Friday, December 21, 2012

Not Exactly Temple Square

Living in Provo, Utah we are very close to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Temple Square is so lit up during the Christmas season that many make the trek there to take in the lights. It is truly a sight to behold. I was curious to see what they did here.
This is it. There are some lights wrapped around the stable but no where else. Just this humble little display. I suppose that is appropriate.

When we were out walking we noticed this planter that had been filled with poinsettias.  We are in summer here and these plants love it. I think of how I had to shield the ones I would buy from the cold just to get them home. We did see a poinsettia tree the other day but I didn't have my camera with me.

I must admit that with the really warm (if not hot) weather I have a hard time wrapping my head around Christmas. I think that is a good thing since I am not yearning to be home. It just doesn't seem like Christmas, therefore it is not.

I have been talking to the natives and it seems that the average person does not spend as much money on Christmas here as they do in the states. The stores do not have Christmas decorations for sale. We couldn't find any wrapping paper. Imagine Walmart without that stuff. I think the people here are just making due. The Christmas gifts that I have seen (being marketed) are boxes of food staples; rice, beans, sugar, flour, etc. Not doing any Christmas shopping has certainly made my life easier.

I went looking for a calendar for my Christmas gift. I found a lot of them that were imported from the states. $35.  I decided I would print off months from my computer and use that until I go home for a short visit in March. I am not that desperate for a calender with pictures of quilts or doggies. After checking out stuff we decided to forgo presents this year. Heck, that really isn't any different from any other year.


Around the middle of November these big displays started showing up in all the grocery stores. The displays had boxes and boxes of panettone.

This display was at the entrance of the store. There were walls and walls of these cakes.

There are many different kinds of panettone. Some with bits of dried fruit, some with chocolate chips, some with filling of Dulce de Leite, some with a filling of chocolate pudding. They range in price from around R$5 to R$35.

One day I was talking (very limited) to a sister in the temple and I asked her what they were. They are Christmas Cakes. She said they were very good. She was surprised to know that they were not available in the States and that I had never heard of them.

The next week she brought me one. It is really more like a sweet bread than a cake. They are very tasty. Better than fruit cake as we know it. I later sampled one with Dulce de Leite filling. Now that was a slice of heaven.

It is now a few days before Christmas and most of these cakes are gone. I am amazed at how many are sold. Definitely, they are a very popular Christmas treat.

Thanksgiving Brazialian Style

I figure I had better write about Thanksgiving since Christmas is almost upon us. The North American missionary couples usually get together and have a Thanksgiving dinner. This year it was held the Monday after the traditional holiday. Due to circumstances that got really out of control we went from six couples to 17 couples. We had Brazilians, Portuguese and Americans. It truly was an international affair. Mike and I were in charge of organizing the dinner. We took on the meat assignment. We found turkeys are very expensive. They are smaller than what I am used to and according to the locals are dry. They ran about $3.50 a pound.

It was recommended that we use Chester. What the heck is a Chester? After a little research I learned that a Chester is a carefully bred type of chicken that has a very large breast and large thighs. These are available around Christmas and they are more expensive than turkey. We found we could buy roasted chickens for the same price as frozen turkey, but all the work was done. So we used those.

The tables were decorated in a fall theme. It is hard to see the chili plant in the center with folded napkin turkeys and some nut cups.

Everyone brought a dish to share. We had the usual mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls, and of course pumpkin pie. The sweet potato casserole was a big hit with the Brazilians. They wanted to know how it was made. We had empanades, a strawberry/chocolate pudding, and a chocolate cake. No one went away hungry.

It really was a fun evening. I met new people and connected with others who I don't see often.

It was a lot of work as all big dinners are but it was a success. Everyone visited with each other and a good time was had by all.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Fragrant Walk

The end of spring and the beginning of summer is here. Gardenias are in bloom and are so wonderful.

There is a hedge that grows all along the sidewalk that runs the length of the temple. It is over 100 ft. long. As we walk along the fragrance is absolutely wonderful.

These flowers remind us of Mike's mom. She would of loved this. She was a gardener and loved flowers.
It is fun to see what nature has to show off.

Monday, November 5, 2012

An Overview of Sao Paulo

This morning I had the opportunity to go back downtown. One friend was looking for artificial flowers and another was looking for beads to make necklaces. While we were making our way there we passed a bank that has an observation deck. Noting that the line was almost nonexistent we decided to go up and have a look.

This is the building from a little ways off. Only 5 people are allowed on the deck at a time and observers are given five minutes.

Luckily there were just five of us. We were surprised that our Brazilian guide had never been up to the top.

Oh my heavens. What a view. It was breathtaking.

I just started taking pictures as I walked around the deck. You could only go one way.

I loved the colors of these buildings.

So many buildings.

This side had some green trees.

You can see some higher hills in the background and a very large roadway in the foreground.

This is the Municipal Mercado that I wrote about earlier. (The light brick building with the arched windows.)

This street I found very interesting because it is so straight. There are not many straight streets around here.

I thought the top of this building was interesting.

And then I was back around to where I started. It was a very wonderful experience. Now I need to get Mike to come and take a look. I think it is well worth the effort.

The city is gearing up for the Christmas season. Santa is mounted on the street light poles. The big red blob in the lower left was a giant Santa that was unveiled that morning. I suppose the Christmas season has begun. They don't have Thanksgiving to hold them back.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ibirapuera Park

Or as they call it here Parque do Ibirapuera. Imagine. The spell checker says that is wrong. While on our two week break back in August Mike and I visited this park. It is Sao Paulo's version of Central Park in NYC. It is a large park with several museums, lots of traffic free roads, trees, lakes and of course lots of people. Here is a main road. The bicycle path is to the right and the walking/running path is to the left.

As the day wore on vendors set up their wares along the roads. We went on a Saturday and it was very busy. There are several lakes.

This is the same lake as above but from a different side. You can see buildings in the distance.

There were lots of trees. In this spot there was a walking/running path that wound around the trees, doubling back and forth. It made for a long trail but not in a lot of acreage.

This is bamboo growing on both sides of the road.  There were a couple of soccer fields that were filled with very competitive young men. Sorry, not picture.

There were black swans in the lake. These people are feeding them bread crumbs. I did not see any white swans but there were ducks.

This is looking back to where I took the first picture of the lake.
We spent a couple of hours walking around the park and people watching. Brazilians love their dogs. We saw a lot of fat dogs but the dogs and their owners seemed to be happy to be out and about on a warm clear day.

We have been told that during the Christmas season they have an impressive water fountain display in one of the lakes. I look forward to seeing that. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Not an Enrichment meeting

A Brazilian friend from the MTC invited the American sisters to a Relief Society enrichment meeting, but we don't call it enrichment meeting anymore. This was the Sao Paulo Vila Sonia ward. It is not the ward  that meets next to the temple but about a mile away. The sisters were making things for Christmas.

They were making napkin rings and beaded netting that they place over pitchers of juice, salads, desserts, etc to keep the bugs off the food. (See previous post about bugs.)

We learned how to do the beading and it was really quite simple.

You can see there were quite a few people were there. The sister in the coral shirt had just returned from a three week trip to the U.S. The sister next to her speaks wonderful English. She helped us with our Portuguese and our beading.

We shared lots of laughs and great conversation. It was a very enjoyable evening. The next meeting is scheduled for the end of November and we are invited. I wonder what they will be doing at that one.


The Brazilians comment that they have a lot of insects but they do not have screens on their windows. We have been battling mosquitoes lately. Our air conditioner is not hooked up yet so to cool off we must open the windows. Along with some cooler air coming in we get visitors.  I was sitting on the sofa this morning when Mike came in and pointed up to the ceiling. Oh my goodness. We had a visitor.

This moth was huge. Here is a shot with our fly swatter for reference. It's wing span was about 5 inches. My friend Ann would of loved it.

Bug lovers will be happy to know that we did not kill the beast...ur....bug. Mike gently coaxed it out the window. So much for the unexpected visitor.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pineapple at the temple

The other day we were on line looking at images of the Sao Paulo temple and noticed someone had posted a recent picture of a pineapple. What? I didn't recall seeing a pineapple plant. When we went to the temple that day sure enough there was a pineapple growing right in front. I have walked by those plants twice a day and never noticed.

Can you see the little pineapple in the upper center-left? And yes, it really is that pink.

I wonder if is ornamental pineapple or the real deal. I am keeping my eye on this.

Election Time

Before I begin I must apologize for not writing. To be truthful I hate to write and I have been reading a lot plus I have won over 600 games in a row of free cell. (I said I would be truthful) Anyway someone asked if I was all right since I hadn't written for awhile. To that I say Sorrrrrrrry.

With the Presidential election campaigning going on in the United States I am glad I am not there. The news slant and campaign ads just make me angry. I do get to vote absentee by way of the internet. How cool is that?

Here is Brazil it is election time also. It is not national election time but the races are local. Sao Paulo is deciding on a mayor and some city council people. It is interesting because voting in Brazil is obligatory. When a person votes they are given a card that certifies that and many employers require proof of voting. From what I understand a voter must return to the place where they originally registered to vote. There is no absentee voting either. Election day is a Sunday and people make it a family day often returning to their original homes.

Look at the signs and notice anything different? Yup, those numbers are larger than the names. Something that I find interesting is that voting is done by numbers and not names. On the ballot the candidates are listed by number and not by name. I was told that here in the city voting is done on computers. You click on a number and a page opens up with a picture of the candidate and the name. If that is the one you want you choose to cast your vote for him or if not you close that window.

The primary was held two weeks ago and this Sunday is the general because no one received over 51%. Someone said there are lots and lots of different parties here. Not like the US's main two. When the primary was held the streets were littered with business card size flyers from the candidates with their number and picture. I guess they wanted something a voter could easily take along into the voting booth.

Monday, September 17, 2012

You Knew I Couldn't Live Without It

I now have a sewing area in my apartment. You really knew it would happen sooner rather than later. I found a sewing machine sitting in the laundry room upstairs. I don't go there very often and hadn't noticed it but Mike pointed it out. I hauled it downstairs which took some effort. I weighted it to see how heavy it was. Thirty-five pounds. This is definitely not a portable sewing machine. It is a Singer 288. I did a little research and I think it was made sometime around the 1970's. It didn't have a needle but a friend gave me a couple. They worked. The presser foot also has been taped on somehow. I don't dare mess with that for fear it will fall completely apart. When I sew the foot wobbles a little from side to side. It makes it kind of hard to get a straight seam but the stitch is wonderful.

I had it here for several weeks and would set it up on the little dining table but would have to move it for meals. Not a whole lot of sewing was happening. The other day a bit of inspiration hit. I could set it up on the little desk in the bedroom.

I could also put the cutting mat on the ironing board and I could use the bedspread for my design board.

Now I go in and sew several wonky butterflies a day. I get so much more done when I don't have to keep lifting that anchor. I am making a butterfly baby quilt for my first grandchild. It is a girl and will be born in January. I wasn't feeling the love on the applique project so I looked around for a project that would work with what I have. I settled on the wonky butterflies that everyone was making a year or so ago. I don't know if my daughter-in-law will like this but I know I do. I think I am going to call it Brazilian Butterflies. I have 16 out of 63 blocks completed.
This is fun.