Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Just Adjust

You know, Pavlov was onto something. One accustoms oneself to one's own culture. Adjustment to another culture takes time, but can be done. And the adage that you can't teach an old dog new tricks isn't too far off either. However, with enough self-control, a proper amount of help, determination, and freedom to still live part of your old culture within the new one, it can be done. A healthy dose of the fruits of the Spirit cushion the whole adventure into a much better experience.

 I think that was the part we were missing there for awhile. Sometimes one reverts to raw instincts (AKA the flesh) when faced with something challenging, like sports or traffic, or living in a new unknown-ish environment. One thing we have concluded, when people tell you something, make sure you only take it as their suggestion, not necessarily fact. This will make learning to be flexible much easier. ;-)

 So, here's a run down of our first full month in Belem, Brazil. The first week we spent living in a room of missionary friends until the house we were to move into became available. During that time I got my voter's registration card which then allowed me to get my CPF (like a SS card in USA) so we can now ship our container of household goods to us. (I will be SO happy to get a washing machine!!)

 The second week we moved into our upstairs house rental, where we unpacked our suitcases and 10 plastic totes. We managed to bring a portable/camping stove, microwave, a large toaster oven, a few camping chairs, cooking “gear” (pots, pans, cups, dishes, etc.), air mattresses, sheets, and pillows for bedding. Friends are letting us borrow chairs and tables, and a portable AC unit. We figured out how to Jerry-rig another window AC unit so the kids can have AC as well. We tend to just turn the AC on at night because we have been told electricity here is outrageous. We shall find out...

 The subsequent weeks we continued settling in, knowing the area, meeting new Brazilians, and Bill's permanent residency taken care of and all official documents sent to Brasilia for approval. And just today I managed to get my RG (Identification Card) which will now allow us to open a bank account. Woo hoo! There doesn't seem to be an end to the amount of paper work or documents we've had to do. But in reality, were the situation reversed, I am sure foreigners in the US must have to do a lot of paperwork just to live there as well.

 But the end is in sight. In fact, we will be visiting another missionary family on one of the islands soon and I think we will all enjoy the get-away. We met them at another missionary couple's house on New Years. We hope to see where and how they live and pick their brains on how things have been working for them.

To help you visualize our new environment, here are a few photos. Enjoy!

You can see a bunch more photos at http://www.flickr.com/yelwarlib

Scrumptious pie crust cinnamon twists from my little oven.
The boys' current sleeping arrangements.  Apparently hammocks are very comfortable.
Doing laundry by hand and kids on technology.  What a contrast!
Muffin size apple tarts.  Yum!  Recipe coming soon.

The living room, boys' bedroom, and office.
Kitchen, complete with "cupboard" (plastic tote) and "pantry" (shelving).
My oven.  Woo hoo!
Laundry room and 2nd kitchen-ish
Our "backyard" (it's actually just a cement balcony where I can hang laundry.  That's the neighbor's house on the ground level.)     

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