TITLE: August 10 -- Language and Fruit AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: August 17, 2004 1:33 PM DESC: day one at SugarLoafPLoP ----- BODY: This is my first trip overseas, and I did not adequately have anticipate how I would feel being where language separates me from the world around me. Not understanding airport announcements and signs left me in a state of constant uncertainty. (I even managed to leave my checked bag at baggage claim in Sao Paulo yesterday, so I lived out of my carry-on for the second of two straight days up. That resulted partly from not understanding the language and partly from not understanding how customs overseas work.) Language can make us lose confidence in other ways, too. Technical jargon can turn a paper or class session into an intimidating experience. Given that I was in Brazil for a conference on how to write more effectively, this fact stood out to me from my experiences moving around the country, even with a native Brazilian often at my side to help me. I hope that I am able to keep this feeling in my mind this semester as I prepare lectures and talks for my students. I was to give my first talk to open the conference today, on writing patterns and pattern languages, but it was first postponed from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM and then finally to 8:00 AM Tuesday morning. Paulo Borba, Rossana Andrade, and I spent the morning in Fortaleza on the campus of the Federal University of Ceara (UFC), where Rossana teaches. One of Rossana's students defended his master's thesis, and Paulo was on the thesis committee. When the defense ran later than scheduled and we spent more time than expected over lunch, we ended up arriving at the Aquaville Resort outside of Fortaleza after the time the conference was to begin. So we, as the chairs of the conference, postponed the start by half an hour! Things worked this way all week -- the schedule seemed more a helpful suggestion than a rigid expectation. The Brazilian folks seemed comfortable with this from the start. I adapted to this rhythm pretty quickly myself. Brazil has a lot of different fruits that we never see up here. Many have juice that is enjoyable only after sweetening, and the tastes of many are less bold than their more famous cousins, but they do add a new twist to the Brazilian diet. I especially like caja juice! -----