It has been a slow week for us at the office. There just isn't a whole lot for us to do right now. That does make our days drag on a bit. We are trying to come up with a plan to start a food initiative somewhere. I've been doing some research to see where the greatest need has been as far as fast offering help for food. Maybe we will learn some new things this week. I sure hope so. One thing I have been doing is learning Excel and Powerpoint. The fellow who does the presentations will be leaving in Feb. to move to Utah so I will probably be doing those reports. I haven't ever had a need to use Excel or Powerpoint so this is a learning experience for me. I just hope that we will have the opportunity to get out and do something that seems more productive to me.
We have had an interesting thing happen twice today, once this morning and again just now. All of a sudden we heard tons of cars honking their horns and there were two big dump trucks moving in the line. Just now it looked like a lot of the cars had something on top of them, like a Christmas Tree or a pile of bananas or something. I couldn't quite tell what it was but it looked like it could have been either. We have no idea what that all means.
One interesting thing in the Brazilian culture is people selling their wares. When we were in Campinas years ago we would wake up almost every morning to the sound of Beethoven's "Fur Elise." That was the gas man selling his tanks of gas and if you were in need of a new tank (for your stove) you would run out and flag him down. Here it is the "egg man." We have heard him every Sat. repeating over and over and over on a loud speaker, "40 eggs for only 10 reieis (that is the Brazilian money, plural for "real" which sounds like "hayall"); fresh from the farm. 10 reieis for 40 eggs," etc.,etc. It gets a little old after a while.
We had a fun weekend. evening we went into the city center and went to a shopping mall to see the Christmas decorations. I've never seen anything like them before! WOW!! That is about all there is to it. It was awesome! That mall is in a very rich area of the city. It was very fancy. One thing for sure is that we really couldn't afford to buy anything in it! We did go to dinner there to a really nice place. We did't get home until about . It was a lot of fun.
Yesterday we went back into the city to a park called Ibiripreira and rented bicycles and rode all around the park. It is probably the equivalent of Central Park in New York. There were thousands of people there walking, riding bikes, scooters, skateboarders, jogging, working out on equipment that was everywhere, just enjoying the day. It was a lot of fun and absolutely beautiful! You just can't believe the flowers down here. They are gorgeous! It was a beautiful park. We went there years ago with our family but we went to the museum under the big obelisk. Our kids probably will remember, well probably Emily does. :-)
When we got back we were just going to go back to our apartment and do some cleaning and go to the store, but we got talked into going to Embu dos Artes. It is a little town or suburb of Sao Paulo that reminds me a whole lot of West Yellowstone, Jackson, Park City, etc. Get the picture? There are tons of little shops selling gifts and souvenirs. It was fun to walk around. We did buy a couple of little things for our apartment to spruce it up a bit.
On our way home we stopped at a big store like Costco. The other couple we were with had a car for the day so we stopped there and picked up some things that we can't get at our grocery store. It works out a lot better going in a car rather than trying to bring your stuff home on the bus. We are getting good at carrying our groceries home in a little cart and bags. We were lucky to find a cart as soon as we did. It sure helps out a lot.
There are some really interesting stores right around here. We like to go there. When we need something for the house we go to FiFo's. It is crammed tight from floor to ceiling and the isles are so narrow that you have to turn sideways if someone else wants to get by! We have found some good things over there. They have just about everything you can think of as far as household goods.
It was a really good day. The other missionary couples are really neat. Not all of them go out and see the sites, but we are going to do it. Riding the bus is an adventure in and of itself! If you are 60 or over, you get to ride for free. Since I am almost there (two more weeks, aaaaahhhhh!) they let me also ride for free.
We have a really good ward here. The members are really strong. There is a man who teaches the Gospel Doctrine class in English for the missionaries and anyone else who is visiting and wants to get something out of the lesson. This man is one of the translators for the church. He teaches at the University of Sao Paulo as his regular job but then he translates for any of the General Authorities who come down here. He did the final checking on the Book of Mormon a few years ago when it was put into the triple combination and cross-referenced to all the scriptures. He did the D&C and most of the Pearl of Great Price. He has some little translating devices for all of us to use during our meetings and that is really nice. Either he or one of his students, who is a member, does the translating for us. It is a miracle what modern technology can do.
I have attached some photos for you today. The first is the view out of our living room window.