The last draft for a blog post has been waiting for two months. Hopefully it will be ready some time soon. Life gets in the way. Lately it was the unbearable heat, the non-sleeping nights, the sleepwalking days.

The trip planning.

You’ve read that right. After two years of non-stop Amazonian temperatures, we are finally on vacation at the in-laws. (Yay!) In-laws who live in the thankfully cooler state of Sao Paulo. Admittedly it’s pretty hard to beat the Rondônian temperatures unless we go live in the middle of the Sahara desert, which I have absolutely no intention of experiencing. It is also very nice to visit family and for the kids to be with their grand-parents.

Yes, there is another set of grand-parents too, my parents who haven’t missed reminding me that they haven’t seen the kids for even longer than two years… My dad in France, my mom in Argentina. How are we supposed to make this happen?  Hubby and my father don’t even get along, so I have very little motivation to painfully put money aside for a very expensive trip to Europe (even if visiting childhood friends in France would indeed be lovely). And my mom, well, her apartment in Buenos-Aires, albeit comfortable for a single person, is not big enough to have the five of us drop by. We would love to have her come visit, but we don’t have the room in our small house either, and besides, there is frankly nothing to see up there. -move along! move along!- Imagine, have her travel so far, spend money to visit us and have her become sick for two weeks with some tropical disease? No thank you.

Ah, the drama of an extended family who lives at the four corners of the planet.

Incredible, they are NOT wearing shorts!

In the mean time we are enjoying the cooler temperatures, being active, walking every day around the neighborhood to the numerous beautiful playgrounds (compared to the one and only beat up place in the town where we live – shame, shame). We are having our fill of shopping trips as well. Here, supermarkets sell more than one kind of tea. I’m going to bring back a very nice stash in my luggage. The postal service works better too. My dad sent French books for the children before our arrival and we received them ten days after shipping from France! My old trusted kindle saddly died two days after arriving, and its replacement arrived only one day after ordering it! It would probably have taken one or two weeks to arrive up north.

Ah, civilization!

Their favorite colorful playground in a “forest” of eucalyptus.

Sadly we have return tickets at the beginning of next month. I don’t even want to think about it.

Vila Rica


My husband serves two small churches (and its members) which are both missions of the bigger church next door, the one responsible for our housing and his salary. On Saturday afternoon, he conduct services in some sort of “community room” of a neighborhood that is actually way out in the countryside. It might be in the same municipality, but I don’t see how that it qualifies as a neighborhood. There are power lines but no running water. Their water comes from their own well (they drink it, though I’m not sure they should — the color is questionable).

To get there you need to drive dirt roads, real dusty (or muddy) roads among papaya plantations, sugar canes, mandioca (cassava, manioc), and cows fields. The building is a very simple wooden thing (serves as a school room during the week too, I believe). Nobody thought about planting some shades around and it gets pretty toasty inside, especially in the middle of the afternoon when there is no wind. Very easy to fall asleep during classes or, in our case, the sermon (and I must clarify that my husband says pretty interesting stuff, so that won’t be my reason to fall asleep, eh!). Thankfully the benches are hard (very uncomfortable!), and it’s on top of a hill so the view is pretty!

On Sunday morning, D serves the other small church which is in another neighborhood closer to the city center. It’s all paved roads to get there… until the actual street where the church building is being built.

D has finally announced that he declined the calls from the churches in Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia.

The past 6-weeks have been difficult for him. Though he wasn’t stressed or worried, he has been very sick. First with the same virus that got to the children and I with flu-like symptoms. It sounds benign enough, but over here those can be brutal. He was coughing so much that he has not been able to sleep for 3-4 days. He’s had a complete voice loss and consequently had to cancel the Saturday and Sunday services one week-end, and the radio program twice. He slowly started getting better, but it seems that now he caught some sort of stomach-flu.

All this while trying to decide upon our next move.

The choice was between a good and certain move (to Santiago, RS — the South but still a small town, twice smaller than here!), and waiting some more for a better but still unsure move (to SJC, SP — a bigger city). The congregation there is finally in the process of calling a new pastor, but the process is long and windy. So it’s still waiting game.

Where we live now

The houses across the street from us.

For some time now I’ve been thinking of taking more pictures of my surroundings. It is not a secret that I am not in love with this town. It’s too hot, it’s too loud. I feel sick half of the time, I feel tired the other half… But in a matter of weeks (or months) we will be living somewhere else. It will be good, therapeutic even, to remember what we have left behind in “the North”. As a pastor, my husband is provided lodgings for him and his family by the church which calls him. Churches that don’t have a house for the pastor are required to add an extra “living allowance” to his salary to cover for rent. In this case, the church property here is big and includes three houses around the church building. On one side there is a large house where lives the other pastor with his family, on the other side are two more smaller houses. One of them was rented out when we arrived, so we were dumped placed in the one in the street corner.

The house in the street corner.

Three bedroom, plus one office (for the pastor), two bathrooms, a large living-dining room, a kitchen and a despensa (utility room). All this sounds good, right? Then reality kicks in.

The front of the half destroyed house.

When we arrive, we realise that half the house has been destroyed, there is therefore no garage for the car or no space for storing the bikes (the utility room is an improvised narrow corridor at the back of the house). D has to park the car in the church parking lot and our bikes go in the small office. Daily frustrations. The roof is leaking in the living room and the kitchen. Inside puddles every day during the rainy season.

A crude wooden fence has quickly been built before our arrival on the side of the house. It’s quickly growing funny looking mushrooms and… Well, it’s ugly and plain depressing.

(I wanted to find a picture to show the ugliness of the fence, but instead I found a video with a magnificent trio — and the unfamous side of the house).

Oh, how I hated that house! The church assembly had the vague idea of building something in the vacant space between the two houses, but now three years later and still nothing has been decided.

OLD PIC. View of the back of the house from the church parking lot (aka. the playground).

We have since moved to the other house, the one that was rented out.

The “new” house is smaller, but better. The three boys need to share a bedroom, but we can fit the bikes in the despensa and the car in the “garage” (over here houses have a carport, rather than a garage). Not being in the street corner is also a big improvement for our privacy and the noise level.

Where we live now.

Ah, the noise level. I haven’t mentioned it? No? How could I not? As you might imagine, Brazilians are a noisy bunch. They like to party! Share the noise joy with everyone! No matter if it’s a holiday or a birthday! Very early morning or very late at night! I used to think that I wouldn’t mind and fit perfectly, but… Do you see where this is going?

We have average temperatures above 30°C / 90F everyday, all year. This guy, with his long sleeves and helmet, must be melting and swimming in his own sweat , don’t you think? I think too. But, hey, no sun burns!

I woke up suddenly many times at 3AM (yes, three-o-clock in the morning!) because an *sshole passed in front of the house with VERY LOUD music in his car (even if our bedroom is in the back of the house!). Understand that everyone sleeps (or not) with the windows open all the time, while most cars have their windows closed to keep the air conditioning in. The loudspeakers in the said cars are huge, HUGE. The kind that shake the car, the walls of the houses and everything in between… Then, there is also the matter of the advertising trucks, cars and motorcycles (again with very loud LOUDSPEAKERS) that pass all around town, and obviously right in front of the house too, every day except most week-ends. I have vowed not to enter any of the shops that use such invasive advertising, and I’m not alone. Even if those are the larger stores in town and I am badly in need of new shoes.

Hopefully this is the first of a couple more posts about this town of Rondônia. The beginning of the end of where we’ve lived for almost three years. Where I have sleepwalked most days, but failed to soundly sleep for at least half of it (Not for lack of trying). ;) Next time I’ll show you where the boys go to school. Then the one and only public park of this town! Oh, the excitement! Fasten your seat belts!