We are here. We made it. We set up two houses in one week and we are exhausted. So, we are now enjoying the more relaxed tempo of life...settling into this new place and finding out a routine for ourselves.
I am loving Portuguese classes. I have classes everyday from 10am-12:15pm. It's just perfect. I have one teacher for one hour, have a 15 minute break, then another teacher for the last hour. I've learned a lot so far. These people really know what they are doing. This is what they do constantly...this is their lives, teaching foreigners Portuguese (or English, or French...they offer all three at the school). So, they are very strategic and orderly in their teaching and keep a fast, but thorough pace. Can't say enough...love it.
During the afternoon I study and do homework and am finding other activities around the community to practice hearing and speaking in Portuguese.
Campinas is a great city. It is pretty huge. Pretty crowded. Pretty loud. But, it's a great step-down for anyone coming directly from the United States to Brazil. I have already grown accustomed to living without certain things since moving here in June of 2007. But, it sure is nice to be here and be living with for a while longer after returning from the states. For instance, about 3 blocks from our house is a Starbucks(!!). There is an Applebee's in town, along with an Outback, TGIFriday's, Burger King (we don't have any of these in Anapolis). Also, there are a few Mexican restaurants right in our neighborhood...HELLO! :) Someone said that Mexican food seems to be the new trend...that new places are popping up all the time. Hmmm...maybe this trend will catch on in all of Brazil. And we haven't even researched...those things just popped out at us in signs and billboards. We haven't even been around the city at all...who knows what we'll find. We haven't been to any of these places yet (although I did surprise Joel with a Caramel Frap yesterday from Starbuck's)...and we may not visit some of them. Budget just doesn't allow. But, it's just so nice to simply have the options around you. All part of the 'comfort' factor and being near what's familiar I guess.
It's definitely been interesting coming back. It's sad, exciting, depressing, fun...each emotion has its moment. I think about the coming year and what is penciled in for possibilities for us...exciting. I look at my kids when they say something really funny and realize that none of their family will be able to see that in person...depressing. We go for a walk to a nearby padaria and enjoy pao de queijo together...fun. I dress my kids up in cute outfits and think, I wish our friends and family in the states could see them...sad. Just a few glimpses of what a day can hold in the gamut of emotions for people who live like we do. It's very...tiring, emotionally. But yet exhilarating...depending on the moment.
I have a cyperfriend (we have mutual friends in real life) named Michelle. Her husband's brothers were both involved in a liver transplant surgery. The older brother had been sick for years with liver problems...the doctors finally saying that a transplant was his only hope. His younger brother gave him 2/3 of his liver. Surgery went great, they were both recuperating well, but then on the 3rd day the younger brother stopped breathing. He was resuscitated, but a test revealed no brain activity. He went to be with Jesus on Monday. He left behind a wife and 3 little boys, ages 6 and under. Can't even imagine. Be praying for the Arnold family.
So very heartbreaking. Life is filled with those sorts of things though...it just is. They come in many different forms and in varying degrees...sometimes in the form of losing someone through death, sometimes in the form of living without the loved ones who are still living. But, what do you do? You just walk. You just take the next step and keep telling yourself what you know is true...that God is trustworthy.
And sometimes that is all we know. It must be enough.