Sep 30, 2008

Last Saturday morning, we packed up the car with bikes, Rollerblades, blankets, books, and a picnic lunch and headed to Santa Rosa (about 40 minutes from here) for a relaxing, rejuvenating, and fun Sabbath morning. We went to a fair ground that is open for public use. It's great for biking--lots of space and not too many cars. We were actually the only folks there on this amazingly gorgeous morning. It's the first time Andrew and I have roller bladed here, and it felt so good. I used to blade daily, and even when the girls were 4 and 6 I would pack them into the jogging stroller with some books, and bike along the river in Moline. Those are such delicious memories. This day we primarily bladed and biked inside of a large building for food stands. It had some elevated areas which made it all the more exciting to zoom up and down. The girls had a great time, and are hoping to go back this coming weekend.

We also attended a "first birthday" party this weekend for Gustavo Miso . The first birthday is the most important birthday celebration for Brazilians. There were tons of colorful balloon decorations, and every table was loaded with sweet and salty treats. Makaela had a great time playing tag and such with the other girls, and Samantha had fun doting on baby Lucas (one of the American family's baby boy).

Sep 21, 2008

We "had" (we hope it's dead) a large poisonous snake in the long grassy area of our back yard. Senhor Fikes burned the area on Friday, and is going to replant it with grass.

Our gardener, Senhor Fikes -- He requested I take this picture, as he has a collection of pictures with all of his clients

It's election time here in Horizontina which means lots of speakers blasting campaign slogans...
and lots of campaign flags

At the John Deere Foundation Park -- We come here often to play

Makaela and Sir William hard at work

On our way downtown

A week ago Friday, the girls finished their first period of school. Yeah! (We have six, six week periods for their annual curriculum). To celebrate this accomplishment, we went out on the town Friday afternoon to shop for a new outfit for our furry family member, Theodore, our cockapoo. The girls chose this activity for their special day, as shopping for their beloved Theo is by far their most favorite thing to do. It so happened that we were puppy sitting for a friend's poodle, Scoobi, that weekend, so he also joined us on our puppy shopping outing.

Sep 6, 2008

Downtown Horizontina

Samantha's "little lamb"
Flowers from Samantha--when she bought them, she told Andrew, "I like to buy Mommy flowers, just so I can see the look on her face!"

Yellow plums
I love how our garage opens up in the back...
At the park downtown Horizontina
Shoes drying after being washed of the red earth

The first sign in Horizontina...everyone has to stop and take a look
Theodore's latest "do"

Makaela has turned her bike into a "horse" -- notice the jump rope turned into "reigns"

Orchids growing out of a tree trunk--this is a popular way to plant orchids
Three flowering trees in a, red, yellow
Papaya tree...
Love the laundry line

It's been a week of contrasts for all of us...the weather, events, etc....and yet, we're all doing great and taking it all in stride. The girls are such troopers. They deal really well with any prejudices they may face as foreigners. They are beautifully confident in who they are.
We've all been in and out of homesickness--for familiar friends, family, libraries, biking trails, Barnes & Nobles, The Indian Restaurant, malls, museums, our house! :) Two weeks ago, we showed up to our horse riding lesson (our most favorite part of the week) with the girls decked out in their riding boots, jeans, and special shirt from the ranch only to find our teacher had left town. The odd thing is we had just seem him two days prior at the grocery store in which he was very friendly. I recall saying to him "we'll see you Thursday" while he smiled agreeably. But, that was to never be. It seems the culture down here really hates to disappoint, so instead of saying, "hey, I'm moving!" He just left. The girls were crushed. They couldn't believe they couldn't ride anymore, nor could they believe their beloved teacher left. Lots of tears. Lots of holding. They've sustained many losses here; many special friends have moved, etc... But, today is a new day, and we can look back and chuckle at all of the cultural differences. Some days those differences are fun, and other days, well, you just want to pack up your bags and go home! :)
A favorite poem for those of you heading into fall:
Quick Silver

You can’t hold magic in your hands
Or touch a memory
Or lock a sunset in a room
Where it will always be.
But when you see October start,
If you are one like me,
You want the shining afternoons
To last for all eternity.
You want the sumac’s splash of fire
And soft winds to ever blow;
And though the splendor
breaks your heart,
You cannot let it go.
You want each glorious day preserved;
You long to hold them fast;
Your soul oftentimes yearns to keep
Those things that cannot last.

Mildred Keiser