We have begun making weekly visits to Francinelli's house (a forest "chákara," pronounced [shock-uh-ruh]). It is in the forest, about 5 miles from our house, 3 miles from the edge of town. It is in a small neighborhood called Pavão, with about 15 chákaras. Pavão. We take the taxi to her house, visit, then walk home. It is beautiful, with tall, dense foliage on both sides. The wild flowers are lovely. We go slowly, taking lots of pictures. So far, I haven't minded the distance; but by the time we get to our apartment, our feet are screaming and every muscle is sore. We collapse, and the next couple days, we're moving slowly. The following are sequential pictures, as we walk from her house to town.
With the summer heat and humidity, we didn't want to use the oven. We found the cutest little cast iron barbecue at a construction store. It sits very low (2 ft.), as are most Brazilian churrascária's, or barbecues (note that the accent is on a different vowel than "churrascaría," which is the word for the Brazilian meal with lots of meat cooked over a barbecue). It comes apart and folds flat. We might even bring this one home with us-----except that it's HEAVY! We now have a new American Elder in our team (picture coming soon), so we treated our new team with barbecued American hamburgers. And we didn't melt from the heat!
After Elder Cortez was transferred to Ponta Grossa, we welcomed Elder White from Lewisville, Texas. Yep, another American! He has been serving in Colombo for quite a while. Pictured here from left to right: Elder Esty from New York, Elder Christensen (sick) from Colorado, Elder White from Texas, and Elder Rodriguez from Lima, Perú.
Another transfer, and this time Elder Cortez was chosen to change his service assignment from Bocaiúva do Sol to Ponta Grosa. He came here the end of June with Elder Christensen, and has been here almost seven months. We have grown very fond of him, and will miss him. Because Ponta Grosa is so far away and has so many missionaries serving there, they rarely meet with the rest of us around Curitiba. We probably won't get to see him before he returns home in April. We hope he will come to see us in Salem if he visits Salt Lake or Provo area! The same offer goes to all "our" missionaries!
Good to walk on . . . . . . . . . tricky, wobbly stones . . . . . . . . . worse . . . . . . . . . . . and THE WORST!
With the new additions of a kitchen towel, which was crocheted by Ilda and given to us as a gift, our poinsettia plant that was our Christmas tree, and the Brazilian throw blanket that Dennis bought for me in Canoinhas, our little living room corner is looking a bit cozier all the time. Now, if we can just find something for the walls, that we can take home to the States. . .
Christmas Eve, Dieneffer wanted to host her first dinner party. Their store would be VERY busy that night and they would be home too late to cook. She asked if we could prepare most of the meal if they bought a HUGE chicken, the size of a small turkey). I cooked it, along with several other dishes and dessert. At 9:30, they picked us up, with the food and Elders , and took us to their house. Dieneffer was sooo excited, like a kid! She had made beef stroganoff, the Elders' favorite. We had drawn names for gifts, and enjoyed opening our gifts and taking pictures, until 11:00, when all good missionaries had to be home, getting ready for bed. Fun evening, even though it was far from our family!
I had to finish 4 hand-made stockings for us and 2 of the missionaries, so I stayed up pretty late. I snapped this unusual scene from our apartment in the wee hours (above). About 9:00 Christmas morning, the Elders came over to check out their loaded stockings. Can you guess their favorite? The closest thing we could come to video games were little flip-type basketball games with candy in their handles. What do you think they did? All 4 of them played with their new toy for about 30 minutes. Just like home! We fed them hot chocolate and home-made toast, then sent them on their way to Dani's house (part-member family), where they could talk to their families via Skype most of the day.
One week later, we stayed home on New Year's Eve and Day--nothing special for us, but we kept busy. For the Elders, it was a regular work day with regular work hours. We visited Ilda and José and took them an apple pie just before their family's traditional churrascaría (barbeque with various kinds of meat). Families and friends were partying, with fireworks popping everywhere late into the night. In Bocaiúva, there wasn't a big fireworks display. Since it's summer here, many families go to the beach where there's fireworks over the water. There weren't many people left here. We still haven't been able to Google Chat with all of our kids. Soon, we hope.