There really are few things in this world that are more fun than a reunião. But a couple that come to mind immediately are: A poke in the eye with sharp stick. Sawing off both legs with a butter knife. Being shocked with a cattle prod. Solving differential equations. Sweatin' to the Oldies with Richard Simmons.
I try to be a fairly tolerant and patient person, but the meetings (reuniões) I have attended here leave me exhausted, frustrated, and wondering if I could possibly get back those last two hours of my life that would be been better spent refolding all the white t-shirts and socks in Eric's dresser or organizing my cleaning supplies by bottle height and color. I have major issues with poorly managed meetings, meetings without a purpose, and meetings where absolutely nothing gets accomplished. Maybe I spent one too many years studying Robert's Rules of Order, but, seriously people, there is a better way!
Granted, my experience has been limited: 2 teachers' meetings at the language school where I teach and 1 condominium meeting for our apartment building. But, wow! All three times it has gone something like this: There was a scheduled start time. 20 - 75 minutes later, the person who is in charge of conducting the meeting shows up. It starts off good enough by welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming. About 15 minutes into the meeting, I find myself surrounded by everyone in the room all talking at the same time. Maybe it is about the subject at hand or maybe someone else is trying to bring up a new and totally unrelated subject. Either way, everyone in the room has an opinion and they all try to share it at the same time. I am the only person not speaking now and therefore, presumably, the only one listening. And me listening does a heck of a lot of good when I am only able to catch about every third word I hear being shouted all around the room. Every once in a while, someone who really wants everyone to hear their opinion will quiet everyone down until he can make his point to a listening audience. And then the all-around chatter/yelling starts again. After a couple of hours, everyone leaves. I walk out of the room with someone else, who I assume understood more of the meeting than me. I look at him/her and ask, "So, um, what exactly was the purpose/what was decided/was I supposed to come away from that with?" And I usually get a shrug and "Oh, I don't know." So despite the fact that I find it nearly impossible to understand every word of Portuguese when it is coming from 20 different people at once, I don't think my comprehension (or lack thereof) is the problem here.
I mean, I suppose bad meetings are an universal problem. I have been to unproductive meetings in the US too. But, just the same, I think next time I have to attend one here maybe I will walk there in the road instead of the sidewalk. Getting trampled by a passing horse and buggy, tagged by a motorcycle, or flattened by a bus might make for a more enjoyable day . . . really.