As I write this, I am somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico approaching Central America on our way to Sao Paulo Brazil. This is my first time to Brazil and hopefully the first of many trips to this part of the world. I am very excited about the journey ahead of me. Rhonda and I will spend 5 day working with faculty and staff at the Unicamp University in Campinas in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo. Our task…to help them with their process of developing a center of teaching excellence. This promises to be a rich learning experience for everyone involved. Going to the land of Paulo Freire to teach professors about teaching in today’s classrooms will be a powerful learning experience for me. I don’t know if Freire’s work is common knowledge in higher education across Brazil but it sure has its followers in educational research circles in the United States.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, this trip will not be all work and no play. It seems we have many new experiences ahead of us. As it turns out, we will be indoctrinated in the Brazilian culture of “Futbol” as the Brazilian team will play their first match on Tuesday. We have been told that our schedule had to be changed that day as we will only work in the morning while the rest of the day will be World Cup Soccer and a study in how we should experience soccer- the Brazilian way. I must confess, I am really looking forward to this experience. I am not sure what to expect but I did do a little research. It turns out that Brazil is the only country to win the World Cup 5 times (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002). Yes, this is from memory. I don’t know why this was such a strong imprint in my mind as I did not try to memorize the dates, they just seemed to stick. I guess this gives me something else to reflect on… J I also understand that soccer is a constant in Brazil. I have read that there are beaches in Rio where there is always a game in play (midnight soccer anyone?). And for more fun, we will be heading to Rio for 5 or 6 days for a little relaxation.
We have been in the air now for 3.5 hours of our almost 10 hour flight. Most around me seem to be restlessly asleep. I suppose I will be heading that way soon as well. When I wake, we should be landing in Sao Paulo for a Sunday morning drive across what has been described as a concrete jungle city. I am sure this will be a trip with many firsts and lessons. I can’t wait to see what I will learn and experience along this “trail”.
Note: having problems with the language on the links…try Google Translate. While not 100 percent accurate, you will get the general message for each post.