Posts tagged Brazil

World Cup news…and the rest is history

Tonight I discussed with other ladies about the World cup of U.S. versus Belgium. I was among some who think that the sport of soccer is boring, especially when the score is so low, like 1-0. I guess I am your typical American who grew up on baseball and got to know and understand football, our American version of it. I have watched my girls from composition class play in their soccer matches. I must admit that if you know some of the players, it does make a difference to at least cheer for your team.

I suppose soccer will never catch on in the U.S. because there is also the sport of basketball which also can be very exciting as well as hockey games. I know that one of the ladies has her heart in Brazil right now because two of her sons are there watching the games. They submitted to a kind of lottery where they won three places of games to go to. I understand they won’t be back to the U.S. for another two weeks. I don’t even know how long this World Cup event is going on, that shows you how much I follow the news. However, this mother is watching the World Cup news closely because she hasn’t heard from her sons since they arrived to Brazil and to tell their mother they were fine. I understand that a mother’s heart and mind needs to know more minute to minute coverage than just the initial “we’re fine, we arrived.” Hopefully, her boys will find an Internet café and text home to give a few more details. One of the sons has wanted to go to the World Cup for the last 5-10 years. He is an unusual American kid, his brother went with him to help protect him.

Well, what is the rest of the history that I am looking into? I received from an 81 year old Norwegian bachelor farmer ten pages, single spaced and typed nicely about his life. I had to piece together all the details because it was fairly scattered in its organization. However, there are so many good pieces of info about what life was like for him living as a pioneer farmer in my part of the world. It is as if this man was taken out of a time machine that went back 100 years. He wrote about how a pack of dogs chased their family’s flock of sheep to death. He knows about shocking grain and creating hay bales. He did hunting and sold a mink skin for $33.50 to Sears and Roebuck back in the 1940s. He has so many tidbits that I think people from my community will enjoy reading. I currently have the privilege of editing his ten pages down to something manageable for the newspaper. I think I will have at least four articles out of what he has written.

So, life goes on even though the U.S. is no longer qualified to play any more games in the World Cup. They gave it their best shot, I’m proud of who the players are even though I don’t know who they are. Also, life goes on for this elderly gentleman who is still very sharp and witty. I hope that if more people would get to meet him in my town, they would really enjoy his dry sense of humor. It doesn’t really come through in his writing or reading his quips.

Summer is 1/3 over with, now that we are into July. I have MUCH weeding of my flower gardens to do before my family descends upon us in about three weeks. My mom will turn 80 years old and all of my siblings and her sister will come for the big event that we are planning. It will be fun to see everyone from my family gathered together for this happy occasion. She seems much younger than the 81 year old man I am writing about. He has had a hard life of great physical labor, living as a farmer on not much acreage.

Life is short, handle with prayer…

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Charity Bazaar photos

More photos today because a week ago Sunday we were excited about how well our book table did at the annual Charity Bazaar.  First time to launch this at the Astana bazaar that only started three years ago.  Keep in mind that the new part of the city of Astana, Kazakhstan is only ten years old. Obviously people wanted books and other reading material, so hopefully we will get more donations throughout the year for next year!  (hint, hint) However, maybe books will become a thing of the past with Kindle readers. Something like letters and cards are becoming more precious because people don’t post them as much as they do the social networking scene on the Internet.  I think, though, the permanence of books will last a while longer.  We shall see 20 years from now what becomes of the book if all goes electronic.  If the electricity should ever go out, we would have the stand by book to read by the light of a fire or the sunlight perhaps.  More photos because I want to remember the social networking I did in person with people while raising money for children in orphanages whom I’ll probably never see.

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Lions and Tigers and Buddy Bears, Oh My!!!

Hope my faithful readers are enjoying my photos of the Buddy Bears. Sorry no lions or tigers featured in this post. You have to know that it takes a LONG time to download each photo on this blog which would be a zip back in the U.S.  You can’t watch YouTube clips in one piece, it comes in chunks.  That is the frustrating part about living in Kazakhstan.  You might take water, heat and transportation for granted back in the U.S. but on top of that, you have no idea how you may take your phone or Internet connection for granted too.  I don’t have much to write except I want to wish my Dad a wonderful 80th birthday celebration on this day of May 30th.  He was born in 1930 at the beginning of the Great Depression, the youngest son with three adoring, older sisters and an older half brother. My three aunts will be flying to Minnesota from California and Arizona to help my Dad celebrate.  It will be a GREAT family event since my Dad’s oldest sister, Eleanor who is over 96 years old, Ethel is about 93 or 94 and Alta is 90 will all be there, the Lord willing.  I come from a stable line of Scandinavian longevity as my grandma on my Mom’s side lived to be 96 years old.  Happy Birthday Dad, may you have many more years to enjoy your grandchildren!!!

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Proverbs from Around the World

When I taught ESL (English as a Second Language) in northern Virginia for three years, I had students from all over the globe.  However, during that time from 1995-1998, I do not recall having any students from Kazakhstan.  Perhaps Kazakhs were still dealing with many issues back in their home country after being under communism for 70 years.  I wonder how many of the samples of proverbs I got from my ESL students from around the world during that time, would fit with Kazakh proverbs.  The world would be a richer place if only we knew even 10 per cent of Kazakh proverbs.  Try to figure out the meanings of the following proverbs:

Vietnam – “Near the ink, you will be black, near the lamp, you will be bright.”


Thailand – “Love your cow, have to tie it; love your children, have to discipline.”


Eritrea – “The person who tries to get butter from water and the person who needs good things from his enemy is the same.”


Argentina – “The devil knows more from being old than from being devil.”


Taiwan – “When God wants a man to be a great one, He will exhaust his mind, exercise his body and take all the things he has.”


Peru – “Each person dances with his own handkerchief.”


Brazil – “When you pass away, your body will lie in a coffin and your tongue in a wagon.”


Korea – “Three inches of tongue can kill the righteous man.”


Ethiopia – “A tongue doesn’t have teeth, but it can break another’s bones.”


Iran – “An egg thief will be a camel thief.”


China – “Clumsy birds have to start flying early.”


United Arab Emirates – “Whoever wants honey should keep up with the bee’s sting.”


Guatemala – “Eyes that don’t see make a senseless heart.”


Japan – “Monkeys fall from the tree too.”


Vietnam – “If the mandarin (orange) skin is thick, there will be a sharpened nail to pierce it.”


El Salvador – “Fish and visitor smell in three days.”


El Salvador – “The habit don’t make the monk.”

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“English as She is Spoke” and Written

English as She is Spoke is an old classic book over 150 years recently republished which rivals anything Mr. Barot scripted in his recent movie about cultural leanings of America for make benefit glorious nation.  (I purposely misspelled his name and don’t want to draw any attention with search engines to Barot’s gross errors depicting this wonderful country where I presently teach English.)  


Of course, I’ve read some tortured writing of English done by my Kazakh students that leaves much to be desired, but at least they are trying to get their message across.  I understand they come from minimal learning experiences where writing was not encouraged in Russian, much less English.  Ironically, I’ve also seen some fairly horrific examples of writing from natives speakers of English too.  Let’s have Hollywood produce a movie which graphically shows how American students get away with playing video games for hours on end and how they have no time to do their writing assignments or read the material to show what is expected of them in a composition class.  Now THAT would be a sleeper movie!!!


Apparently Mark Twain loved this little book written by Pedro Carolino who was a hack just like Barot and used Jose Da Fonseca’s name as co-author of this comprehensive phrasebook of the English language.  Da Fonseca was a upstanding scholar who happened to have a phrasebook for Portuguese that was worked over by Carolino to make it purposefully absurd.  It came out as a “masterpiece” in 1869 and had many reprints and other spinoffs such as English as She is Taught or English as She is Wrote which shows funny exam-answer humor that only a teacher can fully appreciate.


Reading through this little book made me squirm simply because it is so obviously hacked.  For Twain to give it the thumbs up brings my estimation of him a bit lower even though I loved reading his Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer stories as I was growing up.  Twain lived later into life and died an unhappy man.  Reading English as She is Spoke would not improve one’s mood.  However, it makes me more determined than ever as a writing teacher to have my students improve their English skills so they don’t get laughed at by quacks similar to Carolino or Barot.


In Part One of this book are vocabulary words supposedly translated from Portuguese to English titled “Index of the Matters:”  The Mankind, Ages, Defects of the Body, Servants, diseases, remedies, parties a town, of the bed, eatings, quadruped’s beasts, fishes and shell-fishes, colours, games, of the altar, chastisements, familiar phrases.  You get the idea that articles and prepositions are put in where they don’t belong, taken out where they DO belong.  On page 22 is a phrase “stop a little” or “Let us go to respire the air.”  Page 24 “At what o’clock is to get up?” p. 26 “dress your hairs” or p. 30 “This girl have a beauty edge.”


My sister lived in Brazil at the tender age of 16 on an AFS student exchange.  She got to know her host family and quickly picked up the language of Portuguese.  I’ll have to give her this book to see if she recollects any of these supposed “familiar phrases.”  Several years later, one of the daughters of her Brazilian host family came to the U.S. on a similar exchange to live with a typical middle class American family.  Somehow I got caught in the middle a family squabble because the rich, young Brazilian girl did NOT know any English.  She kept saying over and over, “I no happy, I no happy.”  That was one thing she made everyone painfully aware of.  I think she was eventually moved to a different family and that resolved her happiness issue.  It didn’t help for her to come off the plane to a cold Minnesota winter with only sandals and a light dress and coat.  Obviously, no one had fully prepared her for the stark weather conditions or the language barrier once she arrived in the U.S.


One phrase that caught my attention was under the section titled “Idiotisms and Proverbs.”  I had asked my ESL students when I taught in Virginia years ago to give me three idioms or proverbs from their country.  One guy from a South American country, I don’t remember which one, gave me “The robe don’t make the monk.” That’s a good proverb.  However, Carolino was up to his tricks with changing “robe” to “dress” so it reads on page 128: “the dress don’t make the monk.”  Funny huh?  The actual saying in Portuguese is: “O habito nao faz o monge.”


Why is “the robe don’t make the monk” a good proverb?  Even though it is not proper English, the point comes across loud and clear. Supposedly there are people in places of authority who may have the title in their respective job but do NOT embrace the work ethic or are NOT skillful enough to fill that particular job and its job description.  Consequently, people under them suffer.  I might add there are perhaps many teachers who are teaching writing who don’t know how to write.  May the land of Kazakhstan have fully educated and talented teachers who know how to write in English.  Thus, they can teach their Kazakh students to write well, especially in a western style university where that is the expectation and the norm.  That is, if Kazakh students should ever leave Kazakhstan on some exchange program to the U.S. or U.K. to find out how miserable they can be if not fully prepared.

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