Saturday, December 29, 2007

More Pictures

I uploaded more pictures. Here are the links to different albums. If you haven't already, you can also check out pictures from my first week in the december post "Pictures" If for some reason you cannot access the pictures, let me know by leaving a comment and I'll figure it out, ok? :) enjoy.


Church Christmas dinner, Taubate, Bowling, Pizza
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=210&l=842b0&id=1588230003

BBQ at Molly's and Pizza in Taubate
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=213&l=2dca2&id=1588230003

My house and the trip to the temple (house and scenery shots)
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=214&l=bc3d6&id=1588230003

The wierd temple place
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=215&l=653bb&id=158823000

Ubathuba and my tattoo
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=216&l=4d45b&id=1588230003

My room and the two Rotary Christmas dinners
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=217&l=b396c&id=1588230003

Youth group dinner/gift exchange, random pics, and church
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=219&l=e49b4&id=1588230003

Christmas Pictures:
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=220&l=a1fed&id=1588230003

Feliz Natal

So Christmas was... different. Here's the run-down:
We spent most of Christmas Eve in the grocery store in Taubate because my host parents were really late picking us up (no suprise there. I wasn't too frustrated- I'm getting used to it.. ) Then when we got home, we weren't doing anything so I decided to watch The Grinch (with Jim Carrey). At like 8pm we went to this place where they cook your meat for you, and got a ham. Then we got home and (WOW) we had dinner at home for once! I turned on my christmas music (from my laptop) while we made a salad and set the table. Then I asked them if I could read the Christmas story. They let me. So I read from Luke and a bit from Matthew. When I was finished, they said, "that was nice" so i was like, "have you never heard that before?" (cause they said they were "catholic") and they said no! I was rather suprised, but it was cool that I got to read it to them.
Then we had dinner. It was weird. When Christian families back home get together- there's not just good food, but talking and laughter and stories and anecdotes and more laughter. There was none of that at our christmas dinner. :/ There wasn't much joy, you know?
At a bit before (and up until) midnight there were some fireworks going off in the city. My family was getting ready to go to some god-children's house in an hour (i was ready). So, because I was impossible to see them from anywhere else) I crawled out and up onto the roof (it's not too hard to get to) and watch the fireworks for a while. :) It was cool.
Then, at like 1AM we went to their god-kid's house, a little 2 year old boy that made me think of Titus :( I missed him so much! Then after only like an hour (we were really tired) we went home to bed.

On Christmas morning I woke up at like 10, ate some cereal, read my bible, sang some hymns ;) and then opened my christmas present from all of you who went to my "going away party." Thank you so much for all those sweet notes. It was very special. (for those of you who don't know, It was a scrapbook of pictures of and notes from friends from my going away party- extra special thanks to my parents and brothers who put it together and Mrs. Knight who took all the pictures. )
Then my family woke up at like 1PM and we opened presents. I got a pretty little jewelry box and a iTunes gift card from my parents, some chocolate, a pink stuffed animal (a dog) from leticia and a Bosa Nova/Samba cd from my host parents. :)

After presents, we drove to Campos do Jordao. We went to this man-made waterfall place up on the "mountain" (it really more like a hill) called Chuva de Prata, pronounced: "shuva je prata" It means "silver rain." Then we looked at all these little shop-huts where I really should've done my christmas shopping at, but too late. :) We then drove back down into town and ate these fried-bread-filled-with-meat-and-cheese things. they were really good, but I could only eat half of mine. :( they were WAY too filling. :) Then we drove home. Which was yucky. I hate the cars here. The backseats have NO leg room and any trip longer than 40 minutes makes me SO claustaphobic if I'm tired.. so that wasn't very fun... :/ but then we got home and I asked if we could watch White Christmas. I didn't really want to watch it by myself, so I was willing to wait. Four hours later, I stared White Christmas without them. :) Then I paused it after the "Snow" song on the train and called my family. They were having christmas dinner with some family friends. That was the only time I have been really upset since I've gotten here. I tried to wait until I hung up, so I wouldn't make then sad for me, but I think my mom knew I was about to cry... i think it's a mom thing, lol. After I hung up, I cried for a little bit and my host mom and leticia came downstairs and gave me big hugs and watched the rest of White Christmas with me (isn't that so sweet! i love them!) and my host mom doesn't even understand english- so I consider it a sacrifice that she was bored for me. lol :D

Anyway, It was... different. Not bad, and in fact it was cool that I didn't have all those christmas traditions that i get so excited about, so I think I was focused alot more on trying to celebrate and meditate upon Christ's birth. So that's really neat, but I'd think I'd like to celebrate His birth with my family next year. ;)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

O Come O Come Emmanuel

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel"- which means, "God with us."
-Matthew 1:13 (Isaiah 7:14)



"Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our life-work, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendor."
-Morning By Morning, Charles Spurgeon



"O Come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, who mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan's tyranny. From depths of Hell Thy people save and give them victory o'er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here. Disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Key of David, come and open wide our heavenly home. Make safe the way that leads on high and close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might, who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height, in ancient times did'st give the Law, in cloud, and majesty, and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!"

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas! :D

It is now 1:30 AM in Brasil. Allow me the pleasure of being the first person to wish you, "Merry Christmas!" ON Christmas. :D
May you be filled to the brim (nay, overflow!) with the immeasurable blessing of fine food and fellowship this day. To Him be all the honor and glory!

Friday, December 21, 2007

So there was this guy...

I went to another christmas dinner at the presbyterian church tonight, but this one was for the "youth" which was basically everyone under 30, lol. It was really fun. I've gotten pretty close to this woman named Eloa and her husband (a Decan), Samuel. Anyway, they gave me a ride home (as usual) but this guy that I briefly met at chruch last week (He didn't speak any english), Leonardo, needed a ride home, too, so he came with us. A few things need explaining here: the first is that I don't want you to get the wrong impression from this story- I am NOT planning on dating/courting/having a "special friend" (lol) while I'm here in Brasil, so this is just a cute story, ok? the second is that I have heard alot about Leonardo this last week: he doesn't speak english, he used to be in this intense gang or something, but like 5 years ago he started coming to the church and became a christian and Christ totally turned his life around. Now him and Samuel are pretty close, I think he studies under him or something. He's the most mature of the "youth" in the church (they're all pretty much newcomers, which is cool, but they're either new in thier faith or not christians at all). He's really fun and cool, but he like never talks to girls, they say that he's really shy with girls now that he's a christian, i dunno. He works during the day and lives at home and helps his parent(s??) financially. He's a really hard worker. He's 21. ok. so I had heard all that from samuel and eloa. It caught my attention- he sounded like my guy friends back home (except for the gangster part, lol) and seemed like a person that i would want to get to know, you know?? All this to say, as we they were driving us home i tried to made conversation in my broken portugese with him and he started saying a few things in english. we talked (with help from eloa who speaks perfect english and portugese) and laughed. it was fun. Well, he gets out of the car and samuel is like, shocked. he tells me that leo is usually so quiet around girls so that was weird that he was talking to me so easily. AND he doesn't speak any english, so he must have been studying english all week on his own, after he met me last sunday, so that he could talk to me. Isn't that hilarious?!?! I'm not really interested in him or anything, but I thought it was really sweet. :)

Pictures

For those of you who do not have facebook. I have included this link to my photo albums that (I hope) you may access to view pictures of me in Brasil.

The first few nights:
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=206&l=506d2&id=1588230003

In Campos de Jordeno:
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=207&l=6d729&id=1588230003

Taubate, the puppie, and Junio's concert:
http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=208&l=b0a0f&id=1588230003

I hope these work! I will add more as I upload more pictures. :)

Tools

I once heard that we as christians are like surgical tools. Allow me to take that concept and run for a little bit, if you will.

God is the surgeon and we are his tools to bring about his purpose. You may think that being a tool would be a rather dull existance, but there are may things that, as a tool, we need to accomplish if we are to be of use to the surgeon.

We need to be clean, first of all. A surgeon cannot effectively work with equipment that is dirty, stained, or otherwise unclean. Unfortunately we, as tools, cannot just "will" our way to cleanliness- we must allow the surgeon to wash us clean, because nothing that we can do will make us clean enough to be of use to Him.

Another thing we must be, as effective tools, is sharp. A blunt knife, even if it's clean, will cause much more damage than good if put to work on a patient. We must sharpen ourselves against a two edged sword. We must sharpen ourselves with the Word; reading it, "wrestling" with it, memorizing it, dwelling upon it, praying it, ect.

What other things must we be in order to be of service to the Surgeon? We must be avaliable. A clean, sharp tool hiding in the back corner of the drawer is of no use to the Surgeon if He cannot find it. On the other hand, an overly eager tool that jumps from the drawer and starts stabbing the patient without the guidance of the Surgeon's steady hands, is just as much of a catastrophe. We must be avaliable for the surgeon's use, but also keep with Him- knowing that He's holding us in his hand is a great comfort as we are used for great and sometimes difficult things to His purpose.

I was reading Esther this morning and took some time to reflect upon chapter 4. In it, Esther, the queen, is told by her uncle Mordecai to go before the King and plead for the lives of her people, the Jews, who are currently sentenced to death (again. it seems to be a trend, lol). She responds by informing him that if she goes before the king without being summoned, the law states that she must be put to death unless he holds out his septer to her in mercy (and i don't really think she put much stock in the man's mercy, who banished his old wife for not feeling up to going to a feast- i don't blame her). Mordecai answered her by saying," Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" So Esther was given the choice of hiding in the corner of a drawer (probably to later be disposed of for being a useless tool- a fruitless branch, so to speak) or at the surgeon's call be available, and let Him hold her as she walked into the king's inner court to fulfill His purpose. And she was. For she remembered that the Lord the God of Abraham was her true king- what could an earthly king do to her? Her reply was this, "And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!"

We must also understand that there are many other tools in the drawer. Most times we must work together with these other tools, efficiently and without strife, to reach the goal. But it is also like what Mordecai told Esther; that the Lord would procure deliverance for His people with or without her- there were may other tools for His choosing that would do the job. But perhaps, she was placed next to the operating table to be of good use "for such a time as this." If only she would be clean, sharp, and avaliable- not hiding in the queen's quarters- then, by the hand of God, she would be a tool of deliverance for the Jews. You may be a small tool, a seemingly worthless tool, but there are some jobs just perfect for you to be used for. So when the time comes, you must be ready.

We, as tools, must remember that we cannot see the whole operation from where we're at. We may find ourselves with a terribly difficult job, or maybe one that's just doesn't seem very important. We must all play the parts we were assigned, each guided by the Surgeon's hand, remembering that He sees the big picture, Remembering that there is as much of a holy calling in being a stay-at-home mom as being a missionary in China; That each are essential to the overall ("checkmark"/ postmillinial) operation.

We must also be steadfast. We cannot give out or break down halfway through an operation. What use to the surgeon is that? Sharpened and clean, we must be strong as well, with a look to the end.


It is very important to remember that it is not us, in the end, that accomplishes the purpose. All was crafted by the surgeon's skill. We are His tools, and therefore we can only boast in the Surgeon, not in ourselves.



Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ,


Be clean- repent daily; remember His glorious covenant with His people, and having such a promise, "let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God"; keep short accounts with others; "Be excellent at what is good, be innocent of evil;" "Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things." ; And finally, "May streams of living water pour fourth from within you"- for "out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks"

Be sharp- "For blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

Be avaliable- Do not hide away in the back corner of a drawer, in the queen's quarters (think not only of Esther's temptation, but of cowardly Hrothgar, in "Beowulf"), or in the complacency and lethargy of modern christians. Keep clean, sharp, and humble, working diligently with others to His glory. Be ready and eager to answer God's call.

Know that you are in His steady hands, that He will guide you when you cannot see.

Keep an eternal perspective- Remember that He sees the whole operation, that each small role is important, that "He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose," and that it's all about His glory.

Be steadfast- "Run in such a way as to recieve the prize," for "we have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first."

Be humble- " 'All these things my hand has made and so all these things came to be,' declares the LORD. 'But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.' " Therefore, let your "soul make it's boast in the Lord."



Well, that was a bit longer than I was expecting, but there you go: just taking an analogy and running with it; tossing out some ideas and applications like Pastor Helsel did with the football analogy on that first "First Friday." Just some stuff I've been thinking about... :) I hope you all are having a good week. May the peace of the Lord be with you, my dearest brothers and sisters in Him. Beijus (kisses)!
tchau tchau,

-Robin :)

Ubathuba

We went to the beach on wednesday. We went to Ubathuba. It's a really cool little beach town. Getting there made me think that we were stuck in Jurassic Park (on a steep, winding road through the jungle), until we arrived and it loooked like the bay from Pirates of the Caribean- complete with small wispy clouds floating randomly between the green mountains rising from the water on either side. It was a really cool beach... except is was raining. hard. It rains here like every other day- not cold rain, but heavy rain. And then the next day it will be unbearably hot. After we had wandered the beach "shacks" (vendors on the beach) full of touristy/beach stuff and jewelry, we just sat down in the sand and watched the surfers. It was weird. We were all wearing shorts and tee shirts, but we were completely drenched to the skin. The rain, and I really am not exaggerating, was the spray of a heavily dripping shower head- big thick drops, but alot and quickly. I don't think I've ever gotten that wet from rain. ever. One time we were driving to pick up thalita and go to a bar, and it was a bit gray outside, but hot, really hot, and all of a sudden it was pouring- those same huge heavy drops- on our windshield. I've heard of sudden thundre storms, but I thougt that there would at least be a gradual increase from a light drizzle- even if it was a really quick increase. It was so bizzare: all of a sudden it was raining harder than ever. Looking outside the window you saw pll that didn't even know eachother (as it seemed from their manner) practiaclly holding one another crammed underneath one of those half-egg shaped public telephones. Others were stuck under nearby vendor's tarps, other by the slight overhang of a buildings roof. All were stopped in the middle of thier activities and waiting out the rain. It was so weird. It was like the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" were there's hail in the middle of tokyo and people hid in the funniest place (though, not quite so desperatyly, since it was just buckets of rain, not hail). Yeah. I can't describe it well, but I must say that those were probably my strangest experiences so far- seeing the down pour from inside the car and being in one and just sitting there on the beach. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Patriot

I showed my family some of American history last night. We watched The Patiot, lol. :D And they actually liked it alot. :)

Ducky and Wink and The Other Robin

Ducky-
I got your letter today after I got back from the Centro (center of town) and it made me SO happy! I miss you so much! And i loved the pictures too! Is there any way I could get the pictures from my going away party from your mom? email perhaps? I hope you and Ty are well. Send my love on to the rest of the family. Beijus! (kisses!) Tchau! (bye! pronounced, "chow")
-Bowe

Wink-
Yeah, don't worry about the phone calls. My number here is (for anyone who wants to give me a ring..) 55 12 3645 3042, but I would be an international call so I would suggest calling me on Skype as the best solution. It's free to download and free to talk over the internet, plus on that I have voicemail so you could leave me a message if i wasn't online. :) I hope you have a fabulous time in Mexico! What city are you going to?? I miss you!! I will talk to you soon, k?? Tchau!
-Robby

The Other Robin-
Hey yeah I was just exausted for the first week, but I think I'm getting my energy back, so that's good. And I will try to keep everyone posted on ym doings here a bit more regularly. Oh, and apperently I'm supposed to give a presentation in portugese to the Rotary here and present them with like a small flag/banner thing of our club. Could you send me one of those?? Thanks so much! lots of love! Tchau!
-Robin The 2nd

Tidbits

Here are a few more tidbits about Brasil:
-Everyone here LOVES McDonald's and they were completely flabbergasted that I, as an "Americana" don't like it at all
-With the exception of McDonald's, the food here is exeptional. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. You just have to be careful about the meat and water if it's not a very nice place.
-Guarana and Caipaneras are like, the unofficial drink of Brasil. Guarana is this really good soda (and I don't even like soda) and a Caipanera is this lime and vodka drink that, to be honest, is way too strong for me. :)
-Almost every meal, even in fancy resturants, is served with either beans and rice or, get this, french fries. The funiest part, though, in my opinion, is that they-at home and abroad- eat the french fries with tooth picks one at a time and squeeze the ketsup onto each toothpick-impaled fry. :)
-No one. Even the Christians. Absolutely no one stops at stop signs. The Christians just make an effort to slow down and check for oncoming traffic- my host dad, for instance has been in two accidents this fall from pulling onto a street after he should have stopped and didn't. I sometimes fear for my life when he's driving. lol.
-Men and women, and women and women kiss eachother on the cheek (no guy-to-guy kisses). every time they greet eachother. It's awesome. It's sometimes a little weird (for me) when it's a guy my age, but it's totally normal- all the christians do it too, so i didn't feel like it was a bad thing. And it's always right cheeks touching- not lefty's or you might have an accident, lol. But yeah. I'm so used to it now, even the american girls do it to eachother and try to speak portugese to eachother. :)
-Here, if you're an american, you're like, somewhat famous. It was kinda cool at first, but now it's just a bit annoying. I understand though- when foriegn exchange student came to WHS, we all thought they were really cool... :)
Eveyone in my family (except for Pai, my host dad because he works) sleeps until at least 111 every morning, today it was 2pm. It varies, but it's funny because I used to do that, but now im less tired and getting more used to things and i wake up at like 8. So, I'm staring to get some routine into my days: Wake up, cold shower (their hot water's out.. but it sure does wake you up! ), breakfast, quiet time, reading, study portugese, and if my family is still not up, I will walk (only like 2 miles or so from my house) to the town center and have lunch and an Acai (a really good fruit smoothie thing they have here). Then I might just wander the shops or visit my friend, Eloa (one of the Decans from my church's wife), who is a dentist downtown. Then I return home and see what we're doing that afternoon and evening: rotary meeting? clubbing? bar? taubate? swimming? movie? church activity? (it IS summer break down here). This isn't everyday, but when we aren't doing anything in the morning like visiting another city or the beach or driving to Sao Paulo, my schedule looks somewhat like that...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Obrigado!

A huge "Thank you!!!!!" goes out first and foremost to my Heavenly Father who thought it for my greatest good and His highest glory to send me to Brasil- :) I'm not complaining!; to my family and friends, for putting up with me long after I was supposed to be in a foriegn country; to my church, for the most joyful food and fellwoship I think I shall experince before heaven; to Mel Miller, Carter Fjeld, and Jack Sabey for countless hours of their unofficial time getting me on an exchange- no words describe my joy here in Brasil; the DeRocks- especially Robin, my hands-on support from the Rotary side; The Wenatchee Rotary Club, The Pindamonhangaba Rotary club, Kiersten Ellez- my ever optimistic travel agent; and Wentachee Link Transit for prviding me with a fabulous short-term job "bunburying" about town. :D
Obrigado!

First Things First

First things first: God has a wonderful sense of humor.
Now, to begin, there are a few things you need to know about Brasil. The first, is that everyone here likes to take their time. The second, is that everyone here is consequently late. to everything. The third thing, which is also connected, is that time moves in manner reminicent of "The Twilight Zone". The fourth, is that they pronounce "r" as "h". The fifth is that they believe in eating out. for lunch and dinner. almost every day. The sixth, is that everyone (middle class and up) has one or more maids. I do not wish to complain, merely to show you that God has a wonderful sense of humor.
Anyone who knows me, could tell you that I am infamously late to everything. Coming to Brasil has forced me to rethink my "Robin Minute" policy- I have never been more frusterated in my life at the lack of punctuality these people demonstrate. If they say that they will pick you up in two hours, you had better count on 3 or 4 (I am NOT exaggerating). If they say that they will get you home by the afternoon- buckle up; you will want to bring a pillow, toothbrush, and some for of entertainment, eg. a book (again, not exaggerating. I take all three wherever they take me now and I've had to use them almost every time we "go out to lunch" in Taubate.) When they say they will pick you up at 6:30AM to go to the beach, you might as well have slept another hour and a half, because they won't get you until 8. And once they arrive, it's "Hurry up, Robin, everyone is waiting for you in the car.." (again. true story. and there are many others, but these will suffice to make my point.)
My point in telling you of my "misfourtunes" is not for you to feel sorry for me- because, lets face it, I'm not really suffering down here in this paradise. :) My point is that the Lord has a wonderful sense of humor. I though it quite fitting for Him to send me, of all people, to such a place- not that I might fit in, but that I might get, shall we say, a "taste of my own medicine." I can see Him laughing himself to tears listening to me bitch and moan to Him over "everyone always being so rudely late and no one respecting my time" -disregaurding completely the fact that I do that to everyone. all the time. for everything. ... It makes me laugh out loud just remembering the numerous occurances of such a scene since my arrival to Brasil. Picture me: Robin Bowe, originator of the infamous "Robin Minute" getting completely pissed at having been made to wait for the late arrival of someone- and upon their arrival, looking completely scandilized at having to wait for so long, deciding to hold an especailly long grudge for the especailly long wait.

All this to say, my dearest friends and family:
I am deeply sorry for making you wait; for being ridiculously self-centered and not giving a crap about your time. How terribly horrid I feel now, because each and every time I wronged you, you were patient, good-humored, understanding, and forgiving- even though I was too wrapped up in myself to even imagined I might have wronged you. Please forgive me for this. And please know that I will not be perfect upon my return to the states. That I will be late again. :( That I will again ask for your forgiveness. But know now that I understand a bit better that being late is not "ok." And, Lord willing, I will learn quickly to respect people's time.

As for the fourth, fifth, and sixth points, allow me to explain. These are simply things that annoy me that are surely meant for your's, God's, and my future self's amusement and for my current person's "building of character." The "r"s sounded as "h"s is a small annoyance, of which its purpose is to simply remind me that I may be the "cool new american girl" but my name is, and I quote, "Hobin." That one was sure to bring the ego down a few notches. ;)
The, fifth thing you should know about Brasil has me a bit worried: they always eat out. This presents three main problems. The first is that I am going to get fat. The second is that I'm going to starve to death. The third is that I am going to run out of money. It is a well known fact that eating out for every meal is ridiculously bad for you and usually leads to obescity (im not sure where i heard that, but it sounds about right.. ;) Unfortunately, it is an even lesser known fact that eating out requires leaving the house. (lol) And since I'm sometimes left alone in the house during a meal time, there is naught but spoiled meat and rotting fruit (see the next paragraph) for me to feast upon, so prayers for my general health would be greatly appreciated. :) The last of my worries is that I am rapidly running out of money. I might go so far as to say that it's all really an evil plot of my host family's to save money by not having to pay for extra groceries for me, but I suppose that they're not really saving any money with going out and not paying for me rather than just buying groceries for all of us. Plus, I think they're too nice to do something that mean. But a greedy person like me will question all possible motives when my money is at stake.. ;) (jk, lol) Anyway, please pray that I will diligently pravtice self-control and good stewardship.
The final thing you should know about Brasil is that everyone has maids (well, middle class and up). I lied. THIS is the final thing you should know about Brasil: everyone has maid that only work during the week. One the weekends, all hell breaks loose. There is no such thing as me accepting a delicious steak (otherwise unheard of) if the meat was bought before that monday. For if it had been bought the week before, then it had spent it's weekend unattended by the maid (for she was on her break) or my host mother (I'm not sure what her excuse was... "slothitis" or some such disease) upon the kitchen counter or the low table where their 5 insane dogs took licks at it, competing with the overwhelming number of bugs. This my friends is why it would be a horrible idea to get a maid (so if you were planning on it, do reconsider...). For thought the house would be spotless and your laundry done and your messes cleaned up and your breakfast made for you and your water cleaned- on the weekend you will have grown accostomed to such luxories and would simply rather wait in your own squallor for the maid to return that have to do anything for yourself. I know I'm complaining about my family, and all this sounds horrible, but it's really not. It's completely great during the week and a lady comes to the house and gives us manicures and pedicures every tuesday- so son't think that my life here is hard, It has just firmly planted in my mind the horrendeousness of the idea of having a maid. I'm thinking about starting a support group: E.S.A.M. "Exchange Students Against Maids" What do you think??? (jk, LOL) ;)
Ok, well, now that I've gone over the worst of it. (which, all things considered, isn't bad at all). I plan on writing to you of all of my wonderful adventures. I've posted some pictures on my facebook so you can check those out in the mean time. For now, just keep swimming just keep swimming, jk. just please be patient: I'm going to make you wait again. :/ But I WILL try to update soon. I love you all and miss you very much. Grace and peace be with you,
-Robin
PS. I just finished "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and it was SO good! Thanks goes out to my mom and the Helsels for the great recomendation.
PPS. don't forget to keep your eyes open for God's great sense of humor- you'll be suprised at what He comes up with! :D

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Safe & Sound(ly snoring, soon) ;)

Hey. It's 2 in the morning, so this is going to be quick, but I wanted to let you all know that I am safe and sound in Brazil. If you want to send me anything (letters, christmas presents, etc.) *wink wink, nudge nudge* ;) My address is below:


Avenida Antonio Cozzi, 468 B. Lessa
Pindamonhangaba - Sao Paulo
Cep: 12422-510
Brasil


I will update as soon as possible with all that I've been doing. :) I love you all and really appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Grace and peace be with you,
-Robin

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Farewell!

"My friends, I now must leave thee. I go my way though grieved be. A strange land soon I'll meet. I pray that come the 'morrow, our joy will grow from sorrow and we again shall meet."
-a German lullaby ( translated, obviously ;) )

I have my visa and I am leaving Wenatchee Wednesday at 4pm. Then I am leaving Seattle at 7:45AM on thrusday morning. For those of you in Brazil: I will arrive at 8:15AM Friday. Please pray for me, not only for safety, but for strength because I have a feeling that the next few days are going to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. I love you all so much and will miss you dearly. I would love to hear from you: Curlybiird15@hotmail.com or Skype me. I'll get you all my adress in Brazil as soon as I have it. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Going Away Party!

Guys. Party. My house. Be there. ;)
4-6pm
today (sunday, 12/2)
prayer and possibly singing @ 5pm
tell everybody. hope to see you there. :)
call me w/Q's 663-8373

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dundie Award Winner

I decided that The Office is my new favorite television show. FACT: If anyone wants to buy and send me Season 3 while I'm down in Brazil... I would love them forever.

The fabulously scrumptious (and rather expensive) cheese in the fridge

Rachel and I went to Pike Place market yesterday. We first enjoyed some tea and crumpets at The Crumpet Shop. Later, we went to Nordstrom Rack and after searching for womens clothes for ten minutes (an finding them in the basement), we tried on various "on sale" pieces of clothing that turned out to be ridiculously expensive even though they were "marked down." After that, we meandered down to the cheese shop to feast upon the famous Pike Place Market cheese samples. My family really likes their fabulously scrumptious "Field Cheese", so while we were there I bought two of the packages. Upon returning to the house I placed these fabulously scrumptious (and rather expensive) cheese packages in the fridge, vowing to grab them before my departure the next morning. Alas, it came upon this (almost) midnight clear... ok, blizzard... that I neglected to take with me the fabulously scrumptious (and rather expensive) cheese in the fridge. I thought to retrieve it upon my next trip to Seattle, but unfortunately, I will probably not grace the streets that lay under the shadow of the Space Needle for another six months... seeing as how I'm going to Brazil and all... :) Oh well. Attention: Rachel, Brie, and Ally: if you read this, you have my permission to eat the fabulously scrumptious (and rather expensive) cheese in the fridge. enjoy. :)

City Savvy

Now that I have driven all around seattle by myself these past few days, I feel that I should be given some sort of "City Savvy" award. I might leave out the part about me getting lost a total of seven times. Though rediscovering my route, my friends, is an accomplishment in itself and should also be rewarded accordingly.

snowed inn

I write to you now from the big chair in front of the fireplace in the lobby of "Quality Inn" in Ellensburg. "Why?" You ask, am I sitting in the big chair in front of the fireplace in the lobby of "Quality Inn" in Ellensburg. Well, several reasons. One, because the big chair seemed to be the most comfortable of the bunch. Two, it's a bit cold, so sitting next to the fireplace seemed to be the logical choice. Three, my room does not get wireless internet; it is in fact the only room in the hotel in which wireless internet has yet to be installed. Finally, I am at the "Quality Inn" in Ellensburg because as I was driving my grandmother back from Seattle, it started snowing to such an extent that we were forced to stop (after having passed 5 accidents on the side of the road... that in itself was fair incentive to stop) and take refuge in this fine establishment. Most recently, I spent 3 hours in the dinning room drawing pictures of Dwight (from the office) on my placemat (it was paper). It was quite thrilling. I think I'm going to go watch Seinfeld now. I hope you're all having a fabulous day. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Screwtape Letter

I guarantee that you will not understand this if you have not read any of C.S.Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters." I wrote this about 6 months ago and re-read it while looking for my NSA application essays on my computer. I thought you might like to read it.

My dear Wormwood,
You seemed to be very unnecessarily concerned (and long-winded) in your last letter concerning your patient's reading habits. Since we have discussed this before, you will recall my condemnation of reading for pleasure, but this is a different type of reading all together. Though you have done a disastrous job in keeping your patient from a tender heart and *blech* scriptural studies, there is an aspect of her new enthusiasm for the Enemies “Word” that we may exploit. You see, in her newly acquired fervor for studies of the particular doctrines of the Enemy, she has begun a failure to apply them. At this desperate point, you must actually encourage her to read more and more of eschatology, predestination, the eucharist, ectcetera. You may be suprised by my saying this, but you will see that with humans, pride takes over quickly and does our job for us. While she is reading all these deep and philosophical books concerning “great matters” two things will happen that you must both encourage and keep her from noticing. One, she will think herself above others for her studies deep into scripture and develop a facade of humility but all the while reek of pride. This of course is helpful to lead to many other kinds of sins- use your imagination. The second thing that will happen is that she will be so focused on these “high” doctrinal things that she will forget to apply them. They are great theological matters that she likes to study. Simply never let the seemingly obvious thought of “How might I apply this to my life” cross her mind and you will be home free. It will not be a very difficult job as humans are quick to apply standards to all but themselves, thus also promoting our first cause, of pride. Again, the only way this will work is if you keep her content and away from a realization of her sin and need for repentance. Good luck, and I expect prompt news of your success upon the arrival of your next letter.
To each his own,
-Screwtape

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Departure Date

They called and said that they expect my visa to come in the 3rd or 4th of December and that would put my departure at the 6th or 7th. Just thought I'd let you all know. :)

Thanksgiving Week Fly-By

So here is, my last week at a glance:
Friday: crashed a Cats (the musical Wenatchee high school was putting on. and a lot of my friends were in) after party. I was there playing Catch Phrase till 1 am.

Saturday: went to Leavenworth and read my Bible and Cyrano de Bergerac for like 5 hours. Then I went and saw Cats, which was incredible and yet bizarre at the same time (both my brothers were in it- they were Pirates so they didn't have to wear spandex. lol). After that I crashed yet another Cat's party at Dimitri's house and was there till 3am. we had a dance party and did a bunch of other cool stuff.

Sunday: went to Trinity. There was a Potluck that I was going to go to, but Bekah Helsel, one of my best friends and the pastor's daughter invited me to come up to Desert Canyon with her family for the evening. We went up there and went long boarding and then we were joined by the Johnsons, the Lensons, the DeJongs, and the McMullens. We ate cheese and nibbled on a salmon and drank wine. We discussed our lives and movies and the church and just had wonderful fellowship. It was a fabulous time.

Monday: I was going to babysit for the Madson's, but they were going to their friends' house for dinner who's parents are missionaries in Brazil and when they heard about me they insisted I be invited to dinner as well. So all of us went to their friends' house for dinner and talked a bit about Brazil but pretty much just had a good time. which was cool. :)

Tuesday: The African Children's choir came to Wenatchee and so I went early and sold Cd's with some other girls and my family hosted 3 boys and an "uncle" at our house (Bekah tagged along and stayed the night because she wanted to play with the kids). We had the kids who sang on American Idol with Josh Groban. Our family hosted: Ronald, Edward, and Joel. They were SO much fun! Me and Bekah sand Psalm 40 to them at Bedtime and read them Rumpelstiltskin. Joshua was their "uncle," or chaperon, and we stayed up till 1:30 am talking about the choir, doctrinal issues, traveling, specific scripture, and what not. It was wonderful!

Wednesday: I babysat for the Madsons and the Byingtons (at the Madson's house). Then, Bekah and I went to Starbucks for coffee (i took the bus). That night me and Bekah drove up to the Grette's house and there was a party up there. we played the guitar video game thing where you push the buttons on this fake guitar- it's really fun. Then we played "Around the World" with the Ping Pong table. After that, we watched the boys play "Ultimate Ping pong" where if they miss a point then they have to lift up their shirts and the opposite team gets to hit the ball as hard as they can at their chest. It was, in a word, HILARIOUS!! I haven't laughed that hard in a while. They had quite a few welts on their chests by the end of it. I didn't realize a ping pong ball could do so much damage, lol.

Thursday: was Thanksgiving and we went to The Sleeping Lady up in Leavenworth for dinner (at 2) so we didn't have to make or clean up food. So that was nice. :) Aunt Diane and Uncle Pete and Gramma (all on my mom's side) and Aunt Sara and uncle dick. as well as my cousin Laurie and her 2 kids: Jacob (13) and Claire (11), and Gramma Bowe (all on my dad's side) came for thanksgiving. After dinner we played Catch Phrase and talked for hours and then us kids watched The Office till 2 am.

Friday we slept in and then went to Leavenworth. We hit the Hat Shop, grabbed samples at the Cheese Monger's and the Fudge shop and stopped my the Toy Shop for a quick bit. My parents left there to go to Seattle (and the Huskies game. Go Dawgs!!). the rest of the family wen their separate ways, but Claire stayed with us until sunday. that night we went to the Knight's house for a "the college kids are back, so let's party" bonfire. We sang a TON of Psalms and Hymns. Then we played Catch Phrase yet again, until 11 when Ty said it was time to go.

Saturday: we had an Incredibly lazy day : we watched Die Hard (the first one) which we had never seen- it was good, but very violent and had a lot of cussing. we read for a bit, and then at 7 we went and saw Enchanted at the movie theater which was corny, but cute. :) After that we (that is, Claire and I) went to Anne Levitsky's house and hung out with some college kids who were back from school. we actually ended coming back to our house and having a bonfire, making smores, reading Patrick McManus, and watching The Office. Everyone left at some early hour of the morning. :)

Sunday (today): We woke up early and I drove my gramma and Claire to Seattle. This afternoon I got lost while driving and lost 100 dollars in cash while dropping my gramma off or somewhere- i don't know. I don't want to think about it- it makes me feel sick :/ I am now at my cousin's house on Queen Anne Hill. There is also this really cool guy from Germany staying with them as well. He has the coolest accent!! Tomorrow I will go stay with Rachel Helsel, Brielyn Flones, and Allison Dimmitt at their house. I'm really excited- it should be fun. :) Then on Wednesday I will pick my gramma up at Sea Tac and drive back to Wenatchee.

Life is good. Amen. :D

Saturday, November 10, 2007

NSA


So... I'm applying to New Saint Andrew's College in Moscow, ID for Fall '08. Pray for me please, that I will not be anxious. :) Here's the college website address, if you're curious: http://nsa.edu/

Friday, November 2, 2007

Host Guarantee Forms

I just found out that the Host Guarantee Forms came back from Brazil today. That means that we can now apply for a student visa for the year. They say that the visa process takes 2-3 weeks, but now we're set- all we do now is wait. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Host Sister

You've heard of American Idol, I presume. Well, in Brazil, they have a similar sort of nation-wide contest. My host sister, laticia (17 years old) won it last year. She is a fabulous singer- how cool is that??!! :D She has a website: www.twiggy.com.br ("twiggy" is her stage name.. yeah, i don't get it either.. ) but I have to warn you, she is kinda scary looking- not in real life. she's really cute in the pictures I've seen of her normaly, but she looks really freaky and older on her website. Needless to say, I quite doubt that she is a christian. Anyway, you can hear clips of her music and see videos of her in concert on her website- I think it's new because she doesn't have alot of stuff on it yet, but yeah, check it out. She is a really good singer- I'm totally jealous. :D I talked to her on the phone for a bit and she's really nice. I'm SO excited to go to Pinda!!! a couple weeks and I'll be there!! :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

try saying that five times fast...

"Pindamonhangaba" is the city I will be living in in Brazil. This is the most recent news and is therefore subject to change, but there you go. It is right between 2 of the most populated cities in the world: Sao Paulo (ranks number 4) and Rio de Janeiro (ranks number 24). To give you a better idea; L.A. is number 42 on the list (by Wikipedia). It is in the southern part of Brazil, about an hour from the coast. At this point, I don't know much else....

FYI

Anyone who has not read "Paradise Lost" by John Milton, needs to get on the ball and pick it up right now. Also, anyone who likes amazingly awesome music needs to listen to Shane & Shane's new song, "Burn Us Up."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Bunbury"ing

TOP SECRET

I have a job. And it's so perfect for my situation. I am truly blessed. One of the Rotarians who's working on my exchange, works with LINK. He offered me a job last sunday. So on Monday, I began my life as a Spy ;) . I'm working for LINK (bus) and I basically get paid to spy on the bus drivers. I make my own schedule off 1) the bus schedules and 2) whatever errands I need to run or places I need/want to go that day. I just write down if the drivers were nice, and if they drove well, and if they kept to schedule. (It's a bit more complicated than that, but I won't bore you with the details). I have to dress differently and try not to draw attention to myself and can't write notes down on the bus or anywhere near a bus-stop because they can't know the "secret shopper" (my job title) is there. It's pretty fun, because they're all on the lookout for the "secret shopper." :) So i call it "Bunbury"ing (like from The Importance of Being Earnest- which if you haven't seen, you need to) because I'm pretending to be someone I'm not. Anyway, it's all a big secret (which is why I'm publishing it on the internet..), so keep it hush-hush ;) . I figure no link bus drivers from Wenatchee are going to stumble across my blog and read this entry. So yeah, I'm still up for babysitting and any other work you all have for me. Just let me know, and I'll schedule around it. :) Thanks! Also, anyone want to ride the bus to Leavenworth with me on Saturday??? Just give me a call, I'd love some company and the drivers are less suspicious of me if i have a friend. ;)

-007, the "Bunburyist"

WARNING: THIS MESSAGE WILL SELF DESTRUCT IN 5 SECONDS

The Missing Visa

So I just got an email from my travel agent. You recall how we withdrew my application for a Czech Visa like 2 weeks ago?? Well, apparently the Czech consolate in California just doesn't like taking orders from us, because they didn't tell the Czech government I had withdrawn my application. So today I was just issued a one year student visa to the Czech Republic. I could therefore leave tommorrow for the Czech Republic. However, after consideration, my family has decided that I will continue to wait for my Brazilian Visa, which should come in by the end of November. Many people have worked hard and pulled strings to get me to Brazil when the Czech Consolate was so flakey. And after much prayer, my family and I feel that the Lord does not want me in the Czech Republic. Therefore, we continue to wait upon the Lord (and the Brazilian government beneath Him). So far, everything is running flawlessly. I'll keep you all updated. :D

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

BRAZIL

So it's official. I am not going to The Czech Republic.... *takes a moment of silence for all the good times she could have had there* .......... but the good news is .......... *drum roll, please* ........... ..................... BRAZIL HERE I COME!! :D .....................
So it's still in the works, but since it was obviously not working out with the Czech Republic *sad sigh* Rotary called off the visa process and is now going to send me to Brazil. This is possible becuse of one of the Rotarian's personal contacts down there. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to send me to another country (with Rotary) so late in the year, since we usually have to recieve one of their students here in order to send one there.. All that said, I'll be in Brazil (if all goes well) by the end of the month. It seems as though the Lord doesn't want me in the Czech Republic this year. I suppose we'll find out whether or not He wants me in Brazil fairly soon. Keep checking back for more updates. Thank you all for your prayers. They are much appreciated. Grace and peace be with you,
-Robin

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

good practice...

Lately, I've been filling my "Waiting Place" days with cooking, cleaning, and babysitting. I hear that this is "good practice" for being a mom. Alas, my own mother might let slip that my cleaning is mostly ("Though not completely," I would interrupt ;) limited to those messes I make while cooking. My brothers may add that my cooking, while good, takes twice as long as any normal person (as I've never attempted to make it a habit before...). My mother would jump back in at this point and say that, though the Sloppy-Joe's and Hooner Schnitzel were appetizing, i keep giving the deserts to everyone but my own family. My family loyalty is called in to question (for these are serious matters ;) ) when I allow them each such meager helpings as one slice of banana bread and two peach turnovers before hauling the treats out of sight to give to other people. "This, my dearest family," I would interject," is not because I don't love you and want you to enjoy my cooking, but as far as the desserts are concerned, allow me to explain: when I let you eat my desserts, you are happy, but then once your initial joy at the taste is gone, things change..... the remainer of the sweets are simply consumed like any other food in the house. It is now a leftover. There is no awe at it's goodness on your part and no joy given to me by giving you pleasure(if you have none while eating it). If, however, I let you have your fill and then take the leftovers abroad (in a manner of speaking), then each piece is no longer a leftover, but a fabulously new and exciting sweet to each person I meet, and with it comes all the joy of giving others joy, from giving them something good to eat. I also have full and complete understanding that it is a rather selfish way of going about things, but there you go. I made you dinner, I can give away the leftover desserts." This I would explain to them. As I'm sure they will want an explanation when they come home tomorrow and find two thirds of the peach turnovers I made tonight gone. I'll let you know how that goes.. :D As for the babysitting, I just play with the kids, it's not like it's hard, but I hear that being a nanny is good preperation for motherhood... not that I'm ready for that yet, lol. But i hear that it really can't hurt to get in some good practice. :D

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Latest News...

Well, I just heard from my travel agent that there are 10 kids from the US going (with RYE) to the Czech Republic. Five of them left over a month ago, while five of us, all from the west coast interestingly enough, are still waiting to get our visas back from the consulate. I am told that it has never taken this long before. Also, they found that the delay is not, as we origianaly thought, from within the czech consulate in L.A., but is occuring because of something (we know not what) in the country itself. I'll update as soon as I know more.

*PS. Be on standby for a very sudden "going away get-together" because i have heard that as soon as my visa comes back, i leave quite promptly... like within the next 72 hours. It's cool if you can't make it- no pressure. I'd just like to say goodbye to everyone before I leave. :D

Monday, September 10, 2007

"The Waiting Place"

Have you ever read "Oh The Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss?? There is this one part where "you" go to the "Waiting Place" where everyone is just waiting. Waiting for all types of different things, but they're all just waiting. I feel as though I've stumbled upon the "Waiting Place," and at times it is quite as unbearable as the one described in that famous poem. Thankfully, I realize that the "Waiting Place" is, as least for now, right where the Lord wants me. "To wait upon the Lord." I would ask all of you to pray for me that I would- instead of waiting anxiously for my visa to come back from the consolate, or my plane to take off, or whatever particular detail concerning my trip- that I would wait upon the Lord and His perfect timing. Thank you.
In Him,
-Robin