Friday, February 23, 2007

Brazil '07 - Week 2

Here's some news form our second week in Brazil:

We finally got the internet here at home. It is a very slow connection, but the man told us it was better than dial up (that made Corey roll his eyes). But it is better than nothing, so we are grateful. We are glad to not be cut off from the world.

This past week we celebrated our anniversary - we're only 8 years :), but it feels like it could be 9, but I also feel like we haven't gone very far... after this stint in Brazil is over we'll be starting from scratch again like a couple of newly weds. I'm glad we sold our furniture cause it does lessen the worry for now about storage and transporting, but when we get back to the US I know I will wish we had it (since I know we won't have money to buy anything.) So last year for our anniversary we were in Mexico City at the JW Marriott. Corey admitted this year he did not treat me to the same standard of excellence, but no worries. My emotions change from morning to night, right now I'm wishing we had a car, and if we don't get one soon I might as well just take the kids back to the US and let Corey stay here - then he can get his work done and I can cook like a pampered American and not try to feed our family working in this very simple kitchen. (I'm sure it's not quite 3rd world, but kinda feels like it...) Although if I can endure I'm sure we'll look back on this time as a great experience. But I don't want to just endure, I want to endure it well. Right now I'm just on endure mode. I hope it changes.

So I think the isolation we have is good for the kids, (free from TV, video games, school, and other influences and distractions - they have no choice but to read, work, or play with each other). I am having fun homeschooling them. Right now our school is not very scheduled, it's kind of random depending on what each kids wants to do - Ethan and Mel are doing lots in their workbooks and drawing. Melodie is really creative, she made he own paper doll in a kitchen that was really cute, and she's also drawn a picture of a princess with a Brazilian flag flying behind her that Corey really liked and wants to keep for our Brazil scrapbook.

Joseph is reading all up about the Presidents of the United States, and he is always proclaiming how much he loves history and he is really good at history. This morning he quized me using the table of contents, going down the list of Presidents and asking me how long each president served. I didn't know I was having a quiz today, so I didn't get them right. He knew it better than I did. He thinks it's totally unfair that FDR got to be president for more than 8 years. He's also trying to learn each President's nick name. Kinda funny how he's turned into a little scholar. We have to pull him away from it and make him do something else - "No more history - go play or do something else!"
We go swimming everyday. The other day we waited until evening, and since the sun was going down behind the trees and I wasn't worried about prolonged exposure to the sun, I stayed out with them for 4 hours. I said I'd let them swim until they were done (I was positive I could endure longer than they could) but I was the one who quit and said we needed to be done.
Hyrum seems to be the kid that misses the US the most. He keeps saying "I want to go home." And we'll say either "We don't have a home" or will point to our little rental here and say "That's home" and he'll say "Not that one!!" It's kinda funny, he knows what he wants, (and I do too) but he doesn't know how to explain himself, it's funny, he's a cute little boy.

It is very hot here, it reminds me of my mission where I just had to get used to being sweaty and feeling clammy all the time. We all have a ton of mosquito bites, but Wesley's look the worst. He has little scars on his hands from the ant bites last week - I hope they go away, it looks like what I imagine small pox scars to have looked like.
The kids have been very entertained outside with hundreds of caterpillars, trying to protect them from Wesley, a.k.a. the "Caterpiller Killer". Here he is on the hunt. 
Then Fabio told us yesterday that they are poisonous, so now the caterpillars have turned into the enemy and their corpses are all over the patio. One night we saw a little lizard, like a gecko. Ethan said "Let's kill him", Corey said "No, Lizards are good, they eat bugs." Ethan very matter of factly said "Oh, ok. First we'll let him eat all the bugs in the world... then we'll kill him." Corey and I thought that was pretty funny. Yesterday I was picking up a watermelon off the floor and got very startled by a little frog behind it. I knew it wasn't a mouse, but I gave an equal reaction. We had to catch him from behind the fridge, then the kids were busy for a while laughing as they watched him hop around outside.

As for other things, we are still getting settled. We need to get a car - people here don't stock pile on food, they just go to the market everyday, so I'm having a hard time getting used to that - plus it's tricky cause we are so far out that we can only go to the market or store when Corey takes the bus in or when we have a friend come get us.

Last night we went to the Campinas temple with Fabio. His wife watched our kids and her 2 kids. We came home and she had made a delicious dinner for us, they didn't stay cause they had a ward activity. That was a nice surprise.

Church on Sunday was good, it was nice to meet the members. The kids are all in the same primary class - it's a pretty small ward, but also might be because everyone was out of town for Carnival which was this this past week. (Trying to escape the sin). The kids were lost during the lesson which was in Portuguese, but the teacher told me all the other kids had a great time in Primary, it was so exciting to have a bunch of Americans in the class! I wish we lived closer to the ward. A few members expressed their concern about us being out so far (I don't know why they all say that though, it's only like a 10 minute drive) The temple is close too, it was just like 20 minutes away, so it doesn't feel like we're out in the wilderness, but we're used to commuting from living in DC. Also everyone says how dangerous it is - so I'm nervous to meet our neighbors or to go out and meet people alone (thus I'm not learning any Portuguese) and if we lived closer to members it would be better, but hopefully we'll get a car soon and that will give us more freedom while still being safe.
Well, it's taken me about 2 hours and a dozen interruptions to write type all this. The kids are used to us not having distractions too, so everytime I come sit down at the computer to use the internet, some silent alarm goes off in all of them and they know they need to come bug me for something.

I got an email from Neil's wife Amy tonight, she said that in the south the ants that bite are called fire ants, and they leave little puss filled pimples all over you, so it sounds like those are Wesley's attackers, cause he did have little pimple looking things all over on his hands, wrists and arms. I scratched some of them off, thinking it would help to clear up what looked like an infections. Wes is good at not itching himself though, with fire ants or mosquitos, he just goes on with his business. As for me, I wake up at night itching my feet and legs and arms. I want to wear long clothes to keep the bugs off, but I also want to walk around in my swimsuit cause it's so hot! I'm not a huge fan of the snow, but don't like this tropical humidity either... I wish there were a happy medium. Isn't there a place in the world with ideal weather all the time? I need to find it so we can settle down and retire there.

So sometimes (like today) I'm not feeling up to this lifestyle and wish I was back in the states. I think I'm mostly stressed about domestic stuff - how to cook for the family and keep us in clean clothes. As for washing clothes (I'm doing it by hand again today, but can't keep up...) We have found someone who has a machine who will wash it for us, but haven't arrange a drop off and pick up time so I have been cleaning clothes cause we are all out. As for food and how to cook the food (I think this kitchen is pretty primitive, like probably 1930's?) here meals seem to happen day by day, with small boxes of food and going to the market everyday for fresh fruits and veggies, where as I'm used to thinking month to month and buying bulk at Costco. That worked good for our family, so I'm having a hard time adjusting to that. Plus we don't have a car yet, and we are kinda far out of town, so we aren't able to go to town and don't have a local market to buy food from. So we are still figuring that out. So that is life here! Sounds fun huh. It's not that fun yet, but makes a good story I guess, and I'm sure this will prove to be a good experience for all of us, someday down the road when we can look back at it... :)

Tonight Corey is in Sao Paulo teaching a GMAT class. He was going to stay over there somewhere, but then found out he could come home tonight with Flavio, a guy in the ward who is taking the class. He is giving him a ride home tonight and a ride back in and back tomorrow for day 2 of the class. The kids knocked the fan off the bed today and it broke. It still works, but it rattles and is noisy, I don't think I want to sleep with it, so that's been the straw that broke my back today, I'm going to be hot and sticky and uncomfortable tonight cause the fan got broken. I've got mosquitos attacking me here, Corey doesn't have a job and I feel like we have no money, I don't know how to handle feeding our family on a 0 income budget. When Corey gets home tonight I need him to tell me about our state of finances cause I just don't know what's going on. Maybe we are okay, I so we need to talk about that.

Tonight Joe and I talked about the pros and cons of living here in Brazil. I am currently wishing we could bail early, but know that would be bad for Corey's friends here in Brazil, that they and their wives would think we don't like Brazil, cause they've tried so hard to make us comfortable and to try and help us. Both Favio and Luis are planning on coming to BYU for 2 years for school, 2 years is longer than 4 months, and they are going to feel homesick too, I need to set a good example for them by not bailing out early. So I want to leave but feel like we can't. Maybe things will change when we get a car.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Brazil '07 - Anniversary

Well, it's our anniversary. Corey spent the day at Luiz' house doing stuff on the internet, and his wife and kids were here with me to spend the day. Lilian and I tried to teach each other Portuguese and English. Not the ideal way to celebrate an anniversary, but oh well. Since we are not doing anything exciting for our anniversary this year, Corey and I reminisced about years past, thinking about how last year we were in Mexico City, but were staying at the JW Marriott (woo!). Corey admitted that we are not at a place with the same posh standards, but he'll make it up to me some year. So this is how good our memory is, I'll have to check some other time to see if it's correct. Corey remembered 2001 which I don't have a memory of and don't know if it's right, as for the others, Corey did better than me and remembered 2005 too.

1999 - Honeymoon at the Homestead in Midway, Utah (Dinner at the lion House)
2000 - Blue Boar Inn in Midway, Utah (Dinner at the Roof and the Blue Boar Inn)
2001 - Worldmark at Wolf Creek in Eden, Ogden Canyon, Utah
2002 - Pepperdine Weekend at Malibu, California
2003 - Wharton Visit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and trip to Washington DC
2004 - Homestead in Midway, Utah (trying to relive that first night)
2005 - Hotel Monaco at Salt Lake City, Utah (Dinner at the Roof)
2006 - JW Marriott and Teotihuacan in Mexico City, Mexico
2007 - Barao Geraldo Chacara in Campinas, Sao Paulo Brazil


Corey reading on our front porch. 

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Brazil '07 - Our Home in Brazil

We all arrived safely in Brazil. Wesley was terrible on the plane - It was a long and painful 9 hour flight for me. Corey is tougher and endures better than I do - I need to complain to someone about my troubles to help me cope. As I was wondering what Wes' deal was I remembered him being kinda bad when we went to Mexico City a year ago.

Corey then told me he had been bad on the plane trip to Utah when Corey took Wes with him in November. So Corey went somewhere on the plane to hold him and let him scream after they finally took off the fasten seat belts sign (I think the people around us we worried they were in for a long flight...) and came back with Wesley asleep after about 20 minutes. But Wesley was very sensitive - no moving him around or bugging him or he would wake up and start screaming at us again. Things were ok until Joseph burst out with laughter as he saw something funny on the Airplane tv - Disney channel. That woke up Wesley, Corey went into the back again (without complaining, what a man) and when he came back with Wesley asleep again, I took him and tried to carefully hold him for the next 8 hours, which meant I was uncomfortable and couldn't sleep - but everyone else was asleep and I had a hard time not having anyone I could complain to about how incredibly tired I was. Corey let me catch up on a lot of sleep the next two days.

So I'm glad Corey has friends here, they are taking good care of us. They picked us up from the airport, took us to the supermercado, today they took us to the Parque D. Pablo Mall and we had a nice lunch, and we've been hanging out at their house today watching DVDs and Nickelodeon in Portuguese.

Here is a map of the the outlay of our lot where were are living out in the boonies of Barao Geraldo.
Here's a picture of our new home sweet home ~ the chacara (shack).



Flower by the front door:
It's a nice place, although I don't know how to light the stove and have to ask Corey for help. I think I won't be cooking much here, it just seems too complicated. Unless we get a microwave. Mostly we'll probably just eat fruits and breads.

So tonight I washed out clothes by hand for the first time. We might hire someone to do it for us, but as I was washing tonight, I think that is something the kids could do really easily. Our little "home school" is going great, Joseph is anxious to learn cursive, Melodie can tell you what a consonant is, and today Ethan mastered the proper way to hold a pencil! I am really excited about Ethan's landmark achievement.

When we turn off the lights at our chacara, it is pitch black. It is wonderful to see the stars at night. ...to the sound of 20 barking dogs. Poor Hyrum is terrified of dogs. There was a small sweet little fluffy puppy at the Sao Paulo airport that the other 4 kids were adoring, and Hyrum was standing on the suitcases screaming bloody murder. For being the biggest and seemingly toughest kid in our family, he sure is a sissy.

Wesley is covered with bug bites. He's just such a juicy morsel for the mosquitos, I admit he would be hard to resist. And tonight Corey took him to a little park near Fabio's house - Wesley stepped on a 6 inch ant hill mound and then played in the dirt for a second until the ants, who were obviously upset with him, decided to attack. He has ant bites all over his hand. I hope it looks better in the morning.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Brazil


We spent 4 months in Brazil in 2007 - from February to June. I did not blog at that time, but did send emails to my family every week or so. I originally posted all those weekly entries in one big post about Brazil, but have since edited it by date. So, I am now going back in time to put those entries here by the date they were entered, but will still start off with this first snippet that was originally posted October 25, 2007:

So ... this is my first post to our family Blog! Yes, we will keep anyone who is interested informed of all our family adventures. This will be the largest post by far, as I am pasting here my journal entries from our 4 month stay in Campinas, Brazil. It would take a long time to read it all, so just browse it if you want, and hopefully you'll find a fun or dramatic entry, like when Wesley almost drowned, our when our house got flooded, or when the car hood flew up on Corey as he was driving on the freeway. I'll see if I can post the corresponding pictures where they fit. Happy reading!
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