Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scott's Workbench

For Father's Day we built Scott a workbench in his garage.
Ryan, Laurel, Kevin

Ryan, Laurel, John, Kevin

Laurel, Kevin, Rachel, Bruce, Lisa, Ryan

Monday, June 1, 2009


Bruce served his mission in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
He served in the state Sao Paulo and in the Miracatu, Sao Marcos, Interlagos, Santo Amaro, and Itapeva areas. We decided to visit Brazil together. Scott and Lisa joined us on the trip May 1-12, 2009.

We spent May 2-6 in Sao Paulo and the surrounding area, and May 7-11 in Itepeva. The days in Sao Paulo were filled with lots of driving (sometimes in the complete wrong direction) and many activities. In Itepeva life slowed down a bit and we were able to get a taste of genuine Brazilian life.

Saturday, May 2, 2009
We arrived in Brazil on Saturday. Roberto (Bruce’s friend from the mission and our chauffeur) and Richardo (Roberto’s brother-in-law) picked us up from the airport. We had our first taste of Brazilian driving as we rode the bus to the parking facility. The experience included crossing multiple lanes of traffic to take an exit at the very last second, and honking as frequent means of communication.   
After the bus ride, we met up with Roberto and Richardo and managed to cram 6 people and 4 suitcases into two tiny hatchback Brazilian cars for the drive to Ricardo’s house. Roberto and Bruce rode in the front seats, and Scott, Lisa and I sat, cozily, in the back (this was always our seating arrangement). During the drive to town I was a deer in headlights. The palms trees and sights were like nothing I'd seen before. It was so new and beautiful and incredible. Bruce loved my wide-eyed reaction.
We drove to Richardo's apartment in downtown San Paulo and ate bread, meat, and cheese. Then we walked to the Venti Cinco de Marco, a huge street market lined with street vendors and small shops. The vendors cover the sidewalks and the street and the whole street is so crowded that you cannot see down it. We were warned that it is a prime location for pickpockets so all valuables or apparent valuables were left at Ricardo’s and wallets were only carried in front pockets.

Later, we drove from the Centro (or the Center) where the market is located to the hotel via the scenic route which included driving beside the river that runs through the middle of Sao Paulo. It’s a pretty view, but an unpleasant smell because raw sewage is regularly dumped into the river. At the hotel we unloaded, Bruce handled the reservation, keys, etc because the receptionist only spoke Portuguese.
Hotel Ibis was a nice hotel, similar to American hotels.

Shortly after checking into the hotel, we went to visit a family Bruce knew on his mission- Irma Brizilada. The story goes: One day after church Bruce and his companion were talking with some people when a sister calls out “Elder Americano.”  Bruce turned and replied, “Yes, Sister Brazilian?” I suppose after that it just stuck and she became Irma Brazilian. We ate a lunch of rice, beans, meat, and juice made from fresh passion fruit and pineapple. We ate, and Scott, Lisa, and I gawked as Bruce, Roberto, and the Vieira’s chatted. She made delicious Brazilian food. The most memorable was a fried food with meat inside. Mmmmmm! 

When we left to go back to the hotel we accidentally took the long route again. It turned a 5 minute drive into a very frustrating 30 min drive.  We went to bed when we got back. The time difference is only 3 hours and we should not have been tired, but they had not yet switched to daylight savings so it was dark by 6:30pm.

Scott, Rachel, Bruce, Lisa, Irma Brazilada

Hotel Ibis

Bruce living the life!

Our chauffeur, Roberto


Our view of San Paulo from the hotel

Being pregnant makes me tired!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday we attended church in San Marcos. Roberto picked us up late so we arrived late because he got lost. It was weird to attend an entire church meeting and not understand any of what was said.
One sister in the Relief Society did know that "Elder Sommerfeldt" was coming to visit and was able to associate Lisa and I with him. She introduced us (which was the only part of the meeting that I really comprehended). 

Without a translator, Lisa and I just listened and studied our scriptures. I picked up enough words to know that they were talking about visiting teaching but otherwise remained clueless.  The best part of Relief Society was the very end. We sang “Put You Shoulder to the Wheel” and each time we sand the phrase, “push along” we stood. I’m pretty good at singing in Portuguese because Bruce and I have been singing our Family Home Evening songs in Portuguese for the last few months, but even with that, I couldn’t figure out why we were sitting and standing.
Between Relief Society and Sunday School I stood in the hall and attempted conversation with Fatima, the sister who knew that Elder Sommerfeldt was coming to visit. She knew that I was pregnant, so I learned the word for pregnant, gravida, and stared and smiled some. Bruce joined us and would translate general themes of conversations to give us a better chance of picking up words, but always left some guess work by not translating the whole conversation.
During Sunday School I think I drifted off (it was a warm room and I wasn’t getting much from the words of the lesson).
Testimony meeting was neat because many of the words were cognates, so while I missed the story, I could understand the general message of the testimony.

After church we lingered in the chapel to talk to the people Bruce knew and some who he baptized. It was neat to see so many active and growing in the gospel, particularly those who had strong connections with Bruce because they were taught or baptized by him.

We ate lunch with Maria and Jose. We saw their wedding video and photo books. Their home is built up, so we went up a flight of outdoor stairs to get to their living room area.

After lunch we visited several other families Bruce knew on his mission. It was a unique and neat experience to meet the families that Bruce knew on his mission, before he met me. It was especially touching to see how much it meant to them to see him, and what an influence he must have had on them.

We saw the missionary apartment beside Fatima's home where Bruce lived.

Sometimes we'd be talking (by that I mean Bruce would be talking and we would all be sitting oblivious since we don't speak Portuguese) and it would be time to go, so we'd say "Foto? Foto?" It became a bit of a joke that if you needed to get out of somewhere, just request a photo.

A tent city, with houses behind.

Bruce and Rachel from the balcony of Maria's home

Back: Lisa, Rachel, Bruce, Scott, Jose, Maria. Front: Iris, Rafaela

Most the homes are brick and mortar, with no instillation or framing

Geroberto family. We enjoyed Fanta and pound cake. They were very hospitable and generous.

Cristina and Marcos

The city is huge!

Fatima and family. Scott was bit by a dog here.

We chatted back at the hotel, with Scott and Lisa before going to sleep.

Monday, May 4, 2009
We visited Parque Ipapua and walked around.
Then we got lost (because nearly every time we got in the car we got lost). And eventually went to Edifico Italino, a fancy restaurant with a 360 degree view of the city. It was the most expensive and most disgusting meal I had ever had up to that point in life, but the view was neat.
After lunch we drove to Embu. We stopped at a market to purchase some gifts. We bought a clock made from blue rock. We also stopped at a Lan house- or Internet cafe, which is how most Brazillians got access to the internet.
We visited a few more families, Aparecido and his family. His daughter was memorably smart.
 We ended the night with family home evening at Maria's. We at hot dogs and had a lesson about hope (that's what Bruce told me).
In park

Edificio Italino
The view from Edificio Italino

FHE at Fatima's

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
We were leaving the hotel when the elevator got stuck. We yelled and banged for a bit, before a maid rescued us.
We started driving to the beach but drove the wrong direction for and hour. We ended up driving in a big loop to get back to the right direction, but eventually arrived at beach Gauda. We spent the day at the beach, from noon to 4:30pm. We ate hamburgers for lunch. They had very slow service. We bought two body boards for $R47 and enjoyed taking turns riding the waves. It was my very first trip to the ocean!!
Burgers on the beach

Beach at Sao Paulo

Rachel, Bruce, Roberto

Scott and Lisa

Eventually we drove back to the hotel. We walked to a grocery store from the hotel. We ate dinner in our hotel rooms and talked before bed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
We visited the 25 Street Market. We took the metro to get there a I got sick. When we got off I had to sit down against a pillar and wait until I felt better. A security personnel asked if I needed to go to the hospital. Bruce assured them that I did not.

We bought gifts at the market: sunglasses, necklaces, a baby outfit for our unborn baby (A San Paulo soccer team uniform from an upstairs shop). When we finished our shopping we returned to Kelly and Ricardo's apartment. They gave us some baby sandals.

We ate lunch at Irma Brazilada's and washed our clothes in her washing machine. Many people have washing machines, but different than American machines, and few have dryers.
We visited the temple grounds, but didn't have time to do a session or go inside.
Sao Paulo Temple

In front of the Sao Paulo Temple

We drove from the temple to to Iguapi. Roberto drove really slow and we arrived later than expected, very late at night. We looked for a hotel in Iguapi. They were asking $R85 with a free breakfast. We crossed to the island and the hotels were $R160 a night. or $R190 right on the beach. We finally stopped and got three rooms for $R170. Roberto thought we over-paid.

Thursday, May 7, 2009
Thursday we had breakfast bought from the market, then spent all morning on the beach at Iguapi. We had hamburgers for lunch at the street stand before a long drive to Itapeva.

Swimming at Iguapi

X Burger (that's how they spell cheese burger) truck

We took the scenic route, through the rain forest to get to Itapeva. It took 3.5 hours! Roberto speed across the winding dirt roads.

Brazilian Rainforest

Roadside Photo

Lisa gathering water from a waterfall

Near Itepeva
When we arrived in Itapeva, we washed the car, and returned the car to someone. We got Roberto's car, which Bruce drove for a short time, and headed for Roberto's house. Before we arrived, Roberto's car ran out of gas. We had to push it down a hill to a gas station.

We eventually arrived at Roberto's house and stayed in his mom, and his brother's rooms on foam mattresses.
In most homes, including Roberto's, the toilet's do not have a tank on the back, but instead a bucket hung from the ceiling.

Rachel, Bruce and Scott going into Roberto's house

Roberto's house

Friday, May 8, 2009
We ran out of gas.
We drove to the caves. We took a dirt road which was wider than the rain forest dirt road. We sped to watch a motorcycle.
Getting ready to go in the cave

The cave entrance

Scott, Bruce, Rachel, Lisa, Roberto caving

Inside the cave

Rachel and Bruce at the bottom of the waterfall

Rachel and Bruce on the waterfall


Our backseat snuggle (all week long). Rachel, Lisa, Scott

Director, Bruce

Roberto, our driver

We ate a snack at a lake, and then hiked to a cave a waterfall. There was some standing water in the cave that we waded though.

We then drove back to Itapeva.

We shopped at a grocery store for an American dinner, so we could cook an "American" meal for our host family. We found roast and potatoes.

We stopped at a Lan house in Centro.
 We ate dinner at a chuhascaria. The food was good, but I like American Brazilian more because the sides are more familiar.

We then visited the man who rented Roberto the car. We talked and talked and talked to him. We ate pie, and  Lisa had a laughing fit about taking "fotos" and when we were still talking, Bruce made up a lie about the baby kicking me, so we could leave.

Saturday, May 9, 2009
Roberto's sister, Kacia did our laundry for us.
We baked a cake and made jello.

We went to a ball store. Bruce and Roberto argued about who would go into the store, and in the endo no one went in and the ball remained flat.

We saw some elders and visited a street market with grocery and other small shops. We visited Centro to do shopping. We bought Haviana sandals and Bruce bought a macheti.

We took a walk in the jungle park and had lunch. Bruce swang on the vine- George of Jungle style!

Lunch in the park in Itepeva

Tarzan, I mean Bruce

Bruce, Rachel, Scott, Lisa on a bridge in the park

In Centro

Bruce's mission apartment

Roberto's family

We walked down a big sidewalk with ice cream and watched street dancing while Roberto went to fix his car.

That night we made dinner. It was difficult to cook with different kitchen tools.  I noted, "against all odds, a success."

Sunday, May 10, 2009
We attended church and arrived early.
After church we had a big lunch at Roberto's with very good desserts.
That afternoon we visited Claudete, Liliana, Paula, Osete, and Maria.

Monday, May 11, 2009
We had breakfast and got read, packed our bags ad walked to Cento. We bought some candy and a dictionary for Roberto. Lisa helped Ana cook in the kitchen, which seemed to mean a lot to Ana.
Bruce and Roberto got the rental car and we went to the airport. We almost had trouble int he airport because I put a soda in Bruce's bag, that someone had given me as we were packing up, without noting that it was liquid and would be cause for alarm in customs and airport security.
We slept, and tossed and turned on the overnight flight, has a layover in Atlanta, and eventually made it back to Salt Lake.
Rachel and Bruce in the airport

Scott and Lisa in the airport during our layover.

Recipe for a dessert that Bruce enjoyed while on his mission.

Recipe for Lime Dessert
2 cups milk
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs

blend in blender. Pour into a bundt pan. Put the bundt pan into another bundt pan and fill it half way with water. Cook until it melts the sugar (3 big spoons). Pour in bottom of pan. About 1 hour of cooking at 200 degrees.