segunda-feira, 31 de outubro de 2011

'Trick or treat' na Inglaterra...

Happy holloween guys! Halloween in England is not a big thing as it is in North America, having said that, we still invest in a little bit of decoration and have a supply of sweets and candies for when the children knock our doors playing “trick or treat”.

There you have some photos of some scary faces that have knocked my door earlier this evening and some pictures of my little witch visiting our neighbours too. Sorry, no photos of me as I don't want to scare you that much. LOL!!!


If you would like to see more photos or read a bit more about holloween, I have a post from last year's. Feel free to browse.

By the way, England changed the clocks yesterday. We are now 2 hours ahead of Brazil.

sábado, 29 de outubro de 2011

Cafe da manha ingles e passeio na feira...

Saturday, cold cloudy morning and I started the day with a typical English breakfast (bacon, sausages, mushroom, fried egg, baked beans and toast) in a bistro near my house.

After that we went for a stroll in our town centre, on Saturdays we have an award-winning farmers market, where people bring local produce to sell and we have products from abroad too, like olives from Greece, French bread and cakes, Thai food, etc.

We can even find grilled burguers and sausages. The closest thing from our "churrasquinho de rua". My daughter had roasted corn on the cob, the corn is sweet and watery, but still tastes good.

This is a charming town and I love the old streets and alleyways and the autumn season makes the cafes and bistros even more welcoming.

Now that the blog is updated and a light rain is falling outside while we are nice and warm indoors, I guess I can enjoy the rest of the evening with a nice book and maybe a glass of a good wine. Would you like to join me? What were your plans for Saturday? I would love to hear.

terça-feira, 25 de outubro de 2011

Festa de aniversario...

I had very hectic few days and only now I have managed to sit down and update the blog. Last weekend was my daughter’s seventh birthday and I had a little party to organize and many kids to entertain.

In England birthday party for kids is simpler than the lavish and expensive parties that the American people invented and that us Brazilians are used to. We hardly hear about parents worrying about hiring a buffet for 50 people or more for example. Here the number of people invited is based on the number of kids invited, the party is supposed to be for the kids, full stop. That means that if you are inviting 10 children, you are expected to provide food and entertainment for only 10 children. Parents usually drop the kids at the local of the party and usually come back two or three hours later to pick up the children. If by any chance a parent decides to stay in the party (because the child could cry or just curiosity to see what the kids are going to be doing), don’t expect to be catered for. My daughter was born in England, she is now 7 and I have been to numerous parties for kids here. I remembered my surprise in the first ones, where the party was for example at lunch time on a Sunday, I stayed there with my child for a couple of hours and I was never offered even a cup of tea or biscuit. What it might seems rude for our culture is very common and acceptable here.

These are common things severd here but not my choice this time.


So, what type of parties do they have here for kids? The same parties we have in Brazil, but in a much smaller scale and with a different menu of course. Depending on the age group kids start opting for more adventurous things to do during their birthdays. Many gyms and clubs offer swimming parties, kids swim and play in the pool for an hour and after they are showered and dressed the food is served. There is also the option of hiring a space that offers kids play area with bouncy castle, soft toys, etc. If it is a girl’s party there are options like making jewellery, painting a pot, make up, princess dressing up, etc. All following the same premise, an hour or two of playing and an hour to eat and sing happy birthday.

Well, it is also important to say that usually the food is served at the table to all the kids at the same time and they are expected to sit down and eat together, which they happily oblige. The menu usually consists of hot dogs, chicken nuggets, veggie burger (for the vegetarian kids), chips (French fries) if the parents have opted for a hot menu. If they chose a cold menu it is very likely that will be served egg sandwich (boiled egg with mayonnaise), cheese sandwich (grated cheddar cheese inside the bread), cucumber sandwich, jam sandwich (just bread with butter and strawberry jam), cold chicken (yes you read right, pieces of cold roast chicken), sausage roll (um folhado de salsicha) and some choices of crisps. If you have a hot menu, usually is served ice-cream later as a dessert, if it is a cold menu usually they have lots of sweets, candies, jellies, etc (none of them homemade).

Last year she celebrated her birthday in one of those kids play area, but this year I wanted to do a party at home and invite some adults as well. As I am Brazilian I am usually compelled to do loads of Brazilian dishes but I am aware that if I invite kids that never had Brazilian food before they would probably refuse a “cajuzinho” as it might look like an alien to them. Tee hee! So, last Saturday I had 7 girls in my house from 12:00 to 2:00 and I served to them pizza, hot dog, chicken nuggets and chips. I made a chocolate cake for my daughter and some “brigadeiro” and they also had ice-cream. The rest of the day I had an open-house party, when people can drop in anytime they like, I have many English and European friends and they all want to come and say hello. For them, I served our good Brazilian coffee with our “pao de queijo”, they all love it and of course they could still have cake, pizza, etc, etc. It was a successful party, my daughter was delighted with so many friends about, presents and cards. Yes, I was almost forgetting to say that it is very rude to go to a party here and don’t bring a card. What do you think of the English birthday parties?

quinta-feira, 20 de outubro de 2011

Geada na noite passada...

I woke up to a frosty morning today. I took these pictures at 8:30 this morning, unfortunately they are not very clear as I used my mobile phone, but what you can see at the top of the cars near my house, is frost (a thin layer of ice). The other photos are from the park that I usually cross in the mornings to take my daughter to school.

Of course this is not too cold for us yet, but this brings the certainty that we will need to make some arrangements from now on to be prepared for the winter. The coats you saw hanging on my hall yesterday, will have to be replaced by thicker ones soon. Boots, hats, scarves and gloves will needed to be worn mornings and evenings when we are outdoors. What about you? What is going to be in your wardrobe from now on? Bikinis, summer clothes or winter outfits like us?

quarta-feira, 19 de outubro de 2011

Chaleiras e aquecedores...

We are now three hours ahead from the Brazilian time. At the end of the month our clocks will go back one hour, which means that the days will be shorter and shorter again and the nights longer and freezing. Last night I had the heater on, as it was really cold. My house has a central heating system, which means I only have to touch the thermostat and regulate the temperature that I want, and the radiators on the wall (the heaters) get hot and make the rooms of the house warm too. Some are more modern, some are more old fashion, but they all do their jobs. One thing is for sure, the gas bills in the winter are really scary, as most of the heaters work with gas. Well, we need that to keep ourselves warm.

Electric kettles are essential in English homes too. Low temperatures (the average for my city today is max: 14 and min: 4 degrees Celsius), explain why they easily manage to drink more than a litre of tea or coffee a day.

The sound of a kettle boiling in a British kitchen is a common thing all day long. Everything, any news, good or bad is an excuse to stop whatever we are doing and put the kettle on and prepare a cup of tea or coffee. Although they call it a cup, it looks more like what the Americans would call a ‘mug’ due to the big size. Like I said here before, English tea is served with a drop of milk, and the coffee is usually ‘instant coffee’, prepared very weak and watery and also with a dash of milk. Would you fancy a winter in England?

sábado, 15 de outubro de 2011

Minha estoria...

Hi there! This is me, Katia. If you haven’t seen me before ‘nice to meet you’. I guess it’s time to put a face to a name.

Just over a year ago, on the 12th of October 2010 I wrote my first post here, but have been very reserved about my personal life.

So who am I?
I am a Brazilian woman with great faith and passion for life and with an amazing wanderlust. I grew up in Brazil but since my teens I wanted to see the world and learn English. I was lucky to attend to good schools in Brazil and a great college where I became a teacher. When I was 19 I had my first experience abroad and I managed to convince my parents to pay for a General English Course in London. I loved the experience, lived for few months with and English family and improved my language skills considerably, but then it became too cold for me and I started to miss my friends and family too much and decided to go home, bear in mind, 22 years ago we didn’t have all the mod cons we have nowadays. But I was hooked then, and I knew I would have to come back to Europe one day.

Back to Brazil I took more teaching and English courses and training and became an English teacher. I found in the subject a delightful passion. I worked for well-known schools and colleges and also started to teach Business English for executives inside worldwide companies. I loved the experience.

Years later, I returned to London for a sabbatical year and also to study interpreting and translation. That was 2001 and 10 winters passed and I’m still here. I got married to a British guy had an English daughter and learned to love this country. I also travelled to many other countries in Europe in the past 10 years.

My passion for learning and teaching was such that I decided to join a British University and get a British degree. A lot of hard work and many sleepless nights later I successfully graduated with a BA Honours in Language Studies. Boy, I felt great during the graduation ceremony sitting amongst hundreds of well-educated British students and knowing that I was the only Brazilian there with better grades and higher achievement than most of them (As you can see, lack of modesty at times is not a problem that I have. Tee hee!). Such humble thoughts and amazing brain drove me to join a Masters in Education afterwards. LOL!

Jokes apart I can easily say that since I became a teacher two decades ago, I have helped many people to learn English and improve their skills and consequently improve their lives. Loads of people that had to listen, speak , read and write in English well enough or they would lose their jobs or lose a promotion career opportunity came to me and found the help they needed. I’m sorry folks, this is not a question of being humble or not, this is a question of being extremely proud of what I am, a teacher, a well qualified one.

Why am I saying all this now? Well, I got to a turning point in my life . Not too long ago, health issues made me put my career and other parts of my life on hold but now I feel it is time to expand and open to new opportunities. I’m certain that this blog and some other projects I have will take me where I want.

You will hear a lot from me from now on, and somehow you can be part of my life in the United Kingdom. And if you need to learn or improve your English and is really very serious about it, please contact me and I will tell you how. I can show you the way. I can promise you, it works. No only that, I can open a whole world of culture and opportunities to you. Think about it. I’ll be delighted to meet you.

PS. I have just checked the version of my post translated to Portuguese by Google. In some parts the translation is really poor. If you are reading in Portugese and saw the word "viciada", I would like to clarify that I was never "viciada" in anything. The word 'hooked' was translated by the machine like that, but actually the word can be used in different contexts with more than one meaning. That just shows that you have to improve your English. Don't forget to contact me then.