This is Janelle, even though it says Matt as the author (he would never write this much), so…if you are really interested, keep reading, this will be long, and a bit sarcastic at points, so if sarcasm bothers you I apologize in advance.
We left Bloomington at 4:15 in the afternoon Wed. the 8th. We landed in Dallas about 6:50 on Tues. eve, Jan 8, about 20 min. late but found the gate for our next flight. Got Popeye’s chicken & biscuits for supper and didn’t have to wait long to board the plane for Sao Paulo. Our seats were supposed to be in 5 different rows, but thankfully people were willing to switch and I ended up with all the girls and Matt and Luke were together. It was a big airplane, 2 seats on each of the outside rows and 5 across in the middle. Each seat had it’s own screen with a decent tv/movie selection, the kids were thrilled to be able to watch the Disney Channel (at least the girls, we couldn’t even see Matt & Luke) for awhile. That flight took off an hour late, due to some ‘communication issue’ they were trying to resolve. Very thankfully, it did not seem that long, due in large part to the Disney Channel :). So we left about 9:30. And they serve dinner on these long flights, so we got our food about 10:30 or so. The girls were still awake, due in large part, of course, to the Disney Channel :). About 11 I took Sierra to put her pj’s on & told the other girls to shut theirs off and go to sleep. I had about 3 two hour naps so didn’t feel too bad the next morning. Jaelah and Sierra both slept straight through I think, Mariah was awake once when I was about 4:00. I think Matt watched movies—don’t think he could fall asleep—more from discomfort than excitement though! He might have slept a couple hours. They served us breakfast about 7:30 or 8:00 I think. Not sure—I didn’t change my watch til we landed and we’re four hours ahead of Illinois here. We landed here about 11:45 SP time, an hour & 15 late. Took us a couple hours to get all our bags, change into shorts, get through customs, and wind our way out to where our van driver was still waiting for us. Sierra got VERY tired & crabby as soon as we got off the plane (she was in a pretty good mood up until that point) and decided she wouldn’t walk. So that was fun.
Took an hour or so to get to our apartment from the airport. The Van driver had been given the wrong building number for the apartment bldg. so we drove down this street several times trying to find it—he finally called the guy from the language school who set it all up and clarified with him. We were missing one suitcase when we left the airport—didn’t see anywhere to report it while there so called American when we got here and they said it arrived with us on the plane and was at the airport. We were about the last people to leave the baggage carousel area (with our six luggage carts) and there was nothing left on it and no stray luggage sitting around, so not sure if we just missed it somehow, or someone else took it and realized it wasn’t theirs…or what happened. Anyway, Pierre (from the language school) called and they brought it to us on Friday! Thank goodness, because I really needed my tweezers! I was really glad I got travel size toiletries because that was the bag with all our full size stuff in it—not that we couldn’t have lived without any of it, but made it easier.
So—Matt stepped off the apartment and said it’s 980 sq. ft, which means it’s bigger than the rental we were in in Gibson! Not by much, but it is :). Pretty decent closet/storage space-I don’t think we’ll be tripping over these suitcases for the next several months. And it is very sunny, which is nice. Two toilets, which Matt is very thankful for. He has already claimed his—it is just a little room with a toilet in it, so no one is going to fight him for it. I miss my clothes dryer already, but will get used to it. There are 5 long bars attached to strings that I can raise & lower from up by the ceiling with this little hook—so I do have some ‘clothesline’. Just takes awhile to dry. So I have to wait several hours to start another load….kind of like…in Anchor! Isn’t that neat how God has been preparing me for life in Brazil for years? I’m sure I’ll think so when I’m used to it again :).
The first night (Wed) we put the kids to bed about 9:00. I think they went to sleep fairly quick, and we didn’t hear anything out of them til 11 the next morning. Matt & I went to bed a little after 10…and listened to the dogs bark, and the traffic, for hours. I was awake at one point when it was still dark, and realized that it was quiet-er. Not quiet, but much quieter. We are pretty close to the intersection of two main roads (one is about a block north of us and one is kind of behind our apartment building). We are not used to this, and I was reminded again why I do not love the city. The motorcycles going down our street seem to be especially loud.
The windows here are a little different, there are glass panels that open & close and metal type shutters that open and close too to keep out the light—but they don’t really keep out the sound, and the glass isn’t covering the whole window space—hard to explain—just imagine sleeping with your windows wide open next to the interstate—or maybe an exit on the interstate, since there is lots of starting and stopping. I’m sure we’ll get used to it too. When we first moved to Clarksville last year I heard every semi that stopped at the stop sign for the first couple weeks, and every time the train went through town, and then not so much. So, 7 days down…only 5 more to go—hopefully. We do have 1 fan that I move depending on who is trying to go to sleep—covers a little noise. Our landlords are great, came over Thursday to meet us. They had fresh fruit & some cookies on the counter when we first got here, Guarana in the fridge—soap, laundry soap, tp, etc.in the bathroom. Nice to not have to go out and get that stuff the first day. Matt and Jaelah did go find the grocery store late Wed. afternoon & our first supper here was bread with Nutella and peanut butter (that I brought) and fruit :). Thursday we unpacked some more and ALL went to the grocery store, Came back and cooked a frozen pizza in the toaster oven (we did take Jaelah’s socks out first, for those who heard that story), couldn’t get our oven to light.
We have new appliances—stove, frig, and washing machine—very nice, and all about ½ to 2/3 the size in the US. Got rice and beans, but they don’t have minute rice and canned beans here, and I need to put the instructions on the back of the bag into Google Translate, so that meal has to wait for another night. Last Friday, Matt walked and found the language school, said it took him about 25 min. but could be shorter once it isn’t necessary to check the map continually to make sure you’re on the right street.
On Friday, we met two other families last week, both Wycliffe missionaries, one going to Porto Velho here in Brazil (the husband is a pilot also), and the other going to Mozambique. They invited us for supper and walked over to get us—about 15 min. to get to their place. Fun evening, nice to be with some other people in the same boat as us. One family has been here 4 months, the other 2 weeks (and that family has a 7 yr. old boy-Luke was a little excited!) And then I walked up all nine flights of stairs when we got back, Matt said WHY??, I told him today I didn’t get winded til the 6th floor—yesterday when I did it it was barely the 4th! There is an elevator, this was by choice, for exercise. If nothing else I should be in decent shape at the end of language school! AND, on the walk over there we saw McDonald’s (two blocks from here), Burger King & Pizza Hut. Matt says yes, but you still have to order in Portuguese :). Not that we can eat out all the time, or would pick American restaurants if we could (we’ve also seen an Applebee’s & Outback Steakhouse advertised—I think they’re at the mall which is farther from here), but it is kind of nice to have something somewhat familiar close. And we have a really nice park/zoo just about a block away—beautiful view of a TON of trees from our windows, which is awesome. Matt said he thought he heard a lion roaring the other night :).
Thanks, and thanks to those of you who were able to come & see us off at the airport—and we love you!!