Sunday, June 3, 2007

Brazil '07 - Ready to Come Home

Sunday, 3 June 3007

Here's an email I sent to my family tonight:
And once again, what a fun time we've had. The things that have happened this last month in Brazil have been typical of our experience here with the usual glitches in the system... although it's nice that we've always have variety in that the problems change from week to week.
So as for these past two weeks, in addition to the cold and rain outside, it also been cold and wet inside! As I told you in the last email, we were without water for 24 hours on the 21st of May. It stopped running when I was almost done with the hand washing on Monday night - which uses a lot of water - I guess I wasn't supposed to do that, cause I used up the water before the pump in the well could fill it up. (I didn't know until then that we get our water from a well...) So I learned that we have a water container on top of the house that holds well water, and I used it all up washing clothes and broke the pump. After the gardner/fix it guy Jose Maria came to fix it on Tuesday night, we naturally, being Americans that expect things to work, thought it was fixed! We went out to eat while they worked with the well and the pump, and came home to running water, but were puzzled by the pool of water all over the floor in the kids room and water droplets that were still dangling from the ceiling. Hmm. We put towels on the floor, were grateful to have water again, and thought things were back to "normal" (whatever that means here.) Buta few days later on Friday morning the 25th (luckily after I finished washing the dishes) the water ran out again. I was pretty bugged, so we just decided to get out of the house and we went to a park and then took Corey to the bus station so he could go to Sao Paulo to teach a GMAT class that night and Saturday morning.
We survived the night without running water and the next morning, May 26th, Jose Maria came again to fix the water pump. I heard the hum of power from the pump running on the roof, and he left for a while - I figured he was done and that the pump it would fill up the container again, stop pumping, that some small thing hadn't worked on Monday but that now it was really fixed. But... soon after he left I was outside sweeping when I heard water splashing behind the house. There is a faucet back there that Wesley like to turn on sometimes, so I thought he had been back there and I went back to turn it off - but the water I heard was actually coming out from a drain hose under the roof that I had never noticed before. "Hmm, never seen that before...where is that water coming from? I think the container is full...where is that guy?" I walked into the house to check on the ceiling of the kids room, where we noticed our first day that the paint and cement had had obvious water damage - nothing was happening there but I did hear something in the bathroom. I peeked in to see water dripping from the ceiling light. That explained the wet floor that I found in there last week when the kids room was wet - I thought Wesley had just gotten into the sink water as he does on occassion (that kid likes to play with water...). I wandered out back again, still coming out of the drain hose... as turned to walk back inside I saw water trickling down the wall as it came out of another window to the roof/attic where the container was... I hadn't noticed it before, but I could see the container up in this window, and I could see where it was indeed overflowing. The water was coming out pretty fast - this is not good - I continued to pace around helplessly - Where is that guy?! Back into the house and there, sure enough, it started to pour out of the ceiling light in the kids room.
Now it would have just gotten the floor wet like the previous time Tuesday night, but a few nights earlier I had rearranged the beds and bunk bed into a fun sleeping cave in an attempt to keep the kids warm at night with their hot little bodies working together for the collective good, so the three beds that had been along the walls of the room were now lined up down the middle of the room under the light, where the water started to pour, getting blankets, pillows, and mattresses wet. The kids who were playing in there sweetly pointed out the obvious - "Mom! Our beds are getting wet!!" My stressful and paniced reply from seeing the inevitable coming to pass was to yell " I know!!!!!" I tried to move the mattresses out of the way, but that just made the water splatter against the wood boards of the bed which got everything just as wet. I started to grab and drag things out of the room, and told the kids (who were just staring at the pouring water and telling me everything that was getting wet) to pick up the stuff that was getting wet and get it out! Joe ran and got a big pot which filled up after 30 seconds, we tried to get the kid's things off the floor - we got most of the toys, socks, shoes, but left the papers, random kid litter and other dirt all in the wet mess. We got out all absorbant items except the queen mattresses, which we pushed until they were enough out of the way and off of the floor that they didn't get too wet. And then we just listened to it pouring in. I figured the situation was out of my hands and there was nothing I could do, so I went and sat on the couch and shook my head in disbelief. As for the kids - the water helped inspire their next game, and they all went outside where Melodie was the Rain Princess and they played their imaginary adventure game with water and flooding. I got online and tried to email our land lady with no luck - and I couldn't call because Corey had the cell phone and we don't have a land line here. I didn't think Jose was coming back, I just sat in a dampened despair until I saw the water coming down the stairs into the living room area - then I figured I better go squeedgie it into the bathroom, which I figured I'd do until the land lady checked her email and sent for help. But luckily after 25 minutes of rain, (eventhough I hadn't gotten a hold of him or anyone), Jose returned, I heard the pump get turned off, I continued to squeedgie the water out of the room and into the bathroom. The water drained into the room for another 10 minutes and then dripped for the rest of the day. The room eventually got clean and dry enough that the kids were able to sleep in there that night, but it did smell like a damp and wet amuzement park ride for the rest of the day - It made me think of riding the Pirates of the Carribean at Disneyland.
So when Jose came and turned off the pump, I didn't ask him about if it was fixed - I didn't say anything to him cause 1) I don't speak Portuguese very well and because 2) when Corey and I have attempted to communicate with him, I think his brain turns us off ("Oh no, these Americans are going to try and speak Portuguese to me again!!!") and he just extends his arm with a "thumbs up" signal. Thumbs up is a common and frequent sign here in Brazil, replacing many different hand signals that American's use, such as when when we wave "hello", shake hands and say "how are you?", tap our mouths with a napkin and answer a restaurant waiter on how our meal is, or engage in small talk with strangers - Here in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, all of that is replaced with the simple "thumbs up". Ethan gave the thumbs up to a surfer in Camboriu, who then returned a thumbs down - Corey interpreted the sign language for me: I thought Ethan was saying hi, but was informed that his thumb up had acutally asked "How are the waves" and the thumbs down returned signaled they were poor. So the thumb has great many meanings here, and when the fix-it guy Jose holds out his thumb, I usually wrongly think he is telling us or asking us if everything is A-O-K. But then we'll try to ask him a question or explain how things are and he doesn't say anything, he just keeps holding out his thumb, but now more forcefully, like he's trying to keep us at a distance - it's more like he's trying to ward off a vampire with his fingers in a cross sign "Stay back! Stay back!" Pretty funny, so we just give him the thumbs up when we see him, even when things are thumbs down.
SO - that was on Saturday while Corey was gone. We survived and cleaned up the room, dried the mattresses outside in the sun that day, and since they were already wet, I had a good reason to wash the kids bed sheets which really needed to be washed. Corey came home that night, arriving back at the Campinas Rodoviaria (bus station place) at 7:40 that night.
Then, at the start of the next week - lo and behold, Monday morning May 28th, Jose Maria come to check on the water, we give him the thumbs up in an effort to tell him "we have water" ... but I'm not sure what his interpretation was, anyway after a minute we hear the pump going. Hmm - I remember last time I heard that sound the kids room got flooded. Then Jose left - that means he's not watching it or be able to turn it off when it's full! It was on for quite a while and I started to pace the floor with worry and said to Corey - it's going to overflow again... - we gotta turn off the pump... how can we turn off the pump? I worried and rang my hands for a bit and was sure there was going to be water running out the roof drain hose in a matter of minutes. Instead of just predicting the events, I went outside to check, ...and the water was coming out. "Corey!!!" (It was nice to have him there to share the problem with). I looked at the attic window and water was trickling out from there too - I ran inside to look in the bathroom which is the next place it comes and there it was, into the kids room for the final pouring place, and we moved the mattresses just in time to save it from a direct shot as the water started to come in. "AAAGGHHH!!!! THAT'S IT!!" Corey and I started to haul the mattresses outside again, and we both looked at each other with defeat in our eyes, we're tired of this, and we each said "We should just leave!" Then our defeat turned to joy and we thought - "That sounds great! Let's leave this place!" We decided enough is enough, and we're not going to take it anymore!!!! We'd made it 4 months, but we were going to pull out the white flag - cause we surrender! We give up! Good bye Chacara! No more cold nights, no more huge power bills (that's a story I'll let Corey relate sometime - but something is wrong with some power here - they think with the pool pump (we hadn't used the pool for over a month and weren't in charge of maintaining it or knowing if the pump was working anyway)... and there was a huge bill that the landlady insisted was our responsibility to pay, we said she should atleast split it since it's her pump or whatever that has the problem that caused the huge bill...anyway, turned us sour) So "Chacara Ouro Verde", it's been an adventure, but we aren't going to deal with you anymore. It sounded great and easy - we'll just grab our stuff and leave and let someone else clean up the water and mess. So we stared to load up our things and were both in jolly good moods.
So we had officially decided the what: we are leaving. Now the how: where should we go? A hotel? GMAT friends? Let's stay in Barao Geraldo... there was a couple from the ward with a little 5 year old girl who last month had offered for our family to stay at their place so we could be closer to the city... let's try them. So Corey gave them a call. They was no answer but Corey left a message. Corey had to go into town for a phone call, so we decided since we have such a small car and will need to take several trips, we'd load up the car and Corey would swing by after his call and see if they got our message and if it's okay for us to stay over.
We soon found out that our belief in finding a better situation for ourselves somewhere else for the next two weeks was rash. ... It was just such a nice feeling of freedom to say "We're outta here!!!" that we jumped the gun too quickly without thinking things through. The couple that invited us to stay at their place saw our things in the car when Corey went by and were excited that we'd be moving in so soon! I hadn't seen their house, but as Corey was dropping off our bins of things, he groaned inside and thought "this isnt' going to work...." Corey came home with an empty car and told me what he thought - we decided to call again and tell them nevermind, but the husband, Nayie (sounds like Nay-EE, don't know how it's spelled) said we should come, Corey said no thanks, Nayie said "I'm on my way to help you bring your things", Corey said "No, it's okay, it's not that good here but it's better because if we came there'd be too many people..." Nayie said "see you in 15 minutes". So he came, we tried to withdraw our request to no avail, so we all went in to town so I could check it out and then officially say "No thanks". Their place is smaller than our chacara (which I think is 800 sq feet inside) and although they were very eager for us to stay over and were very very insistant (I hope they don't apostatize cause we retracted our request to stay with them) we insisted we were going back to the chacara. We really didn't want to share our daily life with another family for the next two weeks or even for one night - (they insisted we stay one night to try it out). It was kinda hard for us to get out of the situation we'd just put ourselves in, but managed to do it by consenting to letting the kids sleep over (except for Wesley) and Corey started getting Nayie involved with his English software business and gave him some work to do with that. We tried to take the kids home with us, but the kids said they'd like to sleep over so we let them. They had a 2 month old cute little black puppy that the kids fell in love with and wanted to stay and play with, plus a hamster too. Poor Hyrum is so scared of dogs, I think the smaller the puppy, the more he screams. But Hyrum wasn't about to be left out of the fun, so he stayed too, and with the kids not in the car we were able to fit all our things in and take them back to the shack. We went by a store on our way home at 10:30 and bought a comforter blanket for our bed. The kids have blankets, but Corey and I have been freezing but were reluctant to spend money for something we were only going to use for the next two weeks, but Corey went and bought it and it is amazing what a difference a warm and good nights sleep does in changing one's outlook on the world. The kids slept over and as for Corey and I, we woke up refreshed and ready to endure to the end at the chacara. Corey went to town and picked up the kids the next day around 11:00. Nayie and his wife asked us what Candy was, cause the kids kept chanting "Candy! Candy!" and that is probably what they ate most of the time. I think there are too many cookies and treats in Brazil.
So one more thing and then I'll end this email - Corey went to Argentina this weekend - He left Thursday night May 31st and came back tonight, Sunday 3 June, at 7:30. He debated for a long time whether he should go - there was a BYU Management Society Latin America Meeting (is that right Corey?) with BYU Alumni from Chile, Brazil, Argentina etc. all coming to this meeting to hear a speaker and do whatever else they do, and when he first heard about it, he felt he needed to go to it, but didn't want to, and he put off buying the ticket until Wednesday night. He said he mostly wanted to take me to see Buenos Aires, but I didn't think there was a way for us to leave the kids again for that many days. So he kept hesitating and I really didn't want him to go away again either but thought he should if he felt it would help with his business opportunities, anyway, When he finally decided to go I was feeling very very stretched after the past two weeks events with the chacara and being a little nervous about how things would go here, and feeling like I've reached my limits - so I had to cry for a bit (a lot of my emotions also probably has to do with the whole pregnancy thing too...) and my emotions were still on the surface the next day, Thursday, when he left. He was going to go to Sao Paulo for the night with Favio, Luis, and some other people for some business speaker thing and then leave early the next morning for Argentina. He didn't want me to stay alone at the chacara, so arranged for me to stay with Fabio and his family for a few days in Sumare - which I didn't really want to do either - but as Corey was about to leave with Fabio and Luiz for Sao Paulo, I was silently thinking about dear Mary Willaimson Hibbert (darn those pioneers and the things they sacrificed, don't leave us with any excuses!) and how she ran the farm and took care of, what, like 12 kids? while Ambrose went on a mission to England - or any of the other early church members sending off their husbands on year long missions abroad. So Corey and I were thinking the same thing, cause as we said goodbye, he said "Aren't you glad it's just for a weekend and not for 5 years?" and I shook my head in disbelief at how they were able to do that. Then Corey said "....and I'll be taking another wife when I get home" WHAT?!?! Again I shook my head - how did they handle so many trials and sacrifices? Talk about getting stretched - how did they do it? Corey went to put his suitcase in the car and then came back over quick and said "Hey! I got great news! My mission has been cut back and I'm actually only going to be gone for the weekend! And I don't have to do the polygamy thing!" I thought that was funny for Corey to say, but still sobered me up and over the weekend I was wishing I were stronger with my set backs and trials. But I guess that's why we're here on earth, to learn to be strong by going through these experiences. So, end of story, I'm glad I'm Corey's only wife and that he made it back safe from his trip.
And since it's 3:00 a.m. Monday morning now I better finish this off. So this might be my very last email from Brazil! I think we're gonna make it! We are very very very very very excited to be back in the US of A! We'll be coming into Virginia on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. Here's our itinerary:
United 0860
Depart: Sao Paulo, Brazil GRU 10:10 PM Jun12
Arrive: Dulles, Virginia IAD 06:57 AM Next day Jun 13
Non-stop 9h 47m
4,736 miles traveled Dinner, Snack

...And maybe I will send out another email this week of our anticipated schedule of our road trip from DC to Utah, if we are able to get that all planned and figured out. We'll see. Love you all!!!!!!!! See you soon!
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