Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Imin Matsuri

This week we celebrated the Imin Matsuri.

The Imin Matsuri is the annual festival of Japanese immigration to Brazil, which is celebrated in June, the month that the first ship arrived at the port of Santos. That was in 1913.
Brazil is home to the second largest Japanese population outside of Japan with about 1.5 million Nikkeis (Japanese emigrants and their descendants who have created communities throughout the world). The state of Paraná has the second largest Japanese community in Brazil with more than 140,000 members.
One of these Japanese-Brazilians just happens to be a member of our temple presidency - President Vitorio Furusho. After our temple shift on Saturday, he and his wife invited us to go with them to the Festival do Imigrante Japonês.

One of the hottest areas there was the food court. We all found something fantastic to eat!! 
Gotta love that Japanese cuisine!

Next is was off to the vendors' booths.

The stage featured a variety of cultural and artistic performances. 


And, of course, the beautiful flower arrangements ...

Obrigado, President and Sister Furusho.
Or should we say Arigatou?

We had a great day. Oh, and did I mention that because we are idosos (old people) we got in free. Can't beat that!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Festa Junina

After Carnival, Festa Junina is the most important popular celebration in Brazilian culture. 

This June Festival is a Catholic tradition that was brought to Brazil in the 16th century, when the country was a colony of Portugal. 
By tradition, the June festival consists of celebrating the good results of the harvest and also asking the next planting to bring good results. St. John is the patron saint of harvests and celebrates with his followers: St. Anthony and St. Peter. 

The stores naturally make the most of this month-long party.


Everyone has their own way of celebrating. 
This is how the Mormons do it.😐  

First off, you all dress up like farmers! Whiskers and freckles are added to the kids. Pigtails are a must. Oh yes, and straw hats! 
The cultural hall was also fancied up with small colored flags hanging everywhere.
The kids played games and got prizes. 
Everyone ate and ate and ate.

As June is the month when corn crops are harvested, the majority of sweet and savory snacks and cakes are made of corn - broa de fubá (Brazilian corn cake 👍), canjica (hominy and coconut milk in a soup 👎), cooked corn, popcorn, cural (corn pudding 👍), pamonha (a paste made from sweet corn wrapped in corn husks and boiled 👎) - and other goodies - sweet rice, pinhōes (those big pine nuts), peanut brittle, pineapple cake, carrot cake, hot dogs, and much more.
And, of course, you must have quentão. This is a hot drink (to warm your insides - remember - we're in the middle of winter down here!) made with cooked ginger in water, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and - for us Mormons - grape juice. I guess you could call it a Brazilian wassail. 👍👍
Another way to warm up is to have a big bonfire. Our church is in the middle of the city. They frown of bonfires in the middle of the city, so the cake (below) was a good substitute. 

Next - the quadrilha. This is a traditional dance that has kind of a square dance feel because there is a guy calling the dance steps, but the dancers wind their way around the hall, then do a kind of line dance thing, then weave in and out of each other. It can go on for a very long time but it is enjoyed by both the young and the old.

Happy Festa Junina, Everyone!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Two - Four - Six - Eight...Who Do We Appreciate?!

Today's blog is dedicated to our dear friends, Kay and Larry Brown. 

Who knew six months ago that we would connect so completely with two strangers from Roy, Utah? Talk about tender mercies! Kay and Larry arrived in Curitiba just one week before us - giving them enough time to figure a few things out - like how to get a bus pass, where to shop, how to get to church, even how to do the laundry without flooding the floor with soap suds! 
They had been here as MLS missionaries in Canoinhas a year or so ago and thought it would be nice to do a six month mission in the Curitiba Temple. Those six months sure did fly by. They left this morning for home. We will miss them terribly. 
Today I'd like to share some random reasons why they will always hold such a special place in our hearts.

Random Reasons Why
  * Don and Larry were actually down here as missionaries over 50 years ago and remembered how Brazil was "way back when".
* We loved the Friday date nights after our shifts in the temple. 
* Neither of us went to the movies very much at home, but they were really appealing down here!
* Don and Larry were our "Lewis and Clark" with their compass and map. This kept us from getting completely lost on our adventures.
* We must have ridden 10,000 miles on the bus system together. Most of the time we knew where we were going.
* Kay and I loved shopping the malls and we knew them all! Unfortunately, we never found much that we couldn't live without.
* Larry and Don absolutely loved their banana candy. Kay and I thought it tasted gross. 
* Kay and I spent hours together learning all the temple ordinances in Portuguese. Because of her I was able to feel more confident quicker. 
* We explored the cities, jungles, beaches, and mountains together. Each time with its own set of memorable experiences.
*Kay and I ate enough cinnamon balls in the last six months to fill the Grand Canyon and rot every tooth in our mouths!
* Renting a car brought us even more hair-raising stories to talk about. Brazilian traffic is horrendous but we survived with our "pilot and co-pilot" forging the way. And I'm thinking that they only got four speeding tickets during these outings. 
* The guys never made it through a Sacrament Meeting without dozing off. We understood that Priesthood Meeting was no better!!! Kay and I were, of course, model church goers. We just couldn't figure out what was going on most of the time. 
* We all loved stracciatella gelato.
* Outback was one of our favorite places to eat. 
* We could always find something to talk about or do!!!

I could go on and on and on....don't cha know!
Kay and Larry Brown - thanks for the memories. We will always "treasure them up".

Yesterday the three American couples enjoyed one final outing together. 

And how fun it will be to get to know Wayne and Dianne better. We already have several adventures planned - and they even have a CAR!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, especially in Brazil. 

Soccer (AKA futebol) is everywhere in Brazil, in the streets, at the beach, even at home. Hey, the President's four grandsons play soccer at least once a week in our halls!!! 

Brazil soccer is more than just a game, it is a national past time.

So.....It would be a shame to live in 'the land of soccer' and miss the opportunity of seeing a live soccer game.

NOTHING will make you feel more like a local than going to a match and taking in a compelling game.
Curitiba has three soccer teams. Atlético Paranaense plays the 1st division of the Brazilian Championship and Coritiba and Paraná play on the 2nd division. 
We attended the Atlético’s stadium called “Arena da Baixada”. At the stadium you can truly feel the energy and passion that the Brazilians have for soccer and their teams. We wore earplugs and were still almost blown out of the stadium by the noise level.

And.. who knew...you were supposed to wear RED?! Obviously not the Americans. (This brought back memories of our other mission when I wore gold to the Cincinnati Reds game!)

BTW, our team beat the one from Rio (the Flamingos)!
Go, home team, go.