Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ok here's the rest of it.

Wow guys, sorry this is so long, but after this post, everything will be super caught up.

We have about 5,000 hours of free time a day (which is great!), so I decided to go through my journal and compile what I wanted to put on my blog so I don't have to spend all of my internet time going through my journal. It's winter here, which means the sun is completely down by 6, and we can't go outside after dark unless we're with the guys. So this is also something to do. I can't remember what I told people about Brazil already, so sorry if I repeat myself. :)

We didn't have any problems with anyone's luggage or going through customs, which was great. Most of us met up on that flight but a few more trickled in and one is yet to come (Digger, for those of you who know him :) ) As we stepped out of the airport my first impression of Brazil was that it smelled like smoke. Everyone smokes! But we got a really nice charter bus. Dr. Fails said it'd be the same kind of bus for all our traveling, which'll be nice later on for our trips 18 and 24 hours long...

The bus took us to the São Paulo temple and our familes picked us up. I'm living with an older, single lady, and her daughter in law picked me up. My roommate Heidi hadn't come yet, so off I went. For the first day it was just me and my "Mom", Avó Genó. She is the cutest person, but of course we couldn't communicate. She talked a lot and I smiled and that's about it. Her grandchildren (some of them, and they're my age) came over and everyone was kissing and talking and I was just nodding my head and repeating over and over "Sim", "Só um pouco" (only a little), and "Não falo bem".

I ended up taking two naps that day. Avó Genó woke me up to eat dinner. That should have been my first clue that this woman was serious about food. :)

My body is still messed up because all of the sudden it's winter. It's not that cold (at least to us), but the sun goes down so early, while in Provo right now the sun goes down slowly and late. So it's three in the afternoon in Utah when the sun goes down in São Paulo.

I watched some novelas (brazilian soap operas) with Genó after dinner that first day, and went to bed around 8. I didn't buy a watch until today, so I never really knew what time it was. Dang reliance on phone. Everyone kept telling me that my roommate Heidi wouldn't come until Sunday, so I was nervous for a Saturday by myself. I wondered if it would be the first day of my life not hearing English, but now I know that's not possible because American songs are played all the time. For example (love you Heather) "4 minutes" by Madonna and Justin T. just played.

But anyways, Avó Genó woke me up Saturday morning telling me my friend had arrived. Yay! She had just gotten back from a study abroad in Moçambique (with my grandpa!). I didn't know her before but I love her! It's great living with her--she's so fun.

So we visited that day and brushing my teeth and showering felt sooo good! Showering here is a trick. The water pressure isn't very strong and the water's luke warm, at best. So we shower as fast as we can and rush into bed, then fall asleep shivering. Who would have thought I'd be cold in Brzail? haha. We get a kick out of the Brazilians, though, because when your hair's dry and you're walking around outside, it's really not that cold, unless you're brazilian I guess. They bundle up in coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and boots, always asking if we're cold. Haha I love it. It's been really rainy and overcast the whole time we've been here and I finally bought a "guarda-chuva" (umbrella) for only R$5.00 at a little "papeleria" (a little supplies store by our apt). The exchange rate went down a little since we got here, which is unfortunate. Right now it's US$1.00 for R$1.60, so the umbrella was a little more than just $3.00. Nice.

For a while we had a money scare. None of the ATMs here or in the mall "shopping Butantã" would accept our cards, so we couldn't get any cash out. A lot of the little stores here only take cash, and we need cash for the bus. So I learned the phrase "posso pagar com cartão" (can I pay with my card) straight off. But don't worry, we went exploring and found an ATM a couple miles away and each took out some cash.

Heidi and I are finding all kinds of creative ways to avoid leaving Brasil looking like oompa-loompas. Avó Genó feeds us sooo much!!! She has even brought us food in our room, and we contemplated throwing it out the window but didn't want her to find it outside later. This morning she mad eus two cheese sandwhiches each and a smoothie (which was really good), so we wrapped up the sandwhiches and took them to school (Heidi threw hers away and I shared mine with Cade and Joseph, who can always eat more). She was so cute yesterday and wrapped up apples in tin foil for us to take to school for a little snack.

Heidi and I met up with Cade and Joseph last night and just went on a walk and explored a bit. It felt so good walking around outside after dark! We were so full from lunch and said we didn't want dinner, but as we were waiting for the elevator Genó ran out and gave us each an orange. Ha. She's so cute. We ended up giving the oranges and my tin foil apple to Joseph.

This morning two boys in my group were saying they were late to class because their family kept feeding them pancakes and they couldn't get away. Heidi lived with Genó last year and said she and her roommate resorted to flushing their food down the toilet when Genó would leave. We feel so bad but she really won't calm down with the food! She is so little but lightening fast. She will take any opportunity to shovel and fling more food onto your plate, and takes advantage of our full mouths so we can't protest. The other day she kept piling food onto my plate and I kept saying that it was enough. She said (jokingly) that I wasn't the boss of her and she'd give me as much as she wanted. So I grabbed her and (lovingly) shook her. We're going to start bringing ziploc bags to slip food into and hide in our pockets. But we really are so lucky and blessed to be living with her. Heidi said that last year two boys were living with a family that worked all the time and would forget to feed them, and they didn't have much money for extra food, so they were always hungry.

Classes have been fine. There are five of us in Ellen's 201 and 211 classes and we go upstairs of the institute building from 9-11 every day. Classes start at 8Ç30 but we're all together for half an hour doing a mini devotional adn listening to Dr. Fails. Then we have the rest of the day to do whatever we want. Heidi and I have had a hard time starting homework before 11 pm, so we'll have to step that up. We are always late to class too. Oops.

We hang out with the boys a lot, but some of them are ridiculous and just came to date Brazilians. They drive me nuts. All well. The other guys are cool. The girls, too.

We go on our first field trip on Saturday to Campos do Jordão. Apparently it's a Swiss like village. I'm excited to get out with the group and see a bit more of Brazil. Throughout the program we'll have gone to Campos do Jordão, Rio, Petrópolis, Foz do Iguaçu, Itaipu, Argentina, Curitiba (which has a new temple), Campinas, Brasilia, and Ubabtuba. I have no idea where or what Ubatuba is, but it's great fun to say!

Ok wow that was crazy long. My new mission is to get some pictures and put them on here. K love you have fun everywhere everyone!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The long awaited post! It's a doozy.

Ok wow this is going to be really long. I don't remember much about things so I'm just going to insert excerpts from my journal. Ok I might have to come back and finish tomorrow because I only have 28 minutes and 53 seconds left on this computer! Ah! Ha dont't worry-it'll get done. Wow it takes me so long to type because this is a brazilian keyboard and all the punctuation is in different places.

We just got back from shopping eldorado. We rode a bus to get there which was so crowded but I loved it. Ha. I probably won't love it for long though, let's be honest. It's dark now but our apt is right across the street from this internet cafe place, which is really conveinient. Our location is amazing. We're right by all these little shops, the best hospital in the country is right up our street, the temple is across the street with the church building and distribution center right next to it, and the institute where we go to class is about 15 minutes, walking, from here. We are so blessed.

Ok, family, that was a great post. Haha I loved it!! I'm glad Katelyn was able to be scribe. Katelyn, I have the perfect guy for you. Well, not really, but I'll find him. Brazilians are so fun and nice and friendly, the members especially. Jayden, I'll get you a girl too. Don't you worry. :)
I didn't get those pictures you were talking about....I have some pictures but I only have 22 minutes now and don't want to waste time figuring out the contraption. So...just be patient. Oh I was taking pictures out of the window in the bedroom Heidi and I share, and she walked in and asked what I was doing (she didn't see my camera). I told her I was contemplating suicide (we live 9 floors up and I was hanging out the window for good pics), and she believed me!! Oh goodness we got a laugh out of that. Haha. I wish everyone could have seen her poor face.

Ok, journal excerpt time:

June 19, the plane ride over. Hmm ok I'll just summarize this one for you guys. The plane ride was soooo long. Four hours to Atlanta, and then 10 hours to Sao Paulo. Everyone around me was speaking portuguese and I just kinda panicked a bit because I didn't understand. Ah!! But don't worry, I calmed down. So...we flew all night. The guy across the aisle from me was acting memberish, so I whipped out my scriptures as a kind of test thing. Haha I'm a dork...but anyways, he asked if it was a book of mormon, if I was a member, etc, and we ended up talking almost the whole way (we eventually slept). He was flying back to Sao Paulo, where he's from originally. He was so nice and helped out in the airport when we landed and took care of my luggage and such. Haha. It was so nice to have a friend in Brazil straight away. But anyways, he lives around here and we email so that's fun.

Uh oh I gotta go bye love you email me ok I'll finish tomorrow and try to get pictures!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


wow I have a million things to write, but not much time. I love brazil!! I can not believe I am in sao paulo! wow I have to hurry. Ok, I made a friend on the plane, which was great! He was really helpful. Flying over sao paulo was amazing. The city never ends! there are buildings as far as you can see. It was like flying over a rolling ocean of buildings. And the people are so friendly. I have never been kissed on the check so many times. The hair dresser...your sunday school teacher...that is just how it is. Steve, you would love it. I am using a brazilian keyboard and do not know how to do smileys or contractions. All well.

let me see...oh man we eat sooooooooo much! Our host mom is so sweet and always feeding us. She is the littlest person but can move so fast! she practically flings food onto our plates! We have seriously considered throwing food out our window or flushing it down the toilet...haha. But I love it. My roommate just got back from mocambique where my grandpa was her professor. she is great...we are having sooo much fun!! I miss you all and can not wait to hear about what is going on with everyone. i will write more when I have more time.

oh...we are going to rio next week! classes start tomorrow. love you!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Random Pictures

I'm looking through my Dad's computer right now, whiling away my hours before I go (my Dad's still at work and the kids are doing pre-bed reading/quiet time). Anyways, I found some really cute and fun pictures that I wanted. I guess I could email them to myself too...all well, this way I'm sharing. :)

oh and ps, I'm the oldest there with my brother Ian (who's 19 now) and the baby is my sister Katelyn (who'll be 17 in a month) more day!

My Dad's at work, and the kids and my step Mom all went fishing with the boy scouts. I've bought most everything I need, and am all packed up. Oops. I forgot about my clothes...I need to put them in the dryer. I'll do that in a minute. But other than that, I'm all ready to go. I've just been online for almost an hour now, dinking about.

On a side note, dinking is a great word. Other great words include flabbergasted and scarf. Some words just kind of suck you on in, and grab hold of you. I love that about flabbergasted. I think of all my past english teachers and just want to throw that word into their stuffy, wrinkly faces. So much for learning about prepositions, I have "flabbergasted"! Anyways...I'm a bit bored.

But, I did go running today. I have no idea how far, because, to be honest, I got a bit lost. :) oops. I really kinda liked it though, getting lost. I had nothing pressing to get back to, and I knew the general direction of the house, so I just kept running. It was really...liberating, I guess, to just keep running and not really know where you are. I did run by a road kill skunk and that smelled soooo bad. Oh, gross.

My Dad taught me how to drive stick last night. And when I say "taught" he had me drive and told me when to push in the clutch, and off we went. No church parking lot for me--I was driving the streets....and only stalled twice (maybe three times). I meant to learn to drive stick earlier, just didn't really get around to it. Of course, driving once doesn't mean I know. By the time I get back to Provo I probably won't really be any good in a stick car. All well, it was fun.

I talked to the girl I'm flying to Atlanta with tomorrow. We made plans to meet up and go through security together...moral support? Sure.

I keep thinking I'm forgetting something terribly important and vital to gaining admittance into Brazil. Passport? Nope, I have that. Visa? Nope, I have that too. I also have two photocopies of my passport and visa, my immunizations record, and a copy of my immunizations record; my debit card, driver's license, isic card (International student identification card...or something). Backpack...clothes...scriptures...journal..pens...hmmm. I guess I'll just find out tomorrow. :)

So, I need to be at the airport by 9. My flight leaves for Atlanta, Georgia, at 11:30 am. I arrive in Georgia a little bit after 7 pm. Thanks to the spherical and dimensional nature of our planet, a 3 and a half hour flight will take me from 11:30-7. Then from there I fly to Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. We get there at 6:55 am. Wow. I'm going to be super tired, I think. My roommate won't be arriving until that Saturday, so I'll be off to my host's house by myself. I think I'm most nervous for that one day. Just me and this 60 year old single member, and we don't speak each other's languages. Baptism by fire, eh? I'll just say everything I try to say with a grin and let her take it as she will. Hopefully we'll both be happy campers and be able to laugh about it instead of getting super frustrated.

My phone's getting suspended on the 20th, which is going to be so weird. No texting!! I know, you're all wondering how I'll survive sans that written communication, but I will. Just a couple of days I'll be in Brazil! Palm trees, beaches, Portuguese, homework, language barriers, winking men....I really am excited, honestly. Just nervous too. I wonder if I can sneak a monkey home?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Adventures in Oregon

So, Oregon's not terrible....The other night some of the kids here found a baby rabbit, so of course it was added to our menagerie (before the rabbit died we had a cat, a dog (if the chihuahua counts), a guinea pig, a bird, and a baby rabbit) . It was just a baby and was injured from the cat, so we tried to keep it alive. It made it through one night, much to everybody's surprise. But in our efforts to keep it alive, I got to bottle feed it. It was really cute.

Yesterday I rode Oregon's version of Salt Lake's Trax down to my best friend growing up's house. (That was an awkward contraction.) She has a baby now!! It was good visiting her little family. I was stuck at the station for a little while today. I got off at a different spot from where my Dad was planning on picking me up, and then my phone died, so I just waited for a looooong while. Before my phone died there was this guy walking around talking to people and I didn't feel like talking to him so I called some people, hoping that would deter him. It didn't. He tried to talk to me while I was on the phone with Heather. Haha oops. All well. But I loved going through Portland! The people there are so funny. They all smoke and do drugs and swear up a storm, but they also all ride their bikes everywhere and recycle. This state is the most liberal, environmentalist place I know. :) And of course the old buildings in Portland are beautiful.

Tomorrow's my last day in the States. :)
Oh ps, I also used up my chapstick today, which was sad, but not so sad because I have a new one. Thanks budala!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Happy Father's Day everyone! I think I'm going to take the link to this off my gmail because it's so boring and somewhat embarrassing for people to be reading it. Yuck. Who cares about this? BUT...I am soooo super bored here so this is something to do. Thanks to texting, I'm keeping my sanity. And thanks to the phone calls too. I love em! I wish I could make dinner tonight (Sunday's my day with my roommates to make dinner) and lay out at the park while we "study" but inevitably fall asleep. Robert, we still have your lemonade :)

Church was good today. A couple beehives spoke on how much they love their Dads, and some guy talked about being engaged and how he's excited to be a Dad.

Sunday school and relief society were fine. Amy, Morg, Erica and Heather, Karen and Sarah all know how much I love relief society, so it was really fun to go. I was visiting, so they had me stand up and state my name etc, yuck. But I said I was visiting from BYU (yay!) and that I'm the daughter of David Cummings. When I said that everyone was like "Oh!" "Yay!" "Oh we should have recognized you" and such. Haha. BUT we got chocolate in rs, so that was good.

About going to Brazil, I realized something the other day, and was talking to Morgan about it when she slept over last Tuesday. As hard a time as I'm having going to Brazil, I think I'd have such a harder time if I wasn't a member. I mean it! I know the culture and the people and some of the practices are different, but the gospel and the Spirit are the same everywhere and I'm so glad I'll have that foundation with going to a new place. I can't imagine going somewhere and not having that as a comfort zone. So I'm glad I went to relief society, because it's something I'm familiar with, and I"m glad they had me stand up and announce myself, because as much as I was dreading it, I expected it. It's nice to have familiar expectations.

Oh just a side note, my seven year old step sister asked me to do her hair for church today and make it look like mine. Isn't adoration fun? :) Just kidding, I love her. The responsibility is so big, but I don't think I'd trade being oldest for anything. Except maybe to see Michael Buble in concert. Or to get rid of this little dumb chihuahua.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

First step!

Well, I made it to Oregon, the first step on my adventure. It's not really exciting enough to warrant a post, but I wanted to have something on my page so....

The flight was fine, except there was this kid who screamed the whole time and the parents didn't even do I turned on Jack Johnson and read my little book. Occasionally the latino woman I was sitting by would stare at me and I'd smile and then go back to my book. It was a great hour and a half. :) OH but my step Dad, Tim, cut some yellow roses for me and I actually took them on the flight. It reminded me of Karen taking her bouquet to Hawaii after her wedding reception. Unfortunately, quite a few petals ended up on the floor of the airplane. Oops.

Well, Brazil on Thursday. I have no idea what I'm going to do with my time here in Oregon. To my surprise, my Dad and step Mom have this little rat dog named Rosita. What the...? I might kick it.