Week 6 - Farroupilha - Brazil
A day by day account of the first week in our 2022 travels through South America, Mexico, USA and Canada.
Thursday 10th March 2022
Like a lot of our days recently, we had another morning of presentations in schools. Today was at a new location, Carravaggio school. The school gets its name from the church beside it. We had heard so much about it and had been meaning to go so it was great for it to be on route of our day. It is probably the most famous place in Farroupila and really is a sight to see. It is known as one of the most traditional places for people to take pilgramage in Brazil, bringing more than 250 thousand people in the month of May every year. We took a walk around the grounds before going to the school and were told stories of history, important places and exorcisms by the girls from talkers. Then, we headed into the school. The kids were a little younger than the others we had spoken to but they were still really interested and were excited to ask questions. The staff at the school were so kind and made us feel so welcome. The school hall also had amazing acoustics so we loved playing a song for everyone.
In the afternoon, we returned to Estudual (the school where our host Marcela works) and delivered more presentations.
Friday 11th March 2022
This morning we Both taught English to China at 9 and 10am. With China being 11 hours ahead of us, we have to teach early in order to catch our students before they go to bed. After this we were picked up to go to Carravaggio school again to talk the students about our culture and traveling. This was a particularly rainy day as is common at this time of year in this part of Brazil. This particular school is quite primitive and has classrooms and halls that are not entirely enclosed. This coupled with the corrugated metal roof, meant that these young beginners in English had virtually no chance of catching anything that we said, even with the microphone and old school PA system. Luckily Patricia was on hand to translate the whole presentation into Portuguese for them.
We were dropped back at home after Carravaggio and worked on expanding some of our online income streams. I worked on getting more online students through contacts in China and the website Cambly as well as finalizing the products and prices for our online Etsy shop. Megans worked on her new bedtime story idea. In which she will do a pilot class next Monday in which she will read books and discuss them with her kindergarten students in China before they go to bed.
Saturday 12th March 2022
Today was a very memorable day and a day in which we got to do something that is on our list to try and do in every country, visit a football game and experience the local atmosphere. We went to watch Gremio of Porto Alegre in their play-off game against Ypiranga at the 'Arena do Gremio'. As soon as we mentioned that we wanted to go to a game, Mariana invited us to join her, her dad and her brother. They brought us T-Shirts so that we could properly feel like a part of the crowd and as soon as we arrived, we had decided to buy merchandise of our own. Inside the actual grounds was amazing and as soon as you walked in, you could feel the massiveness and the enthusiasm of the fans (of which we were now totally on board with). There were hugs drums and flags with various players and even one with Bob Marley. Gremio won 2:0 and we left feeling part of something bigger.
After a power nap in the car on the way back, we headed for a pastel. Pastels are a crispy fried pasty filled with various fillings, both sweet and savory. I had minced meat and Megan had spiced shredded chicken. We then walked to somewhere that was recommended. It was like an Italian craft beer place, where we met Pati and Allan. After a couple of drinks there, we headed to Iron Beer Bar, which was another bar that's dangerously close to where we are staying. There was a duo playing, a singer with a guitar and a guy with an accordion. They were ridiculously good and were playing all folk Brazilian songs that had the whole bar singing so when Allan and Pati asked if we could play, we were obviously hesitant about the response. Luckily, it went really well and everyone loved it. Then, to top it off there was a woman there who plays for Gremio! Great day. One we will remember forever.
Sunday 13th March 2022
We were so excited to spend the day with Marcela's family that she had talked so much about. And of course another family Sunday means... Churrasco! We were welcomed into the house of Ildo and Jeanette with open arms and big smiles which didn't surprise us, knowing that they are Marcela's aunt and uncle. We also met Lucas, her cousin and his girlfriend Maria. The first thing we saw when we arrived was the pool table and the garage that had been turned into a great space for weekends. Ildo was telling us that they spent the time over the pandemic making it into a comfortable place that they were going to send a lot of time. For starters there were grilled pineapple with cinnamon and sausage.
After feasting on plenty of ribs, chicken and steak, Lucas showed us his guitars and we all gathered round for a jam session. We took it in turns to pick a song and everyone joined in wherever they could.
We headed back home for a few hours to rest up and settle our stomachs for yet another big meal ahead. Sabrina, from Talkers invited us to go to Farroupilha's famous, limitless pizza. You pay a set price and waiters bring you a crazy amount of different toppings. You have a table sign with four options on: savory, sweet, savory and sweet and satisfied. It was our first time trying sweet pizza which is hugely popular here, it was interesting to say the least.
Another Sunday night where we went to bed, truly feeling so thankful for the life we have chosen for ourselves.
Monday 14th March 2022
We had a pretty full on day at talkers but Megan was particularly excited to get there because she had her first class with really young children so that was a great way for her to start the day. The day was pretty much back to back classes until when our last class was canceled and we headed home around 3pm.
We spent the rest of the afternoon doing what we usually do whenever we have free time. Admin. Working on things to make our lives better and less stressful, Including finally getting our our Soul event T-Shirt shop online finally.
Tuesday 15th March 2022
We spent the morning at Caxius school, where Allan works. Instead of it being a Talkers presentation, it was just me and Megan. I think they kids were most engaged here out of all the schools. Even though in the beginning, they weren't quite sure how to respond because they didn't all understand much English. Allan did the translating for them and by the end of the presentation, there were so many questions and they were all really intensively listening when we played a few songs at the end.
At lunch, we finally satisfied our craving for Chinese. In a nearby mall, there was a buffet and we absolutely filled our plates. We enjoyed sweet and sour chicken, rice, noodles, spring rolls, stir fried beef and onions. Allan dropped us off in the centre of Caxias and we wondered around, noticing how much of a bigger and busier city it was from where we had been calling home for the last 3 weeks. We found a really nice coffee shop and settled there for a couple of hours while we got some work done before we got picked up and taken back home.
Wednesday 16th March 2022
Sao Tiago was another new school with another day of presentations. We were supposed to do four presentations in the morning and four more at night but luckily for us, we had the option to just do the morning and spend the afternoon as we pleased. We asked Pati to drop us off at the supermarket and and Megan made some spicy garlic noodles for lunch which turned out really good.
For the rest of the day, we looked at further plans for our trip and looked at more WorkAway options for the rest of our time in South America.