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!!