Sunday, August 16, 2009
Yesterday we were invited to the home of a family from the kids' school. We do not have a car so Tina picked us up in at noon to bring us to her "casa." We had no idea what a treat we were in for.
Tina is a Portuguese woman who spent several years in England where she met her husband. Her English is very good and she has been a great help to us as the kids' have settled into school. About a dozen years ago Tina and her husband bought seven and a half acres in the foothills of Santa Luzia, Brazil for about 7,000 dollars. Their plan was to build a vacation home. Crime in England began to escolate, and the cost of living became increasingly outrageous, so the family decided that Tina and the kids would move to Brazil. They are part owners of a large corporation in England, so the husband had to stay there. He travels to Brazil every month to spend time with his family and Tina and the children travel to England about three times a year to see him. The life they could not afford in England, they can easily afford here. We were blessed to enjoy the day with them at their country retreat.
After a twenty minute car ride on the back roads of Santa Luzia (where we live), we arrived at a gated driveway with exotic, tropical trees flanking both sides. We entered the gate and drove up to Tina's beautiful home nestled in the trees, with a small mountain as the backdrop. We breathed in the country air and felt like we were back home in Stanwood! Though our homes are completely different in architecture, and the vegetation different as night and day, the tranquility was the same and we were in love!
The kids played for hours with Tina's kids in their family pool. By the time they got out of the pool they had puffy eyes and pruney toes! There was a pool house with a bathroom, a spa, and a sauna. I got a kick out of the fact that their was a HUGE bullfrog in the toilet! Apparantely that is quite normal and someone has to pluck the frogs out of the toilet on a regular basis. I did get a photo of half of the frog sticking out of the toilet but I will spare you that picture and will instead post some more tasteful pictures of the house and yard.
Marko and I spent the afternoon hanging out in the outdoor kitchen which we loved; eating and then eating some more. Tina had a few other friends stop by and we sat at the long outdoor table visiting and practicing our Portuguese. We wandered the grounds and were introduced to Tina's 12 dogs, including three puppies, and hundreds of chickens.
The day was perfect and was a nice retreat away from the city life we are now getting used to. Our house in Santa Luzia is very humble and small, but the simplicity of it is refreshing to us. We walk everywhere which is something entirely new to us. The kid's school is directly across the street, CTMDT is two blocks away, the grocery store, hair salon, and restaurants are within walking distance. It is a nice change for us to be living in the city, and since we have no car it is a blessing. Spending the day with Tina at her country estate was like a breath of fresh air and a reminder of what we left behind. We have no regrets though-only joy for what tomorrow will hold. Each day is a new adventure filled with little treasures from our Heavenly Father.