It's already October! Wow! Where does the time go. I'm a little bummed I'm going to miss Halloween this month because it's defiantly my favorite holiday but it's good. I wouldn't trade being in Brasil for anything. This week has been a week. Conference weekend was the best way to start it off. The Gospel is so DOPE and I was so happy that even 6,000 miles away from Utah I can still listen to the words of our Savior!
After conference, I don't know how it's possible but my week only got better. Monday was probably one of the best days I've had since I've been here. I didn't end up going to school (we woke up too late hehe). This worked out perfectly because my package from PARKER WRIGHT came!!!! I had been waiting patiently for this to arrive and the day had finally come! (It was the cutest present ever. THANK YOU SO MUCH)
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were normal days. I went to school and I've realized as much as I hate going, it's where I learn the most Portuguese. I've been able to understand a lot of whats been going on and that's been really nice. I'm still limited to what I can say but that will only come with time.
On Friday I got to skip school (again) and go to Bauru with my friend Bridgie (she's from Canada). She had to go get her Visa approved by the police and let me tag along. I was so grateful because
1. No school (!!)
2. Someone who speaks ENGLISH! BOO YAH.
I spent the day shopping, eating and most importantly talking in English (Just kidding ha it's just a nice release sometimes). Brasil has some interesting stores and we found the coolest place. The store was actually called Hippie and we don't have anything like it in Utah at least that I know of; all sorts of necklaces, bracelets, and clothes. They also had so many moon things and saying "I was the happiest girl" is an understatement.
After I arrived back at home I made a quick trip to the gym and came back only to get ready to go to Bauru again. My family and I went to see Blade Runner and we watched it in English this time. (Thank Goodness. The city I live in doesn't have much shopping or any movie theaters so to get out we usually go to Bauru.) We purchased our tickets and got some ice cream. McDonald's has stands around the mall that sell just ice cream and let me tell you how delicious it is. As the night ended and we returned home I realized each day in Brasil becomes the new best day and I'm genuinely happy with the way things are.
As time has gone on since I've been here, things have become more normal and Brasil has become my home. I've realized that when the days become the same I forget to recognize the good things that happen everyday. That the sun rises and sets and most importantly I wake up and get to live another day in one of the most beautiful countries in the world; I am truly living the life I've always dreamed.
Traveling has become one of the biggest blessings in my life. I travel because I need to, because distance and difference are the secret to creativity, an open heart, and an open mind. When I go home, home will still be the same, but something in my heart and mind will have changed, and that changes everything. I'm grateful for where I'm at, and excited about where I'm going. Until next Friday. XOXO Tchau.
I say this every week but I don't think I can stress it enough; time flies in Brasil. Tomorrow will be Monday and before I know it, it's Friday again. I have so much I want to do and so little time to actually accomplish it. Before I know it my time in Brasil will be over and it'll be time to go home. I never realized how short and precious time really is. I've always thought I'd have all the time in the world to do anything and everything I wanted.. But I couldn't be farther from the truth. Life is so messy. Being a human is messy. It's not as neat and perfect as we hoped it to be but we can only live in the time that we are given and make the most out of it.
I repeatedly am asked what's it like to live in Brasil: what makes it "so different" compared to living in the United States. I have decided to create a list of "11 things that make Brasil different".
1. There is no pluming/sewage system here.
2. Water is not free. Eating out and drinking water costs money. (It comes in a glass bottle most of the time.)
3. Most cities have beautiful churches with lots of history. The United States doesn't have hardly any history.
4. Public transportation is more readily available. Buses and motorcycle taxis are used the most in Agudos.
5. Sports are not popular. Soccer and handball are the most common with no sports clubs in schools.
6. Many people, usually in the bigger cities, can speak multiple languages. English is taught in school from an early age until graduation.
7. They recycle more. Incentives at supermarkets allow you to bring back glass bottles (usually coke) to purchase another for a cheaper price. Most trash cans in cities are split into 3 sections: paper, plastic, and garbage.
8. Coins actually matter. ($1, $0.50, $0.25, $0.10, $0.05 and $0.01.) Although similar to our currency you could have 5 coins and have up to $5.
9. There are fewer trash cans. In the United States there seems to be one on every corner. Bins to throw away garbage are small and spread out around the city.
10. Street signs are tricky. They are small and can be found on buildings and other walls.
11. Dinner is an all night activity. Going out to eat doesn't usually happen until 9 or 10 o'clock and lasts well into the night.
Although some things are different a lot of things are actually the same. "Normal life" in Brasil is still almost exactly the same as my "Normal life" in the United States. School, the gym, friends, church, and other actives fill my time and I am kept pretty busy. Things get hard and I get lonely but I didn't come hoping to have a vacation with the hard times left out. I came to learn. I came to grow. Some periods of this "growth" are so confusing that most times I don't even realize growth is happening. I'm not going to lie and say I am happy all the time. A lot of the time I actually feel alone, anxious, and abandoned. It never really occurs to me that during the time I am struggling, I am in fact in the process of growth and change; becoming something bigger and better than I was before. Often the feeling of growth isn't enjoyable or pleasant and more times than not what is the most unpleasant is not knowing what's happening. Those long periods when something inside us seems to be waiting, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually becomes the periods we wait for, it is those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life. And in that, the best things are yet to come. Until next Friday. XOXO. Tchau.
This week has been one of the most special and important weeks since I arrived in Brasil. I could only focus on the fact that on Saturday I would wake up at 4:30 a.m, drive 200 miles to finally attend the temple again. I never realized how lucky I am to look out my window and actually see 3 temples let alone drive 200 miles and be able to visit 5 more. What a blessing that is.
After driving 3 hours to get to the temple I waiting another 3 hours to actually go inside. While I waited for the first little bit I took beautiful pictures of the temple. (as seen above & more in the photo album). I returned to the family history center and started to print family names out or at least tried to. I soon remembered I don't speak fluent Portuguese and the entire website wasn't being translated; I was starting to get frustrated. A girl, Rebecca, sat down next to me and we started talking. She was able to help me with the little bit of English she knew and a lot of help from Google Translate. We figured it out and decided to go outside and walk around the temple until our session started. I spent the day talking and getting to know her pretty well. She told me how she took a bus to get here spending the entire day at the temple and took the night to travel back home. Some people have to make HUGE sacrifices to be able to attend the temple once a month, sometimes once a year. I sat and thought about how blessed I was at home to have the luxury of frequent temple visits. Blessings we receive from the temple are so important. Something cannot be a sacrifice if we are getting more than we originally gave up in return.
Before Rebecca had to return back to her bus we were saying our goodbyes and it came up that she lived in Juiz de Fora, the same city my cousin, Bryce, served his mission in. I told her and she asked to see a picture of him only to realize she knew Bryce and was taught at one point by him. "coincidence is not an appropriate word to describe the workings of an omniscient God. He does not do things by ‘coincidence’ but … by ‘divine design." What a tender mercy from the Lord to meet some of the same people, same members of the church my cousin had the pleasure of meeting just two years earlier.
I don't have much else to write about. This week has been the same as it always is. Lots of Portuguese, lots of reading, and lots of Acai. I was on Facebook earlier this week and I got a notification of a reminder post from 3 years ago. It was me posting that I made the varsity swim team my freshman year. I laughed a little actually because my life is not what I planned it to be. Not in a million years would I have guessed I would end up here. Honestly if you told me 3 years ago I would have hip surgery, quit swim and water polo and spend my senior year in Brasil, 15 year old Lexie would laugh in your face and probably say, "ya right". But as I've spent more and more time here I've noticed life has never gone the way I had in mind. Not even once. And that has been hard sometimes but I hate to think of my life as any different than what it is right now. Every choice I've made has lead me to where I am and no matter what happens next if I put God first, my trials and losses, my lonely times will be made up to me and that is the same for everyone. And what happens next will be not just okay, but better than what we ever had in mind- better than when the hard times started. My life is not at all what I planned or expected it to be, it is profoundly better. Until next week. XOXO, Tchau.
(if you have any questions about temples or missionaries visit www.lds.org :)
2 MONTHS IN BRASIL WOHOO!!
I would first like to apologize for how inconsistently I have been keeping up with my blog and if you're still here reading I appreciate you immensely. I passed my two month mark this week and like I write every week time is flying by. This week like the past few weeks have been pretty normal. My days are just.. days. I'm pretty sure if you were to look up the word "day" in the dictionary you'd find a description of my typical day as the definition. Don't get me wrong I love my days, weeks, months i've spent here because obviously they are spent in Brasil but I have just gotten into a routine now. As thrilling as living in South America sounds it's normal, at least for me now.
Once a month I face-time home to my family and this weekend was that weekend(!!!!!!). I didn't think it was possible to forget the sound of someones voice but it is very much possible and oh how lovely it is to hear it again. I am a firm believer that everybody has a "home team". The people you call when you get a flat tire or something terrible happens. It's the people near (or far) who know everything there is to know about you and still love you anyways. The people who are happy when you are happy. The people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle of the night, no matter what people. And let me tell you, I LOVE my "home team" people. I am so grateful for you guys, words just can't do it justice.
Besides being sick and laying in bed all day, nothing new has happened. I think the most exciting part of my week was finally finishing all my online classes to graduate from Herriman High School. It's been a long time coming but I am happy to say I have finished high school. (Word of Advice: During my freshman year when the seniors said the next 4 years of high school pass by I didn't believe them. My mistake because I'm graduating and I still like to believe my first day of freshman year was yesterday.) And oh how things have changed. Tomorrow, October 29th, is the 2 year mark of the passing of my friend Cadee Connor. During my sophomore year she was in a car accident and passed away. That afternoon when I heard the news is a day I don't think I will ever be able to forget but I don't think forgetting would be good for anyone. It was an eye opener that our days our never promised. I think if we all had timers that told us when our time on Earth was over we'd live our lives a little more. Maybe we'd stop wasting our lives worrying about things that never happen, or collecting things that we can't take with us. We'd probably treat people better. We certainly wouldn't be yelling at someone who only had a day left. Maybe people would finally stop living like they're immortal. Maybe we would finally learn how to live. We only get to live our life once and when we leave is never up to us. Make your life everything you wanted and hoped it would be. It is never too late to be what you might have been.
Until sometime next week.. XOXO. Tchau.