Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Feliz dia de ficar*!

Last night was a fun night to celebrate my not leaving Brazil for a while longer, because yesterday is when I was originally scheduled to fly out. So I had the wonderful privledge to have dinner with some of my favorite people here and in the world.

These guys are my family here and no matter where I go or what I do in life, I will always carry them in my hearts.

Marúsia, Ann, Jandira

Aníbal, Ivan, Leandro, Marúsia, Ann, Jandira-- I love these guys so much!

*This means happy staying day, more or less, although I´m probably missing a preposition or something. :) It´s funny because "ficar" in Brazil also has the same meaning as NCL for your OCers, or when you just randomly make out with someone you have no romantic relationship with. Yay for learning Portuguese!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Calma, calma...

Hello my friends from morning in Brazil.

I am asking for prayers, for myself and for my friends here. For myself because I am getting culture shocked, culture stressed, or whatever you want to call it. I really think that culture shock is a process that is worked through and I´m just in a icky phase of it now, but whatever. The problem is that I am very easily irritated these days. I´ve found myself being over sensitive and easily annoyed at my friends here, which has in turn prompted me to last out and snap at people. So I ask for prayers that God will chill me out. I also have some very stressful situations that are trying to get resolved, so without going into too much detail pray for those.

Secondly I ask for prayers for my friends here to have patience with me and try to understand where I´m coming from and what kind of stress I´m under, and to have an extra measure of mercy on me. They are wonderful, and I pray I don´t wear their patience thin.

Thank you my people. :)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Strange things

So, living in a different culture, experiencing new things, you notice some strange stuff. Here´s a snippet of the strangeness of my life lately.

  • Men´s underwear here has no flap in the front. I´m not sure what to make of this, but I´m too embarrassed to ask anyone and honestly don´t want to admit that I´ve noticed it. And for the record, I noticed it on manequins in the mall. :) Honestly, I could probably do a whole blog series on the weirdness of Brazilian underwear.
  • The staff at McDonalds knows me. And they all know exactly what I order. Oh my goodness, this is so embarrassing. Que vergonha! My friends think this is really funny and an indication that I eat there all the time. In reality, I don´t eat there all the time, maybe once a week. And some people think that´s awful, and for a long time had me believing it was awful, too. But you know what! I decided last week that I can like and eat at McDonalds without shame! I am proud to be a McDonalds fan! ;) I actually have one friend here who also loves McDonalds. I call him my McMigo (get it, Mc + amigo (friend)... I think it´s terribly clever! Maybe even more clever than "obrigadeiro"...)

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McMigos-- because every blog deserves a picture

  • I would also like to say in relation to the above weird thing that a LOT of people know me. Itu isn´t a small town (maybe for Brazil, but it has 150,000 people), but they don´t see a lot of foreigners (except for the mountains of gringos that flood in during campaign season), so a lot of people like to talk to me at bus stops or in the grocery store or wherever. So in reality, the staffs of pretty much every store at the mall know me. Not just McDonalds. :) Superstar!!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dirty Words

In good essay writing you generally start with a broad statement then work your way own to a more concise point, so here goes.

Learning a second language is hard.


Okay now for my real point. Before I came to Brazil, I really worked hard studying books and such to learn Portuguese. Hence, I was a good writer and reader but listening and speaking were hard. Since I´ve been here my primary method of learning has been through what I hear around me. This is good because I can hear how people actually use the language and correct pronunciation and all, but it has it´s downfalls, too.

First of all there is the human error factor. As you know in English as well, some people use language correctly and some people do not. The problem is here I don´t know exactly which are which, so I have to be careful who I model myself after.

Next is the slang factor, which is somewhat related to the above issue. Most slang is fine, I think, but sometimes it´s just wrong and I don´t want to learn ghetto Portuguese.

Closely linked to the slang factor is the dirty word factor. Let me give you an example. I have a dear friend here who I spend a good deal of time with, yet this person has a... ahem... colorful vocabulary in Portugese. So, although I adore this person, I have to be careful and not repeat what they say. Which is really difficult, because I´m realizing how infantile I´m becoming in my language learning here (which is natural). I am sort of like a parrot, and I have started talking like my friends and saying what they say. But the problem comes when they´re saying things that I don´t need to repeat, and I don´t realize it.

The complicating factor is that "dirty words" are so subjective. You all know, of course, that we have varying degrees of dirty words in English. There are the boogers, butts, freakin´s, craps, and the list goes on. So one day a couple of weeks ago I sat down with a good friend of mine here who I trust in judgment and Christian wisdom (and she´s my age, so my generation speaking), and I kind of went through the list of questionable words I know in Portuguese to get her opinion on whether I should say them or not. I think that was a good move.

I´m not a language prude. Language is my business, I´m a fairly artsy person, so I have a sort of liberal attitude about this issue. I don´t run around shooting my mouth off, but sometimes I think a "dirty word" is a extremely appropriate, more so than other words. But the root of this issue is that I want and need to know exactly what I´m saying. Words are powerful, and can be used for great good and evil. Proverbs says they´re like arrows-- so I want to be sure I´m shooting straight.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Brasília-- the wrap up

It was a fun trip, and I´m so so glad I went. I knew in going that I was going to put myself in a major case of self induced culture shock, because I was traveling with all Brazilians, to the capitol of Brazil, to a Brazilian wedding and to see a Brazilian national sporting event. And culture shocked I did get, for about 3 hours on Friday. But even when I was frustrated out of my mind, I knew that in a week I´d look back on it and think it was one of the funnest times ever. Now it´s been a week and I can readily say that yes, it was. :)

Here are some random favorite photos!

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Ivan, Enidilson and Jorge-- manly men!

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Enrique, possibly the cutest kid ever. :)

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This picture kind of freak me out, but I think it´s really cool. Aníbal does really cool stuff without a flash on his camera.

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Aníbal took this picture on our late night tour of Brasília with Enidilson and Enrique. From left to right it´s Ivan, Edinilson, Enrique, me, Jandira.

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Another one of those non-flash photos. I like the colors in this one so much. I knew Aníbal was getting ready to take a picture, but I didn´t know when he took it. Hence the half-posed look. Very cool.

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Ha, I love this! Another irreverent picture in the Congressional Palace. :)

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I love this picture too! Liberdade!

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A too-sweet, Janibal special. :) And I took it, thank you very much. ;)

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Jandira and I

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Remember the blog about being late to the airport? This is a picture from that time... look at those faces! hahahahaha... :)

That´s all folks! And as always, there are more great photos (at least I think so) in the album. Yay webshots! Yay advertising! Yay give me free stuff! ;)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Brasília-- the wedding

The whole point of our trip was to go for the wedding of our friend, Luís. It was pretty interesting. I was surprised at how... normal it seemed. :) I just thought maybe weddings would be a lot different here. Probably Catholic weddings are, but for us Evangelicals, it´s not too different.

The major different I guess to me was that they don´t have wedding parties like we have in the States. Instead of groom´s men for the groom and bride´s maids for the bride, each couple has a designated number of couples. And traditionally they´re real couples (dating, engaged, married), but not always. And everyone wears their own clothes that they choose. They actually try NOT to match! :) Cool! There was a bit of talk at this wedding when one of the madrinhas (little mothers literally, but bride´s maids) wore a white pants suit. She looked hot though! :)

So here are some pictures. Yes, there´s a lot of me, but it´s my blog and I can be vain if I want to. ;)

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The beautiful bride and handsome groom-- Dora e Luís.

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My beautiful, beloved friends.

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Me and Antenor
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Antenor and Phyllis

If you don´t know Antenor and Phyllis, you´re missing out. They are some of the greatest folks ever.

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Marúsia and I lookin´ hot... I think perhaps I look a little too hot. Try to ignore the bright pink sunburn. :)

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Guto and I-- we were apparently the unofficial photographers for the wedding, with 5 cameras between us. :)

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Jorge´s tie getting cut. Apparently it´s a tradition to cut off pieces of the groom´s tie and "sell them" at the reception to help fund the honeymoon for the couple. But our group was occupied with pictures, so they got his brother to stand in instead.

There are lots more great photos in my online webshots photo album, for which the link can be found at the right. In fact I just got all of my friend Aníbal´s photos and put them in an album today. In a few days I will meld them together into my original Brasília album, but for now they´re separate so you die hard Sojochick Blog fans won´t need to look through all the repeats to see the new ones. Aníbal is a pretty cool photographer, so check it out. :)

This is the penultimate post on Brasília. I plan to do just one more "what I learned from this trip" and random photo blog. Thanks for sticking with me through this!

Sorry my pictures are screwy. I am having a dang hard time finding a good way to put pictures on my blog. Any advice?

Brasília-- Government Stuff

Bandeira do Brasil

Brasília is the capitol of Brazil, and it´s actually an interesting story. The city was designed in the 50s and 60s by civil engineers for the purpose of being a very modern, organized, capitol city for Brasil. The original shape of the city was a cross, but as it´s grown it´s become more of an airplane. And the city is much different from any other Brazilian city I´ve been to-- so organized!

So we did some sightseeing and took the opportunity to see some government stuff. Honestly, this didn´t interest me much because I don´t know that much about these buildings and monuments and such. But it was cool and we did have some fun. :)

My favorite place was the Congressional Palace, which I guess is like our senate place thing. I am really ignorant about this stuff. :) I liked it because it was inside and air conditioned. Ha, no it was very cool, no pun intended.

Congressional Palace

Congressional Palace

As you can see it´s a very modern building, with the cereal bowl and upside down bowl things. I´m sure it´s all very symbolic, I just don´t know what it means. And then behind it is the building with the towers. Very beautiful!

I won´t bore you with a civics lesson, so here is some of the fun we had there. We were, ahem, a little irreverent at times I think. :)

Aníbal wrestling the statue

This is Aníbal arm wrestling a statue.

Ann playing in the art

Me sticking my head through a piece of national art.

Ivan pretending to be a senator

Ivan pretending to be a senator

Nice man and me

This was an interesting man. He saw me reading the famous quotes from the inaguration of Brasília inscribed on the wall, and came up to me and said, "I´ve been reading this for 50 years, and it is more beautiful every time." I´m not exactly sure what his political connection is, but he was apparently at the inagural mass for the city of Brasília. (yes, the inagural mass-- Catholic countries can do that!) Very nice guy, 78 years old.

This night we also took a late night tour of Brasília with one of our friends (the same ones who took us to the airport in the earlier post).

Jandira and Ann with Lula´s house

This is Jandira and I in front of Lula´s house. He´s the president.
JK Bridge

And this it the JK Bridge. Very beautiful. JK stands for Juscelino Kubitschek, the President of Brazil who directed the building of Brasília. Pretty much half the city is monuments to this guy. :)

That´s all the photos I´ll put here, but you can see more at my webshots page.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Karma, Chocolate Chips, and Big News!

In case you were ever wondering what the karma would be for a person who records her friends running across a street for their lives while laughing hysterically, then posting it to the internet for everyone to laugh at, here it is.

Yesterday I was going home by bus after doing some heavy duty grocery shopping, so my backpack was full of stuff and I was carrying 4 loaded sacks. The bus drops me off outside my neighborhood, and to get into it I have to cross a freeway type thing. It´s not super busy, but busy enough. So as I, loaded down like a donkey, tried to cross the street yesterday, I tripped over a reflector and fell sprawled out in the middle of the highway with all my four sacks sprawled in various places near me. There was a group of about 10 people watching me from the other side, but no one offered to help. Jerks.

So my mind´s going 100 miles a minute trying to decide what to do. First and foremost I haul my butt up and do a quick check of where traffic is. Then I notice where my sacks are amongst the highway and decide if I have time to get them or should abandon them. I decided to go for them. And by the grace of God I got all of my stuff and didn´t get smashed like an American pancake. :)

I knew I fell on my hand yesterday but it didn´t hurt, but today my right hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder are all pretty sore. That´s what I get for laughing at my friends! :)


I found a place in Itu to buy chocolate chips yesterday!!!!!!! You really truly have no idea how happy this made me.


Now the BIG NEWS!!!!!!!!

This has actually been planned for quite some time, but only became official today.

No, I´m not getting married. :)

But I am staying in Brazil until November! YAAAAAAAAAY!

Today I went to the Federal Police in the next city and applied to renew my tourist visa, which by the grace of God they did!

I have a lot of people to thank for this, especially Phyllis for finding out all the information for me to do it, my parents for helping with the last minute (seriously!) paperwork of things, and my dear friend Leandro who gave me a ride and helped me out with the Federal Police. And all of you my wonderful friends who have supported me throughout everything.

Ann and Leandro with my visa extention
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

Here´s a picture of me and Leandro in Sorocaba with my visa. :) :) :) YAY! Please excuse the mess of my hair. I forgot to use product today. :)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Brasília-- the volleyball game

One of our number of happy travelers realized a few weeks back that we were going to be in Brasília during a game of the world men´s volleyball championship-- Brasil vs. Finlandía. So he arranged for/insisted that we all go watch.

Now I´m just a little Texan girl, so I didn´t even really know there was such a thing as men´s volleyball. But apparently it is HUGE in Brazil.

So we went and got our tickets Friday after arriving in Brasilía, and as we were walking back to the center of the city my sharp friend Marúsia noticed that there was a bus parked in front of a hotel that had a sign saying "World League Volleyball-- Delegação do Brasil (delegation from Brazil)". There were some official looking people standing there so we went over to check it out. Turns out that was the hotel where they were staying, and although they weren´t there then, they would be there at 5pm (this was about noon). We hung out there for a little while talking with the security and bus drivers, and as we did guess who arrived at the hotel! The national team of Finland!!! So we all cheered for them as they arrived.

Yay Finland!
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

The Finnish team arriving

Má, Ann, Security with bus
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

Marúsia, Ann, and the security in front of the Brazil bus

So we ended up returning to the hotel at 5pm to welcome the team. Security asked us to be pretty cool about the whole deal, but it was pretty exciting! Here is some video of them arriving and my friends rushing for pictures. It ends abruptly because I was taking pictures with other peoples´ cameras.

In case you don´t feel like watching the video (I won´t take offense), here are a few pictures. They´re not very good because they´re actually taken out of the video I shot.

Dude and Guto
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

Má, Aníbal, Dude, Jandira
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

?, Jandira, Dude, Ivan
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

Then Saturday was the actual game. It was SO FUN! I have never been to a Brazilian sporting event before, and to be at one for a national team was awesome! They had an MC who kept the crowd cheering and dancing through the whole game. And we won! Here are some of my favorite pictures. More are in my webshots album.

Volleyball game
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

My peeps!
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

My friends at the game

Being suffocated by the flag
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

This might require some explanation. I don´t know if you can really see it, but they unfurled a huge Brazilian flag thing that I happened to be sitting on the edge of. It was my duty as a spectator and fan to get under the flag and wave it. You can see here that I almost fell down. :) It was so funny!

This is a video of the crowd singing the national antem.

All in all, it was a blast and I´m so happy I got to go. And by the way, Brasil won!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah, I also want to mention that on our flight back to São Paulo, 2 of the volleyball players were on the plane with us! We stopped one and got our picture with him, at which point one of our friends told him that we were there at the hotel the other day and saw them, and at the game. Yeah, he probably thinks we´re stalkers by now. :) Ha! What a blast!

Crazy People Running

I have gotten techno savvy enough to add video to my blog, I hope.

Maybe no one else will find this funny, but last night as I watched it (over and over) I was laughing HYSTERICALLY.

So let me tell you exactly what it is. My friends and I were on foot for most of the day we toured Brasília, which made for some fun crossing the street moments. This was the funniest. There were 7 of us trying to cross 6 lanes of one of the busiest streets in down town Brasília. We made several attempts but only got across a lane or two before screaming and running back to the side we started on.

One one trip I thought we were clear so we all started running and everyone elese turned around halfway except me, the American who kept running for her life. My friends were screaming at me (I think gringos crossing streets here make them nervous-- for good reason if you know Brazilian traffic!), but I made it just fine. :) So I was in perfect position to record their run across the street.

The reason this is so darn funny to me is that there´s something different to laugh at every time. Whether you watch a different person running each time, or you notice that in the beginning they´re running for their lives, but with each of them there´s a moment where they realize I´m recording them and they start laughing, or whatever, it is freaking hilarious to me and I cried laughing last night watching it. :)

I don´t think this is super high quality (youtube is free, so what can we expect), but I hope you can see enough to think it´s funny.

By the way, it´s only 5 seconds so I think even dialup people won´t have a lot of trouble downloading it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Brasília-- Traveling-- Part 1

I just flew in from Brasília and, and boy... are my arms tired! :) Oh yes, I just felt like I had to open with that.

But most of that is true. I did just get in from Brasília and I am TIRED. A good tired though. :) It´s been a crazy 4 days and I have lots to tell you about! I have decided to tell about this trip in installments because one blog would be way overpowering. So today I will start with just the travel aspect of the trip.

As I mentioned before, I flew there with 3 of my good friends -- Ivan, and Aníbal and Jandira (you can call them Janibal... they´re engaged ;) ). These folks are great, I adore them and I am so glad we got to experience this together! Before I tell some of these stories, let me reinforce that I LOVE these guys and any difference of opinions we have had are within the confines of good friendship. :)

I think I also mentioned that I was the only one who´d flown before, so that made me the resident expert. I think most of the world knows about "Latin American time." This just means that Latin American cultures tend to view time in a more... relaxed fashion than us North Americans. :) So I had tried to mentally prepare myself for this as we embarked on our journey.

Getting to the airport on Thursday went quite smoothly, really! I was pleasantly shocked. Yes we left late, but only about 15 minutes and here that qualifies as early I think. :) So we made it there with plenty of time. Here are some pictures from the flight Thursday:

Aníbal and Jandira
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

Aníbal and Jandira

Ivan and Ann
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

Ivan and Ann

Sunset from the plane
Originally uploaded by sojochick1.

Sunset from the plane

So Thursday was I believe truly the ideal Brazilian traveling situation.

Then there was today on the return trip.... side note-- let me remind you again that I truly love all the people mentioned here with all of my heart. :)

There were 11 Ituanos (people from Itu) who went to this wedding in Brasília. 4 of us flew and the rest with by car. So the car folks left early this morning to start driving back, leaving us flyers to find a ride to the airport. Luckily, God blessed us richly by putting one of the most wonderful families in our lives in Brasília. Their names are Enidilson, Luana, and their son Enrique, and they are PRECIOUS. Enidilson offered to give us a ride to the airport today. Yay!

So... keeping in mind "Brazil time," I had suggested we leave the house at 1pm to arrive at the airport at 1:30 for our 3:15 flight. Yes, it´s more time than necessary, but I knew there was no way we´d actually leave at 1. Jandira and Aníbal definitely work on Brazil time, and I knew this, but lucklily Ivan is punctually minded, so I told him my thoughts on the issue and he agreed and I thought we were cool.

I knew we were going to have problems first when Enidilson and family invited us for lunch. There are no quick lunches here. :) So at 10 minutes til 1 when we sat down to eat, I was pretty nervous. Then at 1:30 when we finally got in the car I started feeling better. But then as we started to pull out and Luana and Enrique had to go change clothes I had another knot in my stomach. Then as we pulled out at 1:45 and the bride and groom from Saturday pulled up I got 5 more knots in my stomach. But by miracle of God we only said bye and flew off to the airport.

Then as we were going (which, by the way, there were 6 adults and 1 child riding in a car meant for 4 adults), Enidilson kept slowing down to show us things, in particular anything that had anything to do with America. At this point I can see Ivan going into nuclear meltdown and all I can do is laugh.

So we finally arrive at the airport at about 2:15 and sweet Enidilson parks about as far away from the terminal as possible, so Ivan and I grab our bags and start hauling butt across the parking lot. We reach the ticket counter at about 2:30 I guess, and of course there´s a big line. So we jump in line then the rest of the gang catches up to us, and they want us to leave the line and go look at the airplanes from the observation deck. In a pretty big afront to Brazilian culture, I was like, "I´m sorry, but we absolutely can´t. We have to check in!!!"

I know that I was being reeeeeally American today in my treatment of our departure, but I felt it was my duty. Enidilson was giving me and Ivan a hard time about being anal about our rush, but oh well. After we checked in they insisted we go see the planes, so we did. And after about 1 minute Ivan was like, "We´ve got to go NOW." So we said hurried goodbyes and again, Ivan and I sprinted to security. At this point it was about 20 minutes til our flight left. But by the grace of God, we made it in time.

I have never cut it that close for a flight and hope I never do again! It´s just that I believe in the theory of better safe than sorry and better to walk through the airport than sprint through it.

Since I´ve been here a couple of my friends have mentioned that they don´t appreciate it when foreigners talk about Brazilian time and how it´s not true and such. And I will readily grant that it´s not true for all Brazilians. But a lot of the time, it is a very real thing, and a very hard thing to adjust to if you´re not used to that.

But as they say, all´s well that end´s well! And remember folks, this is just the beginning of a FUN trip!

I´ve already put all of my pictures on my webshots page, which is in the link column on the right there. I will be adding more as I get more pictures from my friends too.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Brasília Bound!

As I mentioned yesterday, this is looking to be a big week! On Thursday I am going with these people:

Aníbal, Jandira, me, Ivan...

to Brasília (the capitol of Brazil)!

This is very cool in several ways. First of all, we're going for the wedding of a young man from Itu named Luis. I met Luis when I was here two years ago, and he is so sweet and precious. So I'm excited about going to my first Brazilian wedding!

Secondly, my dear friends Bob and Donna Carpenter (and their lovely filhas) lived and worked in Brasília for 10 years as missionaries, so I am happy to get to see where they were for so long.

Brasília is an interesting city because it was created 50 years ago with the purpose of making it a modern city and the country's capitol. So it's very planned out and modern. And as I look up information about the city it looks like it has some interesting things to see. AND there is a lot of talk about us going to see a volleyball game of Brazil's national team, which would be very cool. And did I mention of the 4 of us going together, I am the only one who has flown? :) This will be fun!!!!!!

I am so so thankful to be going with these guys because they are some of the coolest, sweetest, and funniest people I know, and I'm sure we're going to have a lot of fun, laugh a lot, and make some good memories during this little adventure. :) So next week you can keep your eyes open for hopefully some good pictures and good stories.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Benefit of the Doubt

Last week I dealt with a nasty cold, so I was pretty much housebound for 4 days. I´m pretty well back to 100% now, just shaking off the last hangings on of a cough.

That said, last week I had ample time to blog surf. During my surfing, I ran across a blog... I honestly don´t remember which one or where now, but the topic has stayed with me. The post was about practicing the "benefit of the doubt" ideology in relationships. I think that´s pretty self explanatory, but in case it´s not, it simply states that when you feel wronged, instead of jumping to conclusions ("it´s a JUMP to conclusions mat..." haha, gold star for the reference), you start with the assumption that no malice was intended. Of course upon further inspection and questioning of the person you may come to find that indeed malice was intended, but it is dangerous to start from that perspective.

I think this is especially important when dealing with cross-cultural relationships. At times when I´m with my friends here they will do something or say something and I think to myself, "What the heck is wrong with you?" Haha... I´m sure I´ve inspired the same thoughts in many people here. :) But I have been trying very hard, upon feeling wronged, to step back from the situation and my emotions and give my friends-- who have demonstrated time and again how much they love me-- the benefit of the doubt. Those momentary flashes of anger that happen to us all when we feel violated are just those-- momentary flashes, and need to be treated as such. That´s why it´s so important not to act out of those feelings of frustration and hurt.

Yes, benefit of the doubt. Good plan indeed. A demonstration of grace, I think.


This is Jonathan, Guto, Paul, and Ivan. Friday night I had the distinct privledge of hanging out with them all night and into the wee hours of the morning. I got to sit in on a very intersting conversation between these guys about the church in Brazil, where they feel it´s going and where they would like it to go. It was a real honor because I know these guys are the future leaders of the church in Brazil, and it gave me great joy and hope to hear their thoughts. But before we got to all that deep, touching stuff I did sit through my share of fart jokes and other bodily functions. Let me just say for the record that I´m pretty sure boys are boys no matter where in the world they are. :)


Has anyone else in the world ever secretly wondered if their email was broken because you never seem to get stuff? Yeah...


More to say, this is actually going to be quite a big week for me! But I´ll save it for another blog. I pride myself on my prolificness (is that a word?), don´t ya know... ;)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wayfaring stranger...

Last night I got to chat online with an old, dear friend of mine who asked me when I was going to stop fraternizing with Brazilians and come home.

Our short conversation gave me a pang of actually thinking about going "home" and what that would mean. The primary question for that would be, "well, where exactly is home?" I was born in Arkansas, although I never actually lived there beyond a couple of years old. I grew up in Stephenville, but haven´t lived there in 8 years, so that´s not really home to me anymore. My family is in Texarkana, but I only lived there for a couple of years. Went to school in Oklahoma and loved it, but many of the friends that made that place home for me are now scattered across the world. Clearly Japan´s not home, and although I love it, Brazil is not home either (yet).

So where is home? Home is where the heart is, right? Problem is my little heart is scattered all across the world.

But I hold onto the idea that when I am with my loved ones, I am home, no matter where that might be. This week I have been hit with the idea on several fronts that nothing in this world is perfect, but all points to perfection in God and makes us long for Home with Him. (With thanks here to Jonathan Reding´s Sunday school class and the book Longing for a Homeland by Lynn Anderson). No matter where I end up in this world, and because I define home as being with my loved ones, I realize I´ll never find a complete, perfect home on this earth. All I can do is try to make home in this world by building relationships with those I am with and continuing to love those whom God has placed in my path thusfar.

I haven´t been a great emailer since I´ve been here, but I do want to say to all my friends across the world who I am separated from by miles that I love you, and I do miss you. I am having a great time here, I have no regrets about being here, and although my separation from you hurts, it is also serving to bring me closer to God through a deeper longing for His final kingdom.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I forgot to tell one more funny story that happened during the choral performance on Saturday night. After we sang I went and sat with some of my friends near the back, and a brass ensemble was performing. Inbetween their songs, suddenly this other music filled the church... no, not exactly the heavenly choirs, but the Pussycat Dolls singing "Don´t Ya." I don´t suggest to the blog readership that you go out and listen to this song-- it is the epitome of skank trash-- but if you know the song you can understand why my friends and I died laughing. What was funnier was that it went on for about half the song as the car was apparently parked outside the church, and the brass ensemble just waited for it to finish before starting their next song. I´d have to say that of all the performances that night, that was definitely my favorite. :) Thank goodness most of the people there don´t really understand what that song is saying... there would have been lots of Hail Marys said if they had, I think.


In other news, I have been putting a lot of new pictures on my webshots photo album. You can find the link in the column on your right. :)