Saturday, April 28, 2007

Brazil '07 - Temple and Birthday

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Eliziana babysat for Corey and I tonight, and we were able to go to the temple together for an endowment session. I was proxy for Maria Ignacia Costa, b. 1806 in Minas Gerais, Brazil. It was a nice session. Before we went, we went to the Itaguami Shopping Mall and shared a plate of meat and beans. Neither of us were that hungry - Corey had already eaten out at the Itaguami food court with his friend Oli Silva who is helping Corey get his idea patened here. I wasn't hungry cause I had been muching on a box of chocolates. (I bought two boxes of Garato chocolates on Tuesday after the ultrasound, and pretty much have eaten them both myself - what a pig! What can I say, the chocolate is helping make life bearable.)

28 April 2007

Today is my birthday, I am 31 years old. We went to a BBQ at an MBA friend of Corey's house, Danielle. She lives in Sorocaba, it was fun and delicious

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Brazil '07 - It's a Girl

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

I have felt the baby kicking for about 6 weeks now. Today I went in for an ultrasound and guess what, IT'S A GIRL! Melodie is very excited, and Joe and Ethan have decided it's okay too. Corey thought it was going to be a girl. I thought we need to have another girl eventually, but didn't know if this baby would be one. But we are all excited. I'm going to have to start working on my list of names.
The hospital where I had the ultrasound was interesting, didn't look like a US hospital, and I never would have thought it was one if I had walked past it. It looked more like a foreign country's embassy office in downtown DC. I was waiting for about an hour before they saw me. Joe and Mel and Hyrum had come with me, I thought they would be able to come up with me, but they stayed in the lobby, where my helper Lillian was waiting with her two kids. She's not quite my interpreter, cause she doesn't speak English, but she knows what needs to be done, so she's like my Portuguese Mom and talks to people while I stand there. But at the front desk they probed my language skills a bit, then said I speak good (for 2 months) and gave me directions as to where to go to up on the second floor. That was the hardest part, but I made it, waited, and then was able to understand what the doctor said as we looked at our little girl. So I"m just over 20 weeks along, half way there. I think being here in Brazil is making the pregnancy go by quicker, cause instead of just sitting around waiting for my due date, I've got a half way mark taken care of cause I'm sitting around waiting for our flight home. We got our visas renewed last Thursday, the 19th, so we are good to stay until June 13th. I think our flight is the 12th in the evening, we arrive in Dulled June 13th at like 6 a.m.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Brazil '07 - New Car

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Letter to Family after finishing week 9 in Brazil -
Hello Family -
A great miracle this week - so we've decided we never want to see the Volkwagon Santana again (Corey said Santana sounds a lot like Satan) and so we decided to sell it back and rent a car. After looking up prices though, we hesitated since it would be about $79 a day just for the car, not including gas and other unknown come up expenses. Still we decided to do it, it is better than having to deal with a dealership again or worrying about car repairs. So a friend of Corey's, Marcos, who took the GMAT class 2 years ago, sent Corey an email to say hello and ask if there was anything Corey needed. Corey asked Marcos if he could pick him up from the bus stop in Sao Paulo and take him to a car rental place. Then Marcos said that he just got a new job and with this new job he gets a company car, and so we could use his other car if we wanted. What a blessing! So the car dealership made some money on us, but it all belongs to the Lord anyway, right? So they were ripping off God, not us, and God is making it balance out with the money that we'll save from not paying for a rental car with Marcos' car. Isn't that nice! The Lord who works mighty miracles that seem small. So now we are loving it in our little 2 door compact car - it drives like it's in one piece, unlike the Santana, and doesn't rattle and shake when we drive it on the dirt road. Corey and I sit in front, and the kids all sit lined up in a row in the back seat. Corey said he never thought he'd be so excited to drive the kind of car he drove in high school - he's having flashbacks of being 16 and cruizing in the black Volkswagon rabbit... (timewarp)...only he's in Brazil (how'd I get here?), and has a wife and 5 kids in tow...(What!?! When did all that happen?!? I'm just a kid!)

We've all been safe and sound this week. Swimming as usual, plus the kids have been doing lots of art work, which leaves the floor covered crayons and colored pencils that fall off the table and tons of scraps of paper (sometimes a full sheet of paper with a small part cut out, then discarded... I'm trying to teach them to "use it up" but it doesn't seem to be registering). Ethan drew a great picture of Jesus on Sunday - he looked at a card with Del Parson's red robed savior and drew it so well, Corey and I were especially impressed with the nose - complete with nostrils. Melodie is the most dedicated artist. The boys will always jump down and run around to do something else for a bit then come back, but Melodie stays until the job is done, working non-stop comping up with some little amazingly creative thing that hatched in her little brain - yesterday she made a paper Hello Kitty doll that's head was big enough to also a pocket (she had stapled another Hello Kitty shape behind it) with a space inside where she proudly showed me was stored: Hello Kitty's paper brain, Hello Kitty's paper heart, and Hello Kitty's paper "guts". (They learned the "guts" word after squishing caterpillars and asking me what the green stuff was... "guts." I said.) It was really cute, and now all the kids are making pocket people with all the stuff that goes inside. Ethan made Jesus pocket and I helped him draw the brain, heart, and "guts" - I guess we gave him so much praise for the great Jesus he drew on Sunday that it is his new trick for attention. He's a great little artist - his most frequent piece of doodle work though is Superman, complete with the little black curl coming down the middle of his forehead. Since his "Superman Birthday" Ethan has been starting to twirl his hair in front a lot. I first noticed it when he would be coming to ask us for something, so I thought he was just nervous, but then he'd do it at other times when he shouldn't feel nervous so I thought he was fidgeting, and trying to get him to not fidget I asked him to not twirl his hair. "Why do you do that with your hair?" He then explained to me that he's trying to get it to curl like Superman's. I thought that was cute. - I guess it's worth a try! His hair is pretty straight though, and so he's a little envious of Hyrum's hair, that has more curl in it. Hyrum will be all sweaty from playing outside or after swimming, and Joe and Mel will pull him aside and help him get a Superman curl, which makes Hyrum feel very proud. Hyrum wears Ethan's little Superman costume more often than Ethan does now. Hyrum was jumping off this little area from the patio onto the grass the other day, telling me he was going to fly over to the pool. 1-2-3- jump! And he'd fall on the ground. "Oh! Try again" he'd say. 1-2-3- fly!! Down he'd go. "Almost Hyrum! That was great!" "I'm gonna do it Mom!" I could tell by his face and actions that he really thinks he can fly, just not sure how it's done. It was so cute. I watched him again, said good job, and he was not frustrated, just smiling and saying "Almost!" to himself. Also yesterday he was outside waiting for Superman to come, showing me the palm tree that Superman would shortly be landing by. He just sweetly and matter of factly said "I'm waiting for Superman." We rented Superman the movie and Superman 2 from Blockbuster, so Superman has become a real person and is their current hero. And don't forget to put on the red Superman Underwear!
Great thing about Brazil this week: Cheap airfare to Rio - On Friday morning Corey, Joseph, Wesley and I are going to Rio de Janiero. We were going to ride the bus both way for 5 hours each way, but the airfare is really cheap to fly to (a little more to fly back), so we are going to fly in and take the bus back. The other three are going to stay with our friends Fabio and Adrian (who are coming to BYU in 4 months). We will just be in Rio Friday and Saturday, coming back Saturday night. A friend of ours from Sandy (Jared and Jerusha know him - Christian Napier) is in Rio right now for a business trip, so we are going to meet up with him for lunch and a visit. Joe and I are excited to see the Pao de Acucar mountains. I'll attach a picture that Corey took last time he went there in January. So should be fun, we'll send you all some pictures of that next week.
Love you all-

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Brazil '07 - Don't Whine

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Here's an email I sent to my family today:
Hi there one and all -
We are still alive here - although Wesley did have two close brushes with death. I detail one below, the other was one was on the Saturday of Conference in the evening when we were out swimming, me and the kids, Corey was on the patio working. Welsey wanted to get out so I put him out and watched him walk up to where Corey was. "You got Wes?" I asked. "Yup." Ok. I turned to play with the 3 oldest kids who needed me to help them put some 5 gallon top cut off water "buckets" things that we use to wash the clothes on their heads and push them under water, in a kind of scuba diving helmet kind of game. It was funny, they were really excited they could breath air under the water, and we were all engaged in that when I hear Hyrum who was close by and bobbing around in his lifejacket say "Mom, Wesley is floating." I turned and there was Wesley, not floating, but down sunk under the water with his little arms reaching up for something to help him. There is no shallow part to our pool, it goes from about 3 1/2 feet to probably 6 or 7 feet at the deep end. I hurried over to where Wes was, pulled him out, he coughed for a bit and had a big look of shock in his eyes and "what, I'm mortal?" on his face. It was getting dark and with me playing with the other kiddos I hadn't seen Wesley walk back down to the pool. I didn't hear him splash in either (something I've always thought I'd hear if any of the kids were in danger). Corey came down, he hadn't seen him come down "he was just barely next to me..." They do move fast. So we are all very grateful that Wes was okay and that Hyrum was paying attention and spoke up. Little Hyrum, bobbing around and floating to wherever the tides of the pool take him, so again I'm so glad he was watching and that I heard him. I don't know if Hyrum knew what happened, but we kept telling him "You saved Wesley's life! Thank you!"
So that probably isn't the best story to start an email with, but really, I mean it, things are going just peachy. That's because I've adopted as my personal motto for life the maxim Elder Holland offered for happy living: No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won't make it worse. So no more murmuring for me! God is at the helm. We are commanded to be of good cheer, and to give thanks in ALL things - blessings and trials, so Nephi-living, here I come - "I love the wilderness!"
I will now proceed to relate to you a series of unfortunate events from the past two weeks that would make other people whine, but not me!! Well, actually, this was on March 29th, before conference and my life changing personal motto, so some complaining went on at the time, but now I look back and laugh. This day was a day that "the elements were against us", although it was moslty just the evening through the night, not the whole day. It was 4:30 pm and Corey was on his way to leave and pick up Eliziana, a sweet single lady in the ward who said she would babysit for us so we could take a date to the temple. But after he had pulled down and out of our yard gate he realized he couldn't get out of the gate of our street cause the remote had been lost. We kept it in the car ash tray thing, and Hyrum and Wesley had been playing in the car that afternoon, and we have assumed that they are the party responsible for it's disappearance. We looked all over and were getting after the kids the whole time "No more playing in the car! This car is a mess! (toys, cracker and cookie crumbs, paper and crayons...) You guys are little pigs!" That was mostly Corey who was searching in the car - I was up searching in the house and in the grass near the patio where the car was parked. I wasn't blaming the kids, I was blaming Brazil. If the people didn't have stupid gates to every house and street this wouldn't even been an issue. But they are all paranoid about something or someone for whatever reason that I haven't seen any evidence for. So after 15 mintues or so I told Corey we should switch - I'll look in the car, you go look at the house so there will be a fresh pair of eyes. I had looked everywhere and was just looking in the same places again so let's trade.
The car was still on during this time - we were sure we'd find it any minute and then Corey could leave to get Eliziana. So I went out the gate to our yard and was looking in the car. Joe kept asking if he could come out of the gate to help me look. I didn't want him to, knowing that other kids would follow him and their increased number would not help but hinder the search. But he kept pleading so I said ok. Joe and I looked, and like I suspected Wesley and Hyrum followed him out of the gate and came over to the car (which was still on). Joe went back up to the house to help Corey, Hyrum and Wes remained with me. All the doors to the car were open. Hyrum came in, and I asked him again "where is the remote?" pointing to the tray where it was supposed to be. Using charades I held out my empty hand and pushed the invisible remote's button. Hyrum trying to help said "Maybe it's in here?" and he opened the tray. He started to play with the switches and buttons like they do in the car, and I went to the back passenger side door to look around more. Hyrum was in the front passenger side seat and Wesley was running toddler laps around the car (which was still on....can you tell that this is not a safe situation? You know what's coming...) So this is the moment I lost my cool - poor Hyrum who was just trying to help the situation which we were all getting mad at him for causing, put the car into drive. It didn't move too fast at first, but it bumped into me and as I realized what was happening I tried to pull it to a stop - didn't work - I hurried to the front screaming "NO-NO-NO-NO-NO!!!!!!" I was able to put it in park, and located Wesley who thanks to God's grace was not in front of the car - he was off to the side enough that he wasn't hit or run over. Hyrum didn't quite understand what had happened or why I had freaked out. I turned off the car (should have done that at the beginning, huh) sat there breathing for a few seconds trying to bring down my heart rate. Breathe -
Then I came to my resolve: No more of this situation - I grabbed their hands, I was done searching, just forget it, and we left the car out of the gate and went in to our yard. Hyrum was crying and went and hid from me in a far corner of the yard, occassionally glancing towards me through his tears. I said sorry, but he wouldn't come to me. I went to the house, told Corey Wesley could have just been killed. (Eternal perspective moment: There are worse things that can happen than losing a gate remote). He told me he had called our friend Antonio to pick up Eliziana and they were on their way. I thought maybe we should cancel the date and just lock ourselves indoors for the rest of the day before we messed up anything else, but I got dressed, Antonio and Eliziana came, and we said bye to the kids. We had since been able to bring Hyrum into the house and made amends - I tried to explain how I was scared that Wesley or he might have gotten squished and hurt. We talked with Antonio about our landlady and how we could probably get a remote from her. We put on a DVD on the laptop and left - Eliziana told us to enjoy ourselves and take our time - Corey joked maybe we'd stay out till 2. (...remember that comment for our ironic situation later). We got a neighbor to open the gate, and left at 6:30 - two hours later than planned, and did not know how we'd get back into our place.
As we started to drive, the car temperature light was blinking - Overheating, Overheating 110' C. We stopped to let it cool, drove a little further, stopped again, drove again, and said a prayer that we'd get to the temple safely. After the prayer, I was ready to just drive on and ignore the light. But Corey was at the wheel and using common sense decided we should pull off and get water in the car. We had to fill it with water regularly, so we figured there was a leak or something and some water should fix it from getting too hot. We missed the exit, turned around, missed it again on the return, and on the 3rd pass took the right road and got to the gas station. They made us wait for the engine to cool for 20 minutes, during which time we talked that the issue with the remote was probably a test from God, and we didn't do very good - a C grade at best. Shame shame.
So they put water in the car and we drove to the temple. The car seemed okay for most of the drive, but as we drove up the hill the light was blinking again. So it wasn't the water... what else could it be? The temple was great, we were able to do a session (sometimes there aren't enough people for a session) and we did it in Portuguese - I understood most all of it, and felt proud of myself. I am getting better still at understanding people, but can't speak that well. I keep speaking Spanish.
So before we left home to go on our date, we thought we understood that our friend Antonio was going to go by our landlady's house and get another control to the gate, and we were going to meet up at the McDonald's parking lot at 10:30 for him to give it to us and we'd be on our way home. We had 20 minutes after the temple before it was 10:30 and we went to a restaurant for a bite to eat. (There is nothing open from 3-7 pm, but there are restaurants open from 8 - 12. Kinda different that the US. One time we tried to go out to eat for a late lunch/early dinner at 4:00 and nothing was open, the kids were pretty disappointed in their un-informed-as-to-the-ways-of-Brazil parents. We finally just went to a bread shop and got some great ham and cheese bread, yogurt juice, and cake and they were happy) So after our quick bite of food, we went to McDonalds. We were a little late so didn't know if we missed Antonio - we left our cell phone with the sitter so if he called that we wouldn't know.
We hung around at a video store nearby and bought some ice cream and chocolate candy at a gas station, and decided we'd just go home - we'd leave the car outside the gate to our street and just hop over the fence. So as we were pulling out at 11:15, Antonio pulled up. Yeah! We thought he'd just hand us the remote and we were good, right? But I guess we still have a language barrier preventing us from communicating things and understanding things correctly, cause he said to us through his window - "Let's just go by my house and get my wife and she'll come with us to get the remote." Ok~ so this is going to get us home later than planned... We went to Antonio's house and tried to call our landlady to tell her we needed a remote, but no answer. We called the babysitter so she could walk outside to the street to see if perhaps the gate was open, but she said it was closed. We told Antonio how our car was overheating - he had fixed it the first time when the accelerator cable was broken, and he fooled around for 20 mintues or so and found that there were some broken wires by the fans to the engine so they weren't on. We were able to kinda temporarily fix that and thought that would stop it from overheating until we could take the car in. So it was like 12:30 and we told Antonio we were just going to go home and hop the fence and pray the car would work the way there an not overheat and we'd talk to our land lady in the morning. They gave us a ladder to hop the fence - so I wouldn't do any damage to myself or the baby, very thoughtful of them. So we were on our way. We got home at 1, hopped the fence and again I was thinking "it's not the kids fault the remote is lost - it's Brazil's fault for having all these dumb gates!" What is their purpose? They don't keep dogs out, they don't keep people out - Corey's hopped the fence numerous times already after late rides home on the bus. I'm not sure what the purpose of all these locks and gates are... We were talking about what a great memory this will be someday, and Corey came off the gate he said "I wonder what all the other MBA grads are doing right now?" Right, they're probably not hopping a gate at 1 a.m. in the wilderness in Brazil. Then we talked, what are we doing here? Other MBA grads have normal jobs, right? It's not Brazil or the kids, it's us, what are we doing here? Maybe it's not bad luck or that the car is broken or that Brazil is broken, maybe we are broken! As that demotivator poster says - "DYSFUNCTION - The Only Consistent Feature Of All Of Your Dissatisfying Relationships Is YOU." The only constant is all of our problems is... us! Oh no! :)
So in the house Eliziana was in asleep with the kids in their room, we apologized for being out past 1:00 (she had to work in the morning), but I also figured that she is probably the least surprised by how our evening went - she lives here and knows that how things are in Broken Brazil. She did feel bad as she showed me Ethan's and Hyrum's broken glasses on the table - they had been fighting and she didn't see what had happened but there were the frames, each with one lense, and a lense loose from Hyrum's glasses but she couldn't find Ethan's lost lense. With how the day had gone, I was almost totally unaffected by the news, it seemed totally in line and according to the curse that had followed us. As we walked out to the gate so Corey could take her home (I went to help hold the ladder as they climbed over the gate) Corey told her we were just kidding when we said we were going to stay out until 2 a.m. She was very nice, said she could baby sit next Thursday too - we didn't know if she was serious, but she was. Isn't that nice! We are going to have regular date nights!
Unfortunately, the next Thursday we had to call her and cancel our date cause our car was in the shop - we took it in Monday and it was there until Thursday night. There were lots of things wrong with and the "guarantee" that Corey thought we had when we bought it (they would fix any problems for free during the first 60 days) didn't apply because of whatever reasons. So we paid up and they fixed all the things Corey told them to, or so we thought. One of the many things was a broken latch on the hood. Corey went to pick it up on Thursday night, and the bad luck that is following us followed Corey and passed on to his friend Luiz who took him to get the car. Luiz's car broke down on the way there - so they had to walk a little ways. They got the car and then Corey drove Luiz to his car and followed him to make sure he got to his home okay, and then Corey (with Hyrum & Ethan who were with him) decided to go to the grocery store to buy food and grab a bite for them to eat. As they were driving on the freeway, all of a sudden Corey said there was a loud sound, he couldn't see out the windshield, and the glass of the windshield had shattered (but was still holding together in the window). He didn't know what had happened but slowed down the car and tried to pull over to the side of the road. He said it was a heart stopper for sure, and by the time he pulled over he realized what had happened, - the latch to hold the hood which was loose/broken, hadn't been fixed and the hood got loose, blowing up like a sky-diver's parachute with the wind from the freeway, and broke the window and cut off his visibility. Someone pulled over to help him, they called a tow truck and called Luiz, and took the car to Luiz's house. Luiz was online and was able to tell me what was happening. I felt bad for Corey, and must say that I deal with such stressful situations better from a distance. Corey is a trooper leading us on this adventure.
Friday I asked Corey about the car, he called Luiz, Luiz called the dealership, Luiz called us back and told us they wouldn't be able to fix it because of the holiday. We totally didn't put it together that it was Good Friday, we were just like "Ugh! some silly Brazilian Holiday and now we won't have a car till the weekend is over..." On Saturday, Corey's friend Favio and his wife and kids came over to make us a good Brazilian meal. They had hoped we could come to their place, but alas, no car. Favio took Corey to the grocery store and I stayed with Adriana and we engaged in conversation. One of my small talk questions was, "So what holiday was everyone celebrating yesterday?" She replied "Um, Easter?" I felt silly and said "Easter, right! We have that one in America too!" I felt a little silly, we've just forgotton or something, I had read the families emails about easter candy and getting ready for the egg hunt, but didn't put 2 and 2 together. Duh. When the kids heard me and Adriana talk about "Easter was yesterday..." they all looked at me with worry and pain, the tears almost already forming in their little eyes as they asked "We missed Easter?!?!?" I told them that when the package from Grandma arrives we'll do an egg/treasure hunt with the goodies in there. They seemed okay with that. We were also lucky that the Primary bailed us out - after church was over they told all the primary children to go to the primary room. I didn't know what for, but then was told that it is an Easter tradition in Brazil to give the chocolate eggs to each other, so we scored big time with 5 big chocolate eggs as each of our 5 kids got an egg wrapped up fancy and like a huge present. The kids were all excited ("Jackpot!!") and looked like they had just sat on Santa's lap. I'm attaching some pictures of them with their eggs. In the last ones, Wesley dumped his Egg and wouldn't pose for a picture, wondering "why do I have to pose when the other kids are already eating theirs?" He left his on the floor and went after Ethan's chocolate until I gave up on getting a picture, took off the wrapper, and showed him the chocolate goodness inside.
So back to Saturday when Corey's friend and wife came over - Favio was in the first GMAT class that Corey taught in Brazil 2 years ago. He wanted to go to Business school but has since changed his plans and has applied to BYU's MPA (Masters of Political Administration) program and this last month he took the GMAT test again and got a good enough score that he was accepted, so they are getting ready to move to Provo this July. I get excited thinking about how much they will love the US - but I wonder if it will be a hard culture shock to get over like it's been for me here? I'm sure there will be differences that are difficult, but we are excited to share life in Utah with them when they come (especially Costco and Walmart!!!) They are excited and will have a great 2 years there. I'm sure we'll introduce them to all of you sometime after they come.
So Favio is interested in politics and hopes to serve in Brazil's government somehow after BYU. He reads up on US politics a lot and is up to date with Mitt Romney and such. As we were eating our lunch, Corey started bragging about our little policital historian (Joe!) and told Favio to "watch this" as he started to ask Joe questions that he himself doens't know the answers to (and neither do I) "Joe, who was the 13th president of the United States?" After swallowing his food, Joseph states: "Millard Fillmore." "What years did he serve?" came the follow up question. After a short pause and eyes looking up in thought, Joe said "1850-1853." Corey asked another questtion, "Who was his vice president?" "He didn't have one" Corey said "Huh? Every president has a vice president... go get your book?" Joe quickly returned and Corey looked in the book, and said with awe "he's right!" (Fillmore became president after Zachary Taylor's death in office from illness, thus he didn't have a VP). A few more questions "Who was president after Millard Fillmore?" "Franklin Pierce." Corey, trying to stump him said "What year was he born?" Joe thought for a second and said "1804" One last try for Corey... "What month?" Flavio and Corey were both threw their heads back with amazement when he said "November." He didn't know the day though, and so I'm sure that's next on Joe's task to teach himself. He's always wanting to impress Corey when he gets quizzed. It's pretty amazing, we adults couldn't believe a little 1st grade drop-out could know so much. I've warned Joe that he's going to get sick of us when we're back in Utah, cause I'm sure he's going to be our little side show - we'll take him with us to social gatherings with our friends and will say "Ask him a question about the US Presidents" and we'll all be amazed. It's so cute and fun, amazing what 2 months of almost complete isolation can do to a kid!
There are other stories that I'm sure we'll relate when we're home, but here's the last thougth for now -
Great thing about Brazil for the week:
For those of you who are avocado fans, I wish you were here. When I first cut into an avocado here I thought I was partaking of the fruit of the tree of life. It was a huge avocado, like they are as big as eggplants. It was perfect, no bruises, perfectly soft and green, delicious. Corey and I both love them. Brazil Avocados - A+
Love you all -

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...