I'm going to be honest. I haven't been posting a lot lately because I've been feeling really disheartened with things here in Brazil, and after a string of bad luck I really didn't feel that motivated to write, or feel that I had anything worth sharing with you! In addition, we have been having major problems with our internet provider, and have barely had any connection for a good few weeks now, making it almost impossible to get any posts written and posted.
Well, now that's changed. I have put the negative thoughts behind me and am now getting back to seeing the good side of things, and we have also just taken out a new contract with a new internet provider (and it's a much faster connection, too!) so I thought it was about time I got myself back on here and started posting again!
Last week, after having had a month off work (the perks of being a teacher!), I was absolutely desperate to get out of town and go on a little road trip. We had actually been planning to do so for a couple of weeks beforehand, but our car decided to spectacularly break down after a trip to visit the hubby's family, costing a lot of money and leaving us car-less for a long while! So when we finally got the car back, we decided to go on a little day trip to a nearby town called Santa Teresa, which is a little place that was colonised by Italians and is said to be a great place to go and experience the Italian influences on Brazilian culture, as well as sampling some culinary delights.
I was looking forward to snuggling up in a cosy little cafe with a real Cappuccino, having a wander round the village and tracking down the waterfall I'd heard could be found in the countryside nearby, before returning for a hearty Italian lunch of something really comforting and traditional, like Lasagne or Gnocchi.
Now, I know I said that I was back to positive thinking, and I am. But I must say, this place was such a disappointment!
For a start, most businesses were closed, and we didn't find one single cafe to stop off for a coffee at. Not one. By the time we arrived (I said it was nearby - well, two hours away is nearby by Brazilian standards as the country is so enormous!), we were both desperate for a drink and a spot of lunch, so we asked around in order to find out what the most popular restaurant was and where we could find the best Italian food. Bear in mind that the reason we were expecting to find such things here is because so many people from the town we live in had told us time and time again that we must go there and that we would love it.
Well, we were told that we had one of a couple of choices for lunch, and then directed to what was supposedly the best and the most traditional of the bunch. So off we went, and what a let-down it was! It turned out to be just a normal Brazilian Self Service restaurant (you pay per kilo) with extremely few options available, but as we were so hungry we ate there anyway. After that, we had a little wander around, but the town was, to be honest, quite ugly and dirty, although there were some cute, colourful buildings which I took a few snaps of, which you can see here.
So, after dejectedly concluding that there was, in fact, nothing to do in Santa Teresa, we decided to leave after less than an hour! It seemed like a good idea to salvage what was left of the day and head to the state capital, Vitoria, which was about half an hour away. We always enjoy going there, as it is a lot more up-to-date than where we live, and there are plenty of coffee shops and nice restaurants to eat at. There's also a huge shopping mall there with a 'Zara' inside, so as you can imagine, it makes me feel right at home, although it's not an ideal situation for my bank card to find itself in!
But anyway. As we were leaving, lo and behold, the car - which had just been fixed - started making the same funny noises it had been before, and so we had no choice but to come straight back home again! A two hour drive to eat a cold lunch and then come back again - not the most successful of days out, haha.
Anyway, we tried, and we at least got a little bit of a change of scenery. And I always enjoy getting out of here for a bit, even if we do just end up in the car for the whole time! I'm not sure what exactly people enjoy about Santa Teresa, but we have since found out that people usually tend to go there for traditional festivals and parties, which is when you can find Italian cuisine and do wine tasting, so I imagine that's the reason that we have heard good things about it.
So, rubbish road trips aside (I'm not too disappointed any more as we are planning another one on the next bank holiday - not to the same place though, obviously!), this week I finally went back to work, as it was the start of the new semester. It feels good to have something to do again and to be able to fill my day with more productive things, although I must admit, I have been completely cream crackered every night! I kid you not, I actually fell asleep at 9.30pm every night, and that is quite something for someone who is more accustomed to hitting the hay at about 1am! I think it had something to do with the sudden change - suddenly being back to being on my feet all day. But aside from that, it has to be said that teaching can be quite mentally tiring, too, what with unruly classes of teenagers and then, of course, the odd student who doesn't want to learn. I've got some really noisy groups this semester, too! I'm a bit snowed under at the minute, trying to get back into the swing of planning my classes and getting enough material prepared in advance, but actually, I don't mind after weeks spent with no work, no internet and nothing worth watching on TV!
That's it from me today. I hope you're all doing well!