Two days ago, Reinaldo attended his last conversational English class in Santa Cruz do Sul. As usual, we talked about anything and everything, from corruption to the ways of perception, from travels to how best live your life. He enjoyed my classes a lot and thought them interesting, stimulating, and helpful, he said. He wasn't however too sure whether his English had improved, he laughed. Well, to be honest, it hasn't, I laughed back.
Reinaldo is in his fifties (I suppose - I've never asked him) and works in tourism. He's been around, from Bariloche to China, and often missed his private class with me. Whenever he managed to attend, we had a ball. Among other things, I learned what a truly special place Easter Island is and that I really need to visit this fabulous hotel in the jungle near Manaus.
One day, he told me of a trip to Ireland, Wales, and England, that he had organised. "How was it?" I inquired. "Very good" he said. "We (a group of Brazilian males) went to see the Guinness Brewery in Dublin." "Any other places that you visited?" "Yes, Wales was fantastic, beautiful mountains and snow". "Snowdonia?" "Yes, and Liverpool, the Cavern Club, where the Beatles played. Unfortunately, I do not remember much of the rest of the trip. We had a lot of beer at that brewery" he laughed.
Reinaldo likes dogs. When the labrador at the school gave birth ("dar a luz" is the wonderfully poetic Portuguese expression for "giving birth"), he inquired whether it was possible to have one of them. "I once had a labrador, you know. At least I thought so. And the one who sold it to me thought so too. Although I was repeatedly told over the years that this dog was by no means a labrador but some bastard I insisted that it was a labrador for I had payed 300 Reais. One day, however, the guy, who had sold the dog to me came to visit and asked after the labrador. When I proudly pointed to the dog sitting next to me, the guy said: "This is not a labrador". Well, I wasn't exactly happy about that."
"In what language do you dream?" I asked him one day. "Women", he laughed.