Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jaraguá and Osasco

Monday was a holiday (birthday of São Paulo) so the offices were closed. The senior couples decided to have a Family Home Day instead of a Family Home Evening. We went to Parque Estadual Jaraguá, the highest peak in São Paulo.
Jaraguá peak
A marmoset in the tree was quite a hit, posing for a lot of pictures.

Our friendly marmoset
There was really a nice view from the top.
View of São Paul suburbs 
There were 254 steps going up and the same number coming back down.
I think I can:-)
When it started to sprinkle we started back down, not wanting to be on top during a lightning storm. Sure enough, as we got to the bottom it rained hard (very refreshing) and had lightning and thunder. It wasn't long before the storm passed over.

Our thunder storm is now on the city below
We had a picnic lunch then gathered for our Family Home Day. We sang songs - attracting strange looks - and told experiences of the mountains in our lives.

Tabernacle Choir on tour?
On the way back we stopped at the Vila Lobo Shopping for ice cream.

She liked the strawberry-flavored
We went back to the office on Tuesday for a short, but very packed week. Diane worked on the report for technology specialists while I worked on training for chapel sound systems. I have commented that the sound system in our chapel is the worst we have encountered in Brazil. After several meetings this week they may consider some changes.

View from our apartment window
After dinner on Wednesday we had a big lightning storm with lightning close by, followed by flashes of light down the street which was followed by a power outage. We wondered if Christa and Allen were going to make it for our English practice session. They finally came and we had the session even without power. We got out our flashlight which was very weak. They ended up using the flashlight feature on their cell phones, which worked very well. With no power we got to bed early. When the power returned in the middle of the night we found out we had left some lights on.

As we looked through our bedroom window Thursday evening we saw that a car had run into the Nelson's Store across the street. Police were standing around. When we went to bed the car and police were still there. They finally got the door closed with the car inside.

Is this car for sale at the Nelson's store?
Friday was a very busy day. It started with an 8am meeting with Emerson and Paulo to get their corrections on a presentation for Elder Aidukaitis of the Area Presidency. Then I had a meeting with the Area Engineers about training I had prepared on meetinghouse sound systems. Our meeting with Elder Aidukaitis went very well. It was a matter of showing him our plan for self-sufficiency in technology for the stakes. He was very supportive.

We didn't really get a preparation day on Saturday (although we did clean the apartment). We were invited to a training meeting in the afternoon for the São Paulo West council. It was held in Osasco, a city to the northwest of São Paulo. It was a bus ride, a train ride, and a mile walk to get there.

Osasco as we left the train station
Most of the walk was along a busy pedestrian street with many shoppers out for a Saturday stroll. It was a hot day, but we were early so we stopped in a small park for a brief rest.

Snow in Logan, but heat in Osasco
Colored houses on a side street.
 It was very nice having a Council Technology Specialist doing the training instead of us. There were not a lot of people, but I think the training was meaningful for those who were there.
More STS training
My Portuguese is getting worse. On the way back we found some pixeição on a wall that was actually labeled as pixação. It ends up that even that is spelled wrong because the dictionary lists it as pichação. How am I ever going to learn this language?

Is this pixeição, pixação or pichação?
On the way back to the train station we walked through the Osasco Shopping.

At least they spell "mall" as shopping
Artwork in the shopping
Since we transferred from train to bus at El Dorado Shopping we decided to get dinner there in stead of fixing something at home after getting back late. We tried Applebee's, but after a wait we learned that they have gluten in their oil and butter they use for cooking so we went to Divino Fogão for a quick bite before returning home.

I have been doing some reading in Portuguese (besides the scriptures and everything else I need to read for the work we are doing). In Porto Alegre I found a book of the history of Rio Grande do Sul I thought looked interesting. I finally finished it. It was written from the point of view of an Indian who was cursed to live 400 years and personally experiences everything that happens in the history of the state. (Oh, that kind of sounds like the Steel family in Church history).
A history for youth
I have a new friend, Chico Bento. He's a young Caipira, a country boy from the interior of São Paulo state. There is a whole series of comic books about him. It is fun to read the local accent he uses to speak. I can understand it a lot better reading than when I hear someone from there.
Meet Chico Bento
Well, January is winding down and we will soon be in Carnival season. There seems to be a lot we need to do and not enough time to accomplish it.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


It has actually been a busy week. We are back to giving our Leadership Pattern training every morning in English. We now have the books, which really helps. We also have our Portuguese classes on Wednesday and Fridays. They really like to get sidetracked, like talking about the difference in the Word of Wisdom in English and Portuguese - yes, there is a difference in the Leadership Handbook of the Church #2. We are also getting ready for our English class that starts next month.

This week Crista and Allen (from across the hall) came over for English practice as part of the Pathway Program offered by BYU-Idaho. We also managed to go to the movie on Friday (called Joy) followed by dinner at The Fiftys Burger restaurant. There were 13 of us so they sent us to a room of our own. Everyone raved about their hamburgers, except for me who had ribs.

We still feel like we live in a fishbowl since we don't have our curtains back. Maybe some day :-)

On Saturday we went to Liberdade, the Asian area of São Paulo. It was started by the Japanese and filled in later by Chinese, Koreans, and other groups. I talked to one older Japanese man who said he was born in São Paulo and never learned to speak Japanese, since it was banned during WW-II.

We catch a bus to the metro station, take the yellow line to Luz then transfer to the blue line to Praça de Liberdade. Four couples went.

On the way to the bus. You have to look down when walking in São Paulo.
 There is a feira at Praça de Liberdade with a lot of booths selling all types of things.
This is defiantly Brazilian
 There are all types of shops, including a Japanese bookstore.
How do you say "good reading" in Japanese?
The main street down from the praça is the main shopping area with lanterns across the street.

This street gets quite crowded
 And lanterns for cross walk lights.
Does this mean walk or stop?
There are two nice stores that have Brazilian crafts (as well as Asian). Another store was like a Deseret Book for the African Religions. They worship several gods and dance to get possessed.
Fortune teller Bahian style
 Of course there are Catholic churches all over.
Church next to the fortune tellers
We all went to a nice Chinese restaurant which had very good food (and gluten free).  It only cost about $6.50 (US dollars) each for a full meal including watermelon juice to drink.

We returned in the afternoon ready for a rest. There were some kids playing in the gazebo of our apartment building.
Fun place to gather
I figured since I have some experience with sound systems that I would prepare some training that they might use for chapels in Brazil. The chapel where we meet is the worst. We had lunch in the temple on Friday with the manager of church buildings who lined up a meeting for next week to see what we can do about it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Annual Review

This week we had our annual reviews. It was actually for Church employees, but they included us in it. But, to start out, we have some quick pics. When we got back from Gramado there was a new bookstore in the mall.

Our new bookstore
 Ezekiel 42 talks about measuring the temple. It seems it is still in practice today.
Measuring the São Paulo Temple
It is actually part of updating the sprinkling system around the temple and chapel.

New sod for the chapel
 So, Monday we had our performance presentations. We started with a small breakfast in the office. 

Breakfast (snack) time in the office
Everyone had 10 minutes to tell about the goals they accomplished during 2015. We didn't know we were supposed to set goals so we reported on each of our 11 responsibilities. Two weeks ago Paulo asked us to put together a book about the Leadership Pattern. We were able to finish it in time for the meeting. Paulo wrapped them like Christmas presents and put them under the Christmas tree in the office (yes, it was still up). Each person picked a present to open then gave the book to the person whose picture was on the front page. The back page was a picture of the Savior so that as we go through the Leadership Pattern we start where we are and end up more like the Savior.

Paulo explaining the books 
We even got a book for ourselves
 After a morning of meetings we all went to a restaurant at Makros (like a Cosco).
Lunchtime at Makros
Tuesday was a day for planning the new year. Emerson gave the team objectives for 2016. We actually got a lot of ideas we can use in our own work, even though it is different from the ICS team. After the morning meetings we went to the Golden Palace for a Chinese buffet lunch. The most common brand of soy sauce here doesn't have wheat in it, so I was able to eat more than normal. 

At the Golden Palace restaurant
The Area FM group decided to make a short training video on the new webcast so on Wednesday I helped train them so they would know how to make the video. We have had a leak in the extra bathroom. When we got home all the water was turned off and the curtains on all the windows were gone. We turned the water back on, but are still without curtains. It makes us feel a little vulnerable. We think they are getting them cleaned.

Thursday afternoon we were able to go through an endowment session in the temple. Diane said she could understand most of it in Portuguese.

Friday we caught up on a lot of work. After work we went over to the Shopping to get some goodies. One of the things we like are the R$2 ice-cream cones from McDonalds. I eat the ice-cream on top then give it to Diane to eat the rest of the cone.

Ice cream at McDonalds in the mall
As we were wondering what to do on Saturday we got a call asking if we wanted to go to the zoo. It sounded fun, so we went (and did have fun). We had been before so we were able to just wander around and see whatever we wanted to. 
The endangered Maned Wolf
The Great Kiskadee
Lunchtime for seniors
Two pretty flowers
Nice fishy! 
The hatchling
The lost world 
Welcome to Jurassic Park 
The endangered striped anteater
On the way back from the zoo we had a bus ride, three metro rides, and another bus ride. While transferring from the blue metro line to the green metro line we stopped briefly to check directions. By the time we got to the platform there was no train and no other people - we missed it and the other missionaries left us behind. Fortunately there was another train within 2 minutes and the other missionaries were waiting for us when we got off the train. We all made the yellow line together.

Elder Zaugg asked if I would be willing to help translate missionary applications. The member that was doing it passed away last week so they asked Elder Zaugg to fill in, but he has his own work to do as the Area Auditor and can't keep up with the number of applications. With several of us sharing the work we should be able to keep up our own work and the translations as well.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Year-end Reports

It's the beginning of a new year, which means we needed to report what we did last year. Actually, nobody has asked for a report, but we decided to do one anyway so we can know what we have done and what needs to be done this year. Also, Paulo gave us a big job of preparing a book on the Leadership Pattern for their meetings next week. It took the first of the week to complete it. Meanwhile, Diane had the monthly metrics to prepare. At least we were very busy this week. It also means we didn't have a chance to do anything else to show on the blog.

On New Year's Eve one of the other couples gave each couple an Amaryllis. This is ours after it bloomed. It has another bud growing so we will get even more flowers.

Our flower
We decided we needed to go out on Saturday so we could take some pictures to post. Diane's foot was feeling a bit better so we went to find some piano music for her. We took a bus then walked up one of the streets to the street with lots of music stores. My goal was to find something I could photograph; her goal was to find music.
Small church along the way
Traffic jam
Who built this fence?
 We found a store that had a lot of music. Diane said it is like me when I go to the candy store. She got some Bach Inventions for technique practice, classical piano pieces for repertoire, and some Bossa Nova songs for fun.
Candy for a pianist

We went to the antique feira on the way back. There was a real "artsy" building across the street.
Not the typical store
 We stopped at the food court so Diane could try an empanada.
Food court in the antique feira 
 We passed the Perdizes stake center on the way back to the bus.
Perdizes stake center
We were worn out by the time we got back, but it was a good break from the routine.