Saturday, September 24, 2005
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
who was engrossed in her newspaper.
The bold headline read "12 Brazilian Soldiers Killed."
She shook her head at the sad news.
Then turning to the man she asked, "How many is a Brazilian?"
Sorry, guys, I just had to share that one. Thanks to Jeff for passing it on!
Did you notice who wrote the previous post? Russell! We've finally drawn him out. Now we just need to encourage him to write more!
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Saturday, September 17, 2005
The restaurant is located on the edge of a little park, in a building with two other restaurants. I could never figure out what the other restaurants were, maybe Italian or something. Matsuri, on the other hand, is a Japanese/Chinese/Vietnamese/Indian/Sri Lankan/Thai restaurant. How's that for diverse? The majority of the menu was Japanese food but the front page had appetizers and entrees from all the other countries. Tonight we had Thai, our first sample of Brazilian Thai food. It was pretty good- just hot enough to make your nose run. The rest of the menu looked really good as well and I'm looking forward to go back and tackling another country's food.
Salvador seems to be just starting to discover international cuisine. The current trend is Chinese and Japanese. We pass at least six Chinese/Japanese restaurants on our way to class in the morning and there are several more nearby. Most places offer a combination of both Chinese and Japanese. Though Russell and I have been to Japan, I can't say we're in love with Japanese food, so we usually opt for Chinese. There are several more "ethnic" restaurants around: Spanish, Mexican, Italian and we've heard rumors of a couple German ones. It's always fun when you're in another country to eat food that isn't from that country. It helps you realize how colored food is by culture- American Chinese food is different than Brazilian Chinese food, which is drastically different than Chinese Chinese food. (We have yet to be satisfied by Brazilian Mexican, though as our last TexMex meals fade into our memories the food seems better and better!) We look forward to seeing what new restaurants will open in the future, bringing us tastes from around the world, Brazilian-style!
(We do eat at Brazilian restaurants too!)
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
-The six-month anniversary of our arrival here was yesterday. Hard to believe we're halfway through our first year. So much done and yet even more to do.
-We have a Portuguese teacher once again! We've hired my old teacher to teach our little study group. Our first class was this morning. We're meeting at 8:00 AM, which explains why I'm eager to get to bed.
-Everything else is progressing. We're having to have big conversations now about church names, locations and budgets. Gone are the days of dreaming. It's time to make the dreams reality and get to work. Unfortunately that means more meetings, but they'll be the kind that create concrete plans. I much prefer those.
-Culture shock is still there but seems to be not as bad as it was. Slowly we're emerging from our funks (though it may be temporary). Everyone is much more agreeable and we all seem to have more patience with each other. Everyone is making leaps and bounds with Portuguese- I'm so proud of all the hard work that's being put in.
-I cut my hair off. It's much nicer in the heat and definitely easier to take care of. Russell is also happy that I'm no longer shedding two-foot hairs on our white floors! I'll try to put a picture on Flickr in the next day or two for those who want to see it. My hairdresser brought up church stuff the other day. I've only been to her twice but I will be going back, especially because she really wanted to talk about it. Please pray for Rosi.
Monday, September 12, 2005
(Don't worry, we did have real dessert later on!)
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I had to share this picture of Russ and Brandon. I just think it is hysterical, plus I love the colors. I took it while we were at Praia do Forte a couple of weeks ago.
This week, we've got Ron and Georgia Frietas here. Those of you who have been following us for a while will remember that Ron and Georgia came to help settle us in six months ago. Six months. Absolutely incredible. I'm not quite sure where the time has gone. Anyway, they came to do a little team check-up- making sure we're all still speaking to each other (we are), that no one's gone off the deep end (no one has) and that all our newly acquired tattoos can be covered by shirt sleeves (little do they know that we don't believe in shirt sleeves anymore!). Also, Ron had some wisdom and insight to share as we start looking for our facilities. Since we've been here for six months, that means our inaugural service is about six months away, too! Scary and thrilling thought!
It's good to have Ron and Georgia here because we've known them since our very first recruiting dinner. They became great friends during our internship in Abilene, came with us to check out Salvador for the first time and call periodically to check up on us. (It also didn't hurt that they came bearing Mike & Ike's and marshmellows!) Familiar faces are always great and we look forward to having more come down!
Friday, September 02, 2005
My life has changed a lot.
This morning Russ and I had to go pay some bills. I say some bills because we can't pay all our bills in one place. Russ paid our insurance bill last week at one bank. We paid our phone bill yesterday at a lottery kiosk. Today, we paid the bills due at Bradesco, one of the major Brazilian banks. We'll pay the power bill next week at the grocery store. (If we had waited until next Monday to pay the bills we paid today, we would have had to pay one of them at another bank.)
To pay our bills today, we had to first go to the ATM to pull out enough cash to pay it. We were paying our rent, property tax and condominium fee, so we have to make more than one ATM trip to get enough cash. Then we headed over to Bradesco. To get into the main part of the bank, you have to go through a revolving door/metal detector. It usually takes me a couple of tries to get through it--each time I remove any offending items from my purse and put them in the pass-through box. I've even shoved my whole purse in there before. (It doesn't seem like the most effective system to me; I could have almost anything in my purse!) Anyway, after two or three tries and a handful of "desperate" facial expressions, the security guards will usually take pity on me and let me through anyway.
Once inside, we head to the cashier's counter. There are lots of different banks here, but they all share one characteristic: you can't see the line at the counter until you are well inside the bank. Why? Because if you could, you wouldn't even try. Some days, the line is thirty or forty people long with only one or two cashiers working. Every so often we luck out and there's no line and we're left trying to figure out what to do with our suddenly free day. Today was a good day; there were probably only twenty people in front of us and there were three cashiers working. We only stood in line for about fifteen minutes. Once you get to the front, it takes about thirty seconds. Yes, all that for thirty seconds. Then, we get to freely walk back out through the revolving door, shooting pitying glances at the people stuck in line.
There have been adventures while standing in line. We've seen fights (just verbal). One day while standing in line with Stacey, I started bleeding profusely from a couple of spots on my ankle. That wasn't much fun, but it meant I got to experience first aid! There always seems to be some story to tell after bill paying.
It's funny--back when paying bills was simple, I hated it. I'm not saying I love it now, but I really don't mind it, especially not if I've got someone with me to talk to. And I have the consolation of knowing that one day I'll be pregnant and get to stand in the express line. Then I'll be paying bills every month. However, there are many things I've put off getting (monthly cell phone plans, satellite television) partly because it will mean more bills!
Time, lines, extra-sensitive metal detectors...these aren't that bad. The worst part about bill paying is that it occupies a two week period of time each month, meaning that once we're done, it's only two and a half more weeks until it's time to pay bills again!
Thursday, September 01, 2005
"...I like the fact that the king of Jericho knew the spies were there. God intentionally made the Israelites, like the body of Christ, a peculiar people. Ordinarily, the devout of the Lord stick out like a June bug in January. After wandering in the desert for 40 years wearing the same old clothes, conspicuous tassels on their garments, and their hair in certain ordained styles, they didn't exactly fit in. Their disguises didn't work. (Mine didn't work, either, no matter how good they were.)"
That's what I'm talking about- we're freaks! We stick out even when we're trying not to! It's been a good week having these thoughts in the forefront of my mind.
Another treasure from this week's discussion of Rahab was her proximity in terms of lineage to King David. No one much talks about it, but Rahab was the mother of Boaz. Is it any wonder that Boaz was so kind and open? His mother had experienced the kind of redemption that only the Lord can bring! Rahab had a bad start, but went on to become the great-great grandmother of a man after God's own heart. How awesome it is to think about the legacy of transformed lives!
We've been told (and have seen enough to suspect it's true) that "whole" families are fairly uncommon in Salvador. It's the result of the people living far from God. Sin has run rampant and has torn apart their lives. But the story of Rahab encourages me. I can only imagine what God will do through the lives He changes here!
Sorry for yet another sermon. Soon I'll go back to reporting on the mundane details of our lives. It's just silly to write about our trip to the grocery store today when such wonderful things are running through my head!