Sunday, May 31, 2015

Place where the fish stops

The saying says to stop and smell the roses - I don't know about roses, but there are other flowers around to enjoy.
Flowers along the sidewalk
Flowering tree
On Monday we had two family home evenings. The first was with the senior couple missionaries. Since we missed Cinco de Maio, Sister Zaugg prepared a Vinte-cinco de maio (25 of May) dinner.
Happy Vinte-Cinco de Maio
 Cris is a member of the ward who lives across the hall from us. She invited us for a family home evening at her parent's apartment in another building of our apartment complex. It was a good chance to meet members of our ward.
Family home evening in Portuguese
Put a matchstick on the bottle game
Wednesday they had a Church Technology Expo that Emerson and Paulo were to attend. Emerson couldn't go so I took his place. We learned two things: 1) the LDS Church is way ahead of other churches in the use of technology; 2) technology is commonly used in other churches to draw attention to themselves with big productions, whereas in the LDS Church it is to carry the word to others so that they can feel the spirit for themselves. 
Selecting cameras for production
Paulo checking out a new camera
We had another training trip this weekend, this time to Piracicaba (Tupi for "the place where the fish stops") about 2-hours out of São Paulo. On Saturday we visited technology specialists at chapels within their stakes. We first went to Hortolândia Stake, where we met Eduardo (the first Stake Technology Specialist we actually met here in Brazil). He works for IBM, teaches piano, and was in Santa Cruz do Sul on a mission. 
Eduardo showing the satellite equipment
 He then took us to see the Jardim Amanda chapel where he attends. We met with some missionaries there.
In front of the Jardim Amanda chapel
We then went to meet Guilherme at the Sumaré stake center (Villa Fora building). They had just split a ward last week. We were going to visit Matão, but no one had keys to get in.

In front of the new ward map
Sumaré stake center
 No it's not a chapel! We passed this house that looked interesting. Through the window you can read the power meter.
Who lives here?
 We then went to meet Felipe at the Americana stake center. There was a family history fair being held which made it very interesting. The main technology we saw was getting ready for an evening production.
Helamã backing up Paulo  
Now this is technology!
At the Family History fair in Americana
 We then went to the Cordeirápolise Branch chapel in the Rio Claro stake, but no one was there to let us in.
Cordeirápolise Branch chapel
We went on to the Rio Claro stake center where we met Henrique. They were having problems with the internet, which Paulo proceeded to work on.
Fixing the Internet?
Choir practice 
We then went to Piracaba where we checked into the hotel then proceeded to the food court in the "Shopping" for something to eat.
Picture in the hotel
Roasted potatoes at the "Shopping"
We got up early and headed for the breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Breakfast buffet
Piracicabe from the hotel window
We were planning to meet Helamã at the Piracaba 5th & 8th Ward building where they were having Internet problem, but he was not feeling good. We passed by the building anyway to see if it might be open. It was not.

Piracabe 5th & 8th Ward building
 We decided to visit São Pedro, a small branch about 40 km out of town. They recently changed locations so we had trouble fining the building. We passed a couple of missionaries that said it was really close. We gave them a ride to the building because it was raining a lot. It was close by young missionary standards, but not ours. It was fun to meet with a small branch.
São Pedro Branch

São Pedro building
 We then went on to the Piracicaba stake center where we went in late for sacrament meeting. Helamã was feeling better. His brother, Moroni, just got back from a mission to Porto Alegre South where he served in Baje.
Helamã, Moroni, and family
After church we went to see the falls in the river that made the fish stop, hence the name Piracicaba. There was a water museum close to the river. On the way, I told a joke. Paulo commented that Sister Wheeler was a saint and would go to heaven for sure for putting up with me. Breno asked what he meant and Paulo said that Sister Wheeler was a saint and didn't do anything wrong so she would go to heaven for sure. Breno responded, "Ohhh" being very impressed. I think he has a crush on her.

Paulo, Breno, and Sister Wheeler at the water museum
Breno with his new girlfriend
Bridal Veil Falls
Fall in the river (background)
We then returned to the stake center for the meeting of the coordinating council. We first met with the stake presidents for a presentation then had separate training for technology specialists and stake clerks.
Training for stake presidents
Training for technology specialists and stake clerks
So, we have had our second try at training. It's still very tiring, but we are doing our best. We will have another one next week, but it will be right in São Paulo.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Gardens

OK, we don't have any gardens to show you, but we had a chance to walk through the Jardim district of São Paulo yesterday. It's the ritzy section of town. Jardim is the Portuguese word for garden.

We have another training visit next week, this time in Piracicaba, so we spent the week updating our training materials.

We went to an unknown meeting at 7pm Sunday night with the goal of meeting two new families in the ward. When we got there we found out it was a 7:30 pm meeting for single adults so we went back to the apartment. As we passed through the courtyard we met two new families from the ward.
Sis Lopes and the Soares family
We have a new apartment maintenance person who came to our FHE Monday to talk to us. We then watched the  DVD "Meet the Mormons". It's nice to have a FHE group, especially with the dinner that follows.

The missionaries have started a 3-month English class for Tuesday nights. We went to observe how it is different from what we did in Canada. Not much!

Missionaries teaching English
 Every morning at 9 am we have a special leadership training session in English for the workers at ICS. There is a wide range of English skills so there is a wide range of understanding. We often get into some good gospel discussions. At 9:30 they can speak Portuguese again and the discussions can get even wilder.
Sis Wheeler during leadership training in English
 We went to the feira again on Friday to pick up more fruits and vegetables. We leave early so we can get back to the office by our 9am training session. On Saturday we took Elder and Sister Thompson to the candy store so they could stock up on sweets. Sister Thompson has decided to try a gluten-free diet, which has helped her a lot, she says.
Over the hill from the candy store
 As mentioned we went to the Jardim district of São Paulo on Saturday afternoon. There is Jardim Paulista, Jardim America, Jardim Europa, and Jardim das Rosas. We went to the first to find a new bookstore.
This must be a jazz building - it has the blues!
Is this Jardim China?
We found the bookstore, which is for "artsy" people. We got a couple of books on the Portuguese language. They were having a book signing with free sandwiches and wine. They also had a nice little restaurant.
Bookstore restaurant
 There were a lot of fashion stores and galleries. A lot of the places close by about 2 pm on Saturday.
Side street in the Jardim district
There was a group on the streets trying to raise funds for some cause. We don't know what the cause is, but when we saw a man in a tutu we decided we don't want to know.
Street fundraisers
Today we ended up going to two sacrament meetings, ours first then to the Morumbi Ward where the senior missionaries sang for their ward conference. We also had a High Priest Quorum meeting this evening. The women were not invited as they are in our home stake.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Beyond the Temple

This was a slow week. I came down with the flu. Fortunately wasn't Dengue Fever, which has been going around. Even with that we were able to begin learning to use WebEx for training, send off emails to new technology specialists, get off 2 blogs, find a new life history of Lois Judd, and download an app for the iPad that syncs with Legacy. Actually, I only missed Friday at the office. Diane went to the store by herself to pick up a few items (good for her!).
Syncing Legacy to the iPad
Brazilians have colorful ways to name things. What we call peanut brittle they call pé de moleca (foot of a tomboy). 
Have a foot for a snack
By Saturday afternoon I was tired of laying around the apartment and decided I needed to get some fresh air (in São Paulo?), besides I felt a little better. As we look out our bedroom window we can see the temple. Beyond the temple we see some green spaces, houses on the hill, and colorful apartment buildings. We decided to explore. 
View of the temple and beyond
As we walked along the main street we saw an old truck loaded with empty wooden crates.
Is she getting run over by a truckload of crates?
 The sidewalks change shape as trees grow.
Is this the straight and narrow path?
 We found the Parque Luis Carlos Prestes which made a delightful trek through nature.
Are these African elephant ears or Indian elephant ears?
 The hills have some nice houses right across the street from the park.
A quiet place to live, even if a bit shady
 I just wanted a gentle walk, not major exercise.
The Energizer Bunny in Brazil?
 Most of the space in front of houses is used for parking cars behind a fence-style gate. There are some front lawns, however.
What kind of lawnmower do I buy for this?
 The actual park was fenced in and guarded, but did not show as green space on the map. The part shown in green was not fenced, run down, and had signs of homeless residents.
Who wouldn't want to live here?
 Actually we heard about favela life from Paulo. He said there are families who will squat on open land in a wooden shack. When asked to move they reply they have no place to live until the government builds them a house. When they get into a house they sell it for the money and find another place to squat. We don't know how prevalent this is. We did see a lot of green space surrounded by walls with no apparent opening. A road went through one of the areas we could see from our window, but we couldn't get into it. We did get a view of our apartment complex, however.
Our apartments from the park road, the shorter white ones on the left.
There are some apartment buildings with red-tiled roofs we can see from our window. We found them on the other side of the sealed-off green space. They are called the Garden Village.

Garden Village
 On the way back we found this pink motel. According to the sign rooms rent for R$40 for 3 hours. It must be for truck drivers who need a quick nap before going on.
Something is suspicious here
 We got back and Diane wanted to get a picture in our courtyard of the tree that had very fragrant blossoms.
Oops, where are the blossoms?
We learned a few things from church today. First, Brazilians must be healthy eaters - the children were eating fruit in sacrament meeting rather than Cheerios. Second, that may not always be true - the lady next to us was eating cookies and didn't even have children to feed. Third, it is possible to follow the example of the Savior. Sacrament meeting was about the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. As I listened to the president of the Deacon's Quorum speak to a large audience of many experience adults I could picture the Savior teaching in the temple at the age of twelve.