Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy New Year... Again, er, Finally

(Happy New Year!!!!)

For those living outside of Brazil, you may be wondering what on earth I am talking about. People who live here know that Christmas Break segues into Summer Break, which culminates with the Carnaval Break that may or may not be anywhere from 4 to 9 (possibly even 12) days, depending on who's the boss. About the time you start to think about when exactly you should flip your calendar to March, that's the signal that it's time to get back to a regularly scheduled life.

There's a saying here in Brazil...

"The year only starts after Carnaval!"

"(O ano só começa depois do Carnaval!)

...which explains my absence in the past three months. I have officially adjusted to this schedule. According to the calendar below, I was right on time. Of course, if I were really keeping up with the trend, I'd go the distance and stick it out until March. Alas, I return to classes today... I hope you are fully hearing my playful tone.

(March is the new January.)

I'm not going to pretend I don't enjoy the time off, but I am truly at the mercy of my students' schedules - and my doctors'... I can't even get any appointments until after March 5th, and we all know there are smarties who already have standing appointments for the first two weeks of March (so I will probably just wait until late March/early April to try to schedule anything health-related).

In my search for visual aids, I ran across a site for Brazilian businesses that stated there are 53 "lost or weak" business days during this extended period of partying, every year.

(New Year's, [Summer] Vacation, Carnaval...
At long last, now the country can get back to work!!!)

If you look at the school calendar's Christmas, Winter, Spring, & Summer Breaks and compare them to their American counterparts (our Summer Break is usually early June through mid August, with Christmas break being about 2 weeks, and Spring Break only 1 week) then there isn't much of a difference, timewise.

The Summer Break in Brazil includes Christmas Break, and runs from mid or late December to the beginning of February. Schools then break again for Carnaval (think Spring Break) and return for the Fall semester, which runs through the end of June. July is the official month of Winter Break, and everyone returns to school (the Spring Semester) in August.

The main difference is that almost everyone plans their schedules around the "school schedule." Places of business may or may not be open, and even if they are (say, the Doctor's office) that doesn't mean that there is anyone to see you. There may be someone to make a future appointment for you, but that's about it.

People who own their own business take full advantage of this, leaving their employees to keep the business going while they make use of the "school vacation," and travel with their family to the beach - or go fishing with the guys (I'm-not-going-to-name-any-names)...

Truly, it is a delightful schedule that just takes some adjusting to... (I pretty much have the hang of it this year!) The only drawback is that one must hope that no real emergencies come up during this extended period of R&R.

All pics in this post were found on Google Images.

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