Above & Beyond

First of all, the title of this post is the name of a band that I have discovered some time ago. I wasn’t familiar with their music because I dislike the electro-dance-trance stuff that they usually produce (the heavy beats give me palpitations), but the acoustic concert that I’ve discovered by chance on Y*tube literally enchanted me.

I’ve been listening to the full concert (Here) quite regularly these past months.

It’s now time to finally write down what I’ve been up lately.

The weather has been fantastic for the past 2 weeks. Very sunny, but not too hot (around 20C) with a very agreeable cool wind. My kind of perfect weather. So it’s with great pleasure that I’ve kept my weekly program of biking along the river for about 15 minutes to the swimming pool, and swimming for about 45 minutes, before coming back home. I’ve been meaning to do this 3 times a week, but so far I’ve only managed twice a week.

001
A lot of people fishing.
010
A big boat passing in front of Detroit.
012
The bike and my happy place. 🙂

You see, while swimming laps, I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I should do about earning some money while doing something interesting with my life. I love teaching, music, languages and reading. I could teach music and languages again, but after school is the time that I would need to be available for students if I did this again. For me it’s simply inconceivable that I would give up the time I have with my children to be with others… Plus, the house we live in right now is not fit to accommodate students, we don’t know how long we’ll stay here, and D’s working hours are variable. Teaching is a no go for now.

For years I’ve been doing translations, but my university degree is in Music, not languages. To earn credibility and some regular clients, I would need some kind of diploma, which costs time and money, both of which I’m short of these days.

All these thoughts were rolling around my head while I was splashing back and forth in the pool.

I am really enjoying the odd projects that my friend is giving me for her Youtube channel. I am translating her cartoons into French and recording some voice over for her. It’s fun, interesting, and pays a bit of money. Maybe I could open a Youtube channel too? It has worked for her and her family, why not me? Ha! What would I talk about? How many languages I speak? (I’m pretty sure there are people out there who speak more than 6 languages. Just do a Google search, I’m nothing special).

I wish someone would pay me to read books. Since I joined Goodreads a couple of years ago I realized that I am reading between 50 to 100 books a year. Not all of them are prize worthy works of literature, but I’ve had nice surprises. Maybe I should seriously start reviewing books. Yeah right, I can’t even keep up with my blog, who am I kidding.

Laughing at myself here, while pedaling on the pathway along the river.

Wait. Aren’t there people who read aloud for audio books?!! I could be using my voice (which I trained for so many years, might as well use it), while reading (which I usually do anyway), recording at home, in the quiet hours when everybody else is either at school, working or sleeping… And eventually earn some money for it!?? I don’t know why I’d never thought of it before.

Anyway. So, after many hours of online research and instructive videos, here I am. I bought a decent microphone, dug myself a makeshift recording studio in the basement, created a profile on ACX (audiobook creation exchange), uploaded a couple samples, sent auditions a few times (fiction in French, English with a French accent, and language instruction), and ta-dah! I am now working on my first audio book project! Quite exciting. It’s taking a lot of my time because I have to learn not only to record (I am distressed at how much I can hear myself breathing), but also all about sound editing and mastering (erasing the aforementioned offensive breathing!). Hello learning curve.

Anúncios

The magic school bus

Our first concern when we arrived in Canada in November was to enroll the kids to school as soon as possible. While the school year in Brazil is from February to December, the following school year which is from September to June had already started here! The twins were only finishing their first year of primary school in Brazil, but they had missed the first months of their second year (Gr.2) here in Canada! And Uriel had missed his first months of primary school (Gr.1)… I was afraid that their reading skills would be behind from the rest of their peers.

Another concern was the language. They had started to read and write in Portuguese and had  adjusted rather well to the Portuguese language. I was completing their education with some French lessons at home and French is also the language we speak at home. However, they’d had little to no contact with the English language before coming here. What would happen now?

In Southern Ontario we discovered that there are four publicly funded school boards, English public, English catholic, French public and French Catholic. Free education of good quality (and free school buses!) was after all one of the main reason we came back. I’m loving it! 🙂

The choice was hard for us. On the most practical side, there is an English public school two blocks from our house. The other option was to send them to a French catholic school a little further away, but with free school bus service. Should we drop them in the English language and see what happens (we know how kids learn fast, right?), or ease the transition and look into a French school (their oral skills are obviously good, but the writing and reading in French in not as… intuitive).

We ended up deciding to send them to a French school for now. The idea is that they will hopefully learn to read and write the harder language first, be exposed to the French Canadian accent (which is not a bad thing in my opinion — they are French and Canadian after all!), then pick up English along the way (most of the kids in school speak English at home and behind the teacher’s back!).

Another fun fact: taking the yellow bus to school is a (very exciting) daily adventure! Their first thought was probably that they would step into the fantastic world of one of their favorite series. In truth, the ride that would take only 10 minutes if I would drive them directly to school takes them around 30 to 40 minutes… (not that they have anything else to do anyway, ha ha)

GE DIGITAL CAMERA
Magic school bus

 

Swimming

Sorry, it has been a while over here… AGAIN.

How typically Canadian of me to start a post with an apology! 😉

We have been doing quite well over here. Winter is slowly coming to an end, with snow flurries here and there, but nothing stays on the ground anymore. In the past few weeks, I finally bought a new (second-hand) bike and went for a ride along the river. It was still chilly but it made me feel alive. There is something so simple and freeing to be on a bike. I don’t know if it’s speed, the wind on my face, or the simple fact that I can go fast with the sole strength of my legs. In any case, I visited two different swimming pools, subscribed for a monthly membership (it can be used for any of the four city’s swimming pools and their fitness centers), registered the boys for swimming lessons (90% of which was paid by the city! — a program for low income families), and have accompanied them for their first official swimming lesson! It was all very exciting for me and for them.

I used to swim a lot, eons ago, when I was a young (and fit!) student. The only team sport that I actually liked to play was water-polo, which I played regularly for a couple of years in Montreal. I like to find myself in the rhythmical balance of breathing and movement, it’s soothing. Ironically, before moving to Brazil, I thought that with the year round beautiful weather over there I would certainly find a pool and swim more regularly than I did here. Unfortunately, unless you pay hefty condo fees to have access to a pool or a club membership, there are no public swimming pools like there are here in first world countries. Sure, theoretically there are amenities such as schools, pools and libraries in Brazil, but like most things, there are not easy to find, not easy of access, not affordable for the general population. As the Brazilians say, é complicado.

003
Early morning view of Detroit on my way to the pool on the pathway with my bike. Happiness.