. (how does one celebrate a silver wedding anniversary? or what happens at a funeral? errrm… )
learning german has been a fun ride, but i’m happy that i can almost see the end of school in sight now. i look forward to regaining control of my mornings!

on other news, it’s finally summer! i love these long and (mostly) sunny days. we wake up early to study or read and enjoy the weak sunlight of the early hours from the café around the corner. berlin’s esplanades are now perpetually full, as if everyone was soaking on every last bit of available vitamin d. it’s pretty much perfect… until the mosquitos come abuzz at sunset! :)

early morning studies

i was always one of those kids who spent the summer vacations counting the days till school started again. the holidays were great, but what i really wanted was new stationery, new teachers, old friends and never-opened books that smelled like new beginnings… and i also wanted to know more – about everything. i like discovering new things, and my favourite method of learning has always been from teachers. good teachers are outstanding storytellers – inspiring and captivating.

because we miss the stimulation that comes with pushing beyond what you know and learning something new, the boy and i have decided to do join some online courses on subjects that we found interesting. he’s learning about finance on coursera, i’ve been listening and taking notes from a berkeley class podcast, on the history of europe. every early morning after breakfast (but before checking our inboxes and to-do lists), we take an hour or so to sit on a nearby café and just learn.

it’s been… refreshing – and not just because of all the things we’re studying. for me, it’s also the realisation that we can do this: we can learn what we want, at our own speed (as long as we are disciplined and make some time for it). no need to go back to school and endure hours of not-so-interesting lectures in order to thrive on those few subjects that you really like. makes me think that the future of education is probably already here.

happy accidents

that’s me, on the left, on a christmas play with some of my primary school friends. my school, a sort of day-school (externato) with a religious undertone, organised very elaborate events for the holidays, with choir singing and historical recreations. everybody was involved, in some way or another, and all the parents came to the event. i remember i used to be good friends with the girls in the photo, but we’ve slowly lost touch with the years and the distance.

during summer last year, i had a scheduled surgery to remove a small sebaceous cyst which was becoming a nuisance. it was a simple thing, requiring only local anaesthesia. i remember dressing in one of those hospital robes and stepping into the surgery room, where a myriad of doctors and interns awaited me, all prepped up in gowns and caps.
i sat on the bed, waiting, until one of the surgeons said: “you probably don’t remember me, but i was in your primary school class until 4th grade“. the girl removed her mask and cap and i looked at her. she had changed the color of her hair, but her face was so unexpectedly familiar! of course i remembered her! :D we kissed, and then talked throughout the operation, sharing stories and tidbits of our life in the 20 years we hadn’t seen each other. i was happy to see her again, the friend who once stood next to me on a school recital.

what are the odds, right? i thought of it again this week because of something ira glass said on his last this american life: great stories happen to those who can tell them. not that i’m a great storyteller, but i think he might be right. :)


the portuguese students are angry with this government for finally implementing the bologna treaty. it seems to me that few people are seeing the big picture here.


* no classes anymore, just interviews. the ones i did went pretty well (i was rather pessimistic in the beginning, but as it turns out, people seem to like me and my curriculum). well, two down and 3 to go, i’ll try to keep you posted about how it goes.

* yesterday benfica played (and won) against liverpool and it was a good excuse to gather the portuguese groningen gang on sally’s (and meet some nice new people as well). not much of a game though, but fun to talk in portuguese to more than one people.

* bike without brakes. again. i’m getting used (and good at it as well) to not using the hand brakes and instead, reaching the ground with my feet or efficiently dodging obstacles.

* review of my presentation on student colloquium:

Campos: vivid presentation style, lively intonation, a lot of gesturing + expressive mimics and facial expressions; good to give in-between summaries to let the audience know where they are and questions the audience need to ask themselves /you are going to answer + use of synonyms.

yay! thank you mr. simon peyton jones for the tips!
ps: people always seem to note my facial expressions… am i such an expressive person? :)