Monday, April 25, 2011

You know you're in Brazil when...

Note: the following is not at all intended to make fun of the Brazilian culture or any Brazilian individuals who may have inspired these comments but instead to get a little chuckle out of the cultural differences, from the perspective of an American girl living in Brazil. After all, this is my home now! :)

That being said,
You know you're in Brazil when....
- you get one single cereal bowl and 6 coffee cups as a wedding gift
- one of the main questions everyone asks a newlywed wife is, "so what food have you cooked so far?"
- one of the main questions everyone asks an American newlywed wife is, "have you learned to make beans and rice yet?"
- you get an invitation in the morning to have lunch at someone's house, and you wind up being there from 1 in the afternoon until 9 at night
- you make pancakes for your husband for breakfast, and he puts cheese on them
- you find matching shakers - presumably salt and pepper - that turn out to be salt and salt
- you can pay installments on your chocolate Easter eggs for 10 months with no interest
- you know people who are afraid of driving an automatic because all they have ever driven is standard
- local recipes say to bake said recipe at "more or less 300ยบ for somewhere around 20 minutes"
- church has already been going for an hour and twenty minutes before the message starts
- you've been married for months and you're still getting wedding gifts
- you're 30 minutes late to your own wedding... and there are still guests arriving after you
- everyone thinks I'm blonde
- you're stuck in traffic, in the far right lane, and someone passes you on the right - driving on the sidewalk

That's all for now, but I will likely update this from time to time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Position available: Pen Stealer

Since I returned to Brazil, I became pretty convinced that the office had hired someone specifically to steal my pens. I had no pens when I arrived, had a hard time finding any, and when I did, within hours it would be gone.

This week I began working at the City of Youth instead of the downtown office and am in the process of putting my new office together. Today, however, I am back in the downtown office to take care of a few things. If there was any doubt in my mind about the Pen Stealer, it is gone now. My theory, as far as I am concerned, has been confirmed: I have only been gone a few short days, and when I came into the office this morning, there was a full supply of writing utensils on my desk. Apparently the Pen Stealer was dismissed when I moved to my new office.

Looking for a job? I think there's a position open here...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Proposal Part 2 – The Mean (Not Step-) Mom’s Letter and List

Kara – My patience has run thin, so I have decided to leave for my meeting and let you figure out a way to meet with Ti for dinner. If you are willing to work hard for the next hour, I will return with the car. If not, well… So here is a list of what I want done. You must text me with each item you accomplish so I know if I need to leave my meeting early to get the car back to you. If being with Ti is important to you, you need to show me some very hard work and plenty of effort. Does this seem like a puzzle to you? Well, as puzzling as it may be, I have become a mean mom today. I am tired of doing most of the work around the house. So, the puzzle will make more sense if you start doing your part. Here is the list:


1. Sweep the front entry way – and quit tracking in dirt!

2. Unload the dishwasher! I did dinner and cleaned up last night. The least you can do is unload the dishwasher.

3. Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

4. Vacuum the living room. It is especially important that you get the corner by the couch, floor lamp, and Emery’s toy shelf. Things have accumulated in that corner since it has been left uncleaned for so long. – What’s with you anyway?

5. While you are at it, vacuum the stairs too. Do you have eyes in your head? Have you not noticed how dirty the stairs are?

6. Scour the downstairs bathroom. Three of us use it now. You could be a little helpful every now and then. Pay special attention to inside the medicine cabinet!

7. Pray – that a handsome prince will get you out of your misery. Then clean the upstairs bathroom – including the nasty tub!!

8. Oh – and take out the garbage!!!

The Proposal Part 1 – The Detailed Story

Note: you can read the short version here.

Click here for pictures.

When I woke up Tuesday morning, I had no idea what the day had in store for me! My fairy tale was about to begin…

Around noon, Ti texted me: “Hey I need to do a few things here today… Like laundry and other stuff… But I need to talk to you tonight! Would you like to go and have dinner together? Just you and me… 6:30pm will be nice! What do you say?” Of course, I couldn’t help but find it a little odd that he “needed” to talk to me, but of course I agreed to dinner and throughout the afternoon thought up a whole list of things he might “need” to talk to me about. The suspense was killing me, though, and the afternoon seemed to pass so slowly!

My mom and I share a car, and she had told me she a had a meeting to go to at 6. She said she would just find out what she needed to find out and be back by 6:30 so I could have the car. I finished work at 5 and decided to read for a bit, then do the dishes and take out the trash before heading to dinner with Ti.

At 5:45, my mom walks in my room and completely seriously says, “I’ve been contemplating all afternoon and really feel that you don’t do your part around the house. I wrote you a letter about it, along with a list of some things I want you to do. Let me know when you finish them. Depending on how fast you get them done, I may or may not be back in time for you to go to dinner with Ti.”

My stomach knotted up inside me! Here I was about to go downstairs and do the dishes, and my mom is upset that I never do anything around the house! She handed me a sealed envelope and was gone.

In shock, I opened the envelope and began reading. Before long, I realized she was up to something! And I knew Ti must have been behind it all. You can read the letter and list of chores here.

I quickly got to work, figuring I might not be allowed to leave the house until all of the chores were done. So I swept and vacuumed and did the dishes and cleaned the bathrooms… Along the way, I found pieces to a puzzle that told the story of Princess Kara and Tiago.

I cried with each puzzle piece and then returned to the tasks at hand. All along, I texted my mom, letting her know my progress, and she replied making sure I was still on top of things and working hard!

When I was finally finished with all the chores (45 minutes after it all began), I notified my mom and then tried to figure out what to do with myself as I waited for her to return with the car! I was a wreck, and completely nervous that she would be coming to inspect. Would my cleaning pass inspection??

Finally, the doorbell rang. It was my fairy godmother (my friend Rebekah), wand and all, accompanied by my mom. She came in and gave me two more puzzle pieces, and stood by as I cried and read. Before I finished, she left to get something from her “Fairy Godmother-mobile.” It was time to get dressed for the Ball, and she had just the thing!

She helped me get dressed, gave me directions to “the Ball,” and I was on my way. I walked out to my carriage and drove, in shock, to find my Prince Charming.

When I arrived at the park I was directed to, Ti was standing waiting for me. He had the last piece of the puzzle, in the shape of a heart, and read the next chapter to me. He said the story wasn’t over, but that he would need me to help him finish it. But first!...

He had something that would help him know if I was the right woman… He pulled out a “glass slipper” and bent down to try it on for size. It fit! So he laid the last (heart-shaped) piece in the puzzle. I gasped as I read what it said: “Marry me!”

As he pulled a little black velvet box out of his pocket, he told me he loves me and doesn’t know what’s going to happen in life, but he was asking me to jump with him and find out! And so he asked, “Would you marry me?”

Through tears and laughter I said, “Yes!”

We hug and kissed and then danced our first dance as an engaged couple in the park – Phantom of the Opera, All I Ask of You. Then we were off to dinner and back home before my carriage turned into a pumpkin!

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Best Day of My Life... or one of them, anyway

Wednesday morning, 6:00 am: I dropped my mom off at the bus, as usual, for her to head to work and me to return home. Right before she got out of the car, she said, "Alright, when you get home, there will be a clue when you walk in the house. You must try to figure it out, but if you're absolutely stumped, you can call for help. Have a great day!"

Ti had told me not to make plans on Wednesday, but I wasn't expecting his plans to start first thing in the morning! As I returned home, I got a text from him: "You can read the first card, but just start doing what it says at 8:00 or 8:30... Love you!"

Oh goodness! I was in heaven already! :o)

I went back to bed for a bit, and at 8:30 the games began! My first clue led me to the TV, where I found the next clue. It explained the game that was ahead of me and led me to the next clue, inside my mom's scrapbook from our Brazil trip. I had to do a crossword puzzle and a numbers game, and then wait to follow the hints to find the next clue. The next clue was locked inside our mailbox. I won a present with this clue - zebra pj's and slippers! There was a map to fill in using the answers to the crossword puzzle and numbers game. And then I was off to follow the map. It led me to ABQ Uptown, where I found the next clue - and gift - at the big Q "statue." The gift was a gift card to my favorite store - White House Black Market. Amazing! I knew we would be going out for a nice evening that night, and the instructions told me I could purchase anything I wanted, whether it was for the evening or not. But I had to go shopping now!

I found a spectacular dress on sale, and a beautiful pair of shoes. I made it home just before noon and had time to have some lunch before I started getting ready. About an hour later, a bouquet of my favorite flower (tiger lilies) arrived! During the next couple hours, I showered, did my hair, nails, and makeup - I was ready for a night out!

I met Ti at the big "Q" at Uptown - first time I had seen him all day, despite many text messages! He took me to the tram, where we rode up and had dinner at High Finance, at a table by the window overlooking the city. Next, we headed home for a special desert. My mom, all dressed up and beautiful, greeted us at the door, and ushered us in to a beautifully set up, candlelit dining room with my flowers as the centerpiece on top of a lace tablecloth. She was preparing bananas foster for us - a deliciously fancy treat! We finished the evening with a movie.

What a wonderful day it was!! Of course, I couldn't help but think how amazing Ti was for putting all of this together for me - with such careful planning, and just the kind of thing I love! But more than that, I was worshiping God throughout the day! He is so wonderful, and Ti is just a glimpse of His majesty - a blessing in my life that leads me to bow down before the King in complete awe of His holiness.

Every blessing You pour out, Lord, I will turn back to praise!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I really, really hope you know this...

God is incredibly amazing and good!!!!

Of course, I would have reason to say that... Tiago and I have been hoping for and planning on him coming to the States at the beginning of next year to meet my family, friends, etc. But it has all been contingent on whether or not he gets a visa. Well, today was the day for his interview at the American Embassy, and he got it!! God is good!

But then, what about my friend who I just learned had a miscarriage recently? And the lady at church who, despite her loving parents and husband who love the Lord, is plagued by an addiction to drugs? What about her family, her children? And how about the countless people who are on the streets night after night in the bitter cold of winter?

Is God still incredibly amazing and good?


I know what you're thinking: "It's easy for you to say that. You have a wonderful family, people you love and who love you. Your boyfriend whom you haven't seen in months will be visiting you soon. You have a job, steady income, and can still travel around the world...."

Yes, that is all true. Life isn't always easy, but right now it certainly is a blessing.

But here's the thing...

As I have been reading in Psalms during the past hour or so, all I see, over and over, is David praising the Lord and giving Him glory for always being in control. Throughout the 10 or 15 Psalms I have read, he is at times praising God for a recent victory, and at times praising Him for a victory that he can't see yet, as he is surrounded by his enemies.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me...
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies...
The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains...
You are the God of my salvation...
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in the way...
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple...
Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord....
To You, O Lord, I call: My rock, do not be deaf to me, For if You are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit...
The Lord is my light and my salvation...
How great is your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You...

And I could go on and on.

But the point is this:
Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

So whether you're praising Him for a victory, or praising Him in the midst of trials, praise Him!! If you have given your heart to the Lord, the victory is already yours - whether you can see it yet or not! And if you haven't, it's time. Today is the day of salvation.

And if you're having trouble keeping faith, read a little bit further:
Romans 8:32
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Or in other words, He already paid the greatest price - Christ's life - for you! He bought you with a price, now do you really think He's just going to forget His love for you? No way!!

The greatest good for us is Christ Jesus and His Name glorified! "Seek ye first the kingdom of God..."

As Tiago pointed out to me last week: Psalm 23 starts with the Lord and ends with the Lord. Everything in between is what happens in life. There are good times, and there are bad times, but what remains forever is the Lord!

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want... And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What a wonderful week!

Mom and I flew out to Tennessee last Wednesday to spend Thanksgiving with "Kevin & Co." We arrived home yesterday. It was such a wonderful week! I had such a great time with everyone - and dad was even able to join us Sunday night! We played games, laughed, went shopping, talked, went to church, changed diapers... haha. It was such a joy to meet my new baby niece Adalyn. She is beautiful just like her sister and her parents!

One of the highlights was definitely hanging out with Emery. I'm sure I can't even do her justice, but here are some"quotable quotes" from Emery this past week:

When Adalyn started crying in from the bedroom, Emery, in her highchair at the table, looked at her mom and said, "Would you go check on my baby please?"

After playing with her new remote control car from Papa Dennis: "Ok, I don't want to do it a-more again. I'm done now. Thank you."

When she didn't want to take a picture with Santa Claus at the riverwalk, we asked her why. Her response: "He smells like cheese."

"Mommy's pretty, and I'm beautiful!"

Multiple times throughout the week, for no apparent reason, and with no related context at all, I heard, "I not say someping, I just said, baby, baby, baby."

After an hour drive to Nashville, playing with her in the backseat the whole way, she very sincerely said, "Thank you for praying (playing) with me."

While mom and I were in the very back of the car, and Em in the middle row: "Um, Grandma and Kara, whatchya doin?" "We're just hanging out. What are you doing?" "Oh, I'm just hanging out in my car seat."

And when we told her she had lots of money (2 dollars and changed), she replied, "Thank you!"

...just to name a few.

I am most definitely thankful for my amazing family! I am truly blessed. Praise God! He is good!!