Sunday, March 30, 2008

step aerobics

I went to a step aerobics class last wednesday and ended up building more character than muscular endurance. I´m pretty sure I did not cover step aerobic vocabulary in my portuguese studies and was therefore left to flailing about "the step" while the other women moved in cordination around me. In an attempt to offer patrons the chance to show off, the designers of the room had placed huge windows where people who were coming into the gym or leaving could pause and observe the disaster that was me... Like interprative dancing gone wrong (though perhaps such things are just wrong to begin with)I pranced about the step as an indian about a fire, covered in war paint (or was that the mascara that had turned out NOT to be sweat-proof?), and emitting grunts and other unintelligable noises. Oh yes, that was a memorable afternoon. I think I´ll just stick with the cycling classes, thank you very much! ;)

Muitobridgada

I think that there are few joys in life so overpowering as knowing you are loved. Such was my fortunate condition this very afternoon when I recieved a rather colorful package from Bekah and Cora. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for my friends, my family, and my church. Part of me, I am ashamed to admit, was fearful that once I left the country it would be "out of sight, out of mind," but I am so humbled by all the emails, the letters (notable is Jaq DeJong, who´s sent so many I´ve lost count!:D ) and the packages I´ve recieved. But even more than that, is my gratitude for the countless prayers uttered for my safety, my sanctification, and my joy. My Heavenly Father saw fit to overflow my cup with the best family and friends imaginable- and I am so grateful... I think I might need to invest in a bigger cup, actually, because these are not gentle trickles down the sides, but it´s more like His Trevi Fountain of blessings is pouring into my disney character dixie cup... and sometimes it´s just a little overwhelming, you know? :) Anyway, I just want you all to know that whether you´ve been sending me letters and packages or writing random emails or checking in on my blog occasionaly or (though hopefully AND :) ) keeping me in your prayers, I really really really appreciate it. :)

The Return of Saturday Night Fever

On saturday night, my family went to this dance/function at the local country club and it turns out the theme was "The Return of Saturday Night Fever" and let me just say that we rocked the night away (until 2:30 AM!). Though it made me miss the Knights dearly, lol, it was alot of fun. We heard everything from "Play That Funky Music White Boy" to "Mach-o Mach-o Man" lol to "Survivor" (which I totally acted out for all those who didn´t understand english, LOL) to "Y.M.C.A." good times... good times... :D

Monday, March 24, 2008

rain check

It rains in Brasil. ALOT. It pours. Like no wentachee thunderstorm. Like tropical huricane (to me, lol) kind of rain almost every day. Rain is nothing new. It was barely drizzling when we drove home from Penedo on Easter sunday, So i was suprised to find that, as we pulled up to the entrace to the the first Brasilian National Park, in Rio de Janiero State, it was closed on account of rain.... I just thought that was kinda funny. :)

São Paulo, part 2

Another thing that happened in São Paulo is that when we were in the mall (definetly bigger -and possibly nicer- than any mall I´ve been to before coming to Brasil); as we were walking down from the bookstore (I ended up buying Wuthering Heights, which turned out to be a pretty good book, but kinda bizzare at the same time, lol.) and we were on the stairs when the power went out... And it was immediately like the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere with no moon. So naturally, people started screaming unnatuarally. In retrospect, I´m quite glad that I studied postmillenialism for my senior thesis because if i hadn´t I might´ve thought it was the end of the world or the rapture and i was "left behind" or something... Anyway, It was pitch black dark. And I have to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that my first instinct was PANIC. My next was, "I want my Dad!!" And then soon after, I was finding it incredibly ironic that I had just read about the plauges in Egypt, in Exodus that morning... I guess God thought I needed a real-life demonstartion of what the ninth plauge would have been like for those not in Goshen. Not really sure. Anyway, I ended up reaching for minya Mãe ( my host mom) and minya irma (my host sister), Flahvia and we just sort of stood there on the stairs laughing nervously until some emergency lights made their dramaic, fashionably late apperance like 10 minutes later. So yeah, it was a memorable experience, to say the least. :)

PS: I later attributed the screming to a group of silly middle school girls who apparently thought that making such horrifying squeals was the wisest course of action at the time... idiots... (lol);)

São Paulo. part 1

Sunday through Thursday of last week was spent in an apartment in São Paulo.
Minha Mãe (my host mom) and minha irma (my host sister, Flahvia). Spent the week at Flahvia´s apartment in São Paulo. It wasn´t anything too exciting, but we had fun. :) There was one day in particular that stands out in memory... allow me to elaborate: My host sister goes to a high-end fashion school in a classy part of town. Tuesday she had a test so we all drove her there (me, mãe, and Beato, Flahvia´s boyfriend that came to São Paulo w/us) and just hung near the school for a two hours. Not only did they have a Starbucks (heaven on earth, I´m telling you- it just tastes like home! lol) but they had this area (several streets up and down) that was full of little botiques. I must say that I have never seen such extravagance in my life. There was all the american shops that are too nice for malls, like Coach, Armani, etc. and Brasilian and french and italian stores I´ve never heard of, but it was the people there that shocked me: They were these stunningly beautiful young men and women (most in their 20´s, it looked like) and they were all so "fashionably" dressed- they simply reeked wealth. And there I was with my half-finished frapaccino, wearing a Ross tee-shirt, JC Penny´s jeans, and muddy tennis shoes.... and I didn´t feel inferior. Which was kind of suprising at first- i though i would, but I didn´t. They looked like they were having alot of fun spending all that money and laughing with their super-attractive boyfriends/girlfriends, but It was so empty. I wondered if that was all they ever did. Just spend money on looking better and date the best looking person you can catch... I´d actually much rather be poor and satisfied in Christ and would much rather marry a really unattractive (by the world´s standards) man who is a MAN and a GODLY man and who is a leader and is tender and who will raise Godly children, than those really good-looking fools who flirt with the prettiest girl in the room and are selfish and rude and prideful. I would rather "have a dry crust with peace, than have a house full of feasting with stife" I would rather seek my treasure in heaven- in Christ!- than in clothes and summer flings and beautiful figures- for all those fade away and you´re left with nothing... I know I´ve said that stuff before, but I´ve never really been faced with it....I was afraid that I would secretly desire what those people in São Paulo had, but (by the grace of God) I see that it truly is, how did that one wise guy put it? "vanity and grasping for the wind." ;)

Feliz Páscoa!!

Happy Easter! May you be filled with the greatest joy as you recall our Beloved Savior´s resurection this day! For He is risen indeed! :D

Sunday, March 9, 2008

old fashioned goodness

The power went out last night for like 3 hours, right when it got dark outside. I was just sitting down to read and so we got out some candles and I studied by candle light which was totally cool. It felt loke some Jane Austen novel when I wrote a letter, lol. :)
My new family is awesome. My host sister, Flavia, is 22 and goes to fashion school in Sao Paulo, but comes home every weekend and she is SO cool. I´m very happy with my new family. Please pray for opprotunities for me to share the gospel with them... also, for my portuguese, because though I can understand alot, I´ve just been having trouble speaking it. I´ve updated a few pictures on facebook, so check those out and I´ll try to write more later.
PS. I´m making plans to go on an 11 day expedition in the Amazon, so I´ll keep you update as to how that workes out. :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

WOOHOO! + new address

I got accepted to New Saint Andrew´s College in Moscow, ID. WOOHOO! :D

In other news, I´ve switched host families (as per rotary tradition) and my new family is SO cool- but more on that later, I just wanted to give you a heads-up in case you were planning on sending a box full of sundry wonderful things to my old address... now you´ll have to change it to this new one ;)

Robin L. Bowe
497 Rodrigo Romeiro, Crispim
Pindamonhangaba, São Paulo
CEP:12402-060
Brasil

and the phone number is:
55-015-12-3642-7462

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

the weather

I got a pretty bad sunburn the other day when i walked to a market down the way- I was outside for only like a half hour and I have some seriously distinctive burn-lines on my shoulders- the weather's been pretty crazy lately. Last week it was rain storms on and off, and when we went to Campos on saturday it was like a Seattle springtime- wet and chilly. But Monday was when I got burned and it's been stifilingly hot ever since. You actually cannot go outside between 11 and 3 pm.
I think you might spontaneously combust... :D

An Angel, Frog Legs, and Mocha Frappicinos

Mr. and Mrs. Nelson, Molly's parents, are visiting her in Brasil these next three weeks. If you don't know who Molly is: she's from Chelan, WA and is an exchange student down here with rotary- she lives down the street from me. Anyway, They arrived on friday and so saturday afternoon/evening, we took them up to Campos do Jordao (which is like my favorite place in Brasil)- the city in the mountains that's alot like Leavenworth, but bigger- and we took a tour of Sao Paulo (state's) govenor's house, which was really really beautiful, and then we had dinner and some hot cocoa and chocolate at a shop (the chocolate in Campos is SO good, it's famous throughout brasil). After that we just sort of walked around the town and looked at the lights (they have white lights strung up everywhere, it was SO beautiful) and the was this guy pretending to be a statue of an angel and when you gave him like 1 R then he would blow you a kiss and give you a little paper with a "fortune" on it. He was really good (i'll hopefully get the pictures of all this up on facebook soon, so be on the lookout for a picture post!). We had alot of fun, it's incredibly beautiful there... it made me a bit sad though, too, because it makes me think of walking around leavenworth at dusk near christmas with all the lights... but yeah. it was a good time. :)
Sunday, we drove to Sao Paulo early and went to this amazing BBQ where I ate wild boar (which was really good), a frog leg (which honestly tasted exactly like fried chicken, some sort of blood sausage (which wasn't so bad, but for the fact I was eating blood), and a chicken heart (which was incredibly digusting) as well as other normal food that was really good... Then we went to two different malls where alll the women went and spent alot of money and me and the guys sat on various benches and talked about traveling and music and saved money, lol. It was not all boring though, because as we were wandering around the mall I saw what could only be called "a glorious light" but was actually a lit-up sign for starbucks. This of course promted an immediate ditching of those still shopping (they were still in the same store when we returned, so no harm doen, eh? ;) and the beginging of an expedition to discover the where abouts of the long-missed Starbucks. After a long and fruitless search (the mall was HUGE) Erico (Molly's host brother) and Mr. Nelson finally gave into asking a vendor where we might find the starbucks (what is it with men and directions?!? lol) and our search was complete at last. Apparently Starbucks is as popular here as it is in the US because the line was massive. I was not complaining though- for here was a beautiful piece of home. It's odd, that when I go into american stores here in Brasil it completely throws me off to hear them speaking potruguese behind the counter- it's like I expected them to have Americans behaind the counter of an american store... I know that's ridiculous, but it throws me off everytime! So maybe it was that similar feeling of inbalance that cause confusion, I don't really know, but when I got to the waiting area at the end of the counter: the woman with the screaming child in her arms got her steamed something; a bit later the man in front of me who spoke english (I discovered this because when I said, "Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry! I'm such a klutz!" after dropping a plastic cup on the floor that I had been looking at while waiting in line, he turned around and said, "It is good. You worry not, Nothing breaks." (which is true, nothing broke!)- we went on to talk about our lives in engl-uese) Anyway, he got HIS drink, and then the guy behind me with the weird hair got HIS drink and large cookie, then the two teenage girls behind him got THEIR drinks... and I was still standing there. Turns out that they wrote down my name as, "Laura" which... i guess could sound like Robin... lol, and had called out "Laura" to which, that not being my name, I had not responded. I wasn't too miffed because they were really nice about the whole thing and I got my coffee eventualy- it was just one of those things that's so easy to sort out in the US, but when you're speaking two different languages- it takes alot longer and is almost guaranteed to produce laughter. :) Plus Erico and Mr. Nelson spent the rest of the evening calling me "Laura," to the great confusion of the rest of our group- which was hilarious.

All in all, it was a pretty memorable weekend. :D

Rapunzel, Or Window Troubles

They've been doing stuff to the living room floor- making it shiny and such- I've no idea what it's called...but we weren't supposed to walk on it for 24 hours. This presented an insteresting problem when I came home from school last friday to discover that the workers HAD decided (contrary to their earlier decision) to do the part of the floor that led to my room and bathroom at the corner of the house. So that night and the following day I was forced to sqeeze into my room through my widow. Which wouldn't have been so bad if not for two things: one, the latch got stuck in my hair and i had to call out to worker guys to come help me get it out which was quite embarasing; and two, that next morning found us in a tropical rain storm (not uncommon here, but HEAVY HEAVY rain that you don't see in washington). So when I ran around the house to get to breakfast, I had to take another shower after I returned because i was so soaked. It wasn't horrid or anything, just a rather odd experience.... I always felt like some sort of criminal perched on the outside ledge, attempting to wrestle with the window's rusty old hinges in the pouring rain... It was pretty hilarious though. :)