Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday was the kids last day of school. Summer vacation starts next week for the Brasileros. It is quite strange to think of having summer vacation during Christmas. It is also hard to get used to seeing Christmas decorations when a typical day hovers around 100 degrees! I must say that we have been enjoying some Washington weather this week though. It has rained every day for about eight days and today it has not let up at all. I have mentioned in the past that the only bummer about this is that we do not have any clean, dry clothes! Most of our wardrobe is hanging outside under our porch smelling like a damp dog! Ugh!!! I do look forward to having a dryer again!
We took the onibus into the city this morning with our neighbors, Patricia and Saulo, to celebrate Saulo's 24th birthday!!! We feel like the old folks around here! We are practically old enough to be their parents. I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but my age seems to really be hitting me in the face here in Brazil. The students at CTMDT refer to us as their "older friends" and sometimes even call me mom! How on earth did that happen?!!! I still think of myself as 32! What was really humbling was when I realized that the precious couple that I have been referring to as the kids local "grandparents" are exactly my age!! Oops! Thank goodness they did not realize I had been calling them grandma and grandpa! I could have sworn they had a decade on me! Guess I better take a look in the mirror!
O.K., back to school....The kids have had a great experience going to school here in Brazil. They attended a local private school called "Colegio Cramer". The boys had to get up for school at 6:00 A.M. which was a bit of a challenge, but they rose to the occasion and we are very proud of them. Going to an all Portuguese speaking school was not easy. Often times they would complain of being bored. When they did this I would remind them of their friends at school back home who came from China three years ago. It was not easy at first but eventually these girls started to speak English and are now doing very well. Most days the boys would come home with smiles on their faces, so I knew they were having a decent experience.
Gabriella went to school in the afternoon. Though she struggled most days when being dropped off, she was all smiles at the end of the day. It is hard to tell exactly how much our children actually learned this year but we know that the experience has been educating in itself. They are not fluent in Portuguese, but they understand a lot and can communicate quite well. We tried to keep up on American homework at home but we won't know until we get back to the states where the kids are at. I am hopeful that the five months of school here in Brazil has been a good thing that will have far reaching affects on them, whether or not they have managed to keep up with their classmates back home.
I have posted some pictures of each kid with their teachers and classmates. I also included a photo of Noah with his teacher, Angela, whom I particularly liked. The staff at Cramer was wonderful and we are so thankful that they allowed our kids to attend their school without a bunch of hassle or paperwork. It was just one more experience that went surprisingly smoothly for us in this foreign country.
Friday, December 4, 2009
I have been planning to blog about some of the people who have helped our transition here in Brazil to be one of relative ease. There are many people who have reached out to us and gone above and beyond as we have settled into life in a foreign country. I will only be mentioning a few of them since I do not have family photos of everyone and I want you to see, as well as hear how they have blessed us. Maisel and Marcia have been a huge help to us in many ways. I regret that I do not have a family picture of them. I posted a couple of photos of them on a previous blog; two separate photos of them with their darling son, Samuel.
Our friend, Silvia, speaks good English and helped us to get our CPF cards (equivalent to a U.S. Social Security Card). She has also helped us with translations at the school that our children attend. Silvia's husband, Gustavo, is a helicopter mechanic at a local airport. Their daughter, Anna Victoria, is Gabriella's closest friend here in Brazil.
Eliane, an English Teacher, came along side me to help me in my preparations for teaching English. I came to Brazil totally unprepared to teach English, and she generously loaned me many books and activities from her stockpile of teaching lessons. She has opened up her heart and her home to our family, and we are thankful for her. She and her husband, Geraldo, have three children: Diego, Daniel, and Sarah.
Our neighbors, Gislaine and Claydson, have been like family to us. We have spent more time with them than anyone else in Brazil. We are privileged to have them in our lives and we will miss them terribly. Gislaine, who at 26 and has the energy that I no longer have, took Gabriella under her wings and has formed a lifetime bond with our youngest child. This precious brother and sister have helped us to communicate with the landlords that we both share and have also assisted us in paying our bills when necessary. We have shared meals, laughs, vacations, and tears. Our lives have been impacted through their love.
Danilho and Claudia, have been a wealth of information for us. I have mentioned that they own our favorite local pizza restaurant. They also run the Creche, the school I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that provides affordable education for the poor. Danilho has driven Marko around on several occasions to work out the details of living in Brazil. He has been invaluable to us and has introduced us to many people whom have assisted us in ways that are yet to be fully realized. We thank God for he and Claudia as well as their son, Danininho.
Ezra, is a dear CTMDT student who amazes us with her maturity. Ezra is a twenty two year old former Muslim who speaks four languages. Born in Bosnia and raised in Germany, she is a worldly-wise young woman! She is always there to interpret for us when we need it and she has blessed us with her contagious joy. We have enjoyed talking with her about her "boyfriend" problems and have been blessed to pray with her regarding her desires to be married and to go into the mission field.
There are many other Brazilians that have reached out to us and loved us. We are so humbled by this culture of people and their warmth towards us. We are in awe of their contentment in the little things. We have learned so much from watching their lives and from experiencing their love. We are forever changed and forever grateful for this experience in Brazil, and we believe this is only the beginning of our relationship with this little community.