Papi et abuela

The car we use at the moment is not ours. A friend from church as lend it to us for as long as we need until we can afford something, or an arrangement has been found by the church. Usually the Lutheran churches (from our domination) (in Brazil), own a car to be used by the pastor, and a house for his family. But not the church here. They are renting the house where we live now, and don’t know what to do about the matter of the car. So, meanwhile, we use this car, an old car, which is ok for small errands in town, but we don’t feel super safe in it to go on long trips.

So when papi and abuela (my dad and mom) arrived on my birthday (Dec. 28th), I had a driver pick me up to go welcome them at the Guarulhos airport and drop them off at the hotel where they are staying (our house is only big enough for our family of five). I felt like a very important person, with my very own chauffeur in a big black car! 😉

My dad arrived from France (via Portugal) and my mom from Argentina with only one hour difference between the flights. That was rather well planed. It gave us the time to hug, chat and walk across the terminals. I had not seen my dad since last time he visited us in Canada. The twins were toddlers and my youngest only a baby. Five years ago. My mom, of course, I had just seen in August, for my grandmother’s funeral. But as for both my mom and dad together it had not happened since before I was married. Fifteen years ago?! Yeah, all these numbers give me a headache too. Let’s just say that I’m happy to see them, and glad that the kids finally get to meet their grandparents in person.

Sadly, the weather has not cooperated. We’ve had rain, after rain, and more rain after that. The locals tell me that summer storms are normal in this season, generally at the end of the day, but so much rain every day, morning day and night, is uncharacteristic. To me it is very much like the rainy seasons we had in Rondônia. A pain to hang dry the clothes.

The first few days were leisurely spent at the hotel  the side of the pool from the hotel. The boys had never been in a real pool before. So many things that I thought would be a given when coming to live in a tropical have simply not happened where we used to live!

The days are exhausting. We all want to enjoy the precious time as much as possible, so they come pick us up (the kids and I — D is not on vacation) late morning before lunch and we come back after supper around 9PM (everyday except Sunday — to my great chagrin my parents don’t go to church). After the first day with the boys, my parents both looked at me in wonder asking how do I do it. Ha! Well, when at home I don’t usually spend all my waking hours playing with them. Just looking at them play is exhausting! Especially Natanael who has so much energy he could climb the walls! No joke, I’m seriously thinking of finding a rock climbing club for him.

Thankfully, once the kids were familiar with their grandparents, I let them spend days together without me. When my body gets very tired doing unscheduled activities, I tend to sprain my ankle. Last time it happened was years ago, so that’s not really a regular thing, but it happened TWICE in the last weeks. No big deal. Just a sign for me to slow down.

In the mean time, I sent my resume to all the language schools in our neighborhood. When I didn’t receive any feedback (they were probably closed on vacation), I also sent it to the one school that is right around the corner from the hotel (farther from home). Luckily, it just happened that they were looking for a French teacher! It’s a big franchise of language schools in Brazil of which they have three branches here in SJC. So I will be teaching two classes in the school close to the hotel and one class here, closer from home. It’s not much, only six hours per week, but it’s a start. They know that I’m willing to teach English too, so we’ll see. The pay is not the greatest either, but it will make a notable difference in our family’s budget. Plus, hopefully, it will be an interesting job to get out of the house for.

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Mi lernas esperanton

Most of my days are punctuated as follow: wake up time, school drop-off and pick-up times (during school year – it’s summer vacation now), lunch (noon), goûter (the kids’ afternoon snack, usually around 4PM), supper (7PM), and the kids’ bedtime (around 8:30PM). At which point, I exhale loudly and announce that my shift is over! haha. As you can see, I am at the service of my children, hubby being quite self sufficient. Thank you, darling. Around these landmarks of my days, I sometimes manage to do some cleaning around the house, I cook and bake when I feel inspired, and these days I do a lot of gardening (there is a small piece of dirt at the back of the house which I dream of transforming into a piece of tropical paradise)… But, I have found that I feel the most satisfied the days that I manage to spend  time on my personal projects:

Practice my languages. I have started using Duolingo daily to refresh or improve some of my Portuguese, German, Spanish, Italian or, lately… learn Esperanto (!). Yes, I know, there must be something wrong with me. Despite being the most popular constructed language in the world, it only counts one or two thousand native speakers, and maybe 2 million learners of the language worldwide. When am I ever going to use that??? But I suppose I am indeed addicted to learning languages!

Practice the piano. When we were living in Rondônia and Goiás, D had to lead most services without any sort of musical support. Our voices are strong, but singing a capella gets tiring very quickly, especially if the congregation cannot hold a note. Unfortunately I had not practiced the piano in years, so I have slowly started to train again, to be able to accompany the liturgy someday when needed. In our new church, we are very lucky to have a couple of good musicians. That’s great, but I still want to be able to help. Plus, music is therapeutic. I always feel happy after a good practice session! 🙂

Do some physical exercise. I rotate between 30-40min of aerobics/dancing, or 30-40min of elliptical, biking around the neighborhood, and/or walking back and forth to school or to one of the parks with the kids.

Getting ahead on some sewing or crochet project. I have been planing on opening my own little Etsy shop for some time (like every crafter out there, it seems), maybe I will finally get to it soon.

When I do manage to fit two or three of these things in my day, I feel like I won the jackpot; I am in a better mood and I sleep better!

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Café Colonial

The church here is small and needs the help of the church district to pay for the pastor’s salary. Unfortunately even with that help they are in deficit every month, so to help raise funds they organized their first Café Colonial, some sort of tea party, Southern Brazilian style (most Lutherans in Brazil have some German origins via the South of Brazil).

In the week preceding the event many women (and some men) spent many days at a friend’s house preparing the dough for pão de queijo (cheese bread), and baking and decorating bolachas (cookies). D took upon himself to repaint the outside of the church. The building had been in need of a fresh coat of pain for a while now, but nobody took care of it. So now, with this public event coming up, it was an extra reason to just do it. The day before, the women were all in their own kitchen cooking and baking some more, while the men were coming and going here at the church, setting up the kitchen, the fridges, coolers, tables, chairs and two big tents. The café was planed to start on Sunday afternoon, but in the morning of the same day we were all up early doing some last minute preparations; decorating the tables, blowing up balloons, printing some bathroom signs (me).

The event was a success. The turn out was good, with a couple of visitors from outside of town (mostly extended family of church members) and many locals who had never come to our church before, notably the mayor and hopeful candidates (there are municipal elections coming up), and of course the Catholic priest (we showed up at one of their party in June, so I suppose he considered it politeness to show  up at ours — or maybe there is simply so little to do in a small town that everybody shows up at everybody’s party, who knows). There was way too much food (but at least there was no lack thereof), and most importantly for the church finances, the profits exceeded the expenses. They will be able to pay their part of the pastor’s salary until… the end of the year.

 

Amidst all this, something else happened.

Something BIG.

D received a Call to be pastor in his hometown!!! Aaah! Yes, we were certainly not expecting that anymore! First, of course , we couldn’t announce it to the congregation right away, right when they were in the midst of all the preparations for the Café Colonial.

When we first learned the news, we were shocked. It didn’t compute very well. I mean, we had dreamed, hoped and prayed for it since before coming to Brazil. We thought it was finally going to happen last year when the pastor had retired, but then how sad and disillusioned we had been when they called someone else.

Well, apparently their new pastor didn’t stay very long, less than one year, before accepting another Call himself.

Now that it has started to sink in a little bit, we are very happy and excited about it.

D has accepted the Call.

We will be moving soon to SJC, state of São Paulo… How soon we don’t know yet as we have to see about housing arrangements (the church there does not own a house for the pastor). We hope to buy our own eventually but we will probably need to rent in the meantime. Then there is the matter of the moving truck and the packing… Oh, the joys of (re)packing!

The irony is that not so many days ago I was laughing with hubby saying that now that we had received the last piece of furniture (a sofa) and I was finally hanging pictures on the walls, it was probably time to move again!