Thursday, March 29, 2007

Brazil '07 - Stupid Problems *

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Lots of things went wrong today. We lost the control to the gate, so when Corey was ready to go pick up the babysitter for our temple date, he couldn't get out of the blue gate at the end of our street. Antonio Trentini to the rescue once again. He picked up Eliziana, a sweet lady who looks like she's 40+ years old, he's a convert to the church four years I think, and offered to babysit for us any Thursday that we want. She didn't know where we lived, so Corey was going to pick her up from the church at 5. When he was on his way, he got out the gate from our yard, and then found that the remote control to the street gate was not in it's place in the car's little coin tray. Wesley and Hyrum had been playing in the car and so Corey was pretty upset, asking where they put it, saying they can't play in the car ever again, and telling the kids they are messy pigs as he looked around the car to find it (amid papers, toys, crumbs, garbage, etc.). I was still calm at this point. I didn't blame the kids, I blamed Brazil. If they didn't have stupid gates on every house and street we wouldn't have this problem. So Corey and I and the kids were all engaged in walking around the grass, around the patio where the car was parked, and picking apart the car trying to find the control. Corey called Antonio and he picked up Eliziana and brought her to our place. We got a neighbor to open the gate so we could leave, but there was no guarantee we'd be able to get back in. We looked up our landlady's address and we thought Antonio was going to go by her place and pick up her remote for us to borrow for a while. We arranged to meet up with Antonio again at 10:30 at McDonald's to get the control from him.

So off to the temple, we ended up leaving for the temple at 6:45. Before we reached the freeway, the high temperature light on the car was blinking, showing it was over the max temperature of 110 degrees.

We finally made it to the temple. I was proxy for Maria Raimunda da Silva. I didn't catch her date of birth or place - I spent most of the time concentrating on understanding the endowment in Portuguese.

Today is Corey's mother's birthday. Yesterday he asked if it would be okay to send her some flowers from "Speaking Roses" - a company that he is doing some consulting work for. They print lazer images of photos or words on the petals of roses. So he ordered them, I think it was like $120. Tonight when we got home, there was an instant message from his mom. Before I read it, Corey said to me with a proud smile (proud of himself): "You know what I like about my mom? She can be bought." It's true, I think we made a huge deposit in her emotional bank account with the flowers. Here is what she said "Corey--been gone most of the day--Had the contractor here until about 11:30 and then went to lunch and on to Home Depot to buy stuff for the bathroom and laundry area. Got back about 5 p.m.--the flowers were waiting by the front door. My goodness--how beautiful they are--and pictures and messages and all--you really blew me away with them. Thank you so much. They were packaged so well--they probably could have lasted for a month in the box--they used every idea possible to get them here fresh and ready to put in a vase. The buds individually had foam around each one and the stems had enough water to last a long time. Great idea--they are a big hit with me. Thank Tiff and the little ones too. Thanks for the call this morning--you have made my day!!!"

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Brazil '07 - Toys and Playing Pretend

Here are some pictures of the kids - they were playing a puppy game - the socks were taped on their glasses to make their puppy ears. Looks like puppy Hyrum fell asleep during the game.
Here is the Ethan puppy.
Ethan posing, Melodie holding her toy dragon.
The dragon is from a barbie toy. The kids each brought one stuffed animal, this dragon was Melodies. 
Joseph brought his Harry the Dog toy, Ethan brought Blue's Clues, Hyrum had his Alaska huskey dog that Corey's parents brought him from their cruise. And we brought Barney for Wesley. 

We didn't bring very many toys, but the toys we brought we hope will be able to be used for lots of different games. So there are the stuffed animals, I brought a cape for each of the kids. A few Mega Blocks - train. And these K'nex toys. I'm impressed that Melodie is so creative that she makes dolls with them and she and Hyurm play. Joseph and Ethan make swords with them for their games.

Wesley just goes with the flow - playing with the kids in the car.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Brazil '07 - Ethan's Birthday *

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Happy Birthday Ethan! Our little boy is 5 years old - it's crazy to see the kids get older, I know it will just get more crazy when they turn teenagers, go on missions, and get married and such. I'll continue to be amazed since I can remember when I was their age. I do remember things from kindergarten, and I think my parent's moved into their home on Granduer Drive in 1980, when I was 4. I have a vague memory of that, walking into the new house, the basement, the backyard. So I wonder what kind of things the kids will remember? I'm sure it will help their memories if I take pictures, record videos, and help their brains remember things properly. So I don't know how many pictures I took of our house in Virginia, I took quite a few during our outings though.
Anyway, so Ethan's birthday was very simple - I bought a few things from the Supermercado "BIG" last night for his presents: a superman paper notebook and superman pencils/pen/eraser, cookies, and a Superman costume thing of a cape and S that tied around the chest and a platic chain that Strong Superman kids can break. He seemed to have a good time though, they played Superheroes all day. I made his birthday cake for breakfast the night before, and I tried to make a chocolate glaze mixture thing to frost it - made out of a Nesquik kind of chocolate drink thing called Toddy, mixed with milk, butter, and a lot of sugar. The kids enjoyed eating his birthday cake for breakfast. We just used 5 matches for the candles since I didn't have any candles, he just had to blow them out quickly before they started the cake on fire. I wrapped his presents last night using wash towels and the kids clothes tied with plastic bags that I tore into strips. I was laughing at myself as I wrapped them up - I felt like a native poor Brazilian!
I even have started to leave the dead mosquitos I kill on the wall.
Today Corey and I ran over real quick to the other place to rent. It is further away, so I don't think we'll move. I'd consider something closer, but not further out. We already drive really far. It does have a pool, but it didn't have any kitchen stuff like pans and silverware, so I don't think it's worth the hassel. It was nicer and looked like it would have been a fun change, but again, not worth it. Also there were two dogs that stay at the place, so that's another one for the "not gonna work" column. Hyrum would never leave his bedroom.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Brazil '07 - Soccer Shootout *

Sunday, 18 March 2007

So week 5 is almost over - here's some of the fun we had:
On Thursday morning, before Corey left for Sao Paulo, I went to a doctor appointment so they could draw blood for whatever tests they need to do for the baby. I went to the doctor on Monday and had my first exam. It was the first time I've heard this baby's heart beat, so that was fun. I am looking forward to starting to feel him/her kick, which should be in another 2 weeks. I will probalby be getting an ultrasound this month or next. As for the blood work on Thursday, they had to fill up like 5 little viles of blood - most of the other people in line only had 2 or 3. So after sucking out all my blood and since I hadn't eaten anything that morning (I had to be in a state of fasting) I promptly fainted when they were done. Luckily the lady in line behind me was waiting for her turn at the door, and she proudly told me (as I lay on the table after I came to) that she had saved me from hitting the floor. It's a weird thing to faint. I could feel it coming on, and was trying to breath through it, next thing I knew I was trying to remember why I was waking up ... I didn't remember going to bed.... Then I saw the male nurse in front of me and I was like - oh. So the new Portuguese word of the week is "faint" --> "desmaio". They had me lay down for a minutes, my friend Lillian came into the room to see if I was ok, and after a few minutes they let me leave - I told them I had some crackers in the car.
Corey had said I could go to the temple if I wanted to after my appointment, so I ate some cookies and crackers real quick on the drive to the temple, enough to get me through a sesssion. At the temple I waited for 30 minutes for the session to start when a sister came and asked me to do initiatories and then go to the next session. I said that would be fine. It turned out to be a good thing. Two sisters from my ward were the temple workers in the washing and anointing, so that was nice to see them. Plus they were the ones who helped me out when after doing 2 proxy people I threw up all over them and myself the cookies and crackers I had scarfed down. We went and changed clothes, cleaned the floor, and I sat down for a mintues, then we finished the work. I did 10 initiatories and afterward told them I was going to skip out on doing a session and go back home. So I got back home, took a nap while Corey tried to work with all the kids buggin him, and then we went to take him to the bus for Sao Paulo.
He left to Sao Paulo Thursday at 4pm to teach a GMAT class that night, then slept over there at a friend's house, and caught an early plane to Argentina - Buenos Aires, to teach a GMAT class there (he loves waving the flag of BYU!) He had a great time - I'll try to get him to write it down for you and for posterity some of his thoughts and experiences. He got home around 2:30 a.m. this (Sunday) morning. We stayed up and talked about his trip and went to bed around 3:30. The funniest thing he shared with me was something he's shared before, how wherever he goes, people just stare at him and don't even know what to say when he mentions that he has 5 kids. Like they are just dumbfounded. The people in Argentina that he stayed with, the people in the class he taught, in our ward here we have a different person talk with us everyweek about "CINCO?!?!" (then I gently point out my growing tummy and they throw their heads back in disbelief). So Corey, it was pretty funny to hear him describe sitting next to a fellow LDS saint on the plane ride home, who said "Are you a Mormon?" then pointed to Corey's garment line under his pants. Yes I am, he was too, and was talking about Rio where he lives, saying that the Prophet is more concerned for members in Rio than any other place in the world - Corey said this guy seemed as straight arrow as straight as could be, like Corey was feeling guilty cause he hadn't shaved for a few days - "What can I do to prove I'm a faithful member?" and this guy was preaching to Corey about whatever commandments - but when Corey mentioned having 5 kids, the guy just stared at him in silence not knowing what to say, but seemed to be thinking "Why would you do that? Who in their right mind would have 5 kids?" ... as if he didn't even realize that family and having children is a pretty basic teaching of the Church and central to the purpose of life.... but he didn't seem to see a connection. People in the US that we meet seem to have respect when they see our crew, like we are brave, we're doing it right, but it's hard and they conceed that they themselves struggle to have such faith to have more kids. But this guy had no respect, he was just like "you fool!" So it was kinda funny, I don't know if I told that correctly, I'll have Corey correct it or give more detail.
So I had been sleeping when Corey got home, he woke me up at the window at 2:30 am. I was lucky to get some sleep, Corey however, was totally exhausted at church at 9:00 this morning. Everyone at church told him they were glad he got home safe, and also several people said "So did you hear about the party and the soccer shootout?" Last night there was a Kariokee activity, before the singing though they had a ward futibol shootout. The church chapel is tile and the pews are all unattached from the floor, so the chapel doubles as the multi purpose room. All the pews were moved to the sides and they brought out a small goal that was a little smaller in size than an orange box. Every couple got 2 shots for the wife and 2 for the husband. I was near the end, and everycouple had only gotten one goal each, except for the sister missionaries who had 2 goals. Some kids chose partners and got up to take turns kicking too - Mel and Joe had a turn, and then it was the Sisters (both Brazilian), and then it was me and Ethan. Ethan wanted to kick, but didn't want to loose. I took two shots, my first one hit the side pole, the other one scored. Ethan's turn - he just stood there with his finger in hanging from his lower lip - the fear of failure!!!! I tried to coax him to try, but he didn't, so we walked away. Then the leader of the activity, our good friend Antonio, told me to take two more shots in Corey's behalf. Ok - kick one - Goal! Yay! I was tied with the sisters to win the box of chocolates! Joe and Mel were excited. Kick two - GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!! Woo-hoo! My 3 goals were enough to hold the lead as the rest of the ward took their turns. The winner is TIFFANIE! The American!!! So that is my big pay off - years of AYSO soccer, high school, and a little at college, and now I can say that I can out shoot a room of Brazilians. U-S-A!! U-S-A!! Corey's actually been bragging about me just for fun, I'm not sure if he's teasing me or them, or talking just to talk, saying how I was on the "Olympic Development Team" in Jr. High - (I went to one tournament and sat on the sidelines, but still it kinda sounds impressive) - so he'd brag to Antonio and others about that and how I was quite the player back in the day. So I was glad I didn't choke under pressure. I think Heavenly Father knew it would be a little fun icing on the cake after having so much help over the weekend, hence the 3 goals. To all of you who doubled the prayer power for us, thanks so much, I know God answers your prayers and mine, I felt safe and had a good weekend, not stressful at all. Thanks to all of you and to the Lord. The gospel is true! Corey was telling me about the nice homes he stayed at in Argentina, how he thinks Argentina in general is a lot nicer than Brazil, and he apologized for not getting us into a nicer place, but then we talked about how we will just be here in Brazil for a short while. But even when we come back to the US, that is not our real home either - This earth is not our home, we are all here for a short trip, a quick visit, and are supposed to do work and serve and learn, and then we get to go to our real home with our Father in Heaven. That is where we are supposed to be.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Brazil '07 - Feeling Irritated

Friday, 16 March 2007

Tonight I was totally feeling bugged by how expensive things are here in Brazil. No wonder so many people seem to be living in poverty. At Big, I thought it would be nice to have some storage containers, so I was looking and found some that at Walmart would be $5, here they are $15. Things I could buy at Dollar Tree are R$10, ...only at Dollar Tree they are better quality. Also, we bought two of those chocolate treat things that are hanging all in a tunnel over the checkout line - They were R$14 and Joe's was R$28 - Ridiculous, totally ridiculous, those are way overpriced. Is there no consumerism here in Brazil? Why? I told the kids we are never buying them again, that I never want them to ask for them again, that Joe could loose the rest of his teeth and I wouldn't have to buy him anything for how much those chocolate eggs cost. I miss Walmart and Costco. Oh, I bought two things of paper at the store too, $10 for one white ream of paper, and $8 for the recycled ream of paper that is brown colored - I got that for the kids. RIP OFF. I miss Coscto, I could have bought 4 reams at Costco. I want wholesale!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Brazil '07 - Fainted & Threw Up *

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Hi there world. What's going on in my life? Well, Corey left for Sao Paulo today at 4, we dropped him off at the bus station, he is there teaching a GMAT class tonight and is going to sleep over with a friend there, and then he is off to the airport tomorrow to catch a flight for Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he is doing a GMAT class too. His flight leaves in the morning at like 7, and he was going to have our friend Antonio take him to the bus stop at 3 so he could make his flight, but we figured he might as well just stay there and get work done and get some rest. He'll just be spending Friday night in Argentina, then his flight back home will be late Saturday night. He won't be back here until early Sunday morning, and he's not sure how he'll get back to Campinas from Sao Paulo Sunday. It would be impossible for me to pick him up at the airport. I'd get lost in Sao Paulo and wouldn't be found until some missionaries came across me in 20 years, and I explained to them how I used to be married to a Mormon... :) So I just have to sit here and pray that the Lord will deliver him safely home. Time to exercise the faith of King Mosiah for his sons who wanted to preach to their enemies the Lamanites. Were they nuts? Probably a little, but with faith insane things can turn in to great experiences. There is a family in the ward that is going to come sleep over here on Friday and Saturday night. I'm not sure if it will be more stress to have them here or if it will be nice, we'll see. Hopefully I'll learn more Portuguese.
I went to a public health clinic here on Monday to get a check up, it was the first time I heard the baby's heart beat, so that was fun to get another source of confirmation that I am pregnant - sometimes I start to wonder. I'm 16 weeks along and will be getting an ultrasound sometime in the next few weeks. My due date is Sept 4th ish they said. Today I went to get some blood drawn for testing. I couldn't eat anything before, and unfortunately I passed out when they were done. It is a weird thing to faint... so after that they were concerned, but I've fainted before at things, I assured them I was fine and I had brought some crackers in the car. Well, after that I went to the temple, I ate my cookies and crackers on the way, and I guess I pigged out too much, cause I threw up at the temple. Luckily I was doing initiatories, not in a session, so they had towels and water and we were in the changing room and were able to take care of things right away with not too much commotion. So that was my day today. Then I came home and Corey was at wits end with the kids bugging him while he was trying to do work, so we had "lockout" - a new thing we've started where we lock the kids out and try to force them to go play. It's not working so good, cause they just stand around the door most of the time, asking when they can come in. It's pretty pathetic. It's like they don't know how to play. Right now, however, (now that it's time for bed) they are all playing together great, not buggin me at all. They seem to hit their stride in the PM when Corey and I are done with them and want them to go to bed, and almost all morning and afternoon they are drawn to us like magnets, asking for food or for whatever, or sometimes they do go off on their own, but usually just to go break something or get into something we don't want them too. So that is life with kids! Is that familiar to what my parent's experienced with us, or are my kids and I abnormal?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Brazil '07 - 4 Weeks Done *

Here is an email I sent to my family today:

Hey there Family! Well week four is over today, we've been here in Brazil for one month. That wasn't so bad I guess. Here are some detailed descriptiong of this past week - I was going to say highlights, but this has turned lengthy again... I might go through and edit it down for you:

MOTHER NATURE - I must say, there are a lot of bugs here in Brazil. We've heard that there are especially a lot here in the wilderness (campo) where we are. I prefer the little reptiles over the furry mammals of the US (frogs seem cleaner to me than mice) but still, mother nature overdid it on the amount of mosquitos, moths, and ants that are living in this little corner of the world. I've started to put insect repellent on the kids every night when they go to bed. Once I thought I covered Wesley pretty good, but I didn't do his face. The next morning there he was with two big bites on his cheeks. Ok fine. So the next night I got his arms legs, and cheeks and neck. The next morning he woke up with two bites over each eyelid! Man, those dumb mosquitos! It made it look like Wes was wearing pink eyeshadow, so it was kinda cute. But still I feel bad for them when they have bites all over. They must itch, but Wesley doesn't scratch them so his go away pretty quick. Hyrum has a ton of bites too, his are mostly on his feet since he doesn't like to wear shoes, he goes barefoot most of the time, so that might be my fault. His stay for weeks and turn brown like bruises, so his legs look really bad. Joe and Ethan have both had a few bites, but as far as I can tell, Melodie has not had any! Isn't that weird? She must taste different of have some chemical that makes her undesireable. She even runs around in shorts and a tank top and flip flops, pleanty of skin exposed, but she's clear. I find that very interesting...

There is a high traffic freeway of tiny tiny little ants that run at a diagonal across our bathroom wall, from the bottom corner of the door to under the sink, across the shower and out the corner of the window. They are really fascinating to watch. They are so tiny and move so fast, they are busy busy and I just wonder where are they going and what's the big rush? They are always working and they are always in a hurry. At 3 in the morning, if I go in the bathroom there they are. Corey has also noted "Those little ants get great gas milage".

Thursday night, Corey was sitting on the couch working at his computer and saw a reflection of light flicker off of something on the black tile floor. He couldn't find the suspect at first, but then from the other room I heard a can of Raid going full blast several times. I came in to find Corey on the couch, and he was working at his laptop and said without looking up "I just killed a cockroach, it's on the table in your cake pan (that had been sitting out... it was where the cockroach fell to his death). I walked in and almost screamed, it was the biggest cockroack I've ever seen, and I think cockroaches have such ugly legs. Corey says fleas are uglier. I don't know how the cockroach's size compares with Corye's previous cockroach encounters. It stayed lying on it's back all glissening in poison for the rest of the night, it's mouth, head, and antennas kept moving for the two hours before we went to bed. I kept saying that he was going to walk away, remembering some legend that cockroaches will be the only thing that would survive a nuclear fallout. Corey was sure that he was going to die. Corey was right, it was dead by morning, and we saved it to show all the kids - it's so fun sharing our discoveries.

I killed my own cockroach last night. Mel and Hyrum were still awake to see us in action. It was smaller than the first one, but they move quick. Corey and I both took turns trying to get it while Mel and Hyrum watched from up on the couch. Corey said "Do you think they know they're ugly?" - and thus subjected to discrimination. Yes, they must die. The roach hid behind some books and cd cases, which I moved carefully as I tried to find where he went. Then I saw his little antenna twitching from inside the cd case where he was hiding, he was just waiting for us to stop looking and then he'd be able to make his break! He's smart. But we opened the case and got Raid all over the floor trying to get him. They are ugly buggers.

FROGS AND DOGS - There are different kinds of frogs here, there are really little rubbery looking ones and little toad looking ones. The rubber frogs are small and can jump so far it's amazing, they've got great accuracy too, landing on the boards on the back of chairs, landing on the ledge of bricks on the brick walls. We haven't caught one of those yet and I don't think we'll be able to. As for the little toads, we've had lots of toad visitors. I'm not sure if it's the same one or if there are lots of them. There is one that I think is the same - a little frog that keeps showing up behind our couch. Maybe he just knows it's the best place to find food, since all the bugs keep congregating in our front room under our table eating scraps of food that fall. On Wednesday last week, we had left the cover off of the pool over night, and when we let the kids go swimming in the morning there was a toad frog swimming in the pool. Melodie loved it, she's always wanted to be Snow White, Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella and have the birds be her friend and land on her finger. Maybe she knows that frogs are as close as she's going to get. I guess that will have to do. After I showed her how to scoop him up out of the water, she was playing with the frog in her hand and giggling and having lots of fun. After about 2 hours, Ethan got up the courage to touch him and hold him. Our kids are making great strides with nature! Especially from our first day... when they saw a dove that has a nest under our porch roof and they all asked if it was real or plastic (it was holding very still as it saw our family invading it's formerly peaceful and quite home).

There are tall trees/shrubs around the whole yard with a chain link fence behind that, so it's very private and safely guarded. However, there is a dog that somehow keeps getting into our yard. He's gotten into the trash 4 times, the first time was my fault I guess, cause I left it down, the second time I had it hanging up high but he was able to jump and grab it, the 3rd time he got the lid off of our can and pulled some of it out, 4th time he jumped up again. That last time I had several promptings to take it to the curb, so that time was my fault too - he got it while we were at an activity at the Church Sunday night. Now we are going to turn it into a daily chore to take the trash out so there will not be any opportunity for him. The first time we took the trash out was at night last Tuesday. I gave a little grocery sack of trash to each of the kids and we were all going to walk out together, but Hyrum froze at the gate to our yard and started screaming (afraid that the Dogs were going to get him). Corey was up in the house so I tried calling him to come get Hyrum since I couldn't leave him and he wouldn't go up to the house. Melodie tried to take him up, finally he gave up on me rescuing him and took of in a little toddler sprint for the porch. Corey had heard me calling and came out to see Hyrum's little sillouhette cruising as fast as it could up the path, screaming very loudly. When I came back with the other kids, Hyrum and Corey were at the gate to meet us. Corey had helped him calm down. We closed out gate and all walked up the path together. Since Hyrum was now safe inside the gate and the threat of the dogs was gone, he started his macho talk again and Corey and I both laughed as the first thing out of his mouth was a very confident and tough voiced proclamation that "Dogs are so Dupid!".

The dog has also eaten things that are left out. Our first week here Hyrum's shoes got left outside and in the morning we saw one of the velcro straps has been torn off. (...I didn't have a needle and thread to try to fix the shoe, so I figured we'd just let him wear it broken, but I remembered our great stapler! The staples are holding it together well, I hope it will get us by until we're home.) I looked at the bites and thought it was a dog, but Corey thought it had to be the big lizard since the gate keeps the dogs out. But after the trash was gotten into and we saw the paw prints in the wet trash, we knew the shoe and the garbage scrounge was a dog. The kids discovered a hole under the fence and have shoved sticks and bricks and rocks under it to give the dog slivers to keep him out. It's one of the games they play, "trick the dogs". The other day Mel, Ethan, and Hyrum had dressed up as Catwoman and two dogs, Mel was dressed in Black, Ethan and Hyrum were in regular clothes but had put socks on their ears and secured them with tape to their glasses. It was really cute, they were playing outside, and Corey said as he looked at the kids "Oh my gosh! The dogs got through the fence again! The dogs are in our yard!" The three of them screamed and came booking inside, then Corey said "Oh no! Now the dogs are in our house!" as he pointed at them, then they realized they were the dogs.

BRAZILIAN MAIDS - Our laundry lady quit on us. She a short little lady who talks way too fast for Corey and I to understand. She's probably in her 40's, her husband cleans the pool and was supposed to be the shipper of dirty and clean clothes, but just two times washing for us and I guess she's done with it - washing for 7 people was just too much for her. She came once after a few days our first week before we had officially established that she would do it - she knows our land lady and was coming by to see what she could do to help us out with anything. I gave her a normal/slighty smaller than normal pile. Then her husband didn't come again for 2 weeks and a half so of course we had a lot by then... I hesitated to give him all of it knowing it would be a ton to line dry, but we decided to just pass it over, and they brought it back 6 days later. It had rained for 3 days, so I knew it would take a while since it couldn't dry outside. I was washing the clothes we still had at home by hand at this time - we were all down to just a few pieces of underwear and socks. I had forgot to save Corey a pair of his garment bottoms, so he only had one. We just decided to make due with dirty clothes, but one night he wore my bottoms while I washed his and hoped they dried by morning. So after the 6 days waiting for the clean clothes to come, we had collected another weeks worth by then but they didn't pick it up - I couldn't understand what he said as to why he wasn't going to take the dirty clothes, but thought I heard him say his wife would come by Sunday. She didn't, we didn't hear from her, Thursday we talked with our landlady (who had arranged for us to use them) and after that it was decided that it would be better for us to figure out some other way to get out clothes clean. Oh great!!!

So Friday Corey was going to Sao Paulo with Flavio, a man in the ward who is taking Corey's GMAT class and who works in Sao Paulo. We got all the kids up and headed to Flavio's house to drop off Corey, and I was going to ask Flavio's wife Ana what I should do - where I should go like if there was a laundromat or should I try to get another maid lady or person in the ward who could help us or what. Corey and Flavio left, I stayed with Ana at her house for a while since I had a car and it was decided I could take her to a doctor appointment. She said she could ask around to help me find out a good place to go since she didn't use laundromats cause she had a washer and dryer (I started to drool...) I was so excited when she said I could stay at her house and do the laundry while she was at her doctor appointment. All I had to do was let the maid in when her maid came by. So I was happy and started to do laundry before we left to the doctor. When I got back to her house from taking her to her appointment, her maid and her maid's son Pedro were waiting outside her house. Just so you have a mental image if a Brazilian maid: Ana's maid's name is Vanessa, she was wearing shorts and a midriff spaghetti strap tank top, had tatoos on her upper back and lower back, her hair is pulled back in a kinda pony-tail-bun thing, she has big earrings on, that is what Ana's maid looks like and I think is pretty typical of most women here. Her son is 8 years old and he was really cute. He liked Wesley and they played a bit, my kids watched the Little Mermaid and Harry Potter, and I was doing laundry, and felt really proud of myself cause I thought I was helping out with the chores - I washed the dishes, swept the floor a little, mopped a little and straightened the sofas. Vanessa asked if we were going to stay there for lunch. I tried to explain that we had bought and eaten some bread and didn't need lunch, but I didn't know if that was bad manners, and since she didn't understand me anyway, I just said ok. So Vanessa made lunch - some rice and beans with salad and juice. I thought it was probably good manners to wait for her before we ate, maybe it wasn't... as we were eating the phone rang twice. The first time I heard her say "We're eating lunch". The second time she answered, I didn't hear her say anything, but she started to cry afterward. I thought she had gotten some bad news about something, she went into the kitchen and was crying, I tried to get the kids to finish eating so we could clean up. Shortly after that Ana came home with her kids - I guess the kids all get out early on Friday. Ana said she was surprised that I was still there (maybe I was just supposed to wash the clothes, and not dry them and line dry them at home? The last load of my 3 loads was almost done in the dryer). I asked if Vanessa was ok, Ana said she was just having a hard time cause she wasn't able to get anything done with all my kids there in the house. "She's not used to having so many kids around and it's hard for her." Doh! So me and my boisterous messy kids brought a Brazilian maid to tears. I was kinda surprised, cause I thought things were going great! Maybe I was just in a good mood cause I was able to get the clothes clean... But I thought the kids had been pretty good - they just watched the movie and played with their puppy Snoopy. And I had helped clean up too... but then I realized most of the cleaning I did was cleaning that wouldn't of had to be done if we hadn't been there. I wouldn't of had to keep straightening the couch if the kids didn't keep messing it up - I wouldn't of had to keep mopping the floor if Wesley didn't keep pouring out water everywhere. I kept giving him drinks of water, only to find he wasn't drinking it, he just kept feeding it to the dog. So I told Ana I was sorry, asked if it would be best to help clean up the mess from lunch or to just go. She said it would be best to leave. I felt like Flick on Bug's Life - "I should probably help clean up first don't you think..." "No no no! No! Just go! Leave!" Ok! So I started to round up the kids and rush them into the car, I got out the laundry from the dryer, said I'm sorry to the maid, she opened the gate so I could leave, but the car wouldn't start - I had to warm it up - doh! Hurry hurry leave!!! Get yourself and the crazy kids out! I let it warm up for a sec, was able to get it in reverse enough to get out of the gate so she could close it and go inside and clean in peace and quiet. I coasted down the street a bit and warmed up the car at the corner. I felt bad, but I guess it's was a little comforting to have someone share in my motherly stress, even if she didn't do it by choice. It is a lot of work, but it's worth it. So as for our laundry... we're washing by hand until further notice. The kids want to help, once I get some real laundry soap we'll set up a little system and take a picture of my little washboard kids at work.

Our landlady Sueli is trying to sell this chacara, and on Friday after we got home from Ana's after making the maid cry, we cleaned up a little when Sueli called to say she was bringing by someone to look at the house. I wasn't able to clean up much in the 30 mintues she gave us, but the place is pretty dirty, and most of it is not from us, so I figured oh well if there is some clutter around, atlease we weren't the ones who broke the bedroom door off the hinges or put holes in the wall or the piles of junk in the back yard. It was a group of like 10 people together. They seemed to like it, and they were all smitten by the children who kept saying "O-BLI-GA-DO" and "Tau" to everyone's delight. As she was leaving, she came up to me and said "Everything was beautiful" and I thought she was talking about the porch area or the house and how well I'd done in straightening it up? I was a little confused since it didn't look that great to me, but then she started going off about the kids, and I realized she said "The kids were beautiful". As the group of people left the kids were waving and they were all smiling and laughing at how cute they were - Wesley is especially adorable as he says "chow". It is a lot of work taking care of this group, but it's very rewarding and I know will be worth it as the years go by.

Here are some last details about each of the kids - I know this is a long email - feel free to take a break here and read the rest on another day...

JOSEPH - Joseph is really doing a great job studying. Everyday we take time to work, play, and study, and Joseph does his study's very first thing everyday. He still is reading his president book, but we're glad he doesn't quiz us much anymore. Corey was on the computer last week and Joseph came up to him and said "So how's Mitt Romeny doin'?" Corey wasn't looking at the latest Mitt news, but we could have been since we are checking up on it regularly. That statement made Corey laugh. Joe want's Corey to run for President. I've told Joe that I think Dad has other stuff he wants to do instead of being president, but if Joe want's to be president someday he's welcome to work toward that. As for other things, Joe is doing great at swimming and loves listening to the Scripture Scouts at night - he's trying to memorize all the Book of Gold songs and then will move on to the other sets.

MELODIE - So she had fun playing with the frog in the pool, she is always busy painting and coloring and is really creative, I love to see her creations - she's made lots of pictures that she want's me to mail, but I don't know where the post office is. I guess I could figure it out if I really wanted to, but instead I think I'll just keep them safe somewhere until we can deliver them personally.

ETHAN - We took Ethan to the medical clinic last Thursday cause he had some strangs skin discoloration on his hand. He had a small blotch that I noticed first, then the next day there was a lot more across all his fingers in lines - I found some things online that talked about a condition called Morphea that got me worried, so we wanted to figure out what it was. R$130 Reais later (about $65 buck), we found out that it was burn marks from him getting lime juice on his hands and not washing it off before going in the sun. So it was lime juice burns. Hyrum had some discoloration on his upper lip and cheek too, Dr. Sergio said it was the same thing. It should go away after 3-4 weeks.

HYRUM - Hyrum is just a funny kid. It's hard to talk with him sometimes, he doesn't listen and doesn't care to. I guess even when he does he doesn't understand. So he likes to get into the fridge on his own, we're trying to put a stop to between meal snacking, Hyrum doesn't follow the rule, and when the other kids find him munching on bread or drinking juice, they come protest how we are not being fair. We try to get Hyrum to stop - so when we hear the fridge open and know it's him, we'll say "Hyrum, get out of the fridge." And we'll hear his little 3 year old voice say "Mom, can you please stop talking to ME!" Or if we even see him going in the kitchen, we'll say "Hey Hyrum, whatcha doin'?" and he'll say "Dad, can you please go away for a minute!!!" It's pretty cute and funny, so we let him get away with stuff and then get in trouble from the other kids. Also, some funny words Hyrum says - he calls the Kitchen "Chicken" when it's time to go swimming and get ready, he'll say "Can you help me put on my swimming soup?" We've tried to clarify SUIT, but he says "I know! Can you just help me put on my swimming soup!"

And one last thing, Friday last week both Joe and Mel had teeth that were really loose - We took turns wiggling it, Joe was going to try and pull his out, but I said he got one try, and then I got one try. I have a little dental tooth pick thing for removing plaque, and when it was my turn, I just pushed it down and was able to get under the tooth, and pop! it was out. Then Mel came in and wanted me to do hers. She wanted a turn first, ok fine - I gave her 10 turns, then it was my turn, I got my tooth pick hook and pop! it was out. They were really excited, and Ethan was upset, as he has been when they've lost teeth before, asking when he's going to get a loose tooth. Hyrum also came in and asked me to pop out his tooth. I tried to explain that's not how it works, but he didn't get it, so he and Ethan were pouting while Mel and Joe were jumping around excited for the tooth fairy to come visit them. Too bad there isn't a Dollar Tree or Walmart for the tooth fairy to go shopping at. I forgot to put anything under their pillows, but I didn't have anything. Melodie woke up and said the tooth fairy didn't come, I looked around and realized Corey had brought some sidewalk chalk from Sao Paulo, so I told her to go back to bed, she giddily ran in and layed down, I came in and put it under her pillow and put R$2 reais under Joe's pillow - and they were happy. Mel colored with the chalk all day and Joe is still waiting for us to take him to McDonald's to buy an ice cream cone. We'll get to it sometime this week.

Corey is going to Argentina this weekend to teach a GMAT class. He's leaving Thursday morning and coming back Sunday morning. There is a nice couple in the ward who have two young girls, I think they are going to come spend Friday and Saturday night here with me, the kids will all go swimming and we adults will have our English and Portuguese lessons. So that's that. Since Corey's going to Argentina this weekend, he's going to Sao Paulo today to teach the GMAT class there tonight, it's his last week going there. He still has more to do than time to do it, but he's always working hard to get the language software done and get a demo ready to show people for a trip to Japan that a BYU MBA student is taking on the 26th. Corey was going to go with him, but I think has decided it's too expensive. I guess that's it.

Also, Last Thursday was my Independence day - Corey taught me to be independent by having me start and warm up the Ethanol car, I had to go into the phone store by myself and buy more credit for our cell phone, I had to fill up the car - it's full service, I just had to learn to say "Alcool, Completo", and I also had to go by the bank ATM and sacar money. So we all loaded up in the car and ran errands so I could learn how to function on my own. It was good, and now I'm feeling more freedom at being able to go to town by myself and not being stuck in the boonies.

So that's that! Tell me what's up with all of you, love to hear from you - Grant, we did see that Lunar eclipse too - we were at the church for a baptism, after it was done everyone was outside - kids running around being kids, adults watching the eclipse it was neat. Love you all, talk to you again soon. Love Tiff and crew

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Brazil 07 - Friday and Sunday

Friday, 9 March 2007
I am going to talk about some of these things in detail in an email to my family, Today Corey is in Sao Paulo to teach the GMAT class tonight. I was able to do laundry at Ana and Flavio's house while she was at a doctor appointment, Hyrum seems to have overcome some of his fear of dogs today as he took great strides and played with their little puppy Snoopy. However, our constant presence brought their Brazilian maid Vanessa to tears. It was totally unintentional, but I felt bad. Wes has two mosquito bites on his eye lids - looks like he's wearing pink eyeshadow. Sueli came by to show the house to a prospective buyer, she told me everything was beautiful, I thought at first she was talking about her house she's trying to sell but she was actually talking about my cute and beautiful children. The kids went swimming tonight and had a picnic by the pool, we spent time tonight before bed showed family pictures on my computer, it reminded me of the slide shows Dad did when we were little.

Sunday, 11 March 2007
Church was nice today. I still don't understand too much. The kids were outside here at home after church and Hyrum got attacked by the fire ants - the same kind of ants that bit Wesley's hand our first week here. Hy got quite the constellation of little bumps on his right shin at first, they looked better today, they didn't turn into pimple looking things like Wesley's. If they had, I would have made him wear pants and socks and shoes for a while, to protect him better, but mostly so people won't see all the bites and then start offering their 2cents.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Brazil 07 - Independence *

Thursday 8 March 2007

Today was my Independence Day. Yes, time for the husband to teach his poor American wife how to function in a foreign country. So what if I don't speak the language, too bad, just deal with it. So today started with me having to learn how to start the car. I had made a mental decision that I just wasn't going to drive during the 4 months we were here, but Corey made me go to the car and taught me how to start it - it just need to warm up, and there is this thing I have to pull to give it more gas. That was it. So it wasn't that hard, but I was pouting. So I drove it to town, I drove us to the ATM where Corey told me how to withdraw money. Next - take the $Reais to the Claro cell phone store to buy more "credito" minutes for the phone. Check. The car was running low on fuel, so I had to fill up the car - it's full service here, Corey told me to say "Alcool, Completo". Easy enough. So after those errands we drove to the Don Pedro Mall from the north, I knew how to get there from the freeway from Campinas from the south, this time we went from Barao Geralso from the north. So we had lunch at the mall and got some groceries, and then headed home. It was good and I did feel better about being here in Brazil after learning the ropes a bit. Hooray for Indepenence.
Corey killed a huge cockroach tonight. He was sitting on the couch working at his computer and saw a reflection of light flicker off of something on the black tile floor. He couldn't find the suspect at first, but then from the other room I heard a can of Raid going full blast several times. I came in to find Corey on the couch, and he was working at his laptop and said without looking up "I just killed a cockroach, it's on the table in your cake pan (that had been sitting out... it was where the cockroach fell to his death). I walked in and almost screamed, it was the biggest cockroack I've ever seen, and I think cockroaches have such ugly legs. Corey says fleas are uglier. I don't know how the cockroach's size compares with Corey's previous cockroach encounters. It stayed lying on it's back all glissening in poison for the rest of the night, it's mouth, head, and antennas kept moving for the two hours before we went to bed. I kept saying that he was going to walk away, remembering some urban legend that cockroaches will be the only thing that would survive a nuclear fallout. Corey is sure it will die. We are going to save it for morning time to show the kids - it's so fun to share our discoveries! We think they'll be pretty grossed out by it

Monday, March 5, 2007

Brazil '07 - 3rd Week

From an email to my family for this week:

Hello - Here's a little update of the happenings during our third week here in Brazil.

Contentment - This week was better than last week, mostly because I started reading a book by Mary Ellen Edmunds about Contentment. It's title is 'You Can Never Get Enough of What you Don't Need: The Quest for Contentment." I've only read the first two chapters, but I give it thumbs up. I think the key for me to being content is Gratitude, thinking of things I'm grateful for and not getting upset about things that are not important. Scripture of the week is Alma 32

A Clean House - Several times when I've gotten after the kids here for messing things up, I realize it must just be out of habit and not for any rational reason, cause the reasons I used to have do not apply to us here. For example, in Virginia, our townhouse had white walls and cream carpet, so during out time renting there I would regularly freak out when the kids colored on the walls or had bathroom accidents (especially #2) on the floor. In Virginia it required me a great deal of cleaning and usually wouldn't all come up until after several rounds of scrubbing. Here, we have an all tile floor house and cement walls that are dirty. We've had several accidents on the floor, usually in the bathroom, and I have gotten upset the same as in Virginia, but I get to clean it up with a hose from the shower, a squeegee, and floor cleaner, and can just push it all into one of the two drains right on the floor. It's actually quite easy, so I've started to try and train myself to relax and not loose my temper. No biggie to clean, I should be happy!

And the kids also painted on the walls last week with some watercolor paints. That would have been a really big deal in Virginia with our flat paint that absorbed moisture and color, luckily they never did that there. But here, after I freaked out, the kids were able to wipe it off quite easily. So then I said sorry for freaking out, and then looked around at how dirty the walls are and asked myself why I even raised my voice at all. The walls are really dirty! Seems like people here religiously keep their floors swept and mopped, but walls are never washed. For example, there are lots of dead bugs in the ceiling corners or stuck on the walls that people must have squished but never bothered to wipe off. When Corey and I kill a mosquito, we are always sure to congratulate each other for our high standard of cleanliness by actually throwing the dead bug in the trash or washing him down the sink. "Way to go the extra mile, sweetheart!"

Family Health - Most everyone that saw or held Wesley at church our first day commented on his stuffy nose. The following Sunday he still had it, and then he started coughing on the drive to church. Now I was really feeling pressure to take him to the Centro Medico cause people kept telling me to. We still didn't have a car, so I was thinking I'd just feed him some acerola juice (from the acerola tree in our yard, it's looks like a cherry, only is bright red instead of dark red. We've had various reports from the locals as to the amount of vitamin C it has, from "the same amount of vitamin C as 25 oranges" to "...100 oranges.") So I've been giving that to the kids, but also a nice lady named Anna in the ward, who went to BYU and lived in the US for 9 years, spent last Monday being my translator at the Public Health Office and at the Drug store, where after 6 hours of waiting and running back and forth and stuff, the consensus was reached that Wes officially had a cold, ...but I really needed to do something about all those bug bites!!! Those darn ant bites still hadn't cleared up, and each person that saw him told me I needed to get some bug repellent and some ointment to help him. So at the drug store we bought some Dimetapp and bug repellent. I'm proud to report that as of today, his cough and runny nose are gone and his bites are pretty much cleared up - the ant bites are mostly gone but he has a few mosquito bites, but overall he looks much better.

Hyrum was sick yesterday with the runs - I cleaned out of his underwear probably 10 times, plus last night I was woken up by a prompting to go check on him. He had a fever last night and so we let them keep the fan - I was totally hot and uncomfortable, so maybe that was actually what woke me up. So I went to check on him to see if he was still hot (so I could take back the fan!) and found he was all soaked with what I though was #1, but as I got him out of bed and took him into the bathroom to clean him off, I found it was runny watermelon #2 mess, on his sheet too. Oh I wish I had a washing machine!! So I hosed him off in the shower while he screamed cause his bum is sore, then I didn't get him dressed, I just wrapped him in a towel and sent him to our bed with Corey. Hyrum slept with us in the buff, I finished cleaning his clothes and underwear, took his sheets outside and cleaned them in the outside sink, cleaned my hands, and when I was all finished went and got the fan and brought it into my room! Since Hyrum was in our bed now I didn't feel so bad, although I always feel a little bit of guilt, like I'm being greedy in snatching away the fan so Corey and I can be comfortable, and leave the kids in their toasty room where there are 5 little bodies producing heat. They don't complain though. I try to dress them in cool clothes and have starting putting bug repellent on them before they go to sleep (or go in after they are asleep and spray any parts of exposed skin I see on their bodies.) But even though I try to help them be cool, Joseph and Ethan both sleep under their fleece blankets cause they are afraid of bug bites, ...Joe is also afraid of bats eating his feet, from something he heard at school about bats in the Amazon in Brazil. I've tried to convince him not to worry, but there he is all tucked under his blanket every night just the same. Melodie doesn't care about bugs or anything. Every morning we wake up and find her alseep on the cold tile floor, she's all about being comfortable - who cares if the floor is dirty or if there might be bugs and lizards crawling by, the floor of tile is cooler than the mattress on the bed, so there she is every morning.

So health wise the kids are getting better, but Corey and I aren't feeling that great. I have a cold I think, it might be allergies though, I don't know since they don't seem to have seasons here in tropical climate weather? As for Corey... as I was typing the last paragraph of this email he startled me as he jumped up and ran for the bathroom. He is now taking a shower. If he has ever felt close enough to any of you to share with you the story from his mission where he thanked the Lord for bidets, it seems to be a similar situation as that one was. Maybe the water is catching up with us...

We have a "Car" - Oh, so this past Thursday we got a car, it is a 4 door hatch back 1994 Volkswagen Santana (also know as a Passat) - kinda looks like a station wagon. The locals all say it's a big car - Big for Brazilian standards that is. People are excited about the car in general, "That's a great car!" We just kinda shrug our shoulders, it's not that great. It cost us $5,500, and have arranged to sell it back for $4,750, so we'll loose $750 on it but that is cheaper than renting a car for 4 months. I was pretty surprised by how much it cost though, and was not that impressed when I first saw it. The same car would go for about $2500 in the US. I was even more un-impressed when Corey couldn't start it in the morning the next two days! He was supposed to drive to Barao Geraldo to get a ride down to Sao Paulo, but had to call our friend Flavio to come get him cause it wouldn't start. Same thing happened the next morning, and Corey said some funny things as we ate breakfast and talked about the car... "American's expect things to work with a minimal amount of effort. The car might in reality be 99.9% fixed, but to me, it's broken. If they would have told me it has to warm up for 15 minutes every morning... that would have been a serious decision making factor! It's not even cold (as he looked around with shrugged shoulders, as if to say "where's the snow?!?" So we were thinking it was pretty funny, Corey said he felt like he was living in the twilight zone, and kept wondering aloud, "who lives like this?" I guess a lot of people do though, right! Yes, here we are in Brazil, and Corey says it seems like people just wake up and wait to see what the day brings. In the afternoon on Saturday, when Flavio dropped Corey off after their morning GMAT class in Sao Paulo, Flavio came and showed Corey the secret to starting an Ethanol car. Also our friends in the ward Antonio and Juliana came over, and the three men (maybe just Antonio and Flavio, with Corey as their apprentice) were able to figure out why the accelerator wasn't working.
They made a temporary fix with some wire they pulled off of a vine trellace outside, which fix was to get us by until today. Saturday night we went to the church for a baptism of a sweet husband and wife, and afterward talk turned to our car and then like 10 men were there under our hood tinkering with it for about a half hour. They refixed the fix to make it stronger I guess. The man who was baptized offered to take Corey to the dealer since he bought a car there too that needed some fixing. So they went in this morning to have the dealer's mechanic look at it, but they don't have the part we need, so we're hoping our temporary fix can hold out until they "call us" which Corey said could be whenever or never. So we'd appreciate any prayers for our 1994 beauty.

...I must say, though, that I thought it was great to see Corey under the hood of the car.
He's always wanted for us to buy cars with 30,000 miles on them, so that we's have a pretty good guarantee that they will work for a long time, since he has no interest in fixing it up or figuring out the mechanics of how a car works. So this time in Br azil might be very beneficial to us - it is probably only under these extreme circumstances that Corey would ever be willing to toy around with a car. Now he'll be my handy man, and might even get interested in being a fix it guy. We brought one of the kids bikes from BYU to Virginia, but dontated it to Goodwill when we putting things in storage this time since we never fixed the flat tire while we were there, and I figured we'd never get around to it after we get back to the states. It's easier to just go buy another bike than go through the hassel of fixing it up, right. So like I said, maybe this time in Brazil will turn him into a little fix-it-up man, which will bless our family for many years to come.

Tau - (T makes a CH sound, so I think this might be how you spell it? I still don't know much Portugues) - Well, I can't see right now, my eyes all all watery and I need to go blow my nose. Hope you are all doing well, drop me a line. Corey makes phone calls on skype sometimes, but I think this is it for communication from me. Love you~ Tiffanie

Friday, March 2, 2007

Brazil '07 - Emails to Friends

I sent an email out to friends this week, pretty much it was just a forward of the email I sent to my family of our adventures here. Susan Lloyd, a great friend at BYU, who is still there with her husband who is going to school to get a PhD I think, wrote me back, she said that when she was little she lived in Iran for a year and a half. I had forgotten that. Here is her email and my reply:

    Wow!!! When I read your e-mail the other day, first I was surprised about your move to Brazil. But then as I read on, the move to Brazil is a perfect fit for you and your sense of adventure, love of learning and love of people.
    I don't know if you remember me telling you, but as I child I lived in the Middle East. Our family lived in Iran for a year and a half. After, reading your letter, I had to call my mom and ask her if she had to light the stove and oven every time she had to cook. She couldn't remember, so she asked my step dad. He said, "yes." So maybe the thing to take from this is: See you won't even remember having to light the stove, the lack of hygiene facilities and the inconvenience of shopping every day! But I do remember having to go to the bathroom in a big lined garbage can because when they built the house we first live in, they poured cement down the drainage system. I don't remember how I managed to keep my balance without falling in the garbage can filled with "all the days events"!!
My mother actually gave birth to my brother, Garett over in Iran. She said it was a very interesting experience! Towards the end of our stay, an American housing base was finished and we had a lovely home. But by that time the revolution was in full swing and we lived under marshal law and we were evacuated from an abandoned Army base. My step-dad had to stay a bit longer. He got out just before they took those American hostages. It was an adventure! But our short stay there was long reaching. It taught me not only tolerance for other cultures, but love. And yes, even in my young years, I too appreciated all the amenities the US has to offer!
    I think you are brave, Tiffanie. But I already knew that from our first meeting at Wyview. I still get melancholy, every time I look at your apartment. I still long for a friend for Max like Joseph. But I guess that is the point, that there isn't another Joseph and there isn't another Wride family. You and your family are one in a million! How blessed we are to know you. Thank you for your example and goodness. Good Luck to Corey and his business adventures. Just like I know you are brave, I know Corey will be successful. Mostly, because he has the bravest women around!!
    Keep in touch. I love hearing of your adventures. And the kids love hearing about the frogs!
    Love, Susan

Hi Susan!
    It is so good to hear from you! I'm sure the things that are hard for me now will become more routine as we stay here, and then I'll forget that I thought it was a hard trial or issue. (So I'll ask Corey, and he will remember my complaining everyday the first two weeks here, and will politely say "yes" not even bringing up what a whiner I was.) I love men. Have you ever read Dr. Laura's book "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands"? I read it at BYU and felt like such a wimp when it comes to life problems, always wanting to vent it out and complain, where as men just deal with it and do it and get done what needs to be done. Corey and I have been reading a lot and pondering a lot Lehi's journery into the wilderness, although our conditions aren't as extreme as theirs (8 years hunting in the wilderness... I would have never survived.) but I love what it says in the first two verses of 1 Nephi 17, mentioning afflictions and blessings almost in the same thought:
    1 And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth. And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did bear children in the wilderness.
    2 And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.
    So usually when I read that and it says the women were strong, I thought it referred more to the words before it, talking of physical strength (physically nursing children and survivign up a diet of raw meat...) but more recently as I read it and was thinking that I was such a murmuring wimp, the statement after stood out to me... they "were strong, even like unto the men, and began to bear their journeyings without murmurings." Women are social and conversation loving creatures. (like on the flight down when Wesley was fussy and I was tired, It wouldn't have made a difference in what I was doing, but emotionally I would have been happier if I had someone to vent and complain to!) I'm sure that a bunch of griping women would not have done anything constructive to help the situation of Lehi and his family, it just would have been an outlet for the women. But they began to be strong, like unto the men, and found more helpful ways to get out their frustrations other than murmuring. I'm sure they saved that for their children and grandchildren after they got to the promised land and it was all a distant memory - they could look back and be impressed at the miracle the Lord had helped them do, and be glad they weren't there anymore!
    So those are my ramblings for now. I think I'll copy that for my journal though. I love sharing stories, thoughts, and experiences over email, it's made it easier for me to be a much better journal writer. :)
    So now I remember you mentioning Iran... and you were there for your step dad's work. Did you go to school there? I wonder what kind of things the kids will remember. Last week after I put Joe to bed, we talked for a while (the other kids always fall asleep before Joe, but they are all in the same room, just like at Wyview, and even at our big townhouse in Virginia the kids all migrated into one room. They started off in two, Joe Hyrum and Wesley in one, Melodie and Ethan in the other, but Melodie kept sneaking over during the night and in the morning we'd wake up and she'd be in there asleep on their floor, then Ethan started feeling neglected that he didn't have any bedroom companions, so after a few weeks of trying to tell them how nice it was to have 2 rooms and so much space, I figured "That's fine with me, now I can have a craft room!") ...little tangent there, so where was I... so Joe and I were talking about the pros and cons of living in Brazil, he started talking about how that day hadn't been a good day, and I had had a bad day too, so I thought we were on the same page, but the thing that made his otherwise good day bad was having a wasp fly around the pool for about 5 mintues when we had gone swimming, that was it. I was kinda bummed that he didn't want to complain about all the other things on my list, but that was it, the wasp. So that might be one thing he remembers, the bugs. I'm trying to record things on the video camera for a true family history of the happenings here, but in the chaos of packing and moving and traveling at the same time, Corey packed my film camera with the storage stuff, so I'm just doing the video for now, and taking an occasional poor quality digital camera photo now and then. I guess I shouldn't care that it's poor quality, it will be better than nothing. I think they'll remember swimming every day, and not ever having to wear seatbelts, and how our whole family plus two more adults can fit in a 2 door - 4 seat car! The cars here are so small, it's funny. We just got a car yesterday. Corey tried to get a mini van, but came home with a Volkswagon Stationwagon looking thing. It is a 1994 car and cost $4000 (if I've done the monetary conversion correctly...) cars don't depreciate here much. Anything technical costs a lot. We bought a cheap old fan to keep us cool (unlike the tons of snow you are getting up there, right?) and it cost $30 and broke within 5 days - the kids dropped it off the bed. So we bought another one for $50, a little nicer, but man, I think they'd both cost $15-20 in the US. We also bought a little tiny CD player thing for $60. So anything mechanical or technical costs a lot, so that is why a 94 car cost so much, I was a little disappointed when I saw it, I don't have much faith in it working regularly when we need it to work. This morning Corey was going to drive it into town to meet someone who would then take him to Sao Paulo. Corey got it out of the driveway and I think out the of the gated door to our street, but somewhere it died, I'm not sure how he got it back to our place, but he had to call his friend to come pick him up. Corey has always wanted to buy cars with no more than 30,000 miles on them so he doesn't have to worry about repairs or fixing anything cause he doesn't know how and doesn't care to learn how. But I'm thinking this car, the fact that he bought it and that it was all we could afford and that we are here in Brazil cause of him and his big dreams, will make him a little more handy with cars! I'd love to see him tinkering under the hood! It's never happened, he's changed flat tires before, but wasn't able to fix the tires on the kids bikes that needed repair at Wyview, and that we hauled to Virginia and then just gave away to Goodwill cause he didn't know how to fix them. He'd rather just buy a whole new bike. So like I said, I think this time in Brazil will make him a little more handy with cars, with the kids toys that need repair, and around the house that I hope we have someday. I just don't want me and the kids to be with him when the car breaks down, I'd rather have him just deal with it by himself and tell me the story of his adventure later. But I do want to see him get his hands dirty under the hood sometime. That would just be so funny!
    Ok, well I'm really done rambling for now, we will try to take some digital pictures with the camcorder that we can send along to you, and we'd love any pictures of you guys there at BYU too! Where are you going to be moving in June or April or whenever Wyview moves the married people out? How is school going for you? Hope you are having fun. I do look back on that time at BYU as a great time. We think we will be moving back to Utah when we are done here. We will fly back into Virginia and then get our stuff out of storage somehow and drive back, probably to move in with family for a while since we will be homeless and most likely broke! ...I thought I would be a pampered wife after putting him through graduate school! I've been jipped! Just kidding. I came to Brazil as a willing accomplice. ...but it was HIS idea. Lots of his business contacts are in Provo, so I think we'll be there again soon after we move back, and we will call you and get together, ok!
    Keep in touch, thanks so much for writing me back, and sorry this is such a lengthy email! Love         Tiffanie

And this below was part of another email to another friend from high school, Christy Chambers Knight:

    We are here in Brazil cause Corey's job in DC was about out of money so it just seemed like a logical time to take a risk and for him to jump into his own business adventure, which he's always wanted to do. He has a great idea for some language training software, he had some contacts here in Brazil that made this a good place for him to come to research it and test it out, and so here we are! We will be here for 4 months at the most. Our visas need to be renewed for an additional month in May though, and if they are denied then we'll change our June plane tickets and come home a month early. We will fly back into Virginia but then will most likely pack up our things in storage and drive across the USA back to home sweet home Utah, only we'll be coming in nice summer weather! I hear you are getting a ton of snow up there, where as I am so hot here I would love to just go take a quick run in the snow barefoot. I am sweaty and clammy all day, it reminds me of my mission in Arizona, I just had to get used to feeling gross all the time. Although the humidity has helped my skin and I don't get those nasty little cuts in the corners of the tips of my fingers by my fingernails which I always get in utah and more particularly in winter. So I hope you guys stay safe and warm up there, and as for us, I'll keep piling on the mosquito repellent and try to not to get too hot. We are in a really secluded place, no one around who can see us, so today (this is probably more information than you needed) it was so hot I seriously just walked around in my garments all day until like 2. I'd go outside, come inside, no worries about anyone coming over or seeing me except for the big lizards in the yard. (They are pretty cool, I'd love to be able to catch one of them, they are like 3 feet long).
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