Friday, February 29, 2008

We are finally here!!!

This week has been a blur to say the least, but we are finally here. We arrived early, early Tuesday morning. The clock here said that it was 7:30, but our bodies said it was 4:30. Pierce slept almost the entire 9 hour plane trip and Peyton slept almost none. We were some tired travelers by the time we got here. It is a 2 hour trip from Sao Paulo to Campinas and the babies did sleep almost that whole time as well as the rest of us.

When we got to our house we didn't know what to expect, but we have grown to like the neat little qualities about it that are very different from anything that we have ever known before. Everyone in Brazil lives behind a wall and a gate. The first day this was overwhelming for us. We felt like caged animals and weren't sure if we were supposed to be afraid of what was on the other side of the wall. We were exhausted, the kids were all exhausted, we had no one to communicate with except each other and we were too tired to do that and then to be closed off from the Brazilians around us was just too much. So, our house has an 8 foot stucco wall all the way around our property with 2 feet of electric fence on top of that. We are extremely close to the neighbors on both sides of us, so we can hear them, but can't see over the wall. The roof is all terra cotta tile. We are right on the street. There is a side walk, our gate, about 10 feet of tile up to the house and then the house. (I will try to post pictures later) Our living room is in the front of the house and that is were we spend most of our time. As you go back through the house, we have a big dining room that has a table that seats 8 people. To the right of the dining room is the kitchen, it is fairly small but not too small. Our stove is a gas stove and it is tiny. I haven't gotten used to it yet, so Paul will probably be cooking for awhile. Nothing has changed in our house! We have all the normal stuff except for a dishwasher and disposal. Our fridge is like one at home. All of the cabinets are so high that I can barely reach the plates and glasses. So, Paul and Kati have had a good time making fun of how short I am. The entire house is marble tile, beautiful marble tile. The kitchen and bathrooms have real granite counter tops and they are very pretty. As you go on back to the back of the house, we have a big guest bath with a shower. The tile in the bathrooms goes all the way up the wall until it meets the ceiling. Alot of tile and we like it. Our hot water heaters are on the wall in the bathrooms. It heats the water as we use it, it doesn't hold water, so that is different, but kind of neat. Ok, as you go down the hallway, Kati and Preston are sharing a room to the right and the babies to the left, just normal bedrooms. The closets are all built in with shelves and drawers, so there isn't a need for dresser because everything can be contained in the closet. A pretty neat feature, but we are having a hard time getting unpacked. We have been juggling babies and that has been our main focus. So, we are living our of suitcases and we will unpack when we can. Anyway, at the end of the hallway is the master bedroom and bathroom. The bedroom is huge. We have a desk in there and we will set up Paul's office as soon as we can get unpacked and get the suitcases off the desk. We have two sets of built in closets. We have had the doors open on all of them since we have been here to let them air out. They smell a little musty. Kati wants some Febreeze and I brought a small bottle, but she said she is going to find someone in the states to send her some big bottles. :) We have no air or heat and right now is summer time here so it is pretty warm, but nothing like Memphis. Since the house is built out of concrete blocks it actually stays pretty cool. We keep windows open all day and all night and we have fans running. It has been in the 80's during the day but we have gotten cold a time or two in the middle of the night and needed a blanket. I think it is dipping down into the upper 50's or lower 60's in the evenings. We have screens on all the windows to help keep bugs out, but the house is not air tight and they don't like them that way. We have been closing the front window in the evenings, but everything else is staying open. We have shutters on the outside that we can close in the evening for a little privacy and it does block some of the sound, but not all of it. The noise has not bothered any of us not even the babies. Our neighbors on the side of the house were the babies sleep are college guys, two of them and they play music all the time, but it isn't too loud and we kind of like it. I can't wait to be able to talk to them more than just hello and how are you. Everytime I say hello to them, they just smile and say hello back and really seem like neat boys.

We do have a car that fits all 6 of us and Paul has actually been driving some. We have had bilingual helpers so far that have taken us to the grocery store, pharmacy, bakery, pet store, and unfortunately even the emergency room. Last night we all got out and drove around for the first time with no helper. We didn't go anywhere in particular, we just drove. We are trying to take the baby steps. So far, so good!

Today, we went to the school were Kati and Preston will be and they will be one block from where we will be in language school. We met their classmates and they were treated like movie stars. Everyone wanted them to talk. They are interested in learning English, but we had to tell them that they are going to be there to learn Portugese. They all agreed to help and were very excited to have Americans coming to school there. They will be starting next Friday. They also pair the students up for learning. They don't work alone. They try to pair a weak student up with a strong student and that is what they will do for Kati and Preston. They will be paired with someone that is strong in the subject that they will be learning so they can help out and help them keep up with what is going on. They are both very excited and after getting the reception that they did they can't wait to get started. The principal of the school even speaks some English so if worse comes to worse they will be able to communicate with someone, but I don't think there is anyone else that speaks English.

We have decided to put the babies in a day care. We were going to have a house keeper that would keep them, but we are afraid that one person couldn't handle two babies. We will still have a house keeper eventually, but we have to unpack before anyone could come close to keeping this house!

One more thing about the house that I forgot was that off the kitchen is our back door and when you go to the backyard, which is no yard at all, it is all tile, we have a maid's quarters. By law here, every house has to have a maid's quarters. So, we have a bedroom and full bath in our backyard. That is also where the laundry room is. We only have a washer, no dryer. Today was the first day I did laundry and we are getting ready to go out and hang clothes on the line. We will get pictures so you can see how we will be doing laundry. Once we get the house keeper, she will do it for us, but I'm not sure how I feel about my "skivies" hanging on a line for all to see. One of those things I'm probably going to have to get used to.

Ok, the babies are sleeping and the kids are itching to get outside, so I will go for now, but promise to keep you posted.

Thank you so much for praying for us through this time of transition. Especially for little Pierce. The night Paul sent the email out and everyone began to pray, he never ran anymore fever. We have not stopped thanking God for listening to the prayers of his people. We have felt so lifted up by all of your prayers that you will never know the impact that you are making in Brazil. Thank you to you and to our great God!

In His Hands,
Keri (& family)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Short timers

Well, we are short timers now. We only have 11 days left in the States. It is so bitter sweet. We can't wait to get to Brazil, but we are going to miss our friends and family. Today we were able to chat for a long time with Jeff and Cam Dunson who are currently in Porto Alegre (PoA). They were able to fill us in on so many different things about life in PoA and it only got us more anxious. We have 6 months before we will reach our ultimate destination of PoA, and that seems like forever away. They are going to take some pictures of our house and email them to us so as soon as we get those, I will try to post them so you can see where we will live.

We have the packing process well under way. We will be taking 10 suitcases, 2 Rubbermaid tubs, 6 carry-on bags, 2 car seats, and 1 double stroller and most of that is already packed. We are going to finalize everything next week and by next weekend be able to kick back and relax. We have alot going on over the next 11 days since next week we have the Festival of Continents at church, but it is going to be a great time. I believe that we will feel like we are leaving on a big wave of excitement and maybe in the middle of it we can recruit members of our church family to commit to a mission trip to PoA.