Friday, May 27, 2011

Back to school, and fun with vaccinations

I've been accepted for a teaching position in Brazil, starting in August.  Yay!

It's apparently very difficult and expensive to obtain professional work visas in Brazil, so word is that most of the smaller language schools try to sponsor people on a student/trainee visa.  Used to be, all that was necessary was to enroll in a class in Brazil.  However, recently that's changed and now one must be a student in one's home country as well.

Therefore, I am back in school, (re) taking a TESOL practicum course.  It's nice to see that my lesson preparation is so much faster now that I've had a lot of practice. On the other hand, the first-time jitters in a new situation are still alive and well.  I sweated buckets teaching the first night.  It's a perfect time for me to take the course, so that I can get some critical feedback on my teaching.  Working with adults is a refreshing change; what a lovely thing to have students who are self motivated to learn English.

For Brazil, due to the yellow fever endemic there (per the extremely useful and informative CDC website), I had to go to a specialized travel medicine clinic instead of my family doctor.  The upside is that they are very knowledgeable about worldwide diseases.  The downside is that they are very convincing... and expensive.  I got seven vaccines and am a over thousand dollars poorer, with several still to go.  Ouch.  However, as they pointed out at the clinic, as a teacher my level of disease exposure is higher than average.  All of the vaccines will last for at least 5 years, some for life, so it's a good investment.

Here is what I got:
  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella
  • Pneumococcal (Pneumonia)
  • Meningitis 
  • Tetanus/Diptheria/Pertussis
  • Yellow Fever
  • Typhoid 
  • Hepatitis A/B (series of three - plan ahead if you need this)
Rabies vaccinations would have cost another $900, so despite their recommendation, I will just avoid animals! (Yes, that means no cat rescue this time.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The First Grader - a film about literacy and education

If you watch this movie trailer from National Geographic Entertainment, Capella University will donate $0.50 to education programs worldwide.

I look forward to seeing this film, as it looks like a powerful and poignant appeal about the value of education and literacy.  (And a number of other social issues.) 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

White Bean and Sausage Soup (Slow Cooker)

Yep, that's two sausage recipes in a row, I used half the package in the previous soup and the other half in this one.

White Bean and Sausage Soup (Slow Cooker)

1/2 lb. spicy ground sausage (or remove link sausage from casings)
1 lb. white beans
1 large onion, diced
10 cloves elephant garlic, sliced
1 sprig rosemary
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. anise seeds
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder

Soak beans overnight with a bit of baking soda in the water. Rinse and drain. Boil in fresh water 10 minutes. Rinse and drain again.
Put beans in crockpot with enough water to make the soup.
Fry sausage in skillet, using oil to prevent sticking if sausage is lean.

Add onions and garlic and a dash of water, cook until softened.
Put sausage mixture in crockpot.
Toss in spices.
Cook 1 hour on high, reduce to low for 8 hours.

The herbs are all carminatives, meaning they are supposed to reduce flatulence. This has yet to be tested...

Planning to add two cans of diced tomatoes, but waiting until the beans are done because the acid in the canned tomatoes will make the beans hard.

It's cooking now; will let you know how it tastes in 8 hours.

Update: It tasted rather bland because I hadn't added any salt; apparently beans absorb more flavor than potatoes! I ended up adding salt, more cumin seeds, and two cans of diced tomatoes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Potato & Sausage Soup

I made soup today and it turned out yummmm.

spicy ground pork sausage (if you don't have ground sausage, you can remove link sausage from casings)
onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
potatoes, diced
beef bouillon cube
sprig of rosemary

Fry sausage in skillet until pink is all gone.
Add onions and fry until onions become a bit soft.
Turn off heat, toss in carrots and garlic.
Let them sit there and warm while prepping the potatoes.
Put potatoes in large pot and add all other ingredients, with enough water to cover.
Bring to boil and simmer about an hour. (I used a slow cooker for 4 hours.)
Pick out rosemary stem.
Eat soup.