Sunday, June 26, 2016

We are Home

We spent the week getting ready to go home. Diane especially had a busy week getting in her last report.
Shredding old reports
As we said goodby to Elder Aidukaitis he said he noticed a difference as he visited stake conferences in Brazil with the technology specialists doing more and the FM doing less. Maybe our mission has been helpful for the church in Brazil.

 We had our last Family Home Evening this week. I had the lesson about Brazilian Art. It was fun for me, but may have put everyone else asleep.
Final FHE lesson
They took a group picture at the FHE so we could remember everyone.

Senior couples in the Brazil Area office
After our family home evening they took us out to a farewell dinner at a churrascaria close by.

 They have been working on the sidewalk in front of the temple for months. We wondered if they were going to finish it before we left. It isn't finished, but they paved almost all of it this week.

Sidewalk instead of dirt
Friday was a busy last day in Brazil. We got in the office about 9am and finished up some last-minute work we needed to do before we left. The ICS workers took us to lunch at a restaurant famous for trout. It was very good.

The ICS team

We then had our last Portuguese class, which finished about 3pm. We then went back to the apartment, changed clothes, and loaded up a car with a lot of luggage. Elder and Sister Hale took us to the airport. Because of traffic and several accidents it took us three hours to get there instead of the normal one hour.
A fire along the highway on the way to the airport
We got to the airport then took a 10-hour flight to Atlanta followed by a 4-hour flight to Salt Lake City. Andrea and family were there to greet us and help us haul a lot of luggage to Logan, stopping at Chuck-a-Rama in Ogden for lunch. It is good to be home with the family again.

Today (Sunday) has been a busy day. It started with a 7am meeting with the high council to report our mission. We then gave our talks in sacrament meeting at 11am. Ken and Kate joined us for our meetings and a simple luch afterward. We then had a visit with the Stake President at 3:45pm when we were released. Our mission is now over and fully reported.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Winding down

We are trying to get everything ready for our replacements. We leave the end of June and they are scheduled to enter the MTC in August. We have to prepare for the transition. Meanwhile there are a few places we wanted to see in São Paulo so we took Tuesday afternoon for Paulista Avenue.

We caught a bus to the lower part of Avenida Paulista. On the way to the metro station we passed the cathedral for the Orthodox Church.
Catedral Ortodoxa
Monday night for Family Home Evening we will be talking about art of Brazil. There is an art museum in Vila Mariana we have been wanting to see, so we took the metro to Vila Mariana. The art focuses on Laser Segall, a well-known Brazilian modernist.

Museu Laser Segall
Most museums in São Paulo are closed on Mondays, but this one closed on Tuesdays, so we couldn't go in. At least we were able to see a bit of his art in the São Paulo Art Museum on Paulista.

Art by Laser Segall
We took the metro back to lower Avenida Paulista to look around. We went to Casa das Rosas, an old house that is now open for the public with a nice rose garden (with few roses this time of year).

Casa das Rosas 
There were a few roses left
At least the bathroom was rose colored
Close by was Itaú, an organization which keeps a lot of historical documents of Brazil, some on display.
A wall of drawings of nature in Brazil
We then took the metro again to the upper part of Agenda Paulista to the Museu de Arte São Paulo (MASP), which is one of the major art museums in the city. Again the purpose was to see what they had in Brazilian art in preparation for FHE.

Cinco moças de Guaratinguetá" by  Di Cavalcanti
"O Último Baile da  Monarquia
by Francisco Aurelio de Figueiro e Melo
You may have heard about modification of missionary clothing in Brazil because of diseases carried by mosquitos. Now you know why.

Mosquito on Paulista Avenue
We next went to Livraria Cultura, a giant bookstore, to see if there was anything we wanted to take back to the USA with us. Maybe Dom Quixote.
Dom Quixote
We are winding down with our Portuguese so the Hales decided to take pictures, so here is the class (with several missing).

The Portuguese class
On Saturday we decided to take a free city walking tour. We have been to most of the places, but it was nice to fit all the pieces together.

Rocco, our Italian guide speaking English
It was a 3.5-hour tour all around the city center.

The tourists in front of the library
We have a lot of pictures of buildings, but I selected just a few.
Diane in the "orelhão" - big ear
 We went inside the Sé Cathedral and found two interesting things. They had two Rameumptoms, one on each side of the apse.
One of the rameumtoms
 They have also gone high-tech. Instead of lighting candles you can put in R$1 and an electric candle will light for 1 hour.
Electronic candles
After the formal tour we went down Rua 25 de Março (a crowded street turned flee market) to the Mercado Municipal so Diane could have her bacalhau pastel.
Wished I could have one
By the time we got home we were not only tuckered out, but peopled out. This is the season for Festa Junina, a full-fledged party for the country folk (or those that dress up like them). There is a lot of traditional food and activities that come with the celebration. Our ward has their party next week, so we decided to crash the Morumbi ward party (where most of the senior couples attend). It was crowded and very noisy, but they had some traditional treats.

The Hales dressed as gaúchos
 Today was our last Sunday in Brazil. It seems strange that we will be returning to Utah this week.
Brazilian family going to church
 There is a lot of construction going on that we won't see completed. At least some of it is colorful.
Construction workers building
This is the last blog post from Brazil. By next weekend we will be home.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Winter is coming

I feel like I live in a ski resort. Everyone is bundled up in winter coats and scarfs. I guess winter will officially arrive in 9 more days. I started wearing a long-sleeve shirt and a sweater to walk to the office.

Friday night is our usual date night when we go out with the other couples for dinner and a movie, but this week we had two nights out. Maybe it was because of Dia das Namaradas (Valentine's Day) this Sunday.

Wednesday evening they have a small feira in our courtyard.
Wednesday night feira in the courtyard
We then went to a concert in Pinheiros. None of us had ever been to the cultural center where they held the concert that started at 8:30 pm. It was the Octet Villa-Lobos em Câmara playing arrangements of pieces from Brazil's best known classical composer, Villa-Lobos. It was actually 20th- century music, but listed under classical. We weren't allowed to take pictures, but you can see the before and after experiences.

Pinheiros street at night
The concert hall in Pinheiros
Americans ready for Brazilian classical music
 Our Friday night movie was at a theater on Paulista Avenue. The bus we took was stopped in traffic for a long time so we got off the bus and walked for several blocks to get to the theater.
Piled up traffic in São Paulo
It ended up that there was a large political demonstration on Paulista Avenue so all traffic, including the bus, was stopped. The group decided to go for Rodisio Pizza (where they bring around slices of pizza) so I went to the Divino Fogão, a buffet of country food.

The Divino Fogão
Food selection of typical Brazilian food
When we got out of the theater there was little left of the demonstration.
Political demonstrators
On Saturday we decided to find a little São Paul history through old houses. We took a bus to Casa da Fazinda, an old farmhouse that is now a reception center for weddings and other special events. they were preparing for a wedding, but we were able to look around anyway.
Casa da Fazinda
Reception area
Dining area
Tiny church in the garden
Farmhouse corner
From Casa da Fazenda we went across the street to see Capela do Morumbi. We had seen it before. It was built in 1949 in the style of a building of the earlier centuries.

Capela do Morumbi 
After lunch we took a bus to Casa do Bandeirante. This is a restored farmhouse of the 17th to 18th century. Loma, our guide, explained a lot about the construction techniques of the day. 
Casa do Bandeirante
Inside the house
In the outside kitchen with Loma
Front of the Casa do Bandeirante
 There is an old house we often see on the back way to the office. It is fenced off and closed, but we always wondered what it was. We found out it was the Casa do Sertanista, which is closed for restoration. We can't go in, but we passed by to take pictures from outside the fence. It's style is similar to the Casa dos Bandeirantes.
Casa do Sertanista
 We then went to see the Fundação Maria Luísa e Óscar Americano, a modern residence turned into a historical art collection.
Fundação Maria Luísa e Óscar Americano
Is this a fountain or swimming pool?
Restaurant - we didn't eat here 
It included an extensive park.
We couldn't take pictures of the 17th-century paintings by Frans Post, one of the earliest artists in Brazil.

We decided to walk back to the apartment. We passed Praça Vinícius de Moraes, which we had walked around on other days. 
Praça Vinícius de Moraes
It was a nice peaceful day (five bus rides and a long walk) with beautiful houses to see away from the noisy city.