Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lesson # 23,466,723 in Brazil

Even in the car, you can get burnt.

Which now means EVERYONE that sees my right arm wants to know what happened. At least I proved I can turn a shade other than red or white, since I have a hideous tan line on one arm now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The One with the Car

So I told you all about the husband's dreaming of motorcycles and how I would not give in. Just to let you know I ALMOST DID. Common sense prevailed and we started looking at the difference of prices when financing a car. The difference was not big enough so we started looking at cars more seriously. Seriously, he had cars on the brain. For the past couple of weeks that is ALL he has talked about. Granted, he really does need one for work. It is difficult to get around to his different jobs, to be able to go measure, etc with only a bike. Too much distance, not enough time. Fair enough.

Sidnei has a family friend in Belo Horizonte who works at a car dealership. We proceeded looking at cars they had on their lots and after several, we found one that we liked, was affordable, and a good deal. We gave all the information to finance and found out it was a go. That was Monday at 4 pm. Monday at 5:40 pm we were on a bus to Belo Horizonte. No kidding.

Arriving in Belo Horizonte about 10:30 (Believe it or not, I REALLY enjoyed myself on the bus!) and the friend was there to pick us up in our new car. To tell you the truth, I was not crazy about the car when I saw it, aesthetically on the inside there were some issues, and there were more kilometers than I had originally thought (my issue, got my cars mixed up). But I was happy enough to have a car.

The plan originally was to get the car and go back to Ipatinga that night as Sidnei had to work in the morning. Does it surprise anyone that that is NOT what happened? The car had no gas. The gas stations were closed. So Sidnei made the executive decision we would stay with them and leave at 4:30 in the morning. Let me tell you. I was NOT happy. I had nothing with me. I couldn't brush my teeth effectively. I was in a skirt and heels (because I didn't have time to change before we left) and I was all around just not happy. To top it all off, when we got to the friend's house, to look over the paperwork, we realized the bank didn't finance as much as we thought which about doubled our down payment. By this time it is 1 in the morning. This for me is a downward spiral. I was adamantly against buying this car. I was looking into the face of needing to live with my in laws for the next year while we paid off the down payment and the car payment at the same time. I told Sidnei if it was really what he wanted to do and he thought it was a good idea then it was his decision. All the while what I really mean is, Don't do it!!!!!!!

So by 3 in the morning we lay down to sleep for an hour or so. We get up at 4:15. (By the way, we found someone willing to get us some gas in the car..I don't ask) We pack everyone in the car because the friend's wife and daughter are coming back to Ipatinga with us to visit their family. Friend's wife is 7 months pregnant and daughter is 5. All of us with only about an hour of sleep. So off we go. For about twenty minutes. When the clutch goes out. Seriously. (But even better I'm thanking the good Lord because this was not the car I wanted and I knew it wasn't a good idea to buy it) We are on a dark highway with no lights, a 7 month pregnant lady, and a 5 year old. OH and did I mention no phone? Our battery died. GREAT. I didn't think it was a great idea to go traipsing down the road with everyone, but friend's wife was too scared to stay. So we all trek back to the house and make it back about 6:15.

By eight we had the car towed and we were at the car dealership looking at other vehicles. And we found one! The down payment was seriously a quarter of what the other one was, the payment is only 10 reais more per month. The car is 5 years newer, and though it doesn't have electric windows or locks, it looks better, and has less miles. I was SO happy! By 10:30 we were on our way back home (finally!) and arrived in Ipatinga about 3!

So without further ado here is our 2004 Chevy Celta!

And of course this is the first thing we did when we got home. Wash the new baby.

And we have been successfully doing things for the car EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Realizations--The Life Lesson Kind

Moving to a different country provides a lot of different opportunities for a person to learn and grow. For me, one of the biggest things I learning is about myself. And it's not all roses and sunshine. But let's start with that part anyway.

I have realized my capacity to learn is endless. And I love that. Every day, I learn more words and learn to say different things in portuguese. I am understanding more and more every day as well. I am proud of myself for learning so quickly. Though I am eager to be able to communicate effectively (it's probably one of the biggest things I miss) I am surprised how patient I am. When I don't understand (usually in a big group of people, where conversation moves back and forth rapidly), I don't get upset. I sit, I listen, try to find words and a way to understand what is going on. That is until my brain gets tired, shuts off, and wanders else where. But I try.

Another big thing I am proud of myself for. I am trying all sorts of different things. I have this thing about looking stupid in front of others...yes, yes, I know we all do, but a lot of times it has prevented me from reaching out and trying new things. Here that is not the case. I speak, even though I know I sound like a toddler trying to put sentences together with my limited vocabulary, hoping someome will understand what I am saying. I am trying new foods. I am eating vegetables ( still with me? Take a deep breath, shocking I know) and liking them ('s still me. I promise to call and verify this over skype...aliens have not...nevermind).

While all of these things are great, like I said, not all roses and sunshine. What has really been on my mind lately, and the way I am trying to really grow, is I realized how selfish I am. In fact, it has been on my mind constantly the last week or so. Here, in this family, we share. Everything. Big things, little things, no matter. We share. And the stupid thing is, I am the kind of person that will help you in anyway possible. Truly. I love my friends, I love my family, and I would do anything for them. But please don't ask me to share my THINGS. No, I don't want you to use my computer. No, I don't want to share my candy with you. Our boxes arrived a couple of weeks ago. My MIL fell in LOVE with one of my blankets. I can't seem to part with it. Don't worry, I packed like four.

And here I am. Living with this family, that has opened their hearts, their homes. They would give me absolutely anything. In fact they have. My SIL especially. She has endlessly helped Sidnei over the years. She is the one that really tries to have a relationship with me. We go to the store on Saturday nights, to prepare for Sunday dinners, we always seem to detour and get ice cream. She always pays. The other day, she brought me home a pair of shoes, just because. She brings chocolate home, she gives some to everyone. She does all the laundry, every Saturday. In fact she spends her entire Saturday washing clothes and then Sunday ironing. Monday through Friday she works 8-7. She always puts her family first, and herself last. Always. She ordered two pizzas the other night for seven people. BIL and wife showed up, right when the pizza arrived. Perfect timing. She literally served everyone else and picked at what was leftover on the box. She gave everyone two pieces, I tried to tell her I only needed one (which was true, eating two whole pieces would be a miracle), but she wouldn't hear it. Not to say she is a saint, she's not. She's bossy and sometimes scary. She is the kind of person where you want to stay on her good side. But she is truly one of the most unselfish people I have ever met. And I truly admire that.

Just so you know, I am not terrible. Promise. I do share. The thing I hate, is the unwillingness I feel to do so. If someone asks to use my computer or camera, I want to say sure, and not think twice about it. Instead I am on the inside saying NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...! And you want to know where it comes from? It comes from having too much. Never having had to share a lot because I've always had my own room, my own toys, pretty much my own everything. (Thanks Mom and Dad, not sarcastically, literally. I'm sorry I was never more grateful)

So I am learning. I learning from people who have enough, but they have enough because they share. I am learning to be the kind of person that recognizes just how blessed I truly was and am. I am in no way suffering by being here. I am just learning the difference between necessity and luxury. I am learning with Sidnei, to start from the bottom and work our way up. I am learning to share the blessings I've been given with others. I want to learn that things, are just that. Things. In the scheme of life, they don't matter. Things do not bring me the happiness I crave. Today I was going to write a post and give you pictures of all the things I was excited about from my boxes. But I realized it didn't matter. It was fleeting happiness.

Because I am realizing that really I am happy when my family is happy and we do this:

(This is everyone minus my SIL and her husband, Sidnei and I..we are behind the camera)
Celebrating my BIL's birthday the other night. We were all sitting around, talking, laughing, having a good time. We didn't have much. We had some meat for churrasco, a couple of sodas, the fire...and eachother. (and rice, there's always rice)

"Happiness is like the old man told me
Look for it, but you’ll never find it all
Let it go, live your life and leave it
Then one day, wake up and she’ll be home"
-Happiness- The Fray