Sunday night I made a little paper chain link count down to the flight home - we are all ready to get back to the states, but are enjoying our last weeks here. 21 days left, 3 weeks from tonight we'll be boarding the plane in Sao Paulo for a long 9 hour flight back!
Corey's ankle is doing remarkably well - it is still tender and hurts, but he was able to walk around without the crutches 4 days after hurting it (he tore a ligament while he was playing outside in the dark with the kids) and didn't take the crutches at all to Camboriu. We did a lot of walking, especially the day at the amusement park, but he was a champ as always.
Two weeks ago we went to Sao Paulo for a night before heading south to the state of Santa Catarina. Corey went for a BYU MBA information session thing with his friends - There are two of them who are coming to BYU this fall, so that will be fun to have them as visitors in our country, we are excited to help them get settled in for their 2 years at school. In Sao Paulo we stayed at the temple hostel, which was 3 bunk beds in a room. The kids were so excited when they saw it! I felt like we were at a church camp, but the kids got busy staking out their spots, it was funny - they are so easy to please and all pronounced "this is the best hotel ever!" ! I was able to go to the temple Thursday morning before we flew to Florianopolis.
Our final destination was Balenario Camboriu, a beautiful beautiful city that was about an hour and a half north of Florianopolis. Camboriu was a lot different than Campinas, Rio, or Sao Paulo - it felt like a different counrty. We think it is what Rio must have been like 20 years ago. It was clean, no grafitti, there were hardly any windows with bars, it looked like a great place to take a vacation, and we want to go there again someday with all of you! Okay? It will be fun! It is a resort town that mostly attracts tourist travelers from Argentina. The peak season is summer (which is November through February here) so we got lucky to be hanging out in the off season - we had the whole beach to ourselves! The city is a cove with 3 miles of long beach and Atlantic rainforest. I'm attaching a Google Earth placemark to where our hotel was, and you can get a small idea of the city from this aerial view. We spent Friday in the hotel hot tub and took a quick walk down to the beach.
It's got an amuzement park, zoo, and shows.
The African Mysteries show was amazing, these guys were jumping and tumbling all over the place and playing with fire and did the limbo under a bar of fire that was one foot off the ground - the limbo bar was resting on top of what looked like two bottles of beer. It was awesome, the kids were really impresses!
The members very nice and it was great to be at home right away even though we're a continent away from all of you. I love the Church and the gospel. The Spirit was sweet and familiar, I still don't communicate well, but they were so nice. Corey felt bad that people kept asking him if we were members - I had forgotten to pack his razor so he was not freshly shaved. I also forgot to pack clothes for him, so he didn't have a white shirt to wear. Poor Corey had to wear the same dress shirt that he had been wearing for 4 days since the MBA information session in Sao Paulo - Sorry Corey! I forgot to pack a lot of things, but we survived somehow - a family of 7 with everything packed in one big suitcase and two pack packs. Mom- talk about being minimalists, huh! Corey has a friend, Jeff, who is on a little tour of South America with his fiance Kasey - they've gone from Chile to Uruguay to Brazil - they met up with us in Camboriu and the two of them had more luggage than our family, which made me feel embarrassed and impressed by us at the same time. We had some food with them at the beach. Here are our messy kids:
Caroline is 10 years old and was so cute with our kids.
We could go anywhere in the world and more than likely find members of our church family that would take us in and feed us and do anything for us. Again, isn't the church wonderful?
Wednesday we walked to the northermost part of the cove where there was another beach right next to the rainforest, this beach had big rocks for the kids to all climb on, and the sand was a different texture, more like lots of broken sea shells more than dirt. The kids buried each other and we had more time just enjoying the view.
Thursday we went for lunch with the Bastos family again, where they made a special sea food lunch for us - we ate shark and shrimp while the kids enjoyed french fries, suckers, and cotton candy - they have a cotton candy making machine.
Neidson makes a living for himself throwing birthday parties, most of which are huge events for 1 year old children, so their house is a totaly party house. They showed us pictures of the parties they've set up - lots of balloons and carved styrofoam figures of Tarzan or Cinderella. They looked like quite the events, and we've decided that someday we'll probably have to throw real parties for our kids - although hopefully they won't go till 5 in the morning, like they told us a party for an 8 year old girl did. I tell ya, latinos know how to party. (The wedding Corey and I went to 2 years ago in Guatemala - they were dancing till 3 in the morning, we called it quits around 1 a.m., but it didn't seem like anyone else was giving up any time soon). After the nice dinner and party at their "Casa de festa" they took us to the bus station where we barely caught the 4:40 bus on time to leave for Curitiba.
After a 3 hour ride, we arrived at Curitiba and drove to the house of the Familia Araujo. Bro Araujo is an area authority there in Brazil, we stayed at his house, he has 5 grown children, one of whom is Fernando who was the one who arranged the GMAT class that Corey taught. He is going to go to BYU next year with his wife and 2 kids. Corey says he'll definitely be accepted, he's really sharp, he served a mission in Provo, but his wife is nervous as she doesn't speak English. I know how she feels. Corey's enjoyed teaching the GMAT. There are atleast 6 people from his classes that are going to be at BYU this fall, of the ones he knows about there are 3 from Brazil and 3 from the Argentina. I think he's doing a great job waving the banner of BYU.
Well, after Curitiba, we flew back to Campinas where Fabio and family met us again (they were the ones who watched the kids when Corey and I went to Rio). They are great, we owe them big time and hopefully will have lots of opportunities to return the favor when they come to Utah this fall. So back in Campinas life is like before with the usual glitches in the system: Monday night the water quit for some reason, so we couldn't wash dishes or flush the toilets. Luckily it rained all day Tuesday, so we caught water in pots, pans, and buckets and were able to flush toilets, yay!
We love you all and love to hear from you, we'll write again soon. Love you!!