Category Archives: ECML

European Centre of Modern Languages Project


Last week I went to the restaurant with my husband, my brother and my sister in law as it was her birthday. We chose to dine at the Vicolo Nostro, a fine Italian restaurant here in Sao Paulo. I had never been there but Claudia told me I couldn't miss the visit.

The restaurant is housed in an ancient German bread factory so the rooms are ample and the walls are made of brick, which gives a warm and cosy look to the place. There are five different rooms you can choose from, all beautifully decorated with objects, paintings brought from Italy. We stayed on the verandah as it was a warm night. Fortunately we had booked beforehand – it was full and people kept on coming.

The food and wine were supreme – I had lamb chops ( costoletta d'agnello ) with soft polenta and mushrooms – my mouth is watering again. Now the best was the dessert. I have even taken a photo. A roll of drums: this is the Crostata di latte brûlé con pistacchio. To die for, isn´t it?

Click here for the original size.



Filed under Blogging, ECML, Photographs


Do you celebrate Carnival in your country? Have you ever participated in a Carnival parade? Do you know what Mardi Gras/Shrove (Fat) Tuesday means? What are the customs and traditions where you live?

In Brazil although not all people parade, it is a feast that starts getting prepared one year ahead and each region offers a different kind of attraction.

In Rio de Janeiro the samba schools league prepare a spectacle not to be missed as they go out and parade in the avenue, sporting thousands of participants who dance, sing and exhibit their costumes and floats according to pre-chosen themes.

In Salvador, the trio elétrico, a truck equipped with a high power sound system, advances on the avenue, blasting the music sung by popular Brazilian singers, while the crowd follows dancing and singing.

In Olinda, the main attraction is the Frevo blocks featuring giant dolls (some are more than 3mts tall).

When I was a kid, I used to wear masks and costumes and my parents would take me to the club, where I danced and sang with the other children. We would also spray people with water, to which we added some red dye called Devil’s Blood. We threw serpentines and confetti on the cars that passed by. Later, as a teen, I went to the night balls at the club wearing different disguises, sang and danced the whole night with whoever came my way.

Today I do not participate in Carnival anymore. I escape to the peace and quiet in the countryside and watch the samba schools contest on television. I’d like to parade for one of the samba schools in Rio though. Maybe next year.


Filed under ECML

Blogging from the Tropics

Blogging from the Tropics is a P2P-EFL-ESL-X project with 39 10th grade (5th form) students (ages 14 to 17) from the Franco-Brazilian school in Sao Paulo.

The level of English is heterogeneous, from lower-intermediate to advanced . The students also speak /write/understand French/Portuguese so although the project is primarily in English, visitors can leave comments in either of these languages.

Our school year goes from February 2006 to December 2006. We have a month for winter holidays in July . We meet 3 times a week for 50 minutes and one of these classes is in the computer lab.

We will be working on Flickr and we would like to invite you to exchange ideas in our group Holiday Surprises and Everyday Scenes.

Here are the links to our individual blogs. You may prefer to see them in alphabetical order here.


Filed under ECML

Your favourite dish

One of my favourite dishes is not Brazilian but Japanese: sushi and sashimi.

Poetry for the mouth and a painting for the eyes!

Have you ever tried using chopsticks to grab thinly sliced raw fish and little rice patties topped with seafood (shrimp, squid or roe) and vegetables?

I am also very fond of Thai food, Italian pasta and sauces, French typical dishes like escargots, frog legs, bouillabaisse and provençal dishes, Spanish paella and fideuá, Polish dumplings and barscz.

What are your favourite dishes and what cuisine do you favour?


Filed under ECML


Oh…I have just noticed it’s ages since I last posted here. Time just flies!

I am presently enjoying a short break from school – only one week…I wish I could stay away a little longer as I have so many things to do!

What I wanted to share with you today is my new photo account.

I have recently bought a new digital camera, which I just adorebecause it is small and light so I can take it everywhere with me and just click when I feel like capturing an interesting scene. You will notice I have organized my photos in several albums. Some photos are only open for friends and family so you will only be able to see the ones that are public.

You may ask yourselves the reason for some of these photos as they do not seem to relate to anything. Well, let me explain. I am a member of several groups who set a theme. So you will find for instance countryside scenes..or all kinds of windows… curves …and interesting shop signs. I must say this has been a very enriching experience, as I not only see the city and objects from a different perspective but also learn from checking what other people have posted and comment on their work.

Is there anything you would like me to photograph for you ? What photo is your favourite and why?

Looking forward to reading you


Filed under ECML, Photographs


Brazil is the largest country in South America as you can see here on the map and over 7000 km are bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. Because of the treaty of Tordesilhas, signed between Portugal and Spain in 1494, it is the only country where Portuguese is spoken. All the other countries speak Spanish.

So, Karolina, I am sorry to disappoint you, but I do not speak Spanish . However, I understand it quite well because it is very similar to Portuguese. Both languages descend from Latin. I agree with you it is a beautiful and melodious language, and I am happy to know you are interested in learning it. My elder son lives in Barcelona, Spain and has a Spanish girlfriend …so when they come to visit me I try to learn from them.

So, apart from Polish and Portuguese, I also speak English and French (Helena, I have posted a little comment on your page) . I learnt English while I was still a little girl because my parents had a lot of international friends and the common language was English. I also have cousins and family who live in the USA so we frequently visited them and this helped me to develop my ear. I learnt French at school, just like you are probably learning English now. However, at that time we did not have all these modern conveniences, nor the Internet so I used to read a lot and this is how I acquired a lot of vocabulary. But I did not know how to speak it ! Only when I met my husband, who is Belgian, did I have to make the effort to communicate and make myself understood (he did not speak Portuguese and very little English). I learnt it so well (he was an excellent teacher) that I managed to bring up my three sons in French/Portuguese and they were educated in the Franco-Brazilian school in São Paulo (southeast of Brazil – see on the map) , where I teach English.

So as you can see, my family is very multicultural. I have three brothers. One is married to a Swiss…so my 3 nieces speak Portuguese and German. The other is married to a Canadian…so there they speak Portuguese and English and finally my other brother is married to a Brazilian, but they have lived some time in Spain and as their 3 kids went to the American school there… they all speak Portuguese, Spanish and English. What a mix!

It’s fun to speak and understand many languages, don’t you think so?


Filed under ECML


Witam wszystkich
Greetings to all
Bonjour tout le monde

Mario has just offered me this cosy space on the web to post my comments, reflections and interact with you. Thank you Mario. It is a pleasure to be in such fine company.

So, let me start by introducing myself. My name's Barbara Dieu but many people online call me just Bee and this is also my avatar. Why Bee? Well…because I used to sign B and later because I became as busy as a bee…buzzing in cyberspace

At home, my family calls me Basia, a diminutive for Barbara in Polish. Although I was born (Rio de Janeiro) and brought up in Brazil, my parents taught me the language and I am very grateful to them for that because undertanding your parents' language makes you more aware of your roots.

As there were no other Polish families where I lived, I thought for a long time Polish was a secret language only we spoke. You can imagine how astonished I was when the first Polish family visited us ! I thought they had broken the code!


Filed under ECML