After 24 hours of traveling, we made it to our Hotel in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where we have spent the last three days. We are currently waiting for a van to pick us up and take us to CTMDT, the missionary school where we will spend the next four weeks. Traveling went well despite the worst turbulance we have ever encountered!
It is important to note some of the financial details of how we were able to get here. Three weeks prior to our intended departure date, we did not have our airplane tickets or the money to buy them. Thanks to generous donations from family, friends, a local church, and an accidental house fire, we were able to pay for not only our tickets, but our stay at CTMDT as well. I must explain the house fire: Grandma Barbara's house caught on fire and Marko was the general contractor on the job. The insurance company paid him to manage the renovation. It goes to show that there is truth to the saying "Good comes out of every bad situation"!
There are two big contrasts that we have seen between North Americans and South Americans. The first contrast has to do with the attitudes and countenance of the Brazilian people. When we got on our plane in Los Angeles to depart for Saul Paulo, Brazil, there was an amazing exuberance coming from the passengers. The noise level was such that I had a hard time hearing, but the noise was not bothersome at all, it was very pleasant in fact. This is where we first got a glimpse of the joy the illuminates from this culture of people. They are full of energy and laughter. In fact, they even laughed as we were going through turbulance as if we were on a roller coaster ride! I, on the other hand, had a hard time keeping my dinner down, and the look in my eyes elicited more laughter from those passengers next to me!
The other contrast has to do with customer service. Not to be down on my fellow Americans, but I have been very disappointed lately with customer service in general. Brazilians customer service is to be admired and duplicated. Where North Americans seem to expect tips, South Americans often refuse them. They shake their heads and say "Nao, it is my pleasure".
Portuguese people are crazy drivers! I don't think there are very many rules of etiquette in Brazil. It appears that the speed limits are not enforced, and pedestrians don't seem to have the right away. In fact, there are very few cross walks which is quite frightening when walking with young children. We are keeping our kids very close to our sides!
Overall, we are thoroughly enjoying our time here and we look forward to what the Lord has in store for us. I will post some pictures as soon as I figure out how. Marko has nicknames me the "computer terrorist" and says that I did not even need special training to earn the title! I do seem to struggle with not messing things up. I have already lost this post once. I pray that it actually work this time! Until next time...