We're all feeling much better today. We slept away some of our residual fears from the Mozambique beach visit from last night, but we also visited a much calmer beach this morning and had a wonderful time. Lessons learned will remain, but we've replaced some of the acquired fears with some much more positive experiences. The Barra de Lagoa beach is meant for both swimming and surfing, while the wilder Mozambique beach nearby us is mostly for surfing... despite our best efforts to tame it.
Four of the five children have taken some surfing lessons now. We ended up splitting their classes up over two visits, as they quickly learned that surfing uses several less used muscles... ones that tire easily. They all did a great job of getting to their feet and riding out some of the beginner waves. We have some great photos and video we'll upload for everyone's viewing pleasure.
The three younger kids have signed up for craft classes at a nearby art store. The classes are quite a deal (16 hours of class for each child for R$40 or approx. $20 CDN) but the supplies you go through, which you are required to pay for, seem to add up quite quickly. Emily decorated a fired-clay vase using paints, ribbons and some plastic jewels, while Jillian and Matthew painted and decorated wooden boxes. Jillian probably used every decoration they had to offer, filling every square inch with some kind of paint, stamp, jewel, ribbon, glitter, or glue-on gizmo. We have eight classes in total to attend. Though they came out of it with some beautiful creations, hopefully their next classes won't be quite so costly...
With no car to use at our disposal, we use the bus as our main source of transportation. It has its benefits and drawbacks. The drawbacks consist mostly of waiting for late buses, trying to find where exactly a bus stop is (some are not marked by any signage that we can see), and filing seven people through the turnstall on a moving bus that you must pass through after paying your fare. The benefits vary depending on who you're travelling with. If you take Jillian as your companion, you are guaranteed some entertainment. She has no qualms sitting down beside a total stranger, looking up at them with her big round eyes, and after whispering to Mom or Dad asking for the words she's looking for in Portuguese, strike up a conversation. She has made more friends in her short five years than I have over my entire adult life. I envy her outgoing personality as I sit silently content to watch her work her charm. My comfort comes from watching the scenery pass by my window, enjoying NOT having to talk. This is not physically possible for Jillian. We're not sure where this trait comes from, but it's amazing to watch and does help us get to know many more people we otherwise would never have met.
We seem to finally be on top of the ant situation in our house. It felt like no matter what we did, we would get streams of little 'sugar' ants marching in the moment food hit the counter or floor. We would take out the garbage and ants would be dripping off the bag. We would put a dish in the sink and come back 10 minutes later to find ants swarming it. We would sweep regularly, wash dishes after each meal, put leftovers away right away, wipe counters, but we could never seem to get rid of the evil beasts. One day I had enough and took the kitchen garbage can outside to the garage. That was to be it's new permanent home. It's not as convenient, but it seems to have helped. Plus, we picked up a few ant traps and have set them up at high ant activity zones around the house. Combined, we seem to have reduced our ant population by a small portion, and my sanity seems to be intact.
We seem to have found several new critters around our neighbourhood to keep the kids on their toes. Emily has found a few geckos, Matthew has found a dead owl, the older boys found a cockroach, and there are, as always, the plethora of dogs that we meet regularly. Some seem more friendly to us, even escorting us up and down the road. Okay, perhaps they're just hoping for some scraps to eat, but at least they don't bark at us like they used to!
It's late and I should head to bed. Brasil continues to be a grand adventure. I'm so glad we're doing this.
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Heather, I'm reading everything you write. I really like the part you describe Jillian's traits. I told you she is Brazilian :-)
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