Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Today I have a "School Visit" via Zoom with a class iin Monforte de Lemos

   This afternoon, even though I'm in Braga, Portugal, I have a "School Visit" via Zoom with a class in Monforte de Lemos, Galicia, Spain. How cool is that! (The "visit" is to the Escola de Idiomas Eoi Monforte). The class's teacher is a friend of ours, and she teaches English to adult learners. She actually ordered copies of my mystery for students earlier in the year in high hopes that by now Covid 19 would be under control and everything would open up and I would visit in person. (Monforte is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Braga.) Well, things are opening up, but only gradually, and in Galicia classes aren't meeting face to face yet. 

Still, I'm happy to meet her students via Zoom. It's for an hour. I'll be curious about what questions they ask. She has formed a "reading club" with some of her students, and here is the flyer:

    About Monforte de Lemos: Many of you who have followed this blog know my husband and I in pre-Covid days used to go to Galicia twice a year. We started going there in spring of 2014 and even had a house in a small village about twenty minutes away from the town of Monforte (as the locals refer to it).  The "de Lemos" comes from the fact that the town grew up around a castle owned by Conde de Lemos. It's on a hill and overlooks the rather large town that developed since then through the centuries. At times part of it has been a monastery. And there's a cathdral at one side. But now the whole edifice is part of the Parador system and it houses a hotel, a restaurant, and a café/bar. Everyone in town refers to it as "The Parador."

The Parador

The Old Roman Bridge in town

     A walkway in the park in town.

    It gives my heart a twinge to see these old pictures of Monforte. We haven't been there since fall of 2019. Once the borders open up again, we'll look forward to driving up to visit Galicia friends. Until then, we feel very lucky to be in Braga and able to see our Braga friends, whom we've started meeting in the allowable open air spaces outside cafés. 

    Just mentioning the virus at all reminds me that the pandemic is still here for a while. So many countries are suffering from too many cases and not enough vaccines. 

May all of you stay safe and well, and may next year bring happy news for us all. 


Natalie Aguirre said...

That's so cool that you have a school visit in Spain. The Internet really opens up opportunities for us all.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

You are so right, Natalie. Where would be be these days without the Internet! :-)

Sandra Cox said...

I love seeing the area where you now live and getting a bit of history about it. It's so beautiful.
Much to my chagrin, people are slowing down getting shots here.
Take special care.

Rosi said...

It will be fun when you can get back to Monforte. It's so pretty there. Glad you were able to do the school visit. It must have been great for you and for the students.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Rosi, well the visit was a challnge, in that it was zooming from two schools (one in Lugo) and a couple of homes. The Lugo connection was poor, due to a problem with the sound system, so I couldn't really hear student questions. Otherwise, it was fun. But it gave me a deep appreciation of what it means for a teacher these days to conduct classes via Zoom. My friend who set this up is a wonder!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Sandra, yes I've been reading up a little about the vaccination situation, nad have read that some people are refusing them! I, myself, would not want to take that chance. As soon as someone offers me and my husband vaccinations we will jump at the chance. I feel so bad about India right now: We have family and friends there, and the new strain seems out of control.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

What a wonderful way to meet students. I am so impressed at how Zoom has taken off and taken over the world. It's an impressive way to take lectures and such to inquiring minds.

I was saddened to read that you are not allowed to visit Galicia, but at least you are now living in your beautiful city of Braga. I wish we could all be vaccinated, but here in the states, as Sandra pointed out, those who wanted the vaccine already have it, and the rest seem to be resisting for reasons only they can explain.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Elizabeth! Yes, it's wonderful what one can do now with vehicles like Zoom. (I have also been impressed with Skype, which we still use to converse with some friends and family. We are still trying to get the hang of WhatsApp, which many in our far flung family use.)

We had our SEF meetings yesterday and our immigration attorney says we're approved, but it takes about 3 weeks to get our residency permits, and then we need to enroll in the health program next and arrange for Portuguese driving licenses. But you are right about being in beautiful Braga. We feel so fortunate to be here.

Take care, and stay safe and well.

Vicki Lane said...

While nothing is as good as in person events, there are advantages to ZOOM. Have fun!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Vicki; it was fun, although a little complicated. Two classes and one home viewer participated, and one of the classes had trouble with their sound system. But it worked, and I really enjoyed it. I sent the teachers a handout they can email later to their students. Thanks for stopping by.

Mirka Breen said...

As you visit but also live in Portugal, do you speak the language? I have a multi-linguist friend who has moved to Lisbon and is learning Portuguese, as it's missing form her arsenal.
Europe finds itself well behind on the vaccination drive. Here there's more supply now than demand. Having it behind me now, I am glad to also be living in an area where vaccine resistance is low and things are opening up.

DMS said...

Hope the Zoom visit was a success! Definitely a different type of book talk- but still nice to get to connect with readers and writers. :)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Mirka, we don't speak Porguguese yet. We have several books, grammar, dictionary, etc., etc. We can actually read a bit of Portuguese from our Spanish, but the ticklish thing is the pronunciation. It is quite complex to say the least! We are going to get a tutor to pull us through. Since we are living here, learning it is a must, although I will say, the Portuguese are very supportive and encouraging, and Google has a great phone download that helps us.

You are so right about the vaccine situation in Europe, although we seem to know a lot of people here who have gotten or are getting their vaccinations. And once we get enrolled into the system, we'll be eligible.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Jess, the Zoom visit went pretty well. Two classes were involved, one in Monforte and one in Lugo, and one young woman joined from home. The Lugo class had some audio problems, so I couldn't always hear their questions. But for the most part it worked and I think they got something out of it. It's wonderful what technology can permit these days!