Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First Reactions to Z Baby News

One of the most fun parts of this whole pregnancy thing, up to this point anyway, has been sharing the news . . . and all the reactions we've gotten.

I was 8 weeks along when my parents and grandparents were here. It was earlier than we really wanted to be sharing the news, but they were going to be the only family we would get to tell face-to-face, and not to mention the red flags that were going to be thrown up when I pass on the wine, don't have beer with my steak at our favorite "beef and beer joint", and never once drink a Diet Coke over the course of two weeks. Ordering water or juice with every meal was sure to trigger some thoughts in someone's mind. So anyway, we racked our brains for the 4 weeks preceding their visit trying to decide how to tell them. I wanted it to be extra special since this was going to be the first grandchild and great-grandchild in my family!

Finally, we figured out how to do it. Under the pretense of taking them all out for a "birthday supper" (since it was a day after Mom's birthday and we would be missing Dad's in September, Grandma's in October, and Grandad's in November), we took them out along with two wrapped gifts - one for each couple - to a nice churrascaria in Foz do Iguaçu. After the meal, we told them that since we had missed Mother's Day and Father's Day with them this year, we had a little gift for that too.

(There was a matching gift for Grandma and Grandad as well.)

After pulling back the tissue paper and seeing the bib and baby spoons, Dad responded with an exasperated sounding "What's this?!?" (Which I fully believe was in his best attempt to hide the "OMG you're pregnant!" squeal that always escapes from me when I learn someone is prego. Granted, I've never heard my father squeal, but I'm pretty sure he really wanted to at this moment. He was all grins.)

Lots of smiles, laughs, "Congratulations", hugs, and kisses followed from the grandparents and great grandparents-to-be . . . along with the inevitable 20-questions game, led by non other than the person who I think invented that game, Grandma. ;)

Later on that night as we were all heading towards our rooms, Mom told Eric and me to "behave yourselves." (Because you're never too old for your mom to tell you things like that.) Eric paused one second and then said, "Well, don't you think it's a little late for that now?" Everyone got a good laugh. (Except maybe Dad, who I'm pretty sure had his hands over his ears repeating to himself, "The stork brought the baby, the stork brought the baby, the stork . . .")

Some of the most notable first responses we encountered were:

From my baby brother, Nathan: (very casually, but unable to hide the obvious"smile" in his voice) "Pregnant, huh?" Followed by a squeal in the background from his girlfriend, Megan. (When I asked what he was up to, he told me he and Megan were eating at a Mexican restaurant. Since he knows how much I miss Mexican food here, I told him it sure wasn't nice to brag about such things to a pregnant woman. I thought I would slip it right past him, but he caught it!)

From my little brother, Justin: (in a most excited tone) "WHY!?! . . . I mean, not why, I mean, WHAT!?! . . . no, I mean um, that's awesome! I mean, wow! That was the last thing I was expecting you to say right now." (He asked what we had been up to and I told him we had been busy making him a "Tio" - Portuguese for Uncle - come this April. He speaks Portuguese, but I had to repeat myself three times before he got it.)

From my older brother, Travis: (also in a most excited tone) "WHAT!?! You're sh*%ing me! Oh, wait, uh, congratulations!" (This is so totally Travis, but in his defense I did totally catch him off guard. He asked how we had been doing. I responded with simply, "Pregnant." It took about 5 seconds before he even said anything after that.)

From Eric's Grandpa as Eric tried for several minutes to hint around to it: "Are you trying to tell me something? Eric: "Well Gramps, I'm trying here, but you're making it awfully hard on me!" (Gramps very excited now) "Well now, son, you know you got to hit me over the head with a 2 x 4!"

Eric's Mom was pretty funny too. We got his parents and youngest sister, Kelly, to all get on Skype and turn on the webcam so we could see them. After inquiring into whether or not they were excited to be grandparents for a third time (Eric's older sister, Tanya, is due any day now with her third), his Mom said something along the lines of 'yeah, and people always ask me about you and Emily and I always tell them you've got a couple years yet . . .' Eric then went on to ask, "Well, by April do you think you'll be ready for Number 4?"

His Dad immediately was grinning and congratulating us. Kelly said something along the lines of, "Are you serious?", and his Mom's response was "What? What are you talking about?" Eric went on to say how we had our first ultrasound and things looked good and we were due April 11. Then his Mom asked, (obviously still in shock) "What? What do you mean?" Eric laughed and said, "Hey, I think you two are going to have to explain it to her!" Then she came up close to the camera and asked, "Wait, really? You're pregnant?" Eric laughed again and said, "Well, not me exactly, but Emily is." She was really excited for us, but I think it took 12 or 24 hours for the shock of it to wear off. (Well, so I think - the shock has worn off now, right Nena?)

Friday, September 26, 2008

In Case You Were Worried We Might Get Bored . . .

Actual conversations from the last few weeks:

While running some errands around town:
Emily: Hey, maybe we should stop and grab a bite to eat first.
Eric: Let's get this done first and then . . .
Emily: Have I mentioned I get a little homicidal-feeling when I'm hungry?
Eric: Or, um, yeah, we could eat now. Now sounds great, Dear.

While watching the movie P.S. I Love You:
Eric: Are you crying?
Emily: Maybe.
Eric: Why? This part isn't sad at all!!!
Emily: Yes it is!
Eric: (taking a better look) You've been crying for a while!
Emily: Yeah, a little . . . for the last hour.
Eric: But, the movie has only been playing for 40 minutes!?!
Emily: (sniff, sniff) But I already knew the story line.

On any given day:
Eric: Have you had a nap?

On any given day:
Eric: You should probably take a nap.

Upon examining the freezer contents:
Eric: I thought we had ice cream.
Emily: Yeah, we DID.

At the doctor's office, after an exam (translated from Portuguese):
Doctor: You need to not eat. You don't need to gain weight.
Inside Eric's Head: Oh good grief, did she really just say that to my wife? Please, please, please Lord, let my wife not kill this doctor right now. I cannot deal with Brasilian police right now. Maybe Emily didn't understand that. Yeah. Please, please, please Lord let Emily not understand Portuguese right now.
(Yeah, really. A doctor said that. But more about that another day.)

Waking Emily up from a nap:
Eric: (in his most gentle voice) Hey Sweetie, how are you feeling?
Emily: A little bit like I want to puke on you right now.

While watching an American Football game on TV real late at night (like, you know, 8:30 pm or so):
Eric: Oh, man! That was a great play! Hey Babe, did you see that?
Emily: Zzzzzzzzz Zzzzzzzzzz

On a Sunday morning:
Eric: Hey Babe, you awake?
Emily: (rubbing her eyes) Huh?
Eric: (surveying the situation at hand) How about you stay here, I'll make some breakfast, and bring it to bed.
Emily: (rolling over and going back to sleep) Huh? Yeah. Okay. Zzzzzzzz

At the ultrasound lab Monday (translated from Portuguese):
Doctor: (pointing things out on the screen) And there are two feet, there are the two legs, there is the spinal column, there are the two arms, two hands . . . and that is one nice strong heartbeat!
Eric and Emily: (speechless, just great big grins plastered on their faces)
Eric: (after a few more moments and breathing a deep sigh of relief) Oh, thank God! There's only one!
(I've had a couple friends have twins in the last year.)

Yep, that's right! Eric and Emily are about to start a whole new adventure! Z Baby is supposed to make his/her grand appearance on the scene around April 11. We couldn't be more excited!

What we saw on the ultrasound screen was so much clearer and better than what you can make out in the fuzzy printout. You could literally count fingers and toes and see facial features. Z Baby looks much less alien-ish and much more human-like in real life! He/She was busy kicking, waving, and rolling around during the ultrasound . . . it was just too cute!

To answer all the inevitable questions:

-We are 12 weeks along as of Sunday.

-No, we didn't just find out. We were waiting until the end of the first trimester to share the big news.

-Yes, we planned this.

-Yes, we plan to have Z Baby in Brasil.

-"Z Baby" is a play on "the baby" and our last name, which starts with the letter Z. I made it up so I don't have to call our child "it" right now.

-Yes, he/she will have dual citizenship.

-Yes, we plan on finding out whether it's a boy or a girl through ultrasound. We don't have the patience to wait until birth - way too excited!

-Yes, we are very comfortable with the doctors and hospitals here.

-I am doing great and feeling good, just tired.

-No, I haven't gained any weight yet, but my current weight has shifted around a good bit. :) I'm totally losing my waist!

-With the exceptions of a few days early on, I've been blessed to have missed out on morning sickness - thanks to a low dose B6 vitamin the doctor prescribed after a couple sick days.

-Eric has been an awesome Daddy-to-be! He's gone to all of my doctor's appointments with me, to the ultrasound, and even to the lab when they had to draw something like 87 vials of blood. He tries to make sure I get a nap in (although that's sort of like making sure a two year old takes a nap . . . everyone's happier that way.) He only picks on me a little bit about my insane sleepiness, my all-of-a-sudden-can't-wait-one-more-second-to-eat hunger, my lack of patience these days, and my desire to sleep instead of, oh I don't know, mop the floor, clean the bathroom, or wash the dishes or doing something strenuous, like watching TV. I'm hoping that as I enter my second trimester I can gain some energy back and get back to pampering my hubby a little. But meanwhile, he's been incredible!

-Yes, I realize some of you are going to kill us for making you to find out this way. My sincerest apologies. Just. too. tired. to. spend. all. day. calling. (Yawn!)

A Weekend in Rio de Janeiro

We rounded out my parents and grandparents' trip to Brasil with a final weekend in Rio de Janeiro. Eric and I haven't spent a lot of time down there yet (only one quick weekend back in February to go to the beach, actually) and so we were pretty excited to see all the sights and spend some time in the Cidade Maravilhosa. It certainly didn't disappoint!

Eric took Friday off of work, so on Thursday afternoon we left Belo Horizonte and made the 6-hour journey to the coast. We ended up renting an apartment in Ipanema which turned out to be tons cheaper than getting hotel rooms for all of us and we were in a great location just 4 blocks from the beach.

The forecast was calling for great weather Friday, cloudiness on Saturday, and rain on Sunday. We decided we had better go ahead and get the big sights with views of the city in on Friday before clouds set in.

We started Friday morning with an amazing trip up to the Cristo.

To get an idea of the scale, here I am below standing at the base!

I was really intent on getting in some quality beach time too while we were there, so Friday afternoon we all headed down to the Ipanema beach. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and the water, while a little cool, was clear and fabulous and had just enough waves to make playing in the water a lot of fun for Dad, Eric, and me!

I love that no matter where you are on the beach, you always have mountains in the background.

Here's a little more, uh, "scenery". Poor Mom, had no clue. :) I do think someone got a good shoulder punch though when she later saw this one.

After spending the afternoon as beach bums, we got cleaned up and headed to Pão de Açúcar to take in some more panoramic views of the city. After riding the cable car to the first stop, we caught a beautiful sunset over beside the Cristo.

And then we headed up to the top.

The views from Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) are so amazing. Sunset is the perfect time to take it all in too!

We watched the sun go down, the moon rise, and all the city lights come on.

Afterwards we headed to Copacabana and ate supper at Decks, where we had the pizza rodízio (all you can eat pizza, brought out and slices offered to you by servers one-two pizzas at a time.) If you ever really want to test your translating skills, take a group of four tourists to one of these places. Pizzas were coming out nonstop, each pizza was half/half and had 2-6 toppings on each half. And pizza here if different. It's good, it's just different. No pepperoni, sausage, or green peppers. Nope, try heart of palm, catipury, green peas, crunchy potato sticks . . . yeah, hardly anything "recognizable" so lots of translation was necessary. Add that to the fact that Eric and I have taken to calling almost all food by it's Portuguese name, even when we are speaking English to each other, and the speed at which pizzas kept coming, and yeah, we weren't the best tour guides ever that particular night. (And did I mention that if you hesitate for more than two seconds in telling the servers whether or not you want a slice, you end up with some on your plate? Yep, we all ended up with a lot of pizza to eat!) And then, once we were all thoroughly stuffed - roughly 17 minutes after arriving - they mentioned dessert pizzas. Amazing how much space suddenly became available in everyone's belly. Especially mine. Like I always say, bring on the white chocolate and strawberry pizza with whipped cream on top! Oh and yes, the dark chocolate with caramel sounds great too. Um, yes, of course I want whipped cream on that one as well. Mmmmmm, dessert pizza.

(Wiping the drool from my keyboard.) Now, what was I saying?

Oh yeah, we were in Rio. Anyway, the forecasters were correct and Saturday ended up being pretty overcast. It made for a great day of walking though. After having breakfast at a juice bar and eating more than my fair share of açai (love. that. stuff.), we headed down to Copacabana and walked the boardwalk and the beach for a while.

Then we stopped for a bit because I had to have some coconut water. Love. that. stuff. too. (And obviously, it takes a whole lot of concentration to remove the paper from a straw . . .)
After our walk, we drove out to Rio's Jardim Botânico to stroll though their gardens.
Upon entering, we were greeted by the most interesting statues dancing in the grass.
Which apparently inspired Grandma and Grandad. ;) We were all just happy they kept their clothes on. hehehe

It was a really pretty and quiet place, a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

After spending most of the afternoon at the botanical gardens, we went out to Garota de Ipanema (Girl from Ipanema) for a fabulous last supper.
We ordered the Mixed Churrasco (which came with two big pieces each of grilled chicken breast, beef steak, sausage, pork loin, and several sides) which the menu suggested was for 2 - 4 people. We added a couple extra sides and figured it would be plenty of food for all of us. Eric and I went to this restaurant the last time we were in Rio, ordered a meal for two, and left more than half of it behind - it was so much food! We had seen another table order the mixed churrasco, so we felt pretty sure of what we were getting. The waiter responded in disbelief that that was all we were ordering for the whole table and asked if everyone was planning on eating or not. After getting our bellies plenty full, we still had food left behind! (Note: restaurant portions are big here too!)

Their plane was leaving Rio Sunday morning at 6:15, so we had a nice early morning and got to the airport about 4:30 am. After saying our goodbyes and seeing them on their way, Eric and I went back to the apartment and slept another couple hours.

I had contacted one of my bloggy friends, Rio Gringa, and asked if she wanted to meet up for brunch Sunday morning. She recommended the brunch at Parque Lage, which turned out to be a great meal with the most wonderful atmosphere! She and her boyfriend came out, and Eric and I really enjoyed getting to know them! I am now two-for-two in meeting "blog" people and having a great time with them! And I only managed to embarrass myself once. (Note to self: when meeting a nice Jewish girl from New York, and the conversation ventures somehow towards birthdays, and you learn that her birthday is in the beginning of December (as opposed to my December 26 birthday), going on and on about "Oh, that's so much better! At least you have a little space between your birthday and Christmas!" isn't the most relevant or appropriate comment at that particular moment.) The worst part is that it never even phased me until she casually mentioned something along the lines of, "Yeah, but Hanukkah almost always seems to fall right on or around my birthday." Oh, um, yeah, right. (Note to self: Stupid, stupid, Gentile!) I promise I'm more cultured than I seem. ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Few Days in BH

My desktop computer has recently gone on strike and refuses to boot up. Ugh! None of my solutions have fixed the problem and it looks like it will be off to the computer repair shop for us real soon here. Since we have the laptop, I am still getting my daily fix of connection with the world. However, the pictures we took with my family in Minas Gerais were safely stored on my desktop, not yet backed-up, and therefore, being withheld from me at the present moment. (insert heavy sigh)

We were a little all over the place after arriving in Belo Horizonte on Thursday night, September 4. Eric and I had a list of restaurants we wanted to take the family, along with a hefty supply of things to do and see.

We ended up being joined for supper on Friday night by a fabulous couple from Canada and their adorable 9 month old son who are considering a move to Belo Horizonte. We took them to one of our favorite restaurants, Bar Ideal, and all indulged in marvelous filet mignon and seasoned fries. Eric and I are (maybe selfishly) really hoping they end up making the move. We really enjoyed their company and it was so nice to go out and speak English with other people! (They were also the first "internet people" that I've actually met in person. They keep a blog as well, so it was interesting meeting people for the first time and already knowing so much about them already!)

We spent that next Saturday in Ouro Preto and Mariana touring the colonial cities, the churches with gold-covered interiors, and getting in our fair share of traversing the cobblestone hillsides.

On Sunday we decided to head out to Inhotim, which Eric and I hadn't even visited yet! It is at the end of a long dirt road outside of a little town about an hour away from Belo Horizonte. After the colorful journey there, we found acres of beautifully landscaped countryside sprinkled with a series of modern art galleries. Some of the art was quite unique, to say the least, but all very interesting. For us, the best part was probably the setting of the whole place. I can't imagine the staff it must require to keep that place up, but it was amazing! (Now would be a great place to insert any number of the fabulous photos we took. Dang technology!)

The next week, we stayed busy a little closer to town. Eric worked each day, but I had arranged to have substitutes for all of my English classes so I could spend my days showing everyone the sights of BH. Among other things, we took trips up to Pampulha Lake, walks to Praça da Liberdade, a drive out to Fazenda Vale Verde, and a stroll around Praça do Papa. I drove them around and showed them all the "must see" sights around town. They were also introduced to the Belo Horizonte traffic and aggressive driving. My dad made the comment that the Brasil people seemed to be some of the nicest people he had ever met . . . until they get behind the wheel and then they turn into the rudest, most aggressive people on earth. I couldn't really argue with that. Although it did remind me of how I was in the beginning here (totally scared for my life every time we got in the car) and made me realize how accustomed I'd become to it all. I don't think it is healthy that I consider the driving here normal now! While I tend to stay calm even as cars turn right out of the far left lane and across three lanes of traffic or as kids come darting out right in front of you into the road, the same couldn't really be said for my poor family. They were a smidgen on the nervous/edgy side to say the least!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Foz do Iguaçu - The Whole Story

Um, could someone please tell me where last week went? I had every intention of getting back into my regular routine, including blogging, and I really meant to, but next thing I know it is Monday all over again! I'm not sure what happened to last week, my best guess is a weird time warp of some sort . . . anybody else notice that last week just vanished? Hmmm, okay, maybe it is just me. But hey, whatever. It's a new week, and I have lots of catching up to do before Friday rolls around.

So, the long awaited visit from my parents and grandparents arrived on August 30. I was pretty excited to play tour guide for two full weeks. And despite the oh-you-poor-guy looks and comments from everyone down here (apparently in-laws have a reputation all over the world!), Eric was happy to be hosting my family too. (We're especially blessed to get along great with each other's family!)

There was a big international convention for agricultural engineers being held in Foz do Iguaçu this year, and since both my dad and my husband (along with my grandad, aunt, uncle . . .) are ag engineers, the visit started there so two members of our party could attend the conference.

Besides the conference, the highlights of our daily agenda while we were there included:

Saturday: Nighttime Lighting of the Itaipu Dam
Sunday: Visit to the Argentina Park
Monday: Visit to the Brasil Park
Tuesday: Technical Tour of the Itaipu Dam
Wednesday: Visit to the Bird Park

We stayed at the Bourbon Cataratas Convention Resort in Foz do Iguaçu, Brasil where the convention was being held. It was rather pricey, but a really nice place with a convenient location right along the bus route between the city, the falls, and the airport.

The whole place is built around tourism, so a lot of the prices are a bit higher than in other parts of Brasil. Mostly, the taxis, restaurants, hotels, entrance fees into parks, etc. We were able to find some decent prices by going to the more 'local' restaurants. One of my favorites was a buffet of soups/stews and sides for just R$10 (US$6) per person. And of course, if you cross over to the Argentina side, you can find some really affordable places to eat too! The six of us ate steak dinners complete with wine and some of us (I won't mention any names here) even had dessert too all for a grand total of US$80, including tip. I've really, really loved the time we've spent in Argentina! I told my family that after our time here in Brasil is up, if Eric was offered a job in Argentina . . . well, we might not make the move back to the USA for a really long time! My husband was quick to add that his company has no factories or anything in Argentina, to which I'm not sure if my family was relieved or disappointed - I don't think they would mind spending some more time visiting Argentina! ;)

This is a panoramic shot of the falls that Eric took with his camera phone. It's a small file, so a small picture, but you get an idea of the "waterfalls everywhere you look" experience.

But food aside (how is it that I always end up talking about food?), the waterfalls are really the only reason anyone needs to make the journey down to the Brasil/Argentina/Paraguay border. It is absolutely the most amazing thing I've ever seen: a totally moving experience! Pictures, videos, and written descriptions do the place absolutely no justice. I was so impressed by the naturalness of the parks on both the Argentina and Brasil side. Each side (with completely different "feels" and views - you really have to visit both) has lots of trails and walkways built in the middle of the forest, across the water, and right up to the 275 waterfalls. There are few man made things interfering with the natural beauty and people even seemed to litter less there - something we noticed immediately since we are so annoyed by all the littering in Brasil! The sheer volume and force of the water crashing down all around you makes you seem so small and insignificant. It was a lot like the feeling that Eric and I had while standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon - except a lot wetter and not so dadgum hot. ;) (We took a July trip to Arizona and Nevada in 2006. We learned that 112 degrees of "dry heat" is still 112 degrees. And that is HOT!)

Eric was almost more excited about seeing the world's largest dam (in terms of energy production) than he was about anything else. We signed up for the technical tour so we could go inside the dam, see the turbines, the control rooms, wear hard hats, and do all the other stuff that you don't experience on the more common "Panoramic" tour. If you're into that kind of stuff (and my family is) the "Technical" tour is worth the extra time and money. The nighttime lighting of the dam (or Dam Lighting as it was translated many places - which made me giggle when people said it) was less than impressive. Some of the tourist information described it as a light show. It was pretty all lit up at night, but I expected more of a 'show' (ever been to Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta at night?) and instead I basically just got someone turning on the lights. The music they played was much too dramatic for what actually happened with the lights! Seeing the dam by night and then later by day was pretty cool though.

We wrapped up our time in Foz do Iguaçu with a visit to the bird park which is not far from the entrance to the waterfalls on the Brasil side. They have several acres back in the forest with huge walk-through cages where you can get within reaching (or pecking) distance from all kinds of tropical birds. It was a great place to spend a couple hours, and I am happy to report that we all made it out without getting pooped on, pecked at, or anything else which seemed quite likely at more than one point in our journey.

And now for a few photos. Since I already posted several of the falls, here are some others.

The landscape of southern Brasil is highly unlike the mountainous region that we live in!

One of the hotel's pools at night.

And us playing in it during the day.

In front of the hotel, on our way out for supper in Argentina.

The Georgia folks (myself majorly included) get a bit excited when we see a gigantic tree that by-golly-sure-as-heck-looks-like-a-huge-cotton-plant. Quick, somebody, please tell me what this is. I know they grow cotton in Brasil too, but surely theirs isn't 25 feet tall with bolls bigger than my fist!

I loved this picture of my grandparents in front of the falls.

Waiting for the dam lighting. (hehehe)

To give you a feel for the size of this dam: that is a tour bus in the far right of the picture!

I couldn't decide if Eric was more excited about the dam itself or the earthwork that went into building it. I have a feeling that when he took this picture he was imagining tons of construction equipment cutting and digging and hauling. The guy's in the right industry, I'll tell you that much! :)

Eric left a day ahead of us because he needed to get back to the office. Since he wasn't around for the big farewell dinner on the last night of the engineering convention, I used his ticket and accompanied Dad to the big event. We left Mom, Grandma, and Grandad at the hotel to fend for themselves and the two of us enjoyed a snazzy affair with a fabulous meal, cocktails, and live band. It was a fun Daddy-Daughter evening! (On another note, Dad grinned a lot in Brasil as people repeated did a double-take when I introduced him as my father. More than a couple people commented that he was too young and that they would have guessed him to be my brother. Dad went home with a little extra pep in his step; I have renewed my commitment to using my anti-wrinkle eye cream every night!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Home Sweet Home, All Alone

After 31 continuous days of guests, things seem awfully quiet around here today. We saw my family off at 5:15 Sunday morning at the airport in Rio and after a little more sleep, brunch with a friend, 5 1/2 hours of driving back, and returning the Fiat Doblo we rented to accommodate all six of us in one vehicle, Eric and I made it home at 8:00 last night and crashed in bed by 9:00. (My poor family wasn't so lucky - as their plane from New York to Atlanta was delayed and they didn't get back to Mom and Dad's until about 4:00 this morning!)

I managed to drag myself out of bed about 9:30 this morning and have yet to accomplish anything overly productive. I do have the option of wandering around my apartment in my underwear all morning now though if the mood strikes - I didn't realize how much I had missed that option the last 31 days!

We had an excellent long weekend in Rio de Janeiro taking in all the sights and enjoying the last few days with my parents and grandparents. I have lots of pictures to share from their two-week visit, so I will try to resume a normal blogging schedule this week and fill everyone in on all our fun.

Meanwhile, I am preparing for my English class this evening (wow, it feels a lot longer than two weeks since I've been in the classroom!) and have some vegetable soup simmering in the crock pot for supper. I think I've had enough restaurant food to last me quite a while now! Eric and I spent the drive home yesterday brainstorming all the home-cooked food we were craving. It looks like homemade noodles, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, cooked vegetables of any sort, and Mexican food are on the top of the list for suppers this week! (Ha! So much for our post visitor weight loss program.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tourin' with the Família

Whew! These old folks are wearin' me out! I completely intended on doing a better job of keeping everyone up to date and in the loop with our whereabouts and daily adventures while my parents and grandparents are visiting. But between not having the internet access I was hoping for in Foz do Iguaçu, my internet being down for a couple days at home, and not being able to find time between all the eating and sightseeing, I've failed miserably at keeping up with my bloggy duties. My apologies.

So, for those of you wondering what we've been up to, here you go:

This photo was taken at a Parilla (steak house) over in Argentina

I could probably stop right now and you'd have a pretty good idea of what my last week and a half has consisted of: eating (or planning what/where to eat next).

But, in all fairness, we have managed to squeeze in some great sights between meals.

We spent August 30 through September 4 in Foz do Iguaçu, Brasil and across the border in Argentina. It was absolutely amazing! (I will share more pictures and talk more about what all we did down there next week once my company is out of here and I have more time to kill at the computer.)

Besides the 275 waterfalls along the Argentina/Brasil border, we also toured the Itaipu Dam by day and by night - it is the largest dam in the world in terms of energy production and stretches across part of Brasil and Paraguay.

We got to wear some quite fashionable head wear as well while we were there.

We came to Belo Horizonte and have been in and around the city for the last six days. We took a trip over to Mariana and Ouro Preto (colonial cities here in our state, Minas Gerais), went out to Inhotim (a series of modern art galleries in a gorgeously landscaped spot about an hour from BH), and have run all over Belo Horizonte and the surrounding cities taking in all the sights. Oh, and we've eaten . . . a lot: typical Brasilian food, Mineiro food, Japanese (can you believe they all tried sushi!?!), fast food Arabian, self-service restaurants, food at a restaurant where the monkeys come out of the trees and try to steal your dessert (which they found much less entertaining than I do), and a even little dose of Comida de (food of) Emily sprinkled in there from time to time.

Grandma made the comment one morning earlier this week that "I don't know what it is, but I sure do sleep good here!" Well, I've been sleeping as well as I ever have the last week and I know what it is: by night fall we're all slap wore out and have our bellies entirely too full!

Tonight we are preparing to indulge in nearly our weight in beef at a churrascaria before leaving BH and heading to Rio de Janeiro tomorrow afternoon. We're having a blast but I think we're all going to need some serious recovery time (and not to mention a good weight loss program) after this trip!

BTW, did you know that you can walk several extra miles per day, eat tons of tropical fruits, drink more water than usual, and still gain weight? Darn my food-is-an-important-part-of-the-culture thinking! (And this country for having such fabulous food!)