25 days of Brazil

For 25 days I had the incredible opportunity of living in Brazil.
I put into the written language only a small taste of what I actually experienced... It was hard for me to capture the essence, experience, sensation, thrill, adventure and emotion of what was taking place. The time was busy, and not wanting to be wasted; I was reluctant to sit in front of a screen and type.
But alas, I was able to write some things, and below are the posts I managed to squeeze in while I was there.
It was a powerful month, filled with memories and special people.
I hope you enjoy following along with me in my journey to new horizons.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Hi! :)

I'm in Brazil!!!!
I'm not sure what you all want to hear/read about, but I guess I'll tell you how our trip went.
So first off, my mom and I were scheduled to leave the Portland airport at 2:11pm on Tuesday, February 26. However, after we'd gotten through airport security, my mom asked a lady how the weather was in Chicago (where our layover was going to be). Long story short, we went home that day, and didn't leave for Brazil until the next morning, at 10:40am. So, we left a day later and arrived a day later than we'd planned, but, finally, we got here! :) I'm just happy to be done traveling and finally here with Paul & Megan. :)

So at 10:40am Wednesday morning, February 27, my mom and I left PDX and had a 4-hour flight to Chicago, Illinois. The airplane was small, with very cramped seating, and I got quite nauseous an hour into the flight. It was fun, though, to see the landscape below, and feel the takeoff and landing.
In Chicago it was 34 degrees Fahrenheit and snowing. Unfortunately it was cloudy, so we didn't really get a view of the city. We had a 5-hour layover at the airport, so we walked around a bit, had some food, and then waited for our next flight. This next flight was on a Boeing 777---bigger, nicer, and with three rows of seats. The trip was 10 hours long, and overnight. We got on the airplane around 9:30pm, I believe (Chicago time), but didn't actually takeoff for another hour. Around 11pm I think it was, they served us dinner! Not the best, but hey I was hungry. After that it was windows closed, lights off and time to sleep! Airplane seats are very uncomfortable for trying to sleep. I twisted and turned and tried to find a comfortable position, but it was quite hopeless. I think my mom and I both dozed a few times throughout the night, but never slept for very long. Surprisingly, the flight seemed to go by quite fast for me, and I sure was excited when there was only an hour left and we were descending. We had been flying at 37,000 feet, and it was -57 degrees Fahrenheit outside. It was incredible, flying so high, with the clouds below, and all of outer space around us. The sunrise was amazing---deep orange fringing the edge of the world.
Every seat had it's own personal TV screen... My mom and I listened to The Piano Guys most of the night. :)

We arrived at the Sao Paulo airport in Brazil at about 10:30am, I think (Brazil time). The first thing I noticed was the heat. It was hot!! And sunny!!! Such a difference from the frigid air of Chicago. As we were flying over Sao Paulo, we saw all the hills just covered with red roofs... I'm sorry I didn't get a picture---it was so cool.
We got off the airplane about 45 minutes after we landed, then walked and walked and walked through the airport. We finally passed through customs, got our luggage, and met up with Paul.
YAAAAAAY!!!! Already I was sweating, and ready to lie down. (I don't know who all of you knew, but I was very sick last week, and I'm still recovering... and not feeling the greatest.)
Since Paul & Megan do not have a vehicle of their own, we have to rely on public transportation. So, we were going to take the bus, but we missed it by 10 minutes, so we had another 2-hour wait in the airport. That was fine with me---I laid down and dozed.
At about 1pm I think it was, we got on the bus, and oh my goodness!!!! The bus was SOOOOO nice!! Probably my favorite part of the whole trip. It was high up so you could see a lot, air conditioned, quiet, and with huge, comfy seats that could recline. So I settled in for the hour ride, and enjoyed it immensely. Sao Paulo is a HUGE city, with high-rise buildings and red roofs as far as you can see in every direction. I was enraptured with just the difference of everything... The vegetation was the main thing---lots of tropical trees and bright flowers, lime colored grass... And just different roads, buildings, signs, vehicles... All of it. I loved the ride so much I didn't want to ruin it by taking pictures---so I didn't get any. :( I didn't want to close my eyes either, and miss anything, but I did doze off a few times--we were all so tired, and the seats were so comfortable!
Our stop came soon enough, and we hopped out onto the cobblestone road, and hefted our luggage to two nearby taxis. Public transportation is excellent here, and they have some of the best and safest Subways in the world (subways as in trains). The taxi ride was also lots of fun---closer to the ground, right in the middle of the busy city, with the windows rolled down and our arms hanging out the sides. :) I sure was grinning.

We arrived at our final destination by about 2:30pm I think it was, on Thursday, February 28. Campinas, Brazil, Paul & Megan's house. It was so surreal seeing my sister right there, in full, real person. !!!!! Wow!!!! It was an exciting, tearful reunion.

I love the house. It's so open and airy---the doors and windows are always kept open, and we're right in the middle of Campinas. We're wearing shorts and t-shirts, have our hair up in ponytails, have the fans on, are drinking mango juice, and the sun is shining. :) My mom and I stayed awake the rest of the day---we unpacked all the stuff we'd brought for Paul and Megan, then ate dinner together and were just around. Karis warmed up to me very quickly, and Ethan let us hold him---such a chunk he is. :)

I took a cool shower and by 8:30pm Campinas time, mom and I were both in bed, exhausted. We each have a small, twin-sized bed, and we share a room upstairs. We left the window open for a breeze, but it was very noisy. My mom slept great---snored very loud. I didn't sleep so well, but did get some rest.
Waking up around 8:30am I felt very discombobulated---it being the middle of the night for us, but it was all bright and noisy and alive here.

Soo.... This is our first full day here, in Brazil. The laptop says it's 10am---it's still on Portland time. :P It's 5 hours ahead for us here, so it's 3pm. It's been a relaxing day so far, and I got to go with my sister to the grocery store and help her carry the groceries back. We walk everywhere.
I'm still not feeling the best, and it's hot here too, so I think this'll be all for now, and I'm going to go rest. My mother just finished making chocolate chip cookies for our guests tonight. :)

Till next time!

And I just experienced my first tropical storm... :) Tons of rain, and loud thunder.
Pretty exciting.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Good afternoon! :)

It's about 2:15pm here, and this morning we all went to the "hippie fair." It was a lot of fun to get out and walk and see people and a bit of the culture here. (The hippie fair is a lot like a Portland Saturday Market or Farmer's Market.) There were lots of booths and vendors selling all kinds of things from jewelry and clothes to honey and paintings. Lots of different people, and we saw one guy playing some kind of really cool instrument, and some other guys doing a kind of martial arts dance.

Last night wasn't fun trying to sleep. With the time change it was about midnight here, but 7pm to my body clock. So I was wide awake, and then the people here like to play extremely loud music with tons of deep bass---so much and so loud that it rattles our window as they drive by. I finally went to sleep after awhile, and when I woke up sometime in the middle of the night (like 4am or something) I was so surprised to discover that it was quiet outside. At around 5am I was awakened to the sound of very strange birds calling loudly. Around 8:30am the roads were busy again with the usual morning traffic; and I knew I couldn't sleep anymore.

Here are just some things about Brazil that I've taken notice of, that are a little different than the U.S.

All the vehicles are small and either black or white. Only occasionally will you see a red one.
They like very loud music with lots of bass.
There are mosquitoes.
The only hot water source in the house is the shower.
You do NOT put toilet paper in the toilets---you throw everything in a trash can.
There are no houses with grass. Houses and business are built in the same area.
Cars and motorcycles have the right of way; they will not stop for people.
Vegetation is tropical.
The weather is usually hot and sunny, with a breeze. Torrents of rain, lightning and loud thunder will come and go quickly, making the roads look like it flooded.
You sleep at night with only a thin sheet, or no sheet at all.
Bars are in front of all the windows, and there are locked gates in front of all the houses.
There are 24-hour guards stationed at many important buildings.
The police cars always have their lights flashing; when something’s important they turn on their sirens.
Public transportation is excellent---reliable and safe.
Drinking water is bought; you do not drink from the faucets.
All the buildings are concrete with red roofs, and are very expensive because they take so much manual labor. They are built to last---some are 200 years old. 
The average Brazilian does not know how to use a map. Everything here is harder to maneuver, from roads to using the ATM and getting visas to mailing a letter.
There are House Sparrows here, just like in the U.S.
Pay phones are called "big ears" in Portuguese.

That's about all I have for now. I helped my mom hang the laundry this morning--that was fun. :) Also, I think I do want to learn Portuguese while I'm here. I can say a few words. :) 

There's a helicopter on top of this building that takes important businessmen to and from work every day. It's right by our house.
The house with the Brazilian flag on the wall

Baby Ethan! :)
Paul's masterpiece... Building with Karis' new blocks. :)

Stop sign
When it was raining

Every street has a different cobblestone design. They're all really cool!

Some guy playing a really cool sounding instrument
Guys doing a martial arts dance

A bird flies in and out of the kitchen.

Paul & Megan are out on their FIRST DATE together!! Since they've come to Brazil they haven't had anyone to watch the kids for them, so they've always taken them with them; but now we're here! :)
So, my mom and I banded together and watched baby and toddler, and made pancakes together for dinner. Then I bottle fed Ethan (the first time I've ever bottle fed a baby!), and then I took down the laundry and hung up some more while Mom did the dishes. It's like real livin'... You take time to do stuff. You breathe while you hang the laundry on the line, feed the baby, hand wash the dishes... Time to think and reflect. We just finished playing with Karis and Mom changed both the kids and put them to bed---while I'm zapping mosquitoes. Hehehe I just killed like 10. We're also having an ant infestation problem too.
We were able to Skype home with my dad, and now I think we'll do a bit of toy cleanup before we settle down and watch our own movie. :) 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Good Afternoon! :)

It's another hot, beautiful day here!
Saturday night is drinking night for all of Campinas. Until very late there were lots of people outside our house, talking, laughing, clapping and singing. There was the usual loud music and booming bass too. Finally, I think around 1:30am, I fell asleep, and actually slept the whole night through! I knew the peacefulness was too good to be true though... At 8:30am some workers started jack hammering on our street. What a way to wake up on a Sunday!
Once I was awake and ready, we all went to the park for the morning. The roads were completely empty from everyone's late night.
The park was busy enough though, and it was fun to see all the kids and people, and watch Karis chase the birds and dogs. We also got to try some traditional Brazilian cheese bread, pão de queijo.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Sorry I've been a bit lax in my posting... I will try to give a sufficient update without making it too long.

Another random, interesting fact here is that you will often hear car alarms go off. I hardly ever heard car alarms back home, but here they will go off just from someone driving by with loud music.

My last post was Sunday morning---it's already Wednesday afternoon. Time is going by very fast! We are keeping plenty busy here, what with things to do, places to see, babies to watch, food to prepare, and dishes to wash.

Sunday evening, after dinner, we went to the church Paul & Megan have been attending. It was entirely in Portuguese, so my mom and I did not understand any of it. They sang two or three songs I recognized, and I caught a few words during the sermon, but otherwise I was quite clueless. They are a very charismatic church, biblically based, and big on the Holy Spirit. Their main preacher is a woman, and the sermon was along the lines of God's authority.
All the people here are very warm, welcoming, friendly and inviting.

Monday afternoon Megan and I walked to a little smoothie place and ordered a mango smoothie and a coconut-pineapple smoothie. They were so good! Sweet, cool and refreshing, and frothy. We talked for the next hour, then did about 45 minutes of studying before returning home. It hadn't been just my sister and I since before she left to Brazil... It was so nice to have some sister-to-sister time. :)

Just as soon as we got home I left again, this time with Paul, and we went to run a few errands. I love observing Paul converse freely with the natives here... Portuguese swirling around my head. (He and Megan have learned the language so well!)
When we returned to the house we found Karis with her swimsuit on, and the ladies ready to put their feet in the little kiddie pool. 10 minutes later we were all seated around the pool, sipping Passion Fruit nectar and nibbling on chocolate chip cookies. The cool water was a relief in the heat.

Yesterday, Tuesday, was an especially hot day for Campinas. Mom and I walked with Paul & Megan to their language class, and then went on to the park with Karis and Ethan. All the ladies and nannies were there with their babies, and they came to us with big smiles and good humor. They shared their toy things with Karis, and chattered away to us in Portuguese. We smiled and laughed, and all was good. Karis loved running at the park pigeons and scaring them.

Mom whipped up some biscuits for lunch, and having them with butter and honey was delicious. :) Paul & Megan got back from their class, and then Paul and I went to run some more quick errands. We went into a cute little glitzy shop to buy some large hair clips for Karis (ones she wouldn't swallow... They had an episode not long ago where she swallowed a hair clip during her nap... It went all the way down her throat and through her digestive tract; thankfully without any injuries.), and the shop owner started talking rapidly to Paul. Half an hour later we left that shop---the lady talked to us about all sorts of things, and became fast friends with Paul and wanted Megan to teach her English. That lady was a very typical, flamboyant Brazilian woman. (How I love the culture here: laid back, relaxed, not in a hurry, very friendly... The cashiers here sit on chairs and just scan your items like they have all the time in the world; and they'll chit-chat with you, and smile.)

Paul and I got back in time for dinner... Mom had made pizza! :) It was very good, but a thing I should tell you is that everything is different here. Sugar doesn't look like sugar, flour doesn't look like flour, pizza sauce is not what you would think of as pizza sauce, cheese isn't cheese, and the oven doesn't get to a high temperature.

As soon as dinner was over Paul & Megan sneaked out of the house for another date before Paul leaves. That left Mom and I with the kids again, and it was a busy night. Huge clouds gathered in the far-off sky, and we had a spectacular lightning show. At the same time the lizards came out of hiding. It was fun to see the sky all light up, and the lizards skittering across the walls. Karis was a bit scared though, because of the lightning, and both Mom and I gave a sigh of relief when she finally went to bed.
Our work wasn't done though: we had yet to wash all the dishes in the kitchen, and wipe up the counters so more ants wouldn't be attracted. And it was still hot.

I actually slept well last night: weeknights are quiet. :) The morning started out with a most scrumptious orange-mango-banana smoothie Paul had made, and then a shower to cool off. Paul went on another errand, the rest of us stayed home to do some things. We studied and watched kids until lunch. After eating my mom and I did the dishes, and then we didn't know what to do with ourselves because the kitchen was clean and the children were sleeping! So, we decided to make something yummy. Paul & Megan would like that. :)
We made some no-bake oatmeal peanut butter cookie things, which turned out very sweet, and a bit crunchy (since we didn't have quick oats and their food processor here doesn't really work.). They were also quite gooey, because it was so hot. So, my mom stuck them in the fridge, and then they were all right. :)
      Just as we were finishing them up, Paul came into the kitchen and said he needed to go to the Policia Federal again, and that I could come too if I wanted. A 15-minute taxi ride through the city, and another chance to get out of the house and see people? Of course I wanted to go! :)
So we walked to the bank, then caught a taxi to the Policia Federal. It was so cool to see more of Campinas, and have the experience of going to the federal police and see Paul working with the people there. (No one's in trouble or anything, it's just for some official business Paul & Megan have to deal with.)

And that pretty much brings you up-to-date! :) When we returned from our little trip Megan made an iced coffee for all of us, and we enjoyed that with our cookies. :) We had another round of lightning, thunder and rain again, and now it's just dinner time.

Next on our agenda is to potty train Karis! :)

Brazilians eat much later: restaurants here are full from about 9 to 11pm; one restaurant is open until 6am. 

After the kidos went to bed, we had fun playing Quiddler. Never heard of it? I hadn't either... It's almost exactly like Scrabble, only with cards instead. I also learned that "quid" is a word... It means either one pound of sterling, or a lump of chewing tobacco.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

One Week in Brazil!

I have been in Brazil one week now!!
I've learned a few Portuguese words, have a feel for the routine here, experienced the heat and gotten to see a bit of the culture and lots of Brazilians! :)

Today Paul and I went to the Policia Federal again, but this time we walked both ways. Once there we found lots of Mormons, and one of them started talking to us. Turns out he's from Portland as well (Oregon City to be exact), and was super excited to meet some fellow Americans from his hometown, and speak English with us. :) All the Mormons had merely two months of language study, and then two years of missionary work here in Brazil. The man we met spoke Portuguese incredibly well, and even had a Brazilian accent! (A total American, taking on an accent like that? That's crazy!)

Back home it was strip the diapers day, and potty training for Karis. :) We were all busy bustling around the house doing various chores, running up and down the stairs, and working in the kitchen or juggling the kids.
                  Just to get a hot load of laundry going we have to get a hose, hoist it upstairs, push it through the window so it drops down to the ground outside, hook it up to the shower hose (the only hot water source in the house), tighten the hose so the water doesn't come back through, and then run downstairs and put the hose in the wash machine and wait half an hour for it to fill up. Then we have to run back upstairs, turn off the shower, unhook the hose, run all the way back downstairs and outside to turn on the wash machine, and then an hour and a half later the wash will be done. (And then we have to get everything out and hang it on the line to dry, and then get it off the line and put it all away.) 

And when it rains, it pours. Almost daily it rains, lightnings and thunders here. And the rain just dumps. It also so conveniently happened that Paul needed to run to the bank at that moment, and Karis needed a good wetting, so we all left the shelter of the house for the pouring rain. :) What crazy Americans we are. :)
Paul, Karis and I were completely soaked through by the time we got to the second corner of the street. The rain was pouring, and all the storm drains were gushing like wild waterfalls. Buses and cars driving by threw up huge sprays of water, and a large water hole had literal tons of water just madly flooding in with frightening force. The thunder was very loud and deep as well, rumbling and growling, and the lightning far off in the eerie sky was spectacular.

After dinner tonight Paul got the iPod and speakers out and cranked up the music, and we took turns "dancing" with Karis. (Hastily running about the house and doing crazy jumps, spins and twirls, and flying through the air...) Karis loves that time, and it's a great workout for whoever's dancing with her. The music is also very motivational for the person washing dishes. :)

After the kids were in bed, we all congregated in the living room and Paul read aloud a mystery story.

I am absolutely loving my time here in Brazil, and so thankful I had the opportunity to come.
Thank you all for your prayers of safety, health and sleep: we are thus far safe, I am back to normal health again, and we are beginning to sleep through the nights. :)

One week down, only three more to go!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The victory over a successfully potty trained toddler has not yet come to pass... There have been many accidents and lots of practicing as we continue working with Karis. As my sister said, "Potty training is not for the faint of heart!" 

We're having a problem with ants running rampant throughout the house, and hungry mosquitoes who wish to suck all our blood. (I'm recovering from 32 bites on my legs alone.) 

Friday night we had some American families over for a spaghetti and French bread feast. (Brazilians traditionally have a piece of French bread every morning for breakfast along with their cup of coffee.) Some boys and Paul caught a very big spider after dinner, two or three inches long, and in trying to identify it we believe it's a kind of Brazilian Wandering Spider. One kind of Brazilian Wandering Spider is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most venomous spider in the world. We're unsure if ours is the most venomous or not, but we're keeping it in a jar outside for the time being. Paul wants to feed it some lizards before he kills it. 

Saturday morning my mom and I stepped out of the house with courage and went to the Saturday Market by ourselves. There were lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, and even raw sugarcane juice I got to drink!                    
The market
On the walk home we stopped in a shoe store just for the fun of it. 

All the women wear these. Shoes here average $100.
In the evening I finally got to see the legendary garbage truck. :D 

The garbage truck :-O
Sunday morning we took some family pictures before walking to church. 

And here are some pictures from our walk, a glimpse of what Campinas looks like:

What's left of the river Campinas was built around. :)

The Nazarene church we visited. Full orchestra for worship! :-o

Paul & Megan are continuing their language studies, and my mom and I continue to help around the house and with the kids. This weekend we have the opportunity to go to the beach! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013



I think this picture is amazing. Incredible. The clouds, all those red roofs crowded together, the tall high-rise buildings in a clump, the open green space... That's Brazil for you. :)
Usually it's sunny though, and there is practically no grass in the city--grass hardly exists here; things are either cobblestone or dirt. (The word for "cobblestone" is "parallelepipedo.")

Today was a lot of fun, and a lot of work. I played with Karis, helped with Ethan, washed some dishes and did some reading in the morning, then later in the afternoon went with Paul to the big Carrefour store. This particular Carrefour is like a Walmart superstore, with food, clothes, an electronics section, household items, ect. Things there are generally a lot cheaper than in the smaller Carrefour right by our house.
But, in order to get to this certain store, we have to walk a bit to a bus stop, wave down the bus and board it, and hold on to our seats while the driver aggressively lurches up hills and around corners for 20 minutes. (The vehicles here are all manual.) I'll say that was a very exciting and memorable bus ride. :)
Shopping with Paul is fun, and we stocked up on a lot of food for our weekend trip to the beach. We leave tomorrow morning!! :) The evening has been spent preparing food and packing, and there was another wave of rain, lightning and thunder. There were many brilliant, blinding flashes of jagged lightning tonight--so incredible to watch.

In order to get to the beach we have a five hour bus ride, and then a relatively short taxi ride past the city to our private beach. (Only rich people have houses there; some friends of Paul & Megan are graciously letting us stay in their house.) There is no internet at the beach, so I will not be posting anything till we return.
I've heard the mosquitoes are legendary there for their bee sting like bites. You can be praying for us that we'll have a safe trip there and back, and not get bombarded by mosquitoes. Pray for grace on the bus with Karis. :)

Thank you all for your prayers and for reading my blog! Have a great weekend and I'll be back soon. :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Back in the City

We are back in the city!
I'm not quite sure how we made it, but we made it. :)
Wednesday and today were full days of travel, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Going there was quite alright--the buses are wonderful--traveling back home today was rough with Karis, she was screaming bloody murder on the taxi ride and cried hard the rest of the day. We are all exhausted, sore, sunburned, bug bitten, and grateful to be home.

The beach was incredible. For my mother and I it was our first time to the Atlantic ocean. Having the warm water allowed us to play in the sea the entire weekend.
The beach house we stayed in was also incredible--very nice, and complete with a scenic view and hammock. :) It was SO wonderful to be able to take a little vacation and just play and relax for a few days.
All day Thursday, most of Friday and some of Saturday Paul and I went body boarding. It was a blast. The waves and water were perfect for body boarding and surfing, and we even went at night in the dark, which was especially exhilarating. There was also a surf meet over the weekend, and it was really fun watching the guys catch the waves and ride 'em long. We had the use of a surfboard ourselves, but it was big and waterlogged, so we only used it a little.
Friday afternoon Paul, Megan and I went on a hike through the rainforest--the last remaining Atlantic rainforest in the world. We saw some huge spiders, brilliantly colored, massive butterflies, ants big enough to see their expression, and birds that looked like Cockatoos. There were also some deliciously fragrant flowers. When we emerged onto another beach we saw three sea turtles.
On our walk back Megan got stung by a bee on her right foot, and later that evening she got stung again on her left foot. We're still unsure what kind of bee she was stung by, but she usually does not react to bees and this time both her feet swelled up and she was unable to walk.
Saturday afternoon while I was resting in the hammock I looked up and saw a man flying through the air. He was sitting on a chair with a propeller on the back, tied to a parachute. He buzzed over the beach for a long time before landing. Could I catch a ride too?

Experiencing the Atlantic ocean on the Brazilian coast was amazing.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yesterday was the first day we wore jeans, socks and shoes and a jacket since we've been here. It was actually cool and cloudy, like typical Portland weather. Today has been the same way also, and kind of drizzly rain all day. It has been nice because that means less bugs and cooler for walking places. :)

Mom and I went to downtown Campinas yesterday. There were crowds of people walking the streets, and tons of shoe stores and little accessory shops with jewelry. Vendors lined the streets and people were buying ice cream cones and raw coconut juice and burgers from McDonald's (yes, they have McDonald's here! It's the quality of Burgerville.) There was also a huge Catholic church, and we peeked in and saw people kneeling in front of the saints praying.

We had lots of fun in the evening just reminiscing with Paul and Megan and laughing over stories from when we were babies. Later on we were trying to close our window shutters, and Paul yanked on the latch and it ripped right out of the wood. Oops. We laughed so hard. The wood is old and rotten, but the shutters still close so we're fine. :)

Today my mom and I ventured out to another grocery store and bought some food. For not knowing much Portuguese we're getting around quite alright. :) There were tons of cheeses and lots of sweets, dried fruits, and freshly baked breads--YUM!!

Mom and I look forward to trying some more Brazilian foods and going to a few more stores before returning home. We leave on Monday!
As I'm typing this Paul is strumming on his guitar and Mom and Megan are working on putting new elastic in the cloth diapers. Ethan is sleeping and Karis is wanting to get in on the fun. :)

The tall buildings, and on the other side of the street...

This run-down little house seems quite out of place.

I thought the "Authentic off price" sign was a bit ironic.

...Look at all the cars...

The Palm trees are SO tall! The structure and cobblestone are cool too.

Kinky tree, straight Palm

The church is on the right.

The church ceiling. 

Inside the church. 

The crowds of people...

Inside one of the jewelry stores.

...And another. 

The Catholic church

Store fronts

Pretty flowers!

They're big on Easter bunnies and chocolate here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

In Brazil: Day 22 of 25 --- Coming Home Soon

Boa tarde!
It has been a thrill this week experiencing Brazil, and I'm excited for coming home in just four days! This week has been full of exploring new places and trying new foods--enjoying our last week here. :)

Wednesday was spent at home with the kids, games, and trying to figure out the rubix cube. :) We had a wonderful Brazilian couple over for dinner, and enjoyed the relaxed evening.

Yesterday after lunch us girls took off to go to the grand mall of Don Pedro, the biggest mall in South America. It was fun to see and quite impressive, but not massively huge. It was great mother-daughter-sister time, and we enhanced our adventure with ice cream cones and croissant-like things. :)
Interesting note: In ice cream, vanilla flavor does not exist here--it's cream. The closest I can think of taste-wise is like the inside of an Oreo cookie...It's quite good.
The bus ride home was an adventure: bumpy, quick stops, and full of people. Cultural note: When offering a seat to someone they will quickly decline three or four times before saying thank you and accepting.

Just now it is starting to clear up and be sunny again--it has mostly been a cooler, overcast week. (It's in the 70's now.) This morning at 10:30 a.m. Paul, Megan and I took off on a brisk walk to Parque Taquaral, a large lake and park half hour from the house. The place was lush and peaceful, with a mini jungle. We walked all the way around the lake, which was a little over 2 miles, and discovered a swimming pool near by and several termite hills. There were also tons of cats hanging around the lake. After making the loop we got two green coconuts for drinking their juice (so good!) and some Pastels--deep-fried dough things stuffed with various ingredients, like a pocket pizza almost. I'm really bad at explaining foods and stuff, but everything tasted really good. :)
We got back around 1:30 p.m. quite done with walking, but refreshed from the fresh air. Almost immediately us girls went out again to stock up on foods for taking back home! :)

This past month has been a wonderful, amazing time. Living here, being with Paul, Megan, Karis and Ethan, experiencing the culture and foods, interacting with Brazilians, and soaking up the sun...

I will try to post again before we leave, but if not, I want to say thank you to each of you for reading my blog and following along in my travels to a different country!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 25 of 25: Tchau Brazil! 

Paul scared me half to death on Friday, flicking a dead Cicada into my lap. :P I screamed so loud and my heart was racing for the next fifteen minutes. Memories.

We went to the sand park again that night with Karis and swung. When we got back there were candles lit on the table, and a HUGE pizza. Brazilians eat pizza, and they have their own style. There is a pizza size bigger than this, 60 cm I think, but this one alone is bigger than our Family Size back home. The dough is different, and the toppings and cheese. They love corn and peas on their pizzas--the one section of our pizza had a kind of cream cheese, scrambled eggs, peas, palm hearts and onions. Don't ask me what palm hearts are. The two other kinds were more American, and the side with bacon and ham is called Americano. :) The entire pizza was absolutely delicious and extremely filling. 

Later that evening we watched a movie together, then everyone else went to bed and Paul and I stayed up till 12:30 a.m. playing card games and having a great time. 

Saturday morning us girls went to the Saturday market to buy some more mangos and papayas. When we got home Paul pulled me into the pool and soaked me. Then he got a great idea.
Here in Brazil, we don't play with snow... We play with bubbles. :D 

After lunch Mom and Megan went out, and Paul and I relaxed in the sun and talked.
For dinner we had a pancake feed with the American family again. Such enjoyable times of fellowship.

Sunday morning Paul and Megan went out on their last date together, while Mom and I watched the kids. Later in the afternoon Megan and I went to-----STARBUCKS!!! Who know even last year that I'd be here, in Brazil, in Starbucks, with my sister. Wow.
It was a wonderful time talking over our cold coffees. Starbucks is just like Portland, but I did get a Brazilian drink.

In the evening we went to church, and on the way there and back it was dumping rain, and we saw several policeman on horses, because of a massive soccer game going on. The church is wonderful and the people are so welcoming and friendly. I was able to understand some phrases and lines in the songs.
We came back and shared some caramel corn and played some more games, slept hard, and this morning we packed! Took a final walk together to the store to buy some Brazilian coffee cake and share it in the park.
Getting ready to head out now.

This is Mz French, signing out from Brazil. Tchau!

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