"You shouldn’t have to be afraid of the people that are protecting the community." — Lewis Douglas, age 35.
Photo from #MatadorN Ambassador @cengizyar. Follow his feed for more stories from #Ferguson, #Missouri.
#Travelstoke! ➡️ Awesome #reflection shot in #Switzerland by #MatadorN reader @nicolehunziker. Thanks for tagging!
#mountains #lake #nature #outdoors #travel #europe
Great shot from #Plitvice Falls in #Croatia from #MatadorN reader @wild_wanderlust_. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!
#nature #waterfalls #travel
High-school students don’t care that the riff in Rihanna’s “SOS” originally came from Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love.” Mentioning that I grew up during the 1980s and listened to the original on a Walkman doesn’t impress teenagers. Not at all. It’s also not a big deal to them that I composed my papers on a typewriter and used whiteout to ‘delete’ my mistakes. What they take in? “Blah, blah, blah, I’m old.”
Nostalgia’s great, but sharing details in a tone that makes everything sound better, more authentic, or harder in your days of yore doesn’t fly. Basically, teenagers can’t relate, and you end up sounding somewhat bitter. You lose them at, “When I…”
Teens and travelers aren’t so different. Most people don’t want to hear that you experienced the cooler or more ‘real’ version of before tourists came and ruined it. Also, mentioning that you traveled before the internet and travel apps were around always seems to elicit glazed expressions.
It happens. It’s a hot day; I’m tired; I’m an American exchange teacher, and my Australian ninth graders aren’t listening to directions. Then, one kid relentlessly tells me how “bloody unfair” I am for taking points off his assignment because he didn’t have his name on it. I react by saying: “Just put your f**king name on the paper, Zack!”
At the end of class, after I apologized for my outburst to Zack and the rest of my ninth graders, they responded like this: “No dramas, Miss, we say f**k all the time.” And Zack’s response was: “Actually, Miss, I was being a bit of a wanker.”
The same goes for traveling. Experiencing heinous humidity, jet lag, miscommunications, missed trains, and culture shock can build up and prompt us to lose it on someone, whether it be a travel companion, a train ticketing clerk, or a street vendor. It happens — we’re human. But we shouldn’t forget to apologize for a travel-weary tirade.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made with a class was starting off the year with lots of sarcasm. Teenagers can dish it out, but they can’t always take it. It was challenging to establish trust with my students or get a convivial vibe going, since they thought I was always making fun of them.
A trip is what you make of it. Travel is an adventure, and you’ll encounter the unexpected regularly. Mishaps and misadventures are bound to happen, and it’s our attitude with these experiences that can make or break the journey. For example, if you end up in the wrong car on the TGV from Paris to the south of France, and the only seating option is a cramped, metal slatted luggage rack, laugh and take a selfie.
As an exchange teacher, I thought I’d have no problem teaching English in Australia. I’d taught in the US for nine years. Americans and Aussies speak the same language and share the same semantics and grammar rules, right? Not always.
Australians, I discovered, have one main connotation for “period,” and that would be menstruation — not a punctuation mark that ends a sentence. A “full stop” does that in Oz. That’s problematic for an American English teacher who’s trying to teach kids to avoid run-on sentences by using proper punctuation. You can imagine what kind of reaction you get after telling Aussie eighth graders they need to work on their commas and periods.
A teacher will rarely survive without a sense of humor. Making mistakes and having embarrassing moments are inevitable (see lesson 4 above). Whether it’s accidentally spitting on an overhead projector and having my saliva magnified on screen, or beginning my syllabus with the typo (“Pubic Speaking” in bold letters), I’ve made some mistakes that deserve to be made fun of. The kids are definitely going to make fun of me; I’ve learned it’s better to bring the ridicule on myself.
Humor is an international icebreaker. You inquire about rooms at a Rotterdam hotel and find out the rates are charged by the hour. Instead of saying you’re very “tired” (cansada) in Spanish, you inform total strangers you’re very “married” (casada). Find the humor, and laugh with the locals.
I can spend hours trying to perfect a lesson plan only to discover that it crashes and burns in the classroom. Or circumstances beyond my control put the kibosh on it. For example, I’ve organized an online scavenger hunt only to have the internet go down indefinitely.
According to a study by Thomas L. Good and Jere E. Brophy, authors of Looking into Classrooms, teachers are confronted with 1,000 decision points per day. Consequently, sometimes I have to jettison my original agenda and wing it.
Being flexible is essential for successful travel. If I miss getting off the ferry at Mykonos because I’m taking zillions of photos of the island’s stunning whitewashed buildings, I know it’s time to check out what my Greece guidebook says about Tinos, the next stop.
Teenagers are a tough crowd. As inherent eye rollers and loud sighers, they’re not afraid to let it be known when I’m not reaching them. It’s important to pay attention to what they already know, to find out what they need to know, to listen to feedback, and to take into account their learning styles.
Teenagers, naturally, will size you up. So will travelers and locals. It may take a while to win over a new group of people. You may be up against negative stereotypes of your nationality. But being receptive to people, trying to communicate, and learning the local customs will go a long way.
Teaching teenagers would be miserable if I didn’t like them. They can be insufferable, dramatic, feral, and all-around nightmares, but, of course, those pulsating hormones have something to do with it. Also, some students have horrific lives at home. School can be a safe haven, and I know I might be the only person who acknowledges them. Getting to know students, along with valuing their thoughts, opinions, and contributions, is part of the deal.
Finally, it’s critical to have passion for what I teach. If I’m not enthusiastic about Gothic literature from the 1800s or free-verse poetry, chances are my students aren’t going to be psyched on those topics either.
With regard to travel, why spend time in a location if you don’t care about the land, language, culture, or people? Yes, some places can be challenging and, initially, may leave an unfavorable impression, but it’s still important to be open-minded and give the area a chance. Do some research, learn some facts, and practice useful phrases that’ll help you appreciate a place.
And about the passion for travel — if you don’t have it, it’s probably time to book a return ticket home.From: 8 travel lessons from the classroom // http://ift.tt/1v40w1Z
#MatadorN reader @scott_kranz waking up above the clouds at Wing Lake before climbing Black Peak in North Cascades National Park, Washington. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!
#clouds #light #camping #mountains #washington #nature #outdoors #sunrise
Florence has some great shopping, but head to Via Tornabuoni or any of the shops that line the Piazza del Duomo and you’re sure to pay extra for the location.
Locals don’t like paying for designer labels, so take a cue from them and do your shopping at the markets. The best one is the Ciompi Market in Piazza dei Ciompi. Unlike most of the markets that are only open on certain days, Ciompi is open Monday through Saturday, 9am to 7pm, as well as the last Sunday of the month.
It’s not worth it. With scorching hot days, swarms of mosquitoes, and even bigger swarms of tourists, sightseeing in summer is almost a surefire way to ruin your day. The locals who know better escape to the hills or seaside instead.
Springtime is perfect because you can enjoy the city’s gardens and a more moderate temperature, or come for the winter holidays to see the Christmas lights and the famous Santa Croce Christmas Market. In any season besides summer, you’re sure to have less crowds and more peace.
Each region in Italy has its own unique cuisine. Florence is home to Tuscan food, which is definitely different from what you’d eat in Rome. Don’t screw up your trip by ordering basic tourist dishes like pasta al pomodoro, or worse, a salad.
Most classic Florentine meals are simple dishes with a rustic flavor. Try an antipasto of crostini di fegato, thin slices of lightly toasted bread spread with a chicken liver pate. For a primo, try the ragù al cinghiale (pasta with wild boar sauce) or tagliatelle al tartufo (pasta covered in a truffle sauce), a specialty found nearly exclusively in Tuscany.
Afterward, split a bistecca fiorentina with a friend. This mammoth T-bone steak is so thick it’s cooked on its front, back, and side and usually weighs three to four pounds. For the best fiorentina, head to the Trattoria Bordino in Oltrarno.
The Ponte Vecchio is beautiful, a historic landmark, and filled with interesting people, but that doesn’t make it a particularly useful bridge. Connecting the city center with Oltrarno, the bridge also houses the Vasari Corridor, connecting the ancient Pitti Palace with the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio so that the nobles wouldn’t have to walk among the common folk. But even today, you won’t find an Italian on the overcrowded bridge.
Go at least once around sunset to check out the jewelry shops and the beautiful view of the Arno, then stick around to listen to the live music that starts after nightfall. After that, use one of the nearby parallel bridges if you actually need to get somewhere.
If you don’t have a lot of time in the city, climbing the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo’s cupola is definitely not worth it. The Duomo is magnificent, and the view from the top is mesmerizing, but it’s not the only place to catch an awesome view of the city. Skip hours of waiting in the sun, and use the time to hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo for a more relaxed, definitely more satisfying, and free view of Florence. Or, if you have a longer day, take the #7 bus from the train station to Fiesole, a city that sits in the hills above Florence, for a more romantic view.
If you’re still dead set on climbing the Duomo, you’ll likely be able to skip the line if it’s November and you get there at least half an hour before it opens at 8:30am.
Oltrarno, or “the other side of the Arno,” is the neighborhood located across the Arno River, away from the city center. Home to the Boboli Gardens, Palazzo Pitti, and Piazzale Michelangelo, it’s also a vibrant neighborhood with some great shopping. Once the artisan quarter of Florence, it’s still home to dozens of workshops and studios.
You can spend hours talking with the artisans, or shopping for real products from Florence (instead of the mass-produced ones at San Lorenzo Market). The Sarubbi Brothers on Sdrucciolo dei Pitti create handmade prints and hand-drawn maps, or visit Monaco Metropolitana on Via Ramaglianti to learn what it takes to make leather shoes and purses.From: How to ruin your trip to Florence // http://ift.tt/1s5R1x9
Technicolor sky over #Brensholmen, #Norway. Photo by #MatadorN reader @hammerphotos. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!
#nightsky #sky #northernlights #travel #longexposure #tromso #colorful #color
FOR MANY people who’ve traveled extensively and/or lived abroad, home can be a tenuous subject. It’s easy to lose a sense of it when you’re constantly on the go or have changed addresses six times in two years. I left my “home” of Vancouver when I was 31 and after longterm traveling in Europe and SE Asia, then living in Australia, I sensed it was no longer my home. When I returned in 2010 for the Olympics as soon as I stepped foot in the city I knew it was not home anymore. Even after moving to Nelson, BC four years ago — which is where I call home nowadays — it took me a long time to settle in and plant some solid roots.
Not having a place to call home can feel unsettling, but it can also be very exciting. This month we’re exploring this topic in our next #MatUTalks Twitter chat on Thursday August 14 at 2:30 EST.
We will also be giving away a few copies of Images of America: Keweenaw County, a photo book authored by MatadorU student Jennifer Billock. The book topped the best-sellers list in June for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and reached #6 for the entire state. During the chat we will randomly draw from participants.
To participate in the chat, follow MatadorU on Twitter and use the hashtag #MatUTalks to find and respond to the questions.From: Not having a place to call home can // http://ift.tt/1smvbDa
You can strike the “com licença” and just say “ó, desculpe!” over and over again until someone hears you. It works everywhere, from asking for help in the streets to ordering food.
2. Pá – “Hey,” “So,” and other meaningless interjections
“Pá” is the Portuguese equivalent of “che” for Argentinians. You use it at the beginning or ending of a sentence. Or you can just say “Pá…” and scratch your head, while thinking about something.
During the Carnation Revolution, a French journalist came to Portugal (without knowing much Portuguese) and, after talking to a lot of people, made a note to see a guy named “Pá” since he was always being mentioned. That’s how much we use it.
3. E então? – “So what?”
If someone’s bothering you, or accusing you of doing something, you can say “E então?” like you just don’t give a damn about their problems, and move on with your life.
4. Vai mais uma? – “One more?”
This is what you should say when you’ve been at the bar a while, everyone’s getting tipsy, and you’re unsure whether or not to order another beer. Just call the waiter — “Ó, desculpe” — and look to your friends and ask, “Vai mais uma?”
5. Que se foda a Troika! – “Fuck Troika!”
This one will win you a lot of friends and a general look of approval. Portugal has been in deep financial crisis, and three global financial organizations — the IMF, European Commission, and the European Central Bank — aka, the “Troika,” have stepped in to help. Gladly, they’re almost gone, but most of the measures implemented by the Troika were deeply unpopular, and basically made everyone poorer.