Sunday, November 29, 2015

Giving Thanks

We are back in São Paulo, but not back to normal. We got in about 1:00 pm on Monday, took a taxi to our apartment, unpacked, then went to the store for some needed groceries. With overcast skies, São Paulo looked like a huge drab city, with no beaches in sight. We are both very tired and came down with colds, but had to plow through the week. We went back to the office by 4 pm and attended family home evening with the other senior couples. It has been quite a while.

Which is the real Papai Noel?
A Christmas tree in our office
When we got back to the apartment we had a new washing machine. We also had a leak, so we waited to wash clothes. They haven't come to fix the leak so we went ahead and washed clothes catching the water in a bucket.
Leaky washing machine connection
We felt tired and achy all day Tuesday, but went to the office to catch up on work we missed while traveling. We had our last English class on Tuesday evening, which called for a party with Diane's gluten-free cake.

English class
Randy Hall had a birthday so we went over to a bakery after English class to celebrate.
Randy with his new headdress
Goody time with the Halls and others
 Wednesday was another dragging day. We needed to get some cash from the bank at lunch time so we ate at the "shopping". We had our Portuguese class then went home early so Diane could make some gravy and a gluten-free pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

We were back in the office Thursday morning and it was good we went in. Emerson was preparing for a director's meeting for Friday morning and needed a report on what we have been doing. In the afternoon we went to the McAllister's apartment for Thanksgiving dinner. He is the area attorney for Brazil and lives in a nice apartment. It was the only place that could hold 26 people for dinner. It included the São Paulo South mission president (a friend of the McAllister's) and a mission couple.
View of São Paulo from the 25th floor apartment
Table setting for 26 people 
Our table
Gluten-free pumpkin pie (yummy)
Thanksgiving dinner
I haven't been sleeping at night because of coughing. We dragged through Friday, including our Portuguese class, but Paul had to wait for Diane to go to a choir rehearsal for the Area Presidency Christmas Devotional (She couldn't get a sound out but she knows what they are doing). We crashed that evening. Diane got really sick, so we stayed in the apartment Saturday and Sunday resting as much as possible. 

Tomorrow starts a new week and ends a month, November. We'll have to see how it goes with our colds.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


On Thursday we got an afternoon flight from Maceió to Salvador, getting in about 4:30 pm. It was fun to watch Salvador from the air with patches of city and green space.
Getting on the plane at Maceió
Salvador from the air
 Leaving the airport there was a long tunnel of bamboo across the road.
Road from the airport
We were picked up by Leonardo and taken to the Intercity Hotel. Salvador is the third largest city in Brazil after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
City view from our hotel window.
There is a "shopping" close to the hotel so we went there for a bowl of good soup for supper. Mine was a cream of shrimp soup and Diane´s was squash soup. The mall was all set up for Christmas with a large Santa village and a children´s choir singing Christmas carols (out of tune).

Santa´s helper
Children´s chior
On Friday we had a meeting with the FM group for Salvador. They have an office right by the Amaralina stake building, which is built next to the ocean.
The FM offices
Ocean view from the church
Bezerra and Leonardo

We then went to visit the Itapuã chapel.
Courtyard for the Itapuã chapel
 We went to another "shopping" for lunch. They had a carousal set up for Christmas.
Carousal at the mall
 From there we went to the Liberdade chapel. It has city on one side and a favela on the other side.
Liberdade chapel
Favela behind the chapel
 We stopped at the Cabula chapel where there is an Institute, and a self-sufficiency center. Several of the sisters were decorating for a wedding. This is the ward where Leonardo is bishop.
Members at the Institute building
Sisters from Peru, Espirito Santo, and Dominican Republic

Self-sufficiency center
We returned to our hotel to get ready for training in the evening. Paulo, the CTS to be trainined called and said he would be delayed so we had time to interact with some of the members. A group of boys flocked around Diane to ask her a lot of questions.
Bees and honey come to mind
Paulo  (CTS) and Bezerra (FM)
 This hotel is different because it is in the middle of the city rather than close to the beach. We can see the city as well as favelas from our window.
Salvador city
Salvador favela
 We had some leisure time planned for Saturday morning so we took a taxi to the historical city center to get some Bahian culture. We started at Cidade Alta which is high above the ocean. We saw quite a few Baianas at Praça de Sé in their native dress (who wanted money to take pictures, of course).
The Baianas 
 We also saw a memorial to Zumbi, an escaped slave who set up a community of escaped slaves in the interior.
Our friend Zumbi
 There were a lot of stores, especially around Terreiro de Jesus
Gift shop
Terreiro de Jesus
We enjoyed walking down some of the cobblestone streets with brightly colored houses.
Rua João de Deus
 We passed by a store with an interesting carving. For some reason it reminded me of Kohler.
We didn´t take him home with us
There are a lot of old Baroque churches in the area
 There is an influence of Baianas all over.
Selling special ribbons?
 An elevator takes you from the Cidade Alta to the Cidade Baixa (lower city). Since we had a taxi we didn´t take the elevator to the Market in the lower city.
The elevator
Municipal market
 There was a small group doing capoeira in back of the market (for money, of course).
Joilson, our driver
 After we got back we went back to the "shopping" for lunch. As we were leaving we heard "White Christmas" being sung in English in the background. It didn't quite fit for Brazil.
More of Santa´s village
 In the evening we had more training where we actually prepared a webcast.
Technology specialists preparing a webcast
Sunday was a different day. We went to afternoon meetings so we spent the morning in the hotel room reading, etc. Leonardo (or I should say Bishop Nascimento) picked us up about 12:30 pm and took us to the house of Del, his counselor for lunch. Apparently on Sundays they meet together for lunch in one of their houses.
Street in the bairro of the ward
Del´s house
 It was a nice house and there were a lot of people there, including five sister missionaries.
The missionaries
It was a nice lunch with rice and escodidinho (a regional dish). Sariah, a recently returned missionary from Natal (sitting next to Diane) kept the conversation going.

Good food
 We then went to church, which went from 3 - 6 pm. Their ward choir sang (25 strong) with their whole heart. This was followed by Sunday School (where we gave the prayers) and Priesthood Meeting and Relief Society. Since the bishop was busy with interviews we went with his family and Del´s family for some fruit salad while we waited for a ride back to the hotel. Finally Del was available to give us a ride.
The bishop´s family
Del´s family
This has been a nice stop in Salvador and we were really welcomed, but it´s time to go home (São Paulo) tomorrow morning.