Sunday, July 26, 2015

Still in São Paulo

Everything fell through this week so we didn't go to Manaus. It's for the best because we should have some technology specialists called for the coordinating councils by the first week of August, which means we need to plan on training them to train the stake technology specialists - confusing? It is to us too.

The week was as normal - working in the office. I did get a couple of work shots, though.
Lincoln wrapping up a computer for delivery
Flower in front to the office building
This must be a High Priest
When we went to the grocery store we saw some little recipe books for Brazilian dishes. One was for Caipira cooking, country cooking from the interior of São Paulo state and farther west. Diane tried one of the dishes. It turned out pretty good, with chicken, sausage, and potatoes.

Ready to eat Caipira food
Assado Misto
 Elder Hall has been trying to find some butterfly hangings to take home from Brazil. He made arrangements for us to visit the factory (in a home). It was simple, but a lot of fun. The butterflies come from a butterfly farm in Santa Catarina and are sent to São Paulo for making the hangings. There were five couples crowded into their little home factory.
Nice patio of the house
Diane with one of the hangings
Here we are with the artisans
Butterfly picture made of butterfly wings
This is their pet bunny
 We decided to go out for Chinese food for lunch. The restaurant we found uses gluten-free soy sauce, which made the selections much easier. Doug McAllister is the new church attorney for Brazil. He and his wife, Janice, have been working in the Philippines. Their son married David Babbel's daughter.
Diane with the MacAllisters and Halls for lunch
 Sunday afternoon we took a little walk to find some apartment buildings we can see from our window. We wish we had the time to walk every day.
Our goal was the yellow buildings
Some of the archeological features in Brazil
We found the apartments
We also found the apartments behind the yellow ones
We also found Sister Granadas and Sister Santos who live in the yellow apartments
Overall it has been a good week.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Say não to Rio

What you don’t see on this blog is pictures of Rio de Janeiro. On Monday we were told that it was too late to make arrangements for training in Rio, which is just fine; it was too rushed anyway. On Tuesday we were informed that it is still possible for training in Manaus. The problem was how to make the needed arrangements. Since we are the first senior couple in the ICS department, no one seems to know the process for travel. Worse than that, no one set up a budget for ATS travel. I guess that comes with the territory of being pioneers in the area.

I've been working all week on developing training in Portuguese for the new Webcast technology (transmitting stake conferences over the Internet to other chapels). It's been a lot of work.
Image being broadcast for Webcast testing
Elder and Sister Romrell come to São Paulo every so often from Sorriso, Mato Grosso for medical treatment. On Thursday  after work the Halls and we took them on a bus ride and two metro rides to Liberdade for a Chinese dinner. It was good food and great company.

At the Chinese restaurant
After many dead ends, we hope we finally have the travel arrangements for Manaus next week. We'll see how it goes.

On Saturday we took a few bus rides. We first went to Praça Benedito Calixto in Pinheiros where there is an antique feira. There were a lot of interesting things to look at, but not practical to buy.
At the antique fair
Potter making antiques
 There was a food court there with some interesting things to eat. One booth had Bahian food. We decided to have some acarujé, a type of bean fritter common in Salvador.
Acarujé lunch
 We then took a walk up Rua Teodoro Sampio. There are about three blocks of music stores on both sides of the streets. We saw a lot of guitars, drum sets, and electronic keyboards.
Guitar, anyone?
Musician playing the cajon
 We walked past the Perdizes Stake Center where it looked like they were preparing for a Junina fest.
Junina in July?
 We also stopped by a fun store with things from Thailand and Indonesia. Diane bought a little fan.
Asian store
We caught a bus home, but decided to take it to the end of the line: Campo Limpo. A delightful young girl talked to us on the way.

Bus ride to Camp Limpo
We walked along the street in Campo Limo before taking the bus back.
Low water in Campo Limpo (not very limpa=clean)
Jaca (jackfruit) for sale
We decided to stop at the candy store to stock up. As we walked up the street we saw a very tall girl - must be from the Amazons.

The giantess throws a kiss
Elder Thompson walked back from the candy store one Saturday (a long walk) and said there was a large feira (like a farmers market) on the way back. They were taking everything down by the time we got there in the afternoon.

Dismantling the feira
It was a nice excursion and a chance to get out in the city.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

To Go or Not to Go?

There are Coordinating Councils scheduled for Rio de Janeiro and Manaus later this month, but there doesn't seem to be a travel budget for training. We are waiting to find out if we will be in São Paulo or somewhere else this month. Meanwhile, let me go through a typical week - did I already do this?

Our work day is typically from 8:30 am to 5 pm in the office (except on Monday, when we have an 8 am devotional).  We teach a "Leadership Pattern" session in English every day at 9 am. Everyone in the office hustles to provide technical support for the church while we work on keeping track and training stake technology specialists. If Diane runs out of things to do she keeps busy indexing for Family History. We usually eat lunch at the temple (except on Monday, when it is closed).

On Monday evenings we have Family Home Evening with the other missionary couples. It includes a lesson and a light dinner (we each take our turns to give the lesson and dinner). On Tuesdays we go grocery shopping and wash a load of whites. On Wednesdays it's a load of darks. (Yes, it takes a couple of hours to wash and dry a load of clothes). On Fridays, the couples often get together for dinner in a restaurant and a movie (date night). Saturdays are our preparation days, which means cleaning the apartment then going to see something in the city. Sunday we go to church (São Paulo 5th Ward) and try to rest in the afternoon. (Is doing a Blog resting?). This is very different from our mission in Canada.

Thursday was a holiday - Constitution Day. The state police of São Paulo rose up against a dictatorship in 1932. The rebellion didn't last very long, but each year they get a holiday to commemorate the action. We decided to go to Ibirapuera Park where the rebellion took place. There were a lot of people having fun on their holiday.
Raise your arms against dictatorship!
If Logan can have fireworks on the 3rd of July, São Paulo can have parades on the 9th of July. We missed most of the parade, but were able to see the horses.
The best part of the parade
A thorny situation
The largest park in São Paulo
 There were two museums open in the park. We really enjoyed the African museum. The contemporary art museum had very little of interest.
African museum of Brazil
The bull for Bumba-meu,boi celebration in NE Brazil
 There are two large lakes, and, of course, lake-liking critters.
 Here is the monument for the skirmish. No, it's not tipping; I am.
 The contemporary art museum did have a couple of rare bird species.
How do you like my new perm?
Nuts are easier to crack open this way
 We were tired after walking through the park and found a new bus home. We can tell it is close to Christmas by the poinsettia trees. (Oh, that's right, Christmas is in the summer here!)
Poinsettia tree
Through the means of technology, we were able to attend the funeral for President Packer. We have many fond memories of him and his classic talks.

In the evening the missionary couples decided to go to an Italian restaurant down town. At first we weren't going to go (gluten-free food?), but decided to go at the last minute. It was very good food, but expensive. Each serving was enough for two people with some left over to take home.
Classic Italian dining
Antipasta layout
Saturday was a rainy day so we picked up a few needed things in the stores across the street and stayed in the apartment in the afternoon.

The Dentists

I don't know if I mentioned it, but coming back from Washington I had a bad toothache. By the time we got to Salt Lake City I could hardly eat anything. We bought some Ibuprofen, which got me through the trip. As soon as we got home we went to the dentist's office (another missionary was going to the dentist as soon as they dropped us off so I went along with him) to see if he could do anything. He took an x-ray and sure enough, it was infected. He gave me a prescription for penicillin and made an appointment with a root canal specialist for the following week. On Tuesday, June 30th, we went to see the specialist, prepared for the worst. Since the tooth had already had a recent root canal he decided to grind off some of the tooth to improve the bite. It worked! When I went to pay for the visit, I was told there was no charge. I asked about the dentist who saw me first and had the tooth x-rayed; again, no charge. What a wonderful surprise!

Party store on the way to the dentist
Fruit stand on the way back from the dentist
If you want to know how to get there, follow the map behind me
June 30th was arrival day for the new mission presidents. They were scheduled to have a meeting in the auditorium down the hall from us, but their flight from the USA was cancelled - no meeting. Not knowing the meeting was cancelled, President Andrews (São Paulo East Mission and a second cousin) stopped by the office before returning home after completing his mission. We met President Silcox (the new president for São Paulo East who took a different flight) and his wife.
President and Sister Andrew are on their way home
Everyone in Brazil is excited about the new Webcast, a method for broadcasting stake conference to other chapels. I brought a Teradek VidiU back from the USA so we were finally able to do some testing. Evanir was especially excited because he was the expert for the old Webcast system. I have been preparing training material (not available in Portuguese) and we have been running some test webcasts.
Saturday was the 4th of July. Since not much was happening around here, we decided to take a little trip to Embu das Artes. We had gone earlier with the Halls, but this time we were on our own.
Add color to your day
Embu das Artes is a small town where artisans create, show, and sale their work (a bit like Taos in New Mexico). There are booths set up in the park, galleries in the town, and stores with all sorts of interesting objects. We passed by one booth selling crafts from Indian tribes of the Amazon. They are members of the church and gave us a small concert on a native flute.

Flute from the Amazons
Colorful stores and galleries
 We talked to one artist who painted colorful scenes from Brazil. We decided to get a small painting from her. She was introduced to the church earlier, but is not quite ready.
Paintings of Brazil
Quiet, please!
 It started raining in the afternoon so we found refuge in a small, outdoor restaurant (covered, of course). We got on a very small bus which took us a different way home. We were able to find where to get off and walk to our apartment.
Server at our restaurant 
July is here and we are in the middle of winter. We have had a few cool days, but it also gets quite warm in the afternoons. We miss the celebrations back home, but are glad to be serving here in Brazil.