By Joe Lopes
Continuing from last week here&rsquot;s part 11 of Joe&rsquot;s excellent guide to teaching English in Brazil. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the bottom of the page.
It Looks Like Rain
As the subway car pulls up to Santana station, I peer out of my window for an on-the-spot check of the weather. The clouds have that dark and menacing appearance of a late-summer rain shower, as my sense of dread tells me it&rsquot;s going to pour like the dickens!
Sure enough, no sooner do I finish my thought than it immediately starts to drizzle. In a few minutes, the drizzle turns into a heavy and penetrating downpour.
I run for protection under one of those fiberglass-covered bus stops along Rua Dr. Gabriel Piza. As luck would have it, I&rsquot;m able to step aboard a bus bound for Avenida Nova Cantareira, which is just close enough to my apartment that I won&rsquot;t have to walk too great a distance for very long.
I always carried a small portable umbrella in my bag for just such a situation – you never know when the skies overhead will suddenly open up and all hell will break loose on top of you. And it can really rain in this city! You would think you were in the middle of a deluge somewhere in the jungles of Southeast Asia.
One time, I was accompanying my student back to her place of business after a lunchtime restaurant class – another one of those wonderful teaching perks I previously talked about – when all of a sudden the clouds unleashed a powerful rainfall of antediluvian proportions along Avenida Paulista. Within seconds, the streets were awash in a raging torrent rivaling the Mississippi River in strength and ferocity.
After I was successful in escorting the student safely to her office, I still had to go out into that storm to catch the subway for the trip back. By the time I reached my apartment, I was the spitting image of a very cold, and very wet, street rat – even with my trusty umbrella in hand.
Residents of the major cities all face this terrible dilemma of flash flooding during the dreaded rainy season. City officials and state bureaucrats alike have so far failed to come up with a permanent solution to this seasonal set of circumstances, which many feel are due to rampant, unregulated overbuilding and to inadequate drainage systems, among other complicated causes. It remains a serious and potentially life-threatening hazard for anyone caught in the middle of these habitual rainstorms.
Because of this, teachers are strongly urged to avoid scheduling any late afternoon or evening classes too far away from their apartment, home or business, particularly during the months of January, February and March. This will help you to avoid being stuck in traffic somewhere, or up to your literal ears in rainwater.
Fortunately, the rains tend to come when the majority of your students are on vacation or on holiday, but you can&rsquot;t always count on the seasons to obey your carefully worked-out schedule.
Illness can sometimes be the result of over-exposure to bad weather, or too dramatic a fluctuation in the temperature, or too many hands shaken during a major influenza outbreak. Sooner or later, it may even require a little trip to the local health clinic.
A reader recently wrote to me requesting information about medical insurance and hospital facilities in Brazil. Although my experience with these matters is limited, my family and I did have occasion to use the local doctors for treatment of various degrees of illness.
And, at the risk of sounding like a senator up for reelection, it is an absolute necessity for teachers with families to have adequate and affordable health insurance in case of sickness or emergency situations.
Language instructors should shop around for qualified insurance agents – and try to obtain the best available rates from them – for single, married, or family coverage. Again, your friends, relatives and teaching associates can probably guide you better along this well-beaten path than I can.
As a self-employed professional, however, be prepared to pay mile-high insurance premiums for your children and spouse, unless your language school has appropriate medical coverage under its health plan (not always likely, or even possible). It&rsquot;s worth the extra effort to check it out and make absolutely certain.
Copyright 2006 by Josmar F. Lopes
A naturalized American citizen born in Brazil, Joe Lopes was raised and educated in New York City, where he worked for many years in the financial sector. In 1996, he moved to Brazil with his wife and daughters. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. and now resides in North Carolina with his family. You can email your comments to JosmarLopes@msn.com.
To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:
Brazil: Thrills, Spills, and… Oh Yes, No Ifs, Ands or Head-Butts, Please
Teaching English In Brazil Part 10
Teaching English In Brazil Part 9
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 4
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia&rsquot;s Fragile Wings Part 4
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 3
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 2
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia&rsquot;s Fragile Wings Part 3
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 2
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 2
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia&rsquot;s Fragile Wings Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 8
Teaching English In Brazil Part 7
Teaching English In Brazil Part 6
Teaching English In Brazil Part 5
Teaching English In Brazil Part 4
Teaching English In Brazil Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 4
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil – Part I
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 1
Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 3
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 2
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 1
Brazil: A Candid Talk with Gerald Thomas
Getting to the “bottom” of Brazil&rsquot;s Gerald Thomas
A Brazilian Diva Torn Between Europe and Brazil
The Enraged Genius of Brazil’s Maestro Neschling
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
Brazil&rsquot;s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?“