Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Graded School of Sao Paulo

As many of you know, Erich goes to a private U.S. school in Sao Paulo - thanks to Ford Motor Company. It is quite a prestigious school... people from all over the world move to Sao Paulo just so their kids can go there. It's primarily an English speaking school staffed by Americans. Erich does have Portuguese classes and it's fun to listen via the Internet - to the local radio station "Metropolitano" and have Erich explain the crazy commercials and d.j.'s. The music is mostly American - or at least in English! :) Anyway, I was talking about school. Erich adapted really well to the 2nd half of 7th grade there - and should be well prepared for 8th grade.

One of the things I wanted to share is in regards to his report cards. Instead of a sterile, one page report with a list of classes and the corresponding grades achieved, the Graded School has 5 page report cards. With typical letter grades but also number 'grades' called "Learning Habits" such as organization, punctuality, preparedness, attitude, cooperation and resolution. It also gives a synopsis of what they studied that semester, which is really neat... but the part that really struck me is the comments... there are personal notes from each teacher to the student or parents. A few snippets: "Erich, you are such a friendly guy, a self-motivated student and a great pal for the other kids in the class! It is wonderful to have you on our Geography team." Or this one from his Portuguese teacher: "Erich, you are very good-humoured and a lovely presence in class."

I just love that. His end of year report card had comparisons from 3Q to 4Q. It's amazing to see all 3's and 4's in the Learning Habits (4 being the highest) and grades that would make any mom (and stepmom) proud.

I have to give Krysten credit... with Erich's dad working 12 hour days much of the time, Krysten has been a rock for Erich - and helped him achieve the awesome grades he achieved... with all they had to adjust to with the move and the new culture it is truly impressive! She is an amazing mom to both kids.

Okay, speaking of Krysten ... next post will showcase her amazing decorating talents ... pics of the house 5 months later!

Vacation or home?

Phew... it is SO good to have Erich home... well, for me he's HOME... for Erich it's VACATION and then back to Brazil for 8th grade... unless by some miracle, he stays home... 99.9% unlikely, but I can still pray for it!

We have a big list of things to do, people to see, places to go, things to eat! Yes, the food is different there, and there are many things Erich missed. Mostly junk food; and restaurants such as Taco Bell, BW3, Wasabi (our local Sushi place), 7-11 (Slurpees) and a host of other places ... in one of these posts I'll have Erich describe the food there - and some of his favorite restaurants.

In an earlier post here at the blog I mentioned I would update about a bunch of things... one of them being a funny story from Erich's 13th birthday while still in Brazil. It was about noon on that day and I got a phone call from him. Can you guess why? He wanted to "remind me" that it was his birthday! I beat him to it though... as soon as I heard his voice I said Happy Birthday and started singing (much to the surprise and horror of my coworkers!)... I just thought that was so funny... as if I'd forget!

So that's all for this update... I'll have some more soon... I think I'll share Erich's report card comments next! Stay tuned!

Updates at my blog

These are pics from a block party held in their neighborhood of Sao Paulo almost a month ago. Yes, I am way behind updating this little blog capturing Erich's adventures there... :)

This is BrieAnne and Ignacio.
Erich with BrieAnne and an adorable girl in a cute poncho... maybe Ignacio's sister?

A cool band rockin' it out!

Time to head home... love, love, love how Krysten captures the coolest moments that melt hearts! Erich loves BrieAnne (and Brazil)!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Catching Up

Well, I have a lot of posting to catch up on here at the blog... there are report card comments I want to post (actually from his earlier semester - he's finished with 7th grade but his final report card is unavailable so far - at least to me)... oh and pics of the house in Brazil now that they've received all of their furniture and things from the U.S. (It looks amazing!) I also received pics from a recent block party in their neighborhood and there are more paint ball pictures to share (God bless, Krysten for updates and photos ... not sure what I'd do without her!). And I have a funny story to share about Erich and his 13th birthday!

So stay tuned and God bless!

Friday, June 5, 2009


13. Doesn't seem possible. Where did the time go?

Below are some photos from Erich's surprise 13th birthday party! It was a paintball party; something that has become very popular for Erich. He loves it! I love the great pics his stepmom captured ... just a few are below. Enjoy!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fun with friends

Hmmm - it's been almost a month since my last post... it's been a roller coaster of activity - some good/some bad with my dad nearly dying 2 weeks ago. God had different plans and we'll all be forever grateful for the doctors and staff of the Critical Care/Intensive Care units at St. Mary's... he's not out of the woods yet but home, getting better (hopefully) day by day.

Meanwhile, Erich has been having a terrific time in Brazil. The family of a friend of his has a time share/vacation home in a resort that sounded like "Club Med"... golf, tennis, food and fun. He has spent a lot of time with them on weekends and such - at museums and restaurants, etc. Below is a pic - more to come later today.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pictures from last weekend

I got some incredible photos yesterday from E's stepmom. Some are from their own backyard and others are from their trip to Ilhabela. Here are a few for your enjoyment...

Hope you all had a blessed Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A thought for Easter

Thinking of Easter and the Passover (the Last Supper)... nearing Jesus' death and resurrection.

We all know this scripture (John 3:16):

"God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life." (New Century Version)

Now read it again - this way, inserting your name in the blank:

"God loved ________________ so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life."

Powerful stuff...


Well, Erich, his dad, step-mom and 1/2 sister had a great time in Ilhabela. Erich's favorite thing was the beach... I guess the beaches there (well, most of them) are super crowded... full of chairs and tables and people... the Brazilians loved to be waited on... not our idea of the beach... getting away to relax with as few people around as possible! His dad described it as similar to St. Lucia; a mountain that sticks up out of the ocean with beaches along it's coastlines... I haven't been to St. Lucia, but I got the picture. There wasn't a lot to do so of course Erich got bored. But all in all I think they enjoyed getting away.

Erich gets his report card today or tomorrow. I have been praying that his test in Math went well today and he could lift his grade some. Oh, and they received their air shipment of things they sent down in early January. Glad they sent it by air. It's been 3 months. Yikes! So they received clothes and books and things they might need first. Funny thing is, the rest of their belongings, (furniture and such) is in Brazil as well - and should be to their home sometime next week. It's almost like the tortoise and the hare story... although the hare wins this time (but barely). Erich is so excited to get his things. To sleep in his own bed and WATCH TV and play XBOX 360! ;)

Erich is also looking forward to coming home in the summer. I am hoping to have a big birthday celebration and welcome home get-together for him. He returns as a teenager. Can you fathom? Erich will be 13!

I had a great talk with him yesterday. I think mostly I talked. But hearing his voice makes my day. I can't wait until they have their p.c. and webcam hooked up. So I can see him while we talk. Just the thought brings a tear!

I have been trying to keep this blog all about Erich and his adventures in Brazil. I am praying for God's leading regarding starting another blog about my own personal adventure through all of this, and other things... maybe. We'll see. It's good therapy for me though... To write. Maybe make someone laugh. And to share Erich's journey. Has he only been gone 3 months? Not even. Phew. A little more than 2 more months to go.

Be blessed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Erich's weekend plans

On Friday, school let out after a 1/2 day. Erich, his dad, stepmom and BrieAnne are heading to Ilhabela - an island off the coast of Sao Paulo. He is looking forward to a weekend away and the creature comforts of a hotel (like t.v. maybe?)... I am excited for them to be getting away. It's Krysten's birthday on Monday; what an awesome birthday gift!

Above are some photos and below is some information on his exciting adventure ... maybe they'll take some photos I can post here as well.
The town of Ilhabela ("Beautiful Island"), founded on the Ilha de São Sebastião in 1532, is 228km/142mi east of São Paulo and (by ferry) 7km/4.3mi from the town of São Sebastião, on the mainland across the channel of that name. It has preserved from the colonial period the principal church (1532), part of the town walls, a number of old cannon and some fine sugar-cane plantations, the first to be established on the north coast of São Paulo. It is now one of the most popular tourist resorts in São Paulo state, thanks mainly to its impressive waterfalls and beautiful beaches.
With snow being predicted for Monday it's easy to wish we could all be there!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Paintball adventure!

This weekend Erich had a party to go to for his friend Fredrick's 14th birthday. They got to play paintball and Erich had a blast! He was so excited to tell me about it Sunday night when I talked to him!

School is going well - report cards come soon! Stay tuned! I am anxious to see how his first semester at The Graded School went!

Thanks for reading!

World Vision

Today I got a letter from Brazil... but not from Erich. You see, since I didn't have more kids, God has blessed me with opportunities to change the lives of less fortunate kids through sponsorship (World Vision). If you click on the title of this post, it will take you there and you can see the amazing things World Vision does. I sponsor 3 boys (Michael from Peru, Nicholas from Guatemala, & Jhonnathan from Recife, Brazil) and 1 girl (Julia, South Africa). They are all nearly the same age as Erich but all at different grade levels. World Vision is gracious enough to translate the letters we send back and forth. I have sent them small gifts - like stickers...

Anyway, the letter I received today was extra special. On many occasions when I get updates about "my" kids, it is written by a World Vision missionary. This letter from Jhonnathan was handwritten by him - the first I have received in his penmanship. Plastered with stickers that I have sent him and on the back of the two pages he wrote was a great pencil drawing he did of the school yard - complete with a soccer net (one of the boys in the drawing looks like Erich - his shirt says "USA" on it), Jhonnathan is also pictured, in a t-shirt with a Brazilian flag on it. His drawing skills have come a long way since I first started receiving them. Jhonnathan, despite being 13, is in the 4th grade.

Here is his heart-wrenching letter (as translated by World Vision):

Hi dear Sherri,

We are very happy to have you as our friend. Thank you for the stickers! My sisters (Jennifer and Deborah) and I love them. I send a hug to your son and love soccer too, like him.

My sister Deborah and I have a dog called "Pipoco," a cat called "Serafim" and a fish called "Mel."

I take part in capoeira class (a Brazilian form of martial arts/dance) at the Project (World Vision facility) and I'm very excited, because my friends and I always do capoeira. It's very nice!

It's great to have your love! I live with my sisters, because my dad passed away when I was 8 years old, and my mom passed away, when I was 10 years old.

I send a strong hug to you.

From your friend, Jhonnathan. I love you forever.

On the handwritten copy of Jhonnathan's letter at the bottom he wrote those words in English. The words "I LOVE YOU FOREVER" in all capitals. Just seeing them makes me cry. Sometimes I wonder who benefits more from sponsorship... these kids or me. :)

Can you imagine if these 4 kids come to know the love of Christ, just by small donations each month and a team of people that make huge sacrifices to be with them? To know how much Jesus loves them? To know that because of what these missionaries do they get school supplies and immunizations, along with clean drinking water and things they wouldn't otherwise get? I hope someday I meet them in Heaven and I can thank them in person for the impressions they have left on my heart forever...

Sorry, I get carried away. I tried to scan the picture he drew; but I'm scanner challenged. heehee.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A selfish post...

I got to talk to Erich last night - maybe only because his dad made him (I called there). I hadn't talked to him since the 8th. I had gotten a one-line email here or there, but not many good conversations... nothing really new to report - school, friends and weekend trips... still, none of their things have arrived. It's all in Brazil on a dock somewhere. Getting closer!

I struggle with feeling like I am out-of-sight, out-of-mind... like I've 'lost' him. I know it's just downright retarded of me to think that way and admittedly, I am happy that he is happy - because if he was miserable there I'd feel pretty helpless. But every once in a while I sink into these little pity parties I have for myself... I am sure all parents of near teenagers 'lose' their kids as they grow more independent and push more boundaries... if he were home maybe he'd have me drop him off at school a block away as the stories go. I'm no longer 'cool' or 'hip'! :) Whatever happened to those days when I was the BEST MOM EVER???

I am reminded of a song by Mark Schultz called "When You Come Home." The lyrics follow. I cannot read them or listen to the song without thinking of Erich and crying... Erich - when you read this and get to the chorus (in bold) - know that these words are exactly how I feel. I am always here - no matter how far. I am sure you'll roll your eyes and say "whatever" but for all the moms out there than can relate, here is a great song:

My first day of recess
They all laughed at me
When I fell off the swing set
And scraped up my knee
The nurse called my Momma
To say I'd be late,
And when she gave me the phone
I could hear Momma say
"I'm so sorry, son. Oh I think you're' so brave"
And she was smilin when she said:

When you come home,
No matter how far,
Run through the door
And into my arms
It's where you are loved,
It's where you belong
And I will be here
When you come home

I waved good-bye through the window
As I boarded the plane,
My first job in Houston
Was waiting for me
I found a letter from Momma
Tucked in my coat
And as I flew down the runway
I smiled when she wrote:
I'll miss you, son,
You'll be so far away
But I'll be waiting for the day

When you come home
No matter how far,
Run through the door
And into my arms
It's where you are loved,
It's where you belong,
And I will be here
When you come home

Well, I don't think
She can hear you now,
The doctor told me
Your mother is fading,
It's best that you leave
So I whispered, I love you
And then turned away.
But I stopped at the door
When I heard Momma say,
I love you, son,
But they're callin me away
Promise me before I go

When you come home,
No matter how far,
Run through the door
And into my arms;
It's where you are loved,
It's where you belong,
And I will be here
When you come home,
When you come home

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Erich's Humanities paper

Not sure if this is the final draft or not but it's a neat story... Erich has agreed to let me post it here:

Why we need computers

Jimmy hit the print button and rushed out the door, the bus, at the curb almost revving its engines.
"Sorry I'm late; I had to print my homework" Jimmy said to the bus driver. He walked down the middle feeling embarrassed for being late. He sat down next to his friend Michael and put his hands in his face.
"Ah, I'm so tired"
"Yeah same here, I had a basketball game last night. I didn’t get home until 9:00. I could barely do my homework." Jimmy sat and looked outside for the rest of the ride.
"Attention class!" yelled Mrs. Lance, Jimmy's language arts teacher. She was about 6foot 3inches, brown hair and not the best age to be teaching, about 65. "Today we are starting a new curriculum and we will be getting more work more often. We will be working all class today on an essay and then it will be homework due next Monday." Jimmy nervously thought; I've never needed to study for tests before, or do an essay for homework.
"You will be given a subject to write on. It needs to be three pages long at least. I will call out the names and your subject: Angela: astronomy, Nick: Soccer, Daniel: Carnaval, Pablo: Physics…" Mrs. Lance called them off one by one. Jimmy waited for his name until he got what he wasn’t expecting. "Jimmy you get: Robots." Jimmy had no prior knowledge of robots, what he thought of robots were: I used to play with one when I was young, I just cranked it up and it moved its arms around and walked.
Later that day he didn’t know what to do, so he went to go play with his friends and he said he would do it tomorrow. And even the next day he set it off, and again, and again, until Sunday night 7:00. He couldn’t believe it. So he started to write it, step by step, he said
"Ok what can I do to learn about robots? I can go to the library and I can get a book. But my mom won't take me because it's too far away. Umm..." he waited five minutes, thinking so hard he gave himself a headache and gave up. He went to school the next day and said he doesn’t know how to do it.
"Jimmy do you know how to use a computer?"
"No not really, I never seemed to need it before."
"Jimmy, you know there is internet you can use to look it up, to get more information."
"Really? But how will I put it on paper?"
"It's called Microsoft Word. It lets you write down anything you want, except instead of writing you can type it."
"Wow thanks"
"Come after school and ill show you how to use it."
So later he went to the school computer lab and Mrs. Lance told him just about all she knew about computers. Soon enough he could create his own website. Now Jimmy can do his homework.
That same day he spent 4 hours looking up information and putting it into speech. He even drank coffee for the first time. When he finished, he had at least five pages worth of information. He even had to go to bed because his eyes hurt from being fixed on that screen for so long. The next day he felt like he had just won the Oscars. He went in with a smirk on his face, thinking he created an invention. 2 minutes until class starts, Jimmy had been sitting in his seat papers out and ready to hand it in. Class started and immediately Mrs. Lance called for the papers and Jimmy's, of course, the first to go in. Of course he got an A++ and later on when he got to high school he created some of his own websites. He got a degree in technology and in became rich making computers and designing video games. Even started his own company.

Monday, March 16, 2009

More Portuguese fun

Hmmm, well - I guess I should eat my words now... I have been blessed this afternoon with some great conversation with Erich via his iPod/internet connection. I was asking questions and he was responding in PORTUGUESE! There is a great tool out there compliments of Yahoo called Babelfish. You can copy the garbley-goop (aka Portuguese) into Babelfish and select Portuguese to English and walla! It translates it... Here are some of the things he said to me regarding his study session with Ignacio this weekend (and the translations)...

Estudamos ciência prova que é amanhã.

We study science test that is tomorrow.

(at this point I asked him to confirm the translation)

Sim, o teste é chamado de uma busca.

Yes, the test is called a search.

Pretty cool stuff...

As an avid reader of my blog I'd like to say thanks, Erich - for sharing some Portuguese and great conversation with me today. You made my day. Thank you too, for allowing me to share your TERRIFIC humanities paper (to be posted tomorrow)!

Portuguese iPod?

Erich took these snapshots of what a couple of his iPod menus look like translated into Portuguese...

This week Erich was very busy with schoolwork. He seems really well adjusted to the move, the new environment and culture both at home and at school. Consequently, I hear from him less and less. He wrote a great paper for humanities that Krysten shared with me and I've asked his permission to re-print it here... stay tuned!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More great progress at school...

Erich played only one of the three softball games the Eagles had yesterday... he had a few hits but played left field and said he didn't get any hits out that way...

Here is a note from Erich's World Geography teacher about Erich's progress so far:

This note is just to let you know that Erich is doing very well in World Geography. He is a curious, participatory student who has always something interesting to share during our class discussions. He has now a solid B with a strong potential to become an A by the end of the quarter. I will keep you posted.

GO ERICH! :) Wish I was there to celebrate with you!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Progress Reports and more softball

Today, (Saturday, March 7), Erich has three softball games. I hope to be able to share the outcome of those this evening! In the meantime, I wanted to share some notes from Erich's first progress report from The Graded School of Sao Paolo. I am so proud and humbled that God is with him and giving him such peace and the true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity he had hoped for...

In Portuguese:

Erich seems very well adapted and comfortable in his PFLA group (Portuguese). He is increasing his participation in class and starting to speak out more during the activities, which is great! I expect to see that happening more and more, so the learning process can be consolidated.

And this from his Art class:

Current Academic Grade: A The focus of instruction in ART II is on three-dimensional design. The students are introduced to Ceramics in order to model, construct and carve clay while applying design principles to their projects. The expressive and functional nature of clay are explored as well as the design potentials and limitations inherent in this material.

We started the quarter with an Identity project where the students were asked to create a mask to portray different aspects of their personalities. Erich seems to be well adjusted to our routine and has worked well with clay. He is a hard worker and is almost done with his second project! (Coil project) while many of his classmates just started!! It has been a pleasure to have Erich in this class!

:) My heart is overflowing! God is so good!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Erich and his new best friends...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

ESPN moment...

I spoke to Erich on Tuesday after his softball game... he only had 1 at bat and didn't get a hit but made (almost) 2 catches... he was playing left field and a ball sailed out to left center and Erich dove to catch it - it hit his glove but he wasn't able to keep hold of it. But I could hear the ESPN play-of-the-game jingle in my head as I imagined him diving to make a great play!!

Erich was back to school this week after a week of Carnival vacation similar to winter break here in the States. Erich got to pick electives for his last semester of 7th grade and he chose guitar. (Hmmm - Mr. Slaughter, his former History teacher may have had something to do with this perhaps? or being an expert at Guitar Hero on both the Xbox 360 and the Wii???? for the record, I cannot complete even ONE SONG on easy mode before getting booed off the stage!). ROCK OUT Erich - or whatever it is that's hip and cool these days... I'll light my virtual iPod lighter (an application Erich and I have on our iPod touches that looks like a real flickering lighter - that when you shake the iPod closes the lid on the flame). You know I'll be your #1 fan!

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's Carnival time

Erich is off now for a week for "Carnival"... the following website shows some celebrations that happen in Rio, just a few hours from their home... www (dot) rio-carnival (dot) net. (I can't post the link to the site - it gets scrambled in the post). Here is some information from the site:

Although Carnival (Carnaval in Portuguese) is celebrated in towns and villages throughout Brazil and other Catholic countries, Rio de Janeiro has long been regarded as the Carnival Capital of the World. The Rio Carnaval is not only the biggest Carnival, benchmark against which every other carnival is compared but also one of the most interesting artistic events on the Globe. Pretty much everyone has heard of the Rio Carnaval. Foreign visitors to it alone number around 500,000 every year.

Rio Carnival is a wild 4 day celebration, 40 days before Easter. It officially starts on Saturday and finishes on Fat Tuesday with the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday after which one is supposed to abstain from all bodily pleasures. Carnival with all its excesses, celebrated as a profane event, can thus be considered an act of farewell to the pleasures of the flesh. It usually happens in February, the hottest month in the Southern Hemisphere, when the Rio summer is at its peak.

There are carnival celebrations in virtually every corner of Brazil, the best-known ones taking place in Recife together with the neighboring Olinda (in the Northeast of Brazil) and Salvador. But the biggest and most famous carnival is undoubtedly the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

Well, I don't know about you but that was way more information than I needed to know...

This week I didn't get too many updates... Erich had his first math test, and his first sleep-over at a friends house. His father managed to get a 13-inch t.v. for them and Erich is able to play Xbox again... He seems to be doing well and thriving there. He loves school, is really loving his new social life and it is turning out to be just as he had hoped...

Stay tuned... hoping to get more photos soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another TRIPLE!!!

On Saturday, Erich had another softball game... he was catcher this game and told a story of how a batter swung and let go of the bat - whizzing past his head - thankfully! He got another triple!!!! and 2 singles - getting on base every at bat... he was very excited...

He also told me about a restaurant they had visited where they serve Picanha ... which is a cut of beef we don't find here in the U.S. except at a Brazilian Restaurant in CA called Picanha Churrascaria that I found on Google... (Erich tried to teach me how to say Churrascaria right but I couldn't get it... it sounded more like "ja-ha-scaria' or something like that...). He said school is going well - the only class he doesn't have homework in is 'gym'. ;)

Nothing else new to report...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Softball pics

Erich on 3rd base after his triple...

Erich's team on the field...

Erich in right field...

Erich in the driveway at home...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 2 of Softball games

Saturday entailed two softball games for the new Eagle softball player... There were two games. He played two innings the first game and four innings the second game. He got 2 hits (one was a triple!), the other a base hit, and made one out and snagged one that got past him but he was able to keep the runner from advancing past first. He got an RBI (runs batted in) too! They won the first game but lost the second. I AM SO PROUD! He was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited to call and tell me... his coach was also proud of how well he did and has promised him more playing time! Imagine that? Our computer/video game whiz is also a terrific softball player!

Also, I sent him a "test" postcard to see if he'd actually get mail and how long it would take... I used the first address I posted, because at the time it was the only one I had! IT WORKED! And he got it in exactly 1 week! Not bad! He was excited about that too... He had a great Saturday and I enjoyed our time on the phone of well over half an hour! He had some homework in Math and Humanities. Today (Sunday) they were heading to Japan Town. Apparently Brazil has the highest population of Japanese people outside of Japan. I didn't know this. :)

I hope to get some pictures from the softball games. Thanks for checking in!

God bless!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Go Eagles!

This week, the little man tried out for the boy's slow-pitch softball team - the Eagles. He made the J.V. team and plays right-center field. I hope to get some pictures SOON of him in uniform and with his team! Their first game was TODAY! They won 3-2! He played 2 innings, but didn't get any hits. He has 2 games tomorrow... I am very happy and excited for him but you know me - it kills me that I can't be there to embarrass, I mean cheer for him.

Stay tuned!

Monday, February 2, 2009

School update

Sorry I haven't updated the blog much... I have been really down lately.

Anyway, I spoke to Crunchie a few times the last few days. Friday I talked to him at length about his first week of school and his schedule... Of course I was driving and couldn't write it down but his weeks are broken down into days. Days A, B, C, & D. For example, On Day A he has Portuguese, Humanities (History and English combined) Vocal Music (he's trying to transfer to Art) and something else. Science maybe? Eeeks, I have forgotten already. Anyway, On Day B he has Gym, Math, Humanities, etc. Day C is similar to A but all mixed up... and D is somewhat like B. His classes are 80 minutes long and he goes to school from about 8:30 to 3:00. I think it's neat that he only has most of his classes 2x per week. Humanities class is one the only one he has every day. How fun that he is learning Portuguese... even though I am 1/2 Portuguese I don't know the language. My mom does though. It will be fun this summer to hear them share conversation in Portuguese and to learn the differences between Brazilian Portuguese and mainland Portuguese!!! I am going to get some tapes from the library to see if I can learn a word or too... Oh, and I'll try and get more info on his school schedule. It sounds interesting. Oh, after days A,B,C,&D they start all over... so Friday he had A day and today was B day.

Erich also shared a lot about the food. His step-mom too. I guess their skin has changed so much because of all the organic and fresh things they have available to them. Erich said they have the most amazing beans and rice dish that he eats every day. And get this... please sit down for this - the other day he had donuts and he DIDN'T EVEN LIKE THEM!!! His stepmom told me she bought some! Can you imagine? Erich not wanting DONUTS?

He also talked about the cars there ... Fiat's and Citroen's... FUN!

Here is one more photo... on the trail by their house. His 1/2 sister, BrieAnne. She's so cute and getting so big (she turned 2 on January 10). He took all the photos I've posted himself, except the one of him... that was courtesy of his step-mom... I wanted to SEE him and this is the best she could get from him first thing on Sunday morning. ;) he was not very cooperative. Thanks anyway! It's so good to see him!!!

BrieAnne on the trails...

More pictures ...

Erich and his iPod...

an orchid tree...

a house in their neighborhood...

the walking trail in their neighborhood...

more on the trail...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

YAY! First photos

A view of the neighborhood.

Where the t.v. will live - someday...

the living room - with temporary furniture for now...

the back porch

the pool! :)
These are the first photos from Erich - I'll send more tomorrow - there were a ton... including one of a lizard they found in the backyard. Ewww.
Thanks for checking in! More tomorrow. God bless!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Long Distance...

Well, yesterday I got my first phone call from Crunch since they got to the house... it was SOOOOO good to hear his voice... I didn't get to talk to him long because I was at work but it made my day! He told me about his teachers, and his new friend who is also his "ambassador" (basically another 7th grader that has taken him under his wing this semester). He has new friends from Oklahoma and Canada... he later told me that the Graded School in Sao Paulo is rated as one the top schools in the whole world. His step-mom told me she met a mom from Geneva that has moved her kids to the U.S. and then to Brazil just to find the best education for her kids. Crunchie told me it's in the 70's there, and it rains every single day (like Florida - where they get 1/2 hour showers every afternoon). He had homework in math. He has a Humanities class in which he has to read 80 pages a week from a book of his choice. Imagine my utter delight when he chose "The Shack" by William P. Young... YAY! It's a fiction story about a man who spends the weekend with God. I digress though - he only had a choice between 2 books (all that he has at home right now) but I am still proud of my son for choosing that over "Ghost Recon"... :) GO GOD! He talked about the cars there - particularly the Ford Fiesta - which he informed me will be built at Michigan Truck after they finish modifications there. He sounded so great and so at peace... although I'd love for him to be missing us all, I too, have peace that he is doing well and that his experience is better than he could have even imagined. I can see and hear the changes in him already. All for the better of course (hmm, I'm a little biased)...

Later I received a quick email about a song I should download - and that he had changed the background on his iPod to a picture of me - so he can see me face every time he uses it. Gotta love that (hope he has widescreen)... heehee.

Oh - he has taken lots of photos but I guess technology is a bit behind there... and I guess until they get their desktop computer they can't send any... so next post I'll share some older photos of the Crunch-meister...

And the park he went to over the weekend (with a long, crazy Portuguese name) is like Central Park in New York... complete with a lake... you can rent bikes, feed the birds, ducks, etc.

More soon...

Monday, January 26, 2009

1st day of school in Brazil

my first day was AWESOME. i saw some kids i saw on Wednesday and im already friends with one. The schedule is sorta confusing but ill get used to it. my iPod is really slow downloading emails so i didnt get most of them. ill log on in a sec so i can look at them. loooove you!

This is great news. I am trying to get some photos... stay tuned!