9.24.2009

I forgot how much fun field trips can be!

Once a month Eunice takes her students on a field trip. This month we went to Belém. We ate Pasteis de Belém , visited the Monument to the Discoveries, visited the Jeronimos Monistery, and then had lunch together. After the field trip, Robert and I stuck around to visit the Monistery's Cloister and the Tour de Belém.


Here are a couple of group pictures...one of us in the elevator and one of us in front of where they make the real Pasteis de Belém.


Monument to the Discoveries



Inside the Monument to the Discoveries you can watch a really great film about the history of Portugal. I highly recommend it!
Here is the group before the show.


From the top of the Monument to the Discoveries there is a great view of city.
Here is the Jeronimos Monistery,


the Tour de Belem,


and the compass mosaic at the foot of the monument.


A more detailed look at the Jeronimos Monistery. It is a very interesting building!






The Tour de Belém.


This rhinocerous is found on the Tour. I guess the Portuguese explorers were impressed by the rhinocerous!

9.23.2009

One month from today...


...we meet the boys!

Here are a couple of excerpts and some pictures from each of their social reports for you to enjoy...



"Efesson is a happy and smiley little boy. He has a beautiful and bright smile. Though he is a bit shy, he likes it when somebody gets close and plays with him. Once he is close to somebody, he always gets excited and runs to hug and kiss that person."



"Biruk is a sweet little boy though he usually wears a serious face...He enjoys wrestling with bigger children or his nannies playfully. When they play with him, he babbles and laughs out loud."

Castelo means Castle in Portuguese

On a Wednesday during the first weeks that we were in Portugal we went to the earlier class block (9:30-11:30) and then headed into Lisbon to look around before going to a Bible Study that evening. We visited the Castelo de São Jorge or Saint George's Castle and the Sé Cathedral.

Robert was looking at his map to find the castle while we were standing in this square and I said, "you mean that castle up there?"


Here is a view looking down at that Square from the Castle. There were some great views from the Strategically placed Castle.


Roberto e Jorge
(Robert and George)






This is the Sé Cathedral.


This archeological dig is located within the cloister of the cathedral. Can you find the Roman store or the Islamic dump?


Check out this website for the answers and for more information!

9.15.2009

Our First MONTH in Portugal!


Here is a little about our time here in Portugal. I have broken it into four sections: Language learning, where we live, Food, and The Church. Being immersed in the language, the people, and the culture has been great for our language learning, hopefully you will be able to see that as you read a little about our first month here…


Language learning. We go to class for two hours each day, Monday through Friday. We spend the first part of class time going over homework. Usually when we go over homework we read it aloud and translate what we have written. As we read our homework aloud, Eunice (pronounced ay-ou-niece), our language teacher, corrects our grammar and helps us to pronounce things correctly. We often find ourselves being corrected because we are using the Spanish (in Robert's case) and French (in my case) accents that we developed in high school. We are also learning to put the right emPHAsys on the right sylLAble. We have also started meeting with Eunice individually for an extra 30 minutes/day Monday through Thursday. I meet with Eunice on Tuesday/Thursday and Robert meets with her on Monday/Wednesday. This allows us to get some individualized teaching.

I truly enjoy having Eunice as a teacher! She really knows her stuff (she has been doing this for 25 years now!). She is conscious of where we are weak and works with us to strengthen those areas. She does a lot of talking in Portuguese throughout class time and encourages us to talk with her in Portuguese so that we can become more comfortable speaking in Portuguese. Having seen a lot of people come through her program, she has a lot of insight and good advice to share with us. The time and attention that we get from her is quality.


Where we live. We live and go to school in a town called Loures. We are staying in a two bedroom apartment with one bathroom, a kitchen, and a Living room. The apartment is a ten minute walk from the school. Near the school there is a small produce market and a butcher were we purchase fruits, veggies, and meat. The produce is very inexpensive, yesterday I purchased 5 large carrots, 6 pears, a head of cabbage, and 2 tomatoes for less than 3 Euros!

From our apartment Robert and I can take a 20 minute walk to a mall called “Loures Shopping” where we can eat in the food court, go to a Wal-Mart-like store called Continente, or see a movie. We have found that seeing a movie here is extremely reasonable. It is about 5 Euros per person to see a movie and when you get your tickets there is a coupon on each ticket for buy one ticket get one free the next time you see a movie. So from now on both of us see a movie for a total of about 5 Euros! We learn Portuguese from our movie watching experience because the movies have Portuguese subtitles or are dubbed in Portuguese.


Food. In four weeks you can try a lot of Portuguese food and you can practice your Portuguese while doing it! We have eaten Bacalhau which is dried, salted cod that they rehydrate and cook "365 ways" our travel books says. Eunice told us that people were given food stamps for Bacalhau during the war and that is why there are so many ways to cook it (it is the ground beef of the Portuguese). It is not our favorite fish, but it is good. Let’s see…what else have we had to eat… we ate grilled sardines at a sardine festival one Saturday night, we have had some awesome frango with piri piri (grilled chicken with hot pepper sauce), we have tried bitoque (meat served with a fried egg on top), and much more.


Below a picture of me enjoying a sardine and some Portuguese Reggae at the sardine festival.

We are not always found eating Portuguese food. We confess that we have eaten at McDonald’s more than once. We find that McDonald’s tastes much better in Europe (we rarely eat at McDonald’s in the US) and how would we experience the TOBLERONE MCFLURRY if we didn’t eat at McDonalds? We also found some good Pizza at a restaurant called Telepizza.

We eat meals with people from the church on Wednesday and Thursday nights and last Sunday we experienced our first Lisbon Church of Christ Potluck! The people from the Church are from Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, as well as other countries, so we have had Brazilian beans and rice and African Funge (a doughy substance made of corn served with food in the same way you would serve rice), among other things.

We have also enjoyed some Portuguese "sobremesas" or desserts. One of our favorites is the famous "Pastel de Nata." A Portuguese cream pastry that was originally created by monks from the Jeronimos Monastery. They have been produced and sold since 1837 under the name Pastel de Belém. We went with Eunice and her other students to Belém where we visited the Monastery and ate Pastel de Belém topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar made from the original recipe, they are pictured below. More about that Field trip in another post…


The Church. From day one we have felt very welcome at the Lisbon Church of Christ. As I mentioned earlier, it is made up of people from all over the world and there are several people who can speak English. We meet with the Church at least three times a week. On Wednesday nights we go to a home for singing and Bible study, on Thursday nights we go to prayer meeting, and on Sundays we go to Bible class and worship. We have also experienced their youth group meeting, dinner in the Minister’s home, and I went to a baby shower this past weekend.

All the time that we spend with the church has really been beneficial for our Portuguese. We spend a lot of time listening and trying to figure out what they are talking about and we sing songs that we know in English in Portuguese (which is good for our vocabulary). Each week we feel like we understand more and more of what we are hearing. Everyone at church is very encouraging regarding our language study. It is an environment where we can be comfortable practicing our Portuguese. Beyond Portuguese practice, we have been immensely blessed by the friendships we have formed with our Christian brothers and sisters here!



P.S. Update on the blankets for the boys: Blanket #1 is put together and blanket #2 is on its way! Here is what I have left to do: (1) Put blanket #2 together (2) Knit boarders on both blankets (3) Sew backings on both blankets.

Below is a picture of the pieces of blanket #2 laid out over blanket #1.

We meet Efesson and Biruk in 39 days!















9.02.2009

"Little Boy" Shower 8.2.09

Here are a few pictures from our "Little Boy" shower that we had just a few days before we left for Portugal. Thank you so much to all that ladies that helped make the day so wonderful!


Andee Cone organized the shower. Andee and her husband Jimmy are Leaders in the Silver City Mentoring Program. The Cones also go to Pleasant Valley Church of Christ and at one time they were a mentoring couple in the bible class that Robert and I attended at PV. We love Andee and Jimmy and it was very special, an honor really, to have Andee host our shower!

Here is Andee pinning a corsage on me.


Amber Mullins, Kelly Hovater, Jennifer Crow, Jessica Ray, Krista Cone, Courtney Hirscheider, Angie Haustein, and Dawn Nahlen were also Hostesses. I am very thankful for the relationships that I have with these ladies and for the work that they put into this special day!

The shower took place at Silver City after church, so that both our Silver City Church Family and our Pleasant Valley Church family could attend. Here are a few pictures from the shower. My only regret is that I did not get a picture with all of the hostesses! What was I thinking?



Two yummy cakes to welcome and celebrate each of the boys!



So many thoughtful gifts.


Including, but not limited to....

Awesome froggy backpacks from the Ruples!


Handmade Ethiopian flag blankets from the Mullins!
This is the only picture I have of them right now, hopefully you will see a picture of the front soon! They are AWESOME!


Here is the bag from the gift (hammer toy and little boy underwear:) Dee Dee and her girls Tayla and Tayonna gave us. Dee Dee worships with us at Silver City and has begun calling us "Momma" and "Daddy" when she sees us at church.


This is Ariana, she wanted to be held for most of the shower...



...and I did a lot of the holding. We are looking at the Ethiopian flag blankets in this picture.