Sunday, May 29, 2016

Member Visits

In the office this week we have been trying to organize things for our replacement couple who should arrive in August. Meanwhile, we had two excursions this week. Thursday was a holiday (Corpus Cristo) so we wanted to visit Val whom we taught in Salt Lake and Saturday we visited Cintia in her new home.

We started Thursday morning with an American breakfast at the Zauggs. It included bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, and pancakes (Diane made some gluten-free pancakes for Sister Thomson and me - delicious).
Yummy breakfast
Missionaries like to eat
From there we went to the São Paulo Transportation Museum. It was a bus ride and two metro rides to get there. It was also an area of town we have never visited. There were 15 Americans going in a gang (a Mormonada). It had some old bondes (streetcars) like we used to ride in Porto Alegre.

The Mormonada on a bonde
Let's go for a ride
It also had a lot of other memorabilia from the olden days in Brazil.
What does this bell do?
 After the museum it was lunchtime so we went to a nearby Shopping to find something to eat. I can tell we have been in São Paulo too long because it was Diane who led everyone else to the shopping even though it was new territory for her.
It's almost June - corn season
Following the leader - Diane
Fun toys at the Shopping
Our afternoon plans were different from the other couples so we headed out on our own. We crossed the mighty (stinky that is) Tiete River and the Margenal (a highway of 11 lanes on one side of the river and 13 lanes on the other side). 
Rio Tiete and the Margenal
 We went to the closest metro station. There was a festival today for Corpus Criste, which had thousands of people attend. Most of them were in the metro station.
Tiepe metro station
 Two more metro rides and a train ride took us to São Miguel Paulista where Val lives. While we were serving in the Salt Lake South mission we were able to help the missionaries teach Val. she was baptized in Salt Lake then returned to São Paulo. We have been trying to find the opportunity to visit her since we arrived in Brazil. We finally did it. All we had was an address, but we found her house - and she was home.
Val's house
We were also able to talk to her husband about the church.
Val and her husband
 She wanted to show us the chapel where she attends church so we were able to take a walk through the neighborhood. This is the farthest east we have been in São Paulo, which is strange since we are officially in the São Paulo East mission.
Jardim Romano Chapel (São Miguel Paulista stake)
Street art in the Vila Mara neighborhood
 When we ended our visit we took a train, two metro rides, and a bus ride to return to our apartment. We went past some of the areas in the São Paulo East zone, such as Brás, Mooca, and Tatuapé.
Waiting for the metro at the Brás station
On Saturday we went with Emerson and his family to see Cintia's new house in Indaiatuba, which is close to Campinas. She rides a bus to and from work every day, about a 1.5 hour ride each way. We stopped in Jundiaí on the way so Emerson could deliver a package to a friend for his daughter who is serving a mission in Campinas. 
A package for a missionary
Cintia and her family live in a nice condominium. There are many nice homes there, away from the busy life in São Paulo.
Cintia's house
Swimming pool in the back yard
There is not a lot of yard room so they put their grass on the roof. 

A game of golf anyone?
They fixed a churrasco for lunch. A grill is a must for every house.

Meat is on the barby
Cintia and her husband
 Cintia also has two daughters and a dog.
Cintia's family
 We then went for a walk around the condominium and the playground.
Rest time for Emerson's family
I was able to be a child again and play with the kids.

This totter doesn't teeter so well
Pirates raid the castle
 It was a beautiful area - tempting to move away from the city.
A flower among the flowers
 Laura bright a ball along so we played futebal in the street as we returned to the house.
Soccer with no goal
 We really enjoyed our very relaxed visit. We need more of this.
Cintiq's house party
 On the way back we stopped at a highway convenience stop. This one was decorated as an American 50s malt shop.
Taxi anyone?
The São Paulo 5th ward had an activity to honor the sisters. The men prepared a meal and served it to the sisters in the ward. We were late getting back from Indaiatuba so we were 1/2-hour late for the activity, just in time for it to start.
Para Elas (for Hers)
Sister Shumway and Sister Wheeler
Diane has a special friend who comes up and gives her a big hug while she jabbers away. Diane doesn't understand anything she says, but they are friends.

So things are winding down, but still keeping busy.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Area Review

This week we had visitors from Salt Lake for a Brazil Area Review. The visitors were Elder Holland (Council of the 12 Apostles), Elder Maynes (Presidency of the 70s), and Bishop Waddell (Presiding bishopric). Last Sunday evening we had three simultaneous firesides by the three visitors, each being webcast from a different chapel to various other chapels in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. We have been testing and working with Salt Lake to prepare for the webcasts, since no one in the church has attempted anything of this magnitude. In general the webcasts went well, however the meeting with Elder Holland had a lot of video difficulties. The ICS departments in Brazil and Salt Lake have been working all week to evaluate the problem - Internet overload.

This was a big effort with the FM group, ICS, and technology specialists working together.
FM group preparing for the webcast 
ICS, STS, and CTS in a small technology closet
We had front row seats for the fireside with Elder and Sister Holland. Sister and President Costa (Area President) also spoke. It was an inspiring meeting.

Thursday morning Bishop Waddell spoke to church employees. We were also invited. One of the messages that stood out was that we should not be at ease in zion, but we can be at peace in zion. He also emphasized the need of opposition in all things, which forces us to council together and improve. I guess the opposition we had with the webcast will force us to solve problems with the Internet.

On Saturday we went to a special traveling art exhibit of postimpressionist paintings from the galleries in Paris. It was called "O Triunfo da Cor" or the triumph of color.

Technology has taken over the bus stops, even for musicians
Grand buildings of downtown São Paulo
It pays to look up now and then
The art exhibit in the Banco do Brasil building
We were not allowed to take pictures of the paintings so I found a couple on the Internet.
Gauguin in the South Pacific
Van Gogh - Diane's favorite
We were allowed to take pictures in the main lobbies, but not in the galleries.
Educational station showing how color is formed
The lobby of the Bank of Brazil
After our visit to the art exhibit we decided to visit two museums of Brazilian art - The Modern Art Museum (MAM) and the Contemporary Art Museum (MAC).  Both were in or by Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo. We had visited the MAM before and we were not really impressed. Although they had a few more exhibits we were still not impressed.

Sculpture outside the MAM
It was good we remembered our umbrellas because it really rained. We crossed the busy highway on an overpass to the MAC. It was much better. There were 7 floors, but some of the exhibits were being renovated.

This is for big cat lovers
Painting by Tarsilla do Amaral
Painting by Anita Malfatti
Mathematical abstraction by Samson Flexor
We caught a bus that took us all the way past our apartment to the candy store to stock up on peanuts, etc.

Some good graffiti by the bus stop
We had a good Sunday today. It included a High Priest Quorum meeting. I could actually understand each of the new stake presidency as they spoke.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


This has been a quiet week beginning with me having a cold and ending with Diane having a cold.

Sunday night a sister in the ward came over to give Diane a Mother's Day present. It was very thoughtful.

Happy Mother's Day
We spent some time in the office this week and some time in the apartment. They are redoing the sidewalk in front of the temple and chapel. It means we walk a dusty trail, but it will be nice when they finish.
Tearing up the old sidewalk
A long dusty trail
Bricks for the new sidewalk
One part of the sidewalk about finished
We will be glad when they finish. 

On Saturday the Harts invited us to go to Santos with them. It's about a 1.5-hour drive from São Paulo on the coast. We have someone in the office who lives in Santos and commutes every day.

I had the job of navigating, which was not too hard using the GPS on my cell phone. Santos is a nice beach town and the largest harbor in South America.

Entrance into Santos
Discovery statue
Surf's up!
 We got a quick lunch at the downtown "Shopping" the went to the beach.
Tourist office in an old bonde (streetcar)
We were able to walk along the broad, lightly populated beach.

A sand dollar (or sand Real)
Jumping the Grand Canal
A walk along the beach
 We decided to take a scooner ride and ran into the Burkes and Kawais. It was a nice ride for a very good price.
Harts, Diane, Burkes, and Kawais
We went along the harbor to see all of the shipping docks. Brazilian products (like orange juice) are shipped all over the world while other products are imported.
Big container loading dock
Houses along the harbor
 Diane wasn't over her cold, but did OK.
Sea breeze for a cold
The boat was full of school kids on an outing. Several of the girls stopped to practice their English with the Burkes. It was a lot of fun.

School girls speaking English
There were a lot of other types of boats in the harbor.

Sailing anyone?
Some of the buildings along the harbor lean one direction or the other as the sand shifts.
Leaning buildings
I was navigator on the way back to São Paulo, but it was much more difficult in the dark. We kept taking the wrong roads and had difficulty getting back on the planned trail. We did make it back to São Paulo the scenic way (which we couldn't see because it was dark). We stopped for dinner at a Chinese restaurant close to our apartment.