We're all moved into our more permanent home now. It's beautiful, complete with a family sized swimming pool surrounded by a rock tiled decking and flowering greenery, a large green yard for running around in, a kitchen table we can all sit at after making a real meal in a real kitchen, and bedrooms that keep us very comfortable all night long. There's a grocery store about 1 km away who will deliver your groceries for you later in the day. That will be perfect for us, as we do not have a car, but will require many heavy items from the store.
We found some enormous snails last night. They would fill the palm of your hand. We have since learned they are not to be touched, however, Jillian seems no worse for wear after holding one up by the shell for a photo op last night. Butterflies come to kiss the flowers regularly, and jumbo-jet bumble bee's lumber by looking for whatever the butterflies have left behind. Bird chirps fill the air and the large blue sky wraps us all up in a paradise.
It was strange last night. It was our first night falling asleep out in the more rural part of Floripa. The downtown people and car noises were suddenly replaced by crickets chirping (turns out it was one cricket who could really carry his own... Rich first thought the sounds was a transformer about to blow outside...), dogs barking (and there were several canine choirs chiming in simultaneously!), and owls screeching. In between trying to swat an ever elusive mosquito away from my ear, I listened to the new noises. They brought a great deal of comfort to me, but surprisingly, they also brought a small hint of panic, all at the same time. The comfort came from knowing we were out closer to nature, away from crime and smog and concrete roads. The panic came from realizing we were further away from people, so many of whom have been so helpful and kind to us. What if someone tried to break in? We're not on the seventh floor of an apartment building now. Who would hear us if we needed help? Strange... I am confident the transition will bring with it more comfort and less panic as I feel more and more at home.
Today, the kids enjoyed a morning swim in the pool before breakfast. The neighbour came over to help us add chemicals to the pool to clean it (she has been incredibly good to us), and then we prepared to walk to the beach near by us. It was a great walk, taking about 20 minutes one way, Jilly-speed. To get there, we walk down a sandy trail lined with greenery and cactuses, pass over a wooden bridge, wade through a 'red river', walk through a small forest, over some extremely hot sand dunes, and suddenly you find yourself at the most amazing beach! It stretches for miles in both directions. The sand is, again, like the brown sugar I mentioned earlier. The waves are quite a good size, some of them perfect for surfing, and all of them big enough to knock you over. The older four kids pleaded to have a chance to swim and play in the surf, so once we could see it was safe enough, we gave them the green light. They fought waves, bounced around in the surf, and bobbed up and down with the yawn of the ocean for quite a while. Jillian was content to stay in the more shallow areas after being knocked down a few times.
I looked up and down the beautiful beach, noticing only a few souls a ways down. We pretty much had the area to ourselves. The water was warm and greeny-blue and foamy at the edges. It was the kind of scene you would see on a postcard. We're so lucky to be here.
This afternoon, we will break out the school work for a while, work on some Portuguese, and perhaps get some groceries. When it's a little less hot, we'll likely head back to our beach for some more fun before a late dinner, and hopefully a bit of Skype with friends and family.
All is well.