Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Already understanding Portuguese and life/culture in Porto Alegre

Dear Mom,
Sunday was a lot of fun, it was great being able to talk with everyone. I've recieved two of Kelsey's letters now, the last of which was postmarked April 30th. Looks like its about 2-2.5 weeks between letters.
Everyone here has a TV. Its more of a necessity than running water in your house. If you have electricity you have a TV. Pretty sad... The house I was visiting was huge. It had 3 or 4 stories, and was just huge inside. A huge spacious Den/Family room area, big kitchen, tons of bed/bathrooms. Definitely a super rich house.
For now don't worry about a sweater, I'm going to ask one of the members in our ward to buy one for me and then afterwards pay them back. I have no idea what the price will be like, but I'll ask and see.
Nothing new has really happened since Sunday because we had Zone Conference yesterday. My understanding of Portugues has really jumped leaps and bounds, because I could actually understand all of the trainings. There were some things I didn't quite get, a couple of jokes hither and thither, but for the most part I was able to participate.
After that we met with Carmen and she's still doing great. She said yesterday that she knows without a doubt that the church is true and feels really good. She's a little scared that she does'nt know enough to be baptized this saturday, but we are going to meet with her every day this week to prepare her. All should got well :).
I don't have a whole lot of time to write right now, and I told you pretty much everything from last week during our phonecall. I talked with Elder Oba about my friend visiting and he said that its not really a problem at all because he's a non-member. The only day we could do anything though would have to be our P-day/Tuesday.
I love you tons, thank you for supporting me through my mission.
Elder Henry

I also wrote down some of the fun and funny cultural differences Elder Henry is experiencing in Brazil that he told us on Sunday. Enjoy!

There are walls around all of the houses with barbed wire, to keep out robbers. So to get in the door, they clap their hands. "Yeah we clap a LOT." Their apartment has three locked doors to get through to get to it.
There are no screens on the windows. We joked that he could start a business there after his mission and become rich!!!
Dentists and Orthodontists are the creme de la creme of Brazilians, he said they are the richest people he knows. A lady in their ward who's an orthodontist has her domestic help feed the missionaries every Thursday (it wasn't clear whether she eats with them).
The sleeping bag he was mocked for dragging around with him for the past 7 months is a huge blessing! He says that it gets really cold at night and he just pulls it up on himself and he's really comfortable.
Every day they drink Coke or Guarena from the members for dinner (which is lunchtime here). A huge no-no in his last mission (no caffeinated beverages).
He absolutely LOVES the food, he says he doesn't know why we don't eat rice and beans with every meal here in America. He has lost weight, two belt notches, because they eat breakfast and lunch only, but he isn't hungry. Also when they go to homes, they are served a grass tea ("Mate" or "chimarrĂ£o") in a communal cup called a cuia, and at first he thought it was disgusting but now he is used to it and likes how it warms him up. Here's a link with a picture : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mate_(beverage)
He said that Rio Grande Del Sur is "the Texas of Brazil" and they have "Gauchos" riding their horses around all over with their cowboy gear on. The state has tried to secede from Brazil in the past. This link tells a little about the culture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_Grande_do_Sul
There aren't many Catholics like in Mexico, mostly Evangelicals with lots of Jehovah's Witnesses too.
He is cold and wants some sweaters--he would NEVER wear sweaters at home!
In Porto Alegre, the rich people live in nice high rise apartments and the poor people live in their own houses. He thought that was funny since it is the opposite of what its like here at home where lower income people usually live ain apartments and middle class/upper class live in homes. But the homes the poor live in are ones they construct themselves out of brick with corroguated aluminum roofs.
All the milk is ultrapasteurized, he isn't sure why they process it so much because there are dairy farms in southern Brazil.
His area covers wealthier areas as well as Favellas, or ghettos. He said he can't take his camera out to take photos in the favella or he might get robbed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sure appreciate your feedback, comments, and love!