Monday, November 30, 2009
This afternoon our neighbors, Gislaine and Claydson, had a birthday party for two of our friends, Gustovo and Magano. I realize you do not know these people but I just wanted to post some pictures of some of our friends/neighbors. We all live within walking distance of each other. Though I miss the tranquility of our home in the United States, I will definitely miss this sense of community. I love being able to pop my head over the wall and ask to borrow a xicara of farinha (a cup of flour)! The other day Marko Gabriel got in a water fight with Gislaine. I still am not sure who started it, but Marko had the garden hose and Gislaine a bucket of water. I heard screaming and ran out to take a picture. On Saturday we decided to have a potluck breakfast together. The kids have taken to climbing over the wall between our houses. I am not sure they realize how much they will miss this when we are back in the United States.
I had to take this picture of our friends eating American Chocolate Chip Cookies. They have become a favorite in our neighborhood and like I have shared, I have taught many people how to make them. In fact, I am teaching two more friends how to make cookies tomorrow. I need to send some chocolate chips to Brazil. They are very hard to find. I have never actually seen any. We have to buy large chocolate bars and break them up into pieces. Based on this fact, I suppose I should change the name to Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
I have to share something that we learned today about the mail system in Brazil. If you send a package from the United States you have to mark it as a "present". If you don't and it weighs over a certain amount, the post office in Brazil will charge the receiving person a large amount of money! A few weeks ago we received a box of coffee and syrup from a friend. We had to pay 130 reais (or around $70) to be able to get the package. We thought this was ridiculous, but somewhat humorous. Here we were having to pay for a care package that someone already paid for in the U.S.! We were not sure why this was the case, so we paid the money and enjoyed the contents of the box very much! It was not so humorous today when we received another box with a price tag of about $360 reais! Marko went to the post office with a friend and was told that he could choose to pay the money for the box or they could send the box back to the U.S. for free! We don't really understand the logic in all of this, but we sent the package back! We will, after all, be home in January to retrieve it! Lesson: If you ever need to send a package to Brazil, make sure you claim it as a "present"!!!
The young man in the photo with Marko and I is one of our favorite students. His name is Enrique and he is dear to our hearts. His family invited us to spend some time with them in Rio over Christmas vacation, and we hope to have him come live with us in the United States sometime in the future.