Sunday, 16 August 2015

THE BRAZIL ADVENTURE CONTINUES

The ADVENTURES CONTINUE!

They told us in the Mission Presidents Seminar that if we survive the first 6 weeks that we will survive.  Well we made it... and we're still enjoying every day :) We feel so lucky to be here!  Every morning I wake up and count my blessings...to be in the beautiful country of Brazil and to be working with the best missionaries in the world.
In this blog I wanted to write all the great and different things about BRAZIL!
This lake ( called Taquaral) and park area is in the middle of campinas.  We went there for our last Pday (a rest day).
The park has beautiful exotic flowers everywhere.
Landon and Easton ....you will like this part!  At the park we saw these Capybaras just roaming around.  They are the largest rodent in the world.  They love water and have slightly webbed feet.  They can stay submerged under water for 5 minute.  They also like to sleep underwater with their noses sticking above the water.  They are commonly found in Brazil and a few other places in SouthAmerica.  They let me go pretty close to them.  It's hard to tell how big they are from the pictures....they are about 2 feet high an 3-4 feet long.  They can get to be 77 lbs to 145 lbs when they are full grown.  
This is not a very exciting video....he wasn't performing for me... he just liked munching on his food.
video
I think Landon and Easton (and the older grandkids) will like sailing on the lake in theses little pirate ships :) when they come!


There are so many things that makes BRAZIL unique...these are some of the others I have seen recently:

We went to the bishop's father in laws house on Sunday and they gave us a large bowl of these 

JabuticabasThey grow on tree trunks (weird isn't it) and 

they have a white flower.  

When it is the season for these little fruits the whole trunk is

covered with these little black fruits.  

They are the best tasting fruit I have ever tasted....

I'm obsessed! It is now my favorite fruit...now I need

to learn how to say the word "jabuticabas" :)

They can produce many times a year if watered well. 

 I need to bring one of these home.






These "brilliantly smart" traffic lights are all over in Brazil.  They let you know how many seconds you have to wait for a red light and how many second you have to go on a green.  

On our road trip one Sunday to the our District in Pousso Alegre we saw these fields with 100's of ant hills... some were as tall as us...I didn't want to get too close but they looked really interesting.


There's one thing I learned
the hard way on the second day I was in Brazil.....at many restaurants they have a buffet and at the end they weigh your food.  So you pay by the weight.  I didn't know this ...to me it looked like an all you can eat "Golden Coral"(my kids know what I'm like at Golden Coral :)) ... so as I was going along I was tasting all the food (a lot of food I might add) to see if I wanted more on my plate.  The missionaries were kind of looking at me strange....but I didn't catch on until we went to pay.  It was pay by the weight and I ate enough before I got the the scale that they should have weighed me too.  I about died when I found this out and Bruce had to explain that we were from Canada and didn't know the routine. They were kind and didn't put me in jail :) 
 One of my most favorite foods is a Brazilian Feijoada!  
It's made with black beans, pork, sausage, oranges etc.  They put it on rice.  I learned how to make it and now I'm going to try a leaner version of it because it isn't very heart friendly.  Most tasty things aren't heart friendly though :)

Recipe.....mmmmm!
  • 2 cups dried black beans
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more for sprinkling the meat before browning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 boneless beef short ribs, trimmed (about 1-2 pounds)
  • 3 cups finely chopped yellow or white onion (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (9-ounce) smoked ham hock
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 8 orange wedges
  • Hot, cooked rice, for serving
DIRECTIONS
  1. Place beans in a small saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain. Alternately, place the beans in a bowl and cover by 2-inches with cold water. Soak overnight. Drain.
  2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Let the bacon cool and then place in a covered container or bag in the refrigerator to use before serving. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Add pork to bacon drippings in skillet; cook the pork 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown all over. Transfer the pork to a 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle ribs evenly with salt and pepper. Add ribs to skillet; cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in slow cooker. Add drained beans, 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion, chicken broth, garlic and ham hock to slow cooker, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until beans and meat are tender.
  3. Shred meat with 2 forks (you can do this by removing the pork and ribs from the slow cooker or just digging in and shredding amid the broth and beans). Remove and discard ham hock. Add the meat back into the slow cooker if you removed it for shredding. Stir in vinegar and crumbled bacon. Serve with hot, cooked rice and orange wedges.
In some of the public parks in Brazil they have exercise equipment...it's pretty amazing.  People use it all day long and it's free.

I love their COBBLESTONE streets....unless you are wearing high heeled shoes...




They have pretty money like us.  The bills are all a little different in size and color.  Right now you can get about 3 Reis for one U.S. dollar.
The fruit tastes like candy...it's so sweet!  It's nothing like fruit at home.
The last thing I wanted to mention that I love is... SERGEL'S ice cream.  It seriously is the best ice cream!  There is always a line up and some times they are lined up outside the door and down the street.  We are buying our favorite flavors in the 10 litre tubs now.



We had our first Pday (preparation day-and day to relax and unwind) in 4 weeks.  We did stretches by the pool after our exercises...  

...and had a much needed nap.

Last Saturday the assistants and two other Elders (that are heading home in 4 weeks), came for a run. Bruce loved running with them. We had pancakes and fruit for breakfast. Wow....missionaries can eat!
They soaked their feet in the pool afterwards.
It was our 32nd anniversary on Thursday.
We went to BELINIS (an Italian restaurant) for a romantic candlelight dinner. 
It was a romantic evening....the food was "Eiffel Tower"
 good!
That night we had chocolate fondue out on our balcony....mmmm.

This mission has been the most fun and exciting experience of my life.  My favorite thing about the mission is the missionaries.  We love working with them and we love helping them succeed.
I haven't stopped smiling....these missionaries make my day! Nelson was baptized last night.  Sis. Pitcher, Sis. Pontes, and Sis. Little were the angels that taught him.  We have a 175 missionaries now and in 3 weeks we will get 21 more.  Only nine are heading home. Our missionary numbers are growing.
Talks...Talks....and more Talks....  
   Last week we were asked to speak in sacrament meeting.  They wanted me to speak for 20 minutes so I used a translator.  Every Sunday in August we have a stake conference.    We have been asked to speak at all of them...sometimes twice.  They asked me to speak for 10 minutes so I decided to do it in Portuguese.    I have to admit I was a little nervous ...okay a lot nervous.  At this point in my mission I am just reading words and I can't translate in my head fast enough to English....so if I missed a line or word in my talk I would never know it.  So I was a little worried.  There were worries about pronunciation and my slow and halting reading.  It's kind of like a 1st grader reading a difficult chapter book in a church meeting....pointing to and sounding out each word as they go.  I was so so tempted to get a translator.   For a moment I felt like Peter when he saw the Savior walking on the water and he wanted to join him.  
Matthew 14:29-31 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

I forgot for a moment a very important thing....I forgot whose work this really is and that Heavenly Father would help me.  I just needed to have faith and put my trust in him.  

Well we just finished our first Stake Conference (a gathering of 8-10 congregations for a meeting). ...and I decided to finish up my blog.  My talk was okay!  It was no where near perfect but I felt my Heavenly Fathers guidance and help all the way.  I felt like He was reaching down to save me.  Bruce was really blessed too.    The spirit filled in the gaps. Surprisingly people understood me and were really appreciative that I was trying to speak their language.  I was so glad I didn't use a translator :)

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