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Long ago I took a year of Portuguese in college. After that I had little contact with the language until 2005, when I decided to pick it up again, this time seriously, with the idea of eventually visiting Brazil and getting to know the people that I would meet there.

Since I didn’t have any outside pressure to study, and no time limits or tests, I was free to take my time and do only things that I really enjoyed. It seemed to work. This article describes my method. Give it a try and you may have the same results. Read more

“Imagina na Copa!”

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Brazil is working hard to have everything ready for the upcoming Copa do Mundo, the World Cup of soccer, in 2014. The internationally famous Maracanã stadium is undergoing a complete renovation. Streets and roads are being improved. The subway (metrô) is adding more stations. Major airports are scheduled for upgrades before the first whistle blows.

Brazilians are a little cynical about their government’s ability to get everything done on time. FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, has been pressuring Brazil to step up the activity. But the authorities assure all that everything will work out just fine.

Public opinion is that, as usual, it will all come together at the last possible moment, based on the famous “jeitinho brasileiro,” Brazilians’ knack for finding a solution to anything by using unexpected and/or unconventional methods. Read more