Wednesday, May 27, 2009

class of 2009 - physics & math

the word is sweet. even talking about these two representatives of the male gender, using the word sweet doesn’t need to have any other connotation than the obvious one: two people who show high respect towards others, are always trying to be at good spirits, are polite and would never do anything to offend anyone on purpose.

this is where the similarities between roberto sfeir, my physics student, and bruno chung, my math student, ends. roberto has many qualities, some of them quite rare: he is very perseverant, sets himself high goals and always tries to do everything in his power to achieve them. ambitious is the adjective for that, i suppose. he is warm and cares about others, likes to be helpful and is a very grateful soul.

bruninho is more the lazy genius type. he has great reasoning, and inidivual way of approaching problems, and is generally very independent in his thinking and values. enthusiastic when his interest is sparked (and only then, ;), he is certainly capeable of great thoughts and things. i hope that he finds something in life that will interest him so much that it just sucks out oll of his potential – in a positive way, of course!

so roberto, be happy! life is not always easy, but it is good and has its rewards, as you know; continue to be physics - the practical, applied type! and bruno, don’t forget to look for your happiness; the positive attitude that you have inside will help you with that! stay true to being math - the thinker, rational yet emotional. i’m rooting for both of you, that’s for sure.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

class of 2009 - passion & corinthians

passion for a club. i think that’s the first thing that comes to mind when i think of gerry mendoza. this mexican’s heart doesn’t root for cruz azul, chivas or america… it totally belongs to sc corinthians paulista, which i’m sure he’ll never abandon. other things he’ll likely be in 20 years from now: determined, polite, social, leading something somewhere, trustworthy, charismatic, a little shy in the beginnings and a man with true relationships in his life. and, be sure, he will be admired.

another corintiano has been my physics student for two years now. lucas parolin (oh parolina) is a very happy fan, and so passionate about sports that his career dream is to write about it, travel after it and live from it. by the way, little commercial break:, a blog with amateur sport journalism. back to lucas… he won’t be needing physics and math in his life, so he claims, but he will need that wit of his. and i’m sure he’ll find ways to reach his full potential in things that are important to him. and i hope to read from him, someday!

one comment to both of you: copa do brasil has a name written on it, this year: internacional!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

class of 2009 - all smiles!

have you ever met one of those people who are basically always smiling – for no reason whatsoever, or for all the possible reasons? thomas maia and souza is one of those, for sure. a competition lover, thomas never seems too upset about anything – not even when his beloved palmeiras fails to win titles, time and time again. thomas loves to be kind and charming, as his good friend chelsea schmitt knows quite well.

she is quite different from him, though. although she also loves fun, she is very responsible, dedicated, ambicious and hard working; not that thomas isn’t… J! chelsea likes to read in class, is never shy to take leadership roles and is committed to everything she does – which can sometimes be a special truth. what unites these two are mainly two things: their high sense for justice and well being of others, and their positive anxiousness about things to come in their respective future colleges. i just hope they’re as happy as they are today. but you just know that both will be fine – in their own special way!

class of 2009 - the pirate & the wizard

it’s someone’s birthday today. for me, he will be remembered as the giant pirate, seemingly loyal to a fall, wise, yet not exactly the extrovert type. a fan of his home team, santa fé (colombia), santiago osorio is one of the many tennis players and fans in the math hl class. andre and leo, if you’re reading this, he reminds me of kiki. always in a good mood, sharp sense of humor, intelligent. someone you just really just have the best wishes for. so, happy birthday to him, and happy college life! and don't stop using that pirate outfit...

another tennis fan and player is rodriguinho ribeiro. a good enough reason to like him is that he is constantly using a germany sweatshirt… but rodrigo has other qualities that make him distinctive: very smart and witty, fast with his mouth and his mind; funny and fun to make fun of, seemingly… . he has grown up with some of his classmates, and they seem to stick together even in boston – good luck with that, i say! i know that rodrigo will be successful at anything he really puts his mind and heart to, and i hope he does! still want to play you in a tennis match before you go… . ah, i should mention – he is a math wiz! and a person with a gigantic heart.

Monday, May 18, 2009

class of 2009 - marathon men

respect. from the fourteen seniors i’m teaching this year, there are two who deserve respect, for a very special reason: mr gonçalves overdosis. naoya urita and marcelo jacob were my physics students in a day 2, c period class last school year; and then i started subbing and later took over the math hl year 1 class – also on a day 2, d period.

for those who are reading and don’t know what this means: naoya and marcelo had me as a teacher every other day, from 8:00-11:40, with only a twenty minute break. almost four hours, and not once, but actually half of all school days! this year, i see them every day in the afternoon, and every other day in the morning. adding everything up, they will have experienced my presence for almost 600 hours in these two years – that’s just too much for any student to stand!

i myself have appreciated their presence quite a lot. i’ve gotten to know naoya to be a very bright, sensitive, polite person, just a good person to talk to, exchange ideas with. he’ll be remembered by me for many reasons – the most annoying one is a connection i made between his name and the “happy birthday” song (naoya-êê), but it will make him totally unforgettable in the future. which i’m glad about, since he has those personal qualities cited above, and is a warm person, always ready to offer a smile.

i was moved by marcelo’s warm side over a year ago, when he organized the class to buy me the fifa manager 2008 pc game. his opinions on sports, mostly good contributions in physic class, good sense of humor and athletic ability is what i will remember of him. i hope he continues to develop into this good-hearted, thinking and leading human he seems to be transforming into, as a student. and that he one day may come to understand that são paulo f.c. is quite a fine organization, that maybe will get near to what bayern munich already is... one day!

class of 2009 - year 1

i’ve been a teacher for a few years now. since 1994 i've taught in some form, since 2000 I’ve been in high school classrooms. only for two years, i was out of the classroom, in my position as guidance counselor. but being in class is what i really love, even more so if i appreciate the students.

my second full year at chapel ( is ending, and once again, students will be leaving school. last year, i only taught two seniors, both very special to me: henrique turra, simply a good person, talented and musical, and very smart; and silvia carvalho, a very sweet and charming person, hard working and intelligent.

this year, things are different. fourteen of my current students are leaving school, and i will post a series on the class of 2009, two by two; for those good with numbers, yes, it will be an eight-part series, with this initial post.

intitial post, because i did teach two other students that will graduate this year, but are not currently in any of my classes. it was a very pleasant year with nicole assad and daniela haidar, last year, physics. i really appreciated them trying to get into the subject and get something out of it, and i hope they did. but I will remember both for their kindness and authentic style, thinkers rather than repeaters. and they have one of those nice friendships that go back quite a long time, and hopefully surviving the certainty of future physical distance. good luck and happiness to both of you!

last year, i also had the pleasure to teach two totally different characters, who are united in the fact that neither of them still goes to chapel, but both of them are surely a part of this class of 09. ethan safford, always the philosopher, questioner, thinker, and sometimes sleeper. the first class i ever taught at chapel, in august of 2007, was marked by his very interesting comments and points of view. although he considered a "d" to be a good enough grade, i will always respect him for his ideas and independent thinking, and like him for his honesty and truthfulness. to him, also all the best!

the other student i don’t have the pleasure to teach any more is gabriela melo, a very smart and organized girl. she seemed to enjoy not being the center of attentions, and really valued her friends – and i guess this hasn’t changed back in chile. and she is certainly one of those people who have a great depth not always apparent to the eye – but you just know that she has the capacity of thinking about things in a way that, when you can get the information out of her, the surprise is always pleasant. she is missed, and brings back good memories.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

unglaubliche unbekannte

there are all kinds of special people. the ones you know really well (i’ve talked about a few of them), the ones you don’t know at all, at least personally (some of them have been mentioned here, too) – and there are the ones you know almost nothing about, but you’d be curious to get to know them.

the reasons here vary. the most obvious reason would be if it is someone from the opposite sex that, for some reason, catches your attention – and you get hungry to know that person better. but many other situations can make you feel that you would really get to know this or that person better, to be friends with that person.

i still remember it very clearly. summer 1994. on a ferry going to england. i looked up, and there she was; it's incredible how the image is still clear in my head. this girl. dark hair, not too long, not too short, very "wusch". white skin, black and white pullover, striped. the canal behind her, the hair in her wind. i know this sounds a little on the over-romantic side, and it isn't supposed to be. but i remember the strong feeling of wanting to know that person - know who she is, how she thinks, how she views the world. this desire to know someone you've just seen for the first time. i repeat, i wasn't in love with her (love at first sight... hmmmm, i don't know about that, generally speaking), but if we had met and i had fallen in love with her later on, i could've said that i knew from the first moment. she wasn't that beautiful or anything, she just seemed to be so breathtakingley interesting. but, what are you gonna do? i didn't want to flirt, i wanted to get to know. there is a difference, a big one. and it makes it kind of tough to do anything about it, as probably an approaching would be interpreted as exactly what it isn't supposed to be....

sometimes it’s a tough position to be in. you want to know the person, but does the person want anything to do with you? often enough, they do. you should try it.

i guess i’ve done this a few times in my life, and the results were different. i remember wanting to get to know alessandra moreira in 1994. my second semester in boarding school, she was known to all my friends, because she had been at the school two years earlier, and now was returning to graduate with the friends she made that year. i met her for the first time in one of the first friday evenings (always special at IASP, the school) of the year – and i immediately wanted to get to know her. in this case, there was no romantic interest, i just thought her to be specially positive, nice charisma. i sought to get to know her, and we actually became pretty good years for quite a few years. i guess we still like each other today, but i haven’t heard from her for years.

edson nunes was a person like that to me, too. i got to know him a little when we played in a brass quartet (3 saxophones and 1 tuba) for a few months, and he really was a person i admired and looked up to. a person i really wanted to know more, chat off ideas with, sometimes just hang. that year, 1999, ended up being a special one, that i will always remember as a quartet of people hanging out quite a lot: edson, didio, leo and me. i’m glad to say that we are still good friends and that my appreciation of him has only grown.

two years earlier, i met a girl in a bus. actually, she attended that boarding school i had left in 1995, and the bus was full of tom de vida (vocal group) people i knew – but i didn’t know her. we talked nonstop for a good 90 minutes. and from then on, i wanted to know her more and more. it’s really not that i fell in love with her, but she fascinated me, and talking to her made me feel alive. a few months after that first talk, i toured with tom de vida for a few weeks, with the bus to the north east of brazil. this girl… she was something; complicated, i might say! we would talk every day (my initiative, but she didn’t seem to mind…), but the next day it was like we’d never met. but things did get better and progress over those weeks, and at the end i was asking myself if this minor obsession with this girl might be more than just a friendship. audrey ended up being my first official girlfriend, and there will be articles about her posted in here; because more than that, she is, until today, one of my greatest friends and most special people i know.

the person that best  fits the discription, though, is a very special and small lady. i had devolped a curiosity towards getting to know her for over a year, and i was kind of giving up on the idea, until an opportunity presented itself. i took advantage of the opportunity, and marla and me became very familiar to each other in very little time. i must say that this might have been the most intense relationship i've had with a person (not romantic, people, just relationship) in my whole life. and it was all the more special because i had wanted to know her for such a long time, and she turned out to be much more than i had imagined. although later on, the boy-girl stuff  did get in the middle of it, i wouldn't trade those months for anything.

right now, there is a person that i’m very curious about. i would love to get to know her better, you know, just know her better? admiring from a distance has been my specialty since i was a little kid, but since i came to brazil, i have learned to admire from near. who knows, maybe i’ll admire this new person from nearer, soon.

that british girl from the ferry (somehow i felt she was british), i called her "unglaubliche unbekannte" in my head, that day. the name stuck. but nowadays i wouldn't mind getting rid of the "unbekannte" part.