Second Year {More Normal}

Two years ago today our family of 5 packed 15 bags. After saying “good”byes that were much more hard than good, we got on a plane. Two years!! 730 days ago, but we still remember it like it was yesterday, we moved our life to Brazil. We have felt alot of things in all those days. But one thing we have never felt is alone. We have such dear people still journeying with us…despite the distance. I cannot even find words to express how much that means to us.

A year ago, I wrote New Normal, about the little things that have made their imprint on our thinking and our ways.

First year.
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Now that we’ve been here a whole ‘nother year, you can know life in Brazil has become part of our life and some things have become even “more normal.” And yet, sometimes when we stop to think about it, it all sounds a little crazy. 🙂

Second year.
2015-11-24 15.45.57

  • Red lipstick. The first time I ever wore red lipstick, it was for a costume. Our boys’ reaction: “Mom! What did you do?? Will that come off??” But here it’s “chique” (stylish). Being a missionary means learning to adapt, right? Even if it means red lipstick now and then 😉
  • The kids’ favorite thing to do after homeschool now is go fishing at the creek.
    DSC_0076
  • Our entire 1st year, they had to be accompanied by an adult, for fear of all that “could” happen. 2nd year means momma lets them walk down to the river by themselves and prays without ceasing until they come home. Then they gut their fish, fry ’em up, and savor every morsel until this is what’s left.
    2015-09-13 17.20.19
  • After their snack, it’s time for “tick check.”  Jack holds the record with finding 21 ticks on himself at one time.
  • Your child may pour himself a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast or make herself some toast. Ours…….. well, they go outside to hunt for queen ants, pop off their butts, fry them in butter and salt, and eat them. True story.
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  • This is a totally normal sight–our town’s version of a traffic jam. 
    2015-09-16 12.46.11
  • Only took 2 years of gas prices in Brazil to think my husband having a dirt bike is a good idea. It is super economical and practical, and we’re thankful.
    {Pray for him tho? :)}
    2015-11-02 15.18.18
  • There’s enough battles to choose from that sometimes letting your kids wear a neck pillow to church doesn’t seem like a big deal. For one, we don’t get home until 10pm. For two, kids are viewed here… as kids.
    2015-08-23 20.10.05
  • We’re still learning new things, like this is what happens when you attach Bom Bril (Brazilian steel wool) to a broom handle and light it. DiY Fireworks!!
    2015-11-20 20.28.29
  • We’ve had plenty of opportunities to work on our dress-up. Here is our family in the 60’s for a Decade Night.
    2015-09-15 19.01.39-1
  • Finally figured out how to keep the ants away from our strawberries. Now if I could only outsmart the birds. 
    2015-11-09 14.12.34
  • When the electricity goes out, then the *real* entertainment begins. André {with an electrocuting tennis racket} vs. ALL the flying creatures in our home. 2015-11-04 21.31.52
  • Gas stations pump your gas for you. They also wash your windshield–which means they pour water from a watering can and scrub your windshield with a broom. It makes me laugh… every time 🙂
    2015-09-24 14.49.05
  • These two have gotten even more “jungley.” We have regular safety talks with them, because we still see countless possibilities for danger, when all they see is countless possibilities to imagine and create. 
    2015-08-29 17.15.12
  • Sometimes the grocery store doesn’t have black tea or rice flour or tortilla chips…for months at a time, so I’ve become a bit of a hoarder when they come back in stock.
    2015-11-22 11.51.41
  • How exciting are little glimpses of familiarity–KFC in Brazil!! It’s never gonna be “finger-lickin’ good,” cuz Brazilians don’t lick their fingers. But, the boys cannot wait for this “taste of home.”
    2015-09-28 18.03.47
  • 1st year, I threw out the chicken head and feet. 2nd year, I make bone broth!
    2015-10-07 13.21.40
  • Still not used to the smell of the meat market though. 
    2015-08-17 15.58.01-1
  • 1st year I took them to swim lessons and sat by the pool–unofficial lifeguard duty. 2nd year I do like every other mom and drop them off at swim classes, then run errands. Sometimes I’m not there when they get done and they have to wait on the bench out front. Go ahead and judge. I may have judged moms like me a year ago too! But now I’m just thankful for the 2 hours a week a dear lady is willing to watch my kids AND teach them how to swim!
  • Our 7 year old gets embarrassed because he’s the only one NOT wearing Speedos. “Mom! Can you please buy me some Speedos like all the other kids?” Sorry son, I just can’t. Maybe next year… 😉
  • My last haircut in Brazil left me with a rat tail. SO, I’m going on 6 months… need to get my haircut… but for now, a ponytail wins over a rattail.
  • 1st year we were f.r.e.a.k.e.d out by the novelty of finding scorpions in the house. 2nd year, we collect them and take them into town where they extract their venom to make an anti-venom.
  • Our cockatiels wake us up with their cat calls at the sunrise. I just have to smile. And believe it makes God smile as well. #madetopraise
  • 2nd year was our first trip to the local hospital. It went like this. Doctor: “What do you think he has? What type of antibiotic do you think he needs? And, do you know the dosage of that?” OH dear.
  • I do love the ways our kids are adapting. How they have been forced to be creative and make-do. We brought a bat and ball from the U.S. for them to play baseball, but they prefer an empty 2-liter and handmade yarn ball.
  • Periodically our kids will flip on light switches and exclaim “Yes! The power is STILL on!” It’s just become normal to have it go off.
  • Jude IN HIS SLEEP: “Panettone…Chocotone…” These are a few of his favorite things.
  • Jack says now he sneezes in Portuguese. Instead of “Achoo!” he sneezes “Atchim!”
  • We laugh. But, also thank God our kids have picked up the language so quickly and so well that they even talk in their sleep in Portuguese!
  • The more I try to step out of my comfort zone and communicate, the more mistakes I make. Like, the time I answered the phone (which is the hardest for me) and instead of asking “Would you like to leave a message?” I said “Would you like to borrow a sermon?” I can’t even post the most embarrassing one. Let’s just say it’s a fine line between humbling and humiliating. 😉
  • My cooking has become more Brazilian. We went from eating rice and beans once a week to eating rice and beans atleast 4 times a week. Two years ago, I had no idea how to make passion fruit juice or jabuticaba jam or carrot cake w/ chocolate frosting or chicken stroganoff or manioc fries. Now they’re some of our faves.
  • Students love to share their “finds” with our boys–whether it be a tiny bat or a huge tarantula, a scorpion or a snake–our boys feel so special and add them to their collection.
  • The first time I wrote Lawry’s seasoned salt and Ranch dressing packets at the top of my “Wish List” when asked what we would like from the States, I had to chuckle. The longer we’re here, the more “missionary” my wish list looks.
  • We are still called “German.” Our kids are still called “Little German.”
  • People still ask where I’m from and make a big deal when I say the United States. {They don’t ask André–to them, he’s a Brazilian who married an American.} Then they’ll yell out “She’s from the US!” Still not sure what I’m supposed to do… Duck and run? Smile and wave? Who knows.
  • When my mom asked Miles what he wants for Christmas, his reply: “You know those ads you get for the day after Thanksgiving? {We’re all thinking he has his eye on something in the ad, but no.} Well, could you send me the ads?” He wants the AD!!!!!
  • Jack was reminiscing about soccer camp in the States. He told me about one morning he woke up before all the other kids to take a shower just for the fun of it. His face lit up and he said, “Mom! You could change the temperature of the water there!!” I love that his “normal” has become not to be able to.
  • An actual conversation with my 6 year old in the grocery store:
    Me: “Jude, remind me to get Catupiry.”
    Jude: “Oh mom. Your accent is so cute…Catupiry.” (He says absolutely perfect–NO accent.)
  • Taking a 2nd year prayer card picture means you set up an ironing board in the field next to your house and put your camera on top; set the timer and hope everyone’s smiling 🙂 DSC_0184

Two years. We’ve gotten used to alot.
Now and then, our shower goes cold. I just consider it a lymphatic cleanse.
Sometimes our electric goes off. We have come to enjoy a surprise candlelit dinner.

BUT. I don’t know that we’ll every get used to being so very far away from loved ones. The homesick doesn’t go away, it only goes deeper. Sometimes it surfaces when we least expect it. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, and I have to remind myself why we’re here.

When I consider how fleeting is this life, my convictions grow even stronger. I don’t think we were put on this earth to chase after our comforts. When all I want is familiar, I have to remind myself Jesus’ final words weren’t challenging His followers to live near people who think and act and talk the most like us.

Then Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I never anticipated making disciples of all nations would involve so many ticks or mushrooms growing in my shower. But this is where the Lord has placed us. We’re gonna embrace the quirky and we’re gonna learn to make the most of it! We’ll probably mess up, like we do. We may lose perspective, like we do. But. Year after year, we’re gonna resolve to live fully and love deeply and shine brightly for His glory… wherever we are… even if it all sounds a little crazy. 😉

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3 thoughts on “Second Year {More Normal}

  1. Denise Browning@From Brazil To You

    Thanks a lot for the links. Most important of all, I am so glad you guys got used to live in Brazil and appreciate the simple yet delicious/interesting things it has to offer. About licking fingers, I would say just do it anyway — at least once. 🙂 It’s OK! — this comes from a native Brazilian (who has been living in the US for more than 13 years but still a Brazilian). Wishing you all ‘ um feliz natal!’ (Merry Xmas!).

    Reply
  2. Luke Shaver

    This was really intriguing and entertaining to read! It’s been a while, but still miss y’all even if you had little interaction personally with me when you were at CCC, it has impacted me significantly and the way that you’ve blessed people there and the way that this flows on to new people who may be unaware of your personalities, quirks, hearts for God and the stories you have is a fascinating thing and encourages my heart. Nevertheless, as I am teaching the elementary youth at CCC on Wednesday nights, I have shown them your prayer card and briefly mentioned some things you guys are doing! Even by the little guys, you are treasured and its a privilege to partner in the gospel with y’all!!!

    Reply
  3. marcgoodwin14

    Thanks for sharing this! We miss you guys but are so grateful for how God is using you in Brazil–and for how He is steadily making that your home.

    Reply

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