Thursday, March 27, 2008

I just got back from an extended-weekend trip to the famous and oversized city of Sao Paulo. I had 3 objectives in going: a conference, a problem, and a friend. I took advantage of the fact that there were two holidays last week (Good Friday and Good...Thursday? Who am I's just a holiday. Brasil doesn't have to have a reason) and found a good deal on tickets.

The conference was ENOCA, an annual 2 day women's retreat for members of the Church of Christ. I went to accompany Marisa, who was speaking at it, but ended up having a great time and really enjoying the speakers and classes. It was great to be with several missionaries that my family knew when I was young, and to get treated like a rock-star when some people found out whose daughter I was. If I'm here and funds are available, I would love to make ENOCA a traditional trip. Definitely on the top of my list.

The problem involved a huge mess entirely to be blamed on UPS. Unresolved, my problem would have cost me upwards of US$800. Resolved, it cost me about $60. FYI, I would advise all of my readers out there never to use UPS again, for anything. I never will, that's for sure. And I would firmly suggest to never, ever, EVER use UPS for international shipping. I can 99% guarantee that you will regret it and they will make two months (more or less) of your life an absolute chore.

The friend involved Rafa, who is really more a brother than anything else. Rafa studied at OC for two years and lived in my house with my parents for one semester. We have been close for a long time but haven't seen each other in 5 years! When I found out that I would be in Campinas for the conference and to resolve the problem, Rafa was an added bonus. It was like no time had passed and we had a great time catching up!

Rafa and I on Easter Sunday at church

The weekend was so great and so many things happened that I couldn't possibly fit it all into one post, so I'll make a bullet list of everything that went down, in chronological order.
  • Got asked if Christmas and New Years was on the same day in the US as it is in Brazil
  • Learned how to make long distance phone calls on my cell phone
  • Fell in love with a puppy
  • Sang happy birthday to Marisa at midnight
  • Had girl talk in our pajamas with Marisa at midnight
  • Re-met the famous Maria Dutton, and she remembered my name after like 15 years
  • Understood a whole bunch of Portuguese
  • Got tired and sleepy from understanding a whole bunch of Portuguese
  • Dropped my clean clothes in the shower into standing water
  • Listened to the scariest snores ever coming from a 3 year old girl
  • Learned how to get along with my mother-in-law
  • Learned how to get along with my adolescent children
  • Learned that worship is liberating, and it liberates us from all kinds of things that can be listed on the Do Re Mi scale...
  • Cried when I saw Rafa
  • Ate the biggest pastel ever (see picture below)
  • Thoroughly enjoyed time with Robin and Allen Dutton Jr's family (Yes, Memorial Roaders, the same Allen and Robin that MRCC supports. Yes, people familiar with Brazilian COC missionary history, the son of Allen Dutton Sr, the Brazilian missionary legend.)
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the showerhead the size of a basketball in Robin Dutton's house
  • Worshiped with the church at the Guanabara church of Christ
  • Ate Easter lunch at a chinese food restaurant
  • Spent 6 hours resolving the problem that UPS caused
  • Cried at the end of the 6 hours
  • Laughed between tears at the guy who was shamelessly hitting on the girl who was helping me and mercilessly getting shot down
  • Cursed UPS
  • Took a bus to Sao Paulo, got off at the bus station, got onto the subway, and road halfway across the city alone at night with Marisa, 2 suitcases, and a giant plastic sack of home decor
  • Slept in the most comfortable bed with the most comfortable sheets EVER
  • Did some way cheap bargain shopping in downtown Sao Paulo
  • Ate homemade lasagna
  • Took a bus alone halfway across the city to the airport
  • Had the funniest pilot EVER (seriously...that is not an exaggeration. This guy just spent the whole flight coming on the speaker and talking to us, making fun of Brazilian culture, making jokes, making fun of us for not being able to see out the side what he could see out the front, making the airplane make "werid" noises and then asking who passed gas, and just being hilarious. One guy behind me just kept letting out these huge, bellowing belly laughs and people were almost falling into the aisles they were laughing so hard. Definitely made the miserable SP-Natal trip a little more enjoyable.)
  • Spent R$6 on juice and a tiny piece of pao de queijo in the airport
  • Got home
If you read all that, good job. Goodnight!

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