Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"I DO" - Brazilian Style

Friday found us at our first Brazilian wedding. Laura works at the temple on Saturdays. Hmmm, I don't know anything about Felipe - except that he's a good guy. Anyway, we enjoyed learning about their Mormon wedding traditions.

 Here are a dozen things I learned:

1. A couple must first have a civil wedding before being sealed in the temple. Generally this takes place the day before. 
2. It is important to know that in Brazil many people see weddings as big events. It is difficult to see people solemnizing the wedding with only a few relatives and friends. Brazilians love parties to invite everyone they know to celebrate their union.
3. Here you do not mail your invitations! It's a big faux paux to mail your invitation to someone and the person can be very offended!
4. The women and girls dress up in their "Prom" dresses for the wedding. Yes, I was definitely underdressed! Who knew?! The guys look pretty good as well. 
5. It doesn't matter how much money you may have to celebrate the marriage, they will always make a party.
6. An important point for foreign people to know is that Brazilians are usually late to everything. It is cultural and acceptable to be late for many things in Brazil, including weddings. This actually worked in our favor because we couldn't leave for the wedding until our shift at the temple ended. So when we arrived at the church a good 30 minutes late it was OK. We still waited another 15 minutes for the bride!
7. After the ceremony the wedding party makes its way to the stage and has wedding pictures taken while the guests listen to loud music and try to talk above it. 
8. When the Bride and Groom return, the food is served - we had a buffet of Brazilian finger foods. 
9. Probably the first thing you notice when entering the cultural hall is a large table filled with assorted sweets. Actually it looks like mountains of assorted sweets - doce de leitechocolate, or anything else yummy and sweet. Truly, works of art!
10. Besides receiving wedding presents/cards/money, a game is played toward the end of the evening. The bride puts her shoe on a tray and while everyone bangs on tables and pans, and chants, the guests are asked to put money in the shoe (for the honeymoon).
11. A Brazilian sweet is handed out to all guests once they leave the reception as a symbol of good luck and prosperity for the newly Wedded couple.
12. The next day is the complete opposite - sweet and beautiful and  eternal - as they are sealed in the House of the Lord. 

Bela and the Fera also fell in love and were married this week. We watched it in 4D. The chairs shook, the wind blew, and just about anything else annoying occurred during the movie. Perhaps you need to be 12 and under to truly enjoy this experience. Anyway, we loved the movie.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sunday to Sand Day

Sunday we were asked to speak in the Ala Parigot de Souza (Ward). Now, normally I wouldn't mind this assignment, but... Don spoke on the blessings of the temple and I basically bore my testimony. The people were very kind. They stayed attentive and didn't cringe when we slaughtered their beautiful language. Fortunately, I had a friend at the temple correct my grammatical errors or it could have been much worse! Don was much more confident in his abilities. He did very well. And one sister even told me that when she closed her eyes she thought I was a real Brazilian. Then she chuckled. So you know what that tells ya. Elder Duran was the other speaker. His companion, Elder Bryan, is from Murray, Utah, and has been out six months.
Afterwards we went to the home of Bishop Fausto Pereira de Oliveira for a wonderful dinner. He and his wife Regiane work in the temple on Tuesdays. They have three cute daughters - Milena (14), Natalia (11), and Talita (6). They are a darling family!

Yesterday was Sand Day with the temple presidency and the temple missionaries. President and Sister Stadler have a home at the beach a couple of hours outside of Curitiba. The day was a little overcast but our spirits were BRIGHT. The food was delicious. The company was lively. And even with the weather not cooperating it's always a treat to walk the beach. 
Brazil's Atlantic coastline is more than 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) long with more than 2,000 beaches.

Not everyone wanted to walk the beach. Some thought a nap was a better choice. 

Now, for those of you who may be doubting that we are really on a mission, I am including a picture of the temple.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Whistle While You Work

The Dictionary defines work as:
 (1) activity involving mental or physical effort to achieve a purpose or result
(2) mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment.

Of course, some work is more productive/enjoyable than another. You can decide if the following jobs fit the above definition.

You find these workers in every park in the city. 

These workers are found on every street in the city.

 We love these workers! These are some of our temple security, engineering, and grounds keepers. They work long hours, but always have time to say "Bon Dia" and ask you how things are going. 

And here are four American temple workers who keep very busy in the temple five days a week!

Some of us earn more than others. Some of us enjoy our work more than others. Hopefully we all feel compensated in some way for what we do each day. 

Aside from the daily grind of work, we also find time to "recreate" - to refresh by means of relaxation and enjoyment, as to restore physically or mentally. 

One way we do this is through our monthly Family Home Evenings with the temple presidency, temple missionaries, sister missionaries, and assorted friends.
There is always an abundance of delicious food. 

And Kay and I like to hit the malls. (You know, go and do). Yesterday we went to Shopping Palladium. We took the wrong bus but we did eventually get there - after two hours. We were afraid to get off the bus at some unknown stop so we just kept going knowing that eventually it would loop back to familiar territory. The pirate ship is the new attraction for this month. 

Hope you can find time in your work week to enjoy some fine recreation.

BTW - This is what can happen if you aren't faster than the Onibus!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Just Happened to be in the Area...

Sometimes you just luck out.
Friday evening, after our shift at the temple, we needed FOOD. We got on the big red bus and headed west. It wasn't long before we spotted a little park filled with lots of people and lots of food vendors. A culinary delight of cheap cuisine. We choose Japanese and were not disappointed - shrimp and rice with the ever popular Brazilian batata palha (a micro shoestring potato) sprinkled on top. And yes, we have plans on returning for other options in the weeks to come!  

On Monday we just happened to be in the area of Batel - a very nice neighborhood in Curitiba - and just happened upon this cute little Japanese Garden (Praça do Japão). The square is a tribute to the Japanese immigrants who arrived in Curitiba in about 100 years ago. 
 Unlike Japan and other countries, the cherry blossom period in Brazil starts during the winter, usually July. So I guess we'll have to plan on a return visit in a few months!

"Lewis and Clark" pondering over the route to take home. Larry always carries the compass and Don is in charge of the map. We also put them in charge of the water bottles. Kay and I generally explore the city randomly - hit or miss - whatever - when we are out on our own. The guys are much more calculating and precise.