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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Vale do Paraíba

(Uriel turned five! He had a party with his grandparents, uncle and tía — it feels so good to be surrounded by family!)

Now reporting live (meaning once in a while, really) from SJC, state of São Paulo, Brazil.

We have  officially moved more than one month ago already, and a lot has happened. It has been a whirlwind of packing (boxes & luggages), cleaning before and after, traveling, unpacking, school registration, vaccinations, transferring bank account, changing addresses, etc… I am only barely starting to catch my breath.  It was the second time in one year, and though all moves, big or small, are exhausting, this one was in a category of its own.

The house where we are now has been rented for three years. That is a relief in itself, because at least we know that we will stay here, in the same house, for the next three years. One very unsettling aspect of our lives so far had been NOT KNOWING for how long we would stay somewhere: a few months or a few years? We didn’t know. We couldn’t get too comfortable.

Another big relief has simply been to get things done that had been dragging for so long because we have been living in remote locations.

Examples:

The oven light bulb had fried when we were in Rondônia and I had not been able to find a replacement. I haven’t been able to look at my baking for MORE THAN ONE YEAR. In the grand scheme of things, it’s no big deal, I know, but still I like to have things in working order around the house. Here, I walked down the street to a small electronics shop and found what I was looking for in mere minutes. I couldn’t believe how easy it had been! In SJA (Goiás), I had to go through all the small stores of the small town for every single stupid little thing that I needed, and sometimes I wouldn’t even find it. It was exhausting.

The same miracle (?) happened with our fridge. We had bought a brand new big fridge in Rondônia that had stopped working after only 2 years . We suppose that because of the many power cuts, uneven current, and the constant heat and humidity, some electrical circuit had fried. In SJA, we called a repair guy who charged us for the visit, told us that he needed to order the defecting piece, but never showed up again. In the mean time we just used that big piece of appliance for storage… (Again, no big deal, but hey, I don’t like to live like that). Here a repair guy didn’t charge us for the visit and came back a week later with the replacement piece. And voilà! The fridge is working!

Oh, oh. And there is more!

There is a cyclovía (a BIKE PATH!!!) in our neighborhood, a real bike path, just for bikes, right in the middle of the main avenue!!!! (There is another one too, but I don’t use it as much). Did I tell you I like to bike? I love my bicycle. Unfortunately, even if (mostly poor) people use that mean of transportation all around Brazil, a lot of small towns are not paved and touring the countryside is far from pleasant on dirt roads with random speeding vehicles trying to murder you. But here, I first took my bicycle for a spin when we had just moved in. I went from my house to my in-laws taking the bike path and I couldn’t — gah — I was so00 happy! I felt exhilarated, a bit on the crazy-happy way. I wanted to smile, laugh, sing! Oh, bliss!

There is more, yes, yes, much more to tell you, but it will be for another day.

Até mais! (See you later!)

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!