Lucas Lounging at the pool

Today is Wednesday. It’s been a really slow, low-key week for me. Not much again today — I do have my tutoring session at 3pm and I need to get a little bit of last minute studying in before she comes. Tomorrow I’m going out to lunch and to the movies with Ana. I’m pretty excited about that.

Búzios — The beaches were beautiful and the town had lots of charm. I really enjoyed the time there. I even kayaked! That was interesting…the last time I kayaked was about 11 or 12 years ago at an Indian Princess campout. I refused to go in a double kayak with my dad, but instead said that I could handle my own just fine, thank you. Haha, I had never been in one before, I have no idea what I was thinking. Well, I was out there in the middle of the pond with no clue as to how to steer or even move that darn thing and then it started to storm. I got freaked out and was screaming for help. Yeah that was my last experience. Well I got in the kayak with Wander and Lucas and the man handed me a paddle thing. OH dear, I thought to myself, what in the world am I supposed to do with this? It was an utter disaster at first, I was rowing one way and Wander the other. But we finally got the hang of it and had a lot of fun. Oh, there was this adorable little boy at the hotel. He was 1 year old and his name is Pedro Enrique. Oh my gosh, he was soooooo cute! I just wanted to take him home with me! I got to play with him a lot — his parents were really nice and they let me have him one evening!

Books — I am running out of books! I have lots of time to read these days and I definitely didn’t bring enough books with me. I am on my second to last book. I’ve been trying to read slowly, but it isn’t working. Oh well. I guess I could buy some books and Portuguese. Yeah then I would be forced to read very slowly.


Búzios…let’s try this again

view from an overlook

We drove up to an overlook after our time on the beach on Thursday. The view was incredible, this picture doesn’t even begin to do it justice. It was just a gorgeous 360 view of rocky shoreline, sandy beach, blue ocean…gosh it was breathtaking!

Lucas getting his face painted

Lucas makes new friends wherever he goes. Here he is getting his face painted by a new Amazon friend.

the guys with their new friend

And of course, David had to get in on the fun…

down an alley

We were out shopping and walking around the town with our new friends, Neymar, Andreia, Stephanie and Leo when we looked down a little alley way and saw the beach!

my new friend stephanie

Stephanie walking around in the sand…Gosh, it’s so beautiful there!


I love the colorful boats! There is color everywhere and I’m so in love with it!


Yummy, Neymar bought me my first caipirnha and it was delicious! Oh it was restaurant week in Búzios. It was really cool all of the restaurants created an outdoor eating space with one or two tables. Some of the themes were really cool. Lots of people in the street and music and lots of food…

our new friends

This was on Sunday right before we left. Lucas met Leo on the first day and they became inseparable. We got to know the whole family and enjoyed hanging out with all of them. This picture is minus Neymar (the father) and Andreia (the mother). Their grandmother is the one standing next to Giselly. We had a great time and I’m so glad that I got to go.

More from Búzios

Pérola Hotel

Here’s a picture of the pool area at the hotel. It was really nice — very Southeast Asian inspired…It was a big oval with all of the rooms opening to the pool. Our room was nice. It had two twin beds, a desk, bathroom and storage area downstairs and then had a big loft upstairs with another bedroom.

Jaõa Fernandes

We went to this beach on Thursday afternoon. It was beautiful, but very crowded and a little chilly. It was a beautiful day though. Gorgeous blue skies and sunny. Búzios is a favorite among Argentinians and I heard a ton of Spanish on the beach. Lucas even made friends with one couple, so I got to speak some Spanish. My Spanish is not that great and is far from fluent, but it flows a whole lot better and more naturally than my Portuguese!

Well, once again my internet connection is acting up and taking FOREVER to upload pictures. I guess I’ll just have to post more later.




We got to Búzios around lunchtime on Thursday afternoon. We checked into our hotel room and then went to lunch. After that we just wandered around the town and found pretty little courtyards like this one. And of course Giselly and I somehow found our way into the cutest little boutiques. Búzios is a really nice resort town, so there were a bunch of really, really nice stores with lots of tempting treats. There were tons of jewelry stores and even more shoe stores. Oh there were also a ton of icecream and gelato shops. Yummy! The weather was absolutely gorgeous; perfect cloudless blue skies, sunny and warm with a slight breeze. I am so glad that I got to see this beautiful place! Wander and Gi were so kind to ask me to go with them.

After walking around for a while and doing some light shopping, we decided to stop in and get some icecream. It was a really cool little place with way too many flavors. The lady kept shoving samples of all of the flavors in my face. They were all delicious, but I was stuffed from lunch and by the time she finished giving me tastes of everything she had to offer, I felt like I had already had a couple of scoops! Her samples were HUGE.


me & lucas

Okay, well I’ve got to unpack and get some things done around here, so I’ll post more pictures and details about the trip tomorrow!

Tchau tchau! xoxo, J


I woke up two minutes before my alarm went off at 6:15am. I love waking up on my own without the loud, obnoxious beep of the alarm. I feel fresher and like I’ve gotten enough sleep and it’s time to wake up. So, that was a great start to this beautiful morning. I hopped out of bed and brushed my teeth and made my bed just like my mom taught me. I pressed the on button and got my coffee brewing and then like I always do I spent some time reading and throwing some last minute stuff into my bag. I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while reading my favorite blogs and news sites and of course I turned on Taylor Swift and tidied up my room. Giselly told me that we were going to leave around 7:30 or 8 this morning. So at 7:30 I decided I would walk over to their house. First problem. The door was locked. And by the door, I don’t mean their door, I mean the door to get of Edir and Josefina’s house. The one I was in. You have to have a key to unlock it from the inside as well as the outside. I was locked in. I tried every key hanging by the door, but none of them were a fit. Well I knew that Olivia or Saulo had to be coming sometime soon and I assumed that they must have a way to get in. I was right! Walking up the driveway at that very moment were Olivia and Avô. They unlocked the door and I was free! But then Avô proceeded to tell me that Giselly and the rest of her family were still sleeping. She was blocking my pathway out of the door and told me not to leave the house, like I might try to escape or something. Then I see Wander walk over to Avô and Tia’s house for breakfast looking like he just woke up. So, yes fail number 2, I am ready way too early. I look like one of those annoying, overly excited vacationers or something. Haha, oh well. So much for leaving around 7:30 or 8…I’m just going to wait here until they summon me. I’m ready to go whenever!


Let’s go to the praia


Tomorrow morning I will be on my way to this beautiful beachy paradise. I am so excited! It’s been a bit rainy and chilly here lately, but the weather is supposed to be fantastic in Búzios for the next couple of days.

Wander has a cardiology conference that he’s attending there, and I’m so thankful that they asked me to come along! We’ll be gone until Sunday and I’m not bringing my computer, so the blog will be silent until then. I am taking my camera though and have decided to channel my mother and take hundreds of pictures of what I have been told is one of the most beautiful places in Brasil. They say that the water is this beautiful clear blue with white sandy beaches. Ahh, I can’t wait! It’ll be nice to have a few days in a new place.

I’ve pretty much settled into my routine here. I’m learning a lot about the language and the culture. As far as the language goes, I feel like it’s taking forever to get to the place where I feel comfortable speaking. I can understand so much more and like I said before my comprehension grows everyday, but the speaking, not so much. My tutor is great though. I enjoy my Wednesday afternoons with her so much. I never really thought about being a linguist before, but she said that she thinks I am good at languages and that I should definitely learn French after this. I would definitely love to learn French, but it just sounds so difficult! So out of my reach…I don’t know, we’ll see. I do know now that I for sure want to go to a Spanish speaking country and finally become fluent in Spanish. For whatever reason, my Spanish has been coming back to me this last couple of weeks. Ahh and oh the memories that come flooding into my mind whenever I start to think about Spanish classes. Yes, I will definitely have to learn to speak Spanish fluently.

Other things…oh yes, I stayed up until after 1am reading last night. Haven’t done that in a while. Anyway, I was reading a book that a friend gave me before I left. It’s called, “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World,” it was quite an interesting read. Basically the author, Eric Weiner, studied happiness data and found the happiest countries in the world and visited them. The book was annoying at times and boring at others, but overall interesting and for some reason I just couldn’t put it down. I don’t really know why, because it’s not like it was an extremely well written work of literary art. It left me feeling a bit cheated at the end because he admitted he was still an unhappy person, which of course I knew would be the case since he openly admits that he doesn’t really believe in anything. It made me sad to think about him and all of the other people in the book that think that happiness is a physical place, or even a thing that can be bought with money or perhaps not, but can be had by finding meaningful relationships with people. In the end none of these things will be enough.

Lucas and I played soccer today. I’ve never been exactly what I’d call athletic. I like to run, but that really doesn’t take much coordination. Figure skating was a happy accident, still not sure how I managed to stand up on little blades with ice beneath my feet. I don’t even venture to think about how in the world I jumped around and spun on those things…I can barely jump up and down on the trampoline at the gym while also flailing my arms about with weights. Something inevitably goes wrong and I’m suddenly jumping off beat and out of sync with the music. At first I was terribly embarrassed that I had no rhythm and absolutely zero coordination between my arms and legs and feet. I’ve decided that as long as I’m doing the workout correctly, who cares if I’m off from the rest of the class and the music? Oh well. Wow, now that was a random tangent.

Okay, well I have to go get ready for the trip…




And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” —Isaiah 6:3

“Only once in sacred Scripture is an attribute of God elevated to the third degree. Only once is a characteristic of God mentioned three times in succession. The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love; or mercy, mercy, mercy; or wrath, wrath, wrath; or justice, justice, justice. It does say that he is holy, holy, holy that the whole earth is full of His glory.” –The Holiness of God, RC Sproul

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a talk given by Bob Kauflin at New Attitude 2006 called, “Reconsidering Worship.” It was very good and offered this definition of worship (although he was quick to add that one weakness of definitions is that they are limiting), “Biblical worship is the response of God’s redeemed people to his self revelation that exalts God’s glory in Christ; in our minds, affections and wills in the the power of the Holy Spirit.” The message was encouraging and I was reminded that worship is not simply the songs we sing before we settle in to hear the sermon, but that with every single breath we take we are worshipping something and that only God is worthy of our worship. The main thing that struck me about this particular talk was when he started talking about the Bible and worship. He said that so many times we glide through the parts we like and are easy to understand and skip through the other parts; in other words we read selectively, we read what makes us feel good. But if God has revealed himself to us primarily through scripture we miss out on so much when we do this. He used the example of a letter from a friend. We wouldn’t skip through some parts of a long letter from a friend who lived far away, but would read every word and try to glean as much as we could from it. This is how we should read the Bible. Immediately I realized that this is what I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been reading the texts that I like and that I think will be most beneficial for my soul at a particular time. It was then that I decided to start reading the Bible from the beginning with the mission of knowing the character of God better and learning the fear of the Lord. God has blessed me so richly in this endeavor. As I pray for wisdom and understanding God continues to graciously give me these things in order to know him better, increase my joy in him and glorify himself. I am thankful. I am almost through Genesis and can’t help but wonder at God’s unending faithfulness and mercy. And overarching that is his holiness. I am coming to see that his holiness is not one of many attributes, but everything about him is holy — his mercy is holy and his faithfulness is a holy faithfulness, etc.


so many holidays

Today is a holiday celebrating business owners. It’s always on the third Monday of October. It’s also Doctors Day, however, Doctor’s Day is always on October 18. There are so many holidays here! I can hardly keep up. All of the stores are closed today. If they do not close for the holiday they have to pay hefty fines as a consequence.

It’s really dark, rainy and cool today. It’s been a really quiet day of reading, writing, studying and thinking. Gosh, verbs are so difficult. I’m memorizing irregular verbs in the present, the preterite, etc. Wander is going to help me tonight. It’s been a little bit of a challenge and while my Spanish sometimes gets in the way, it’s been an extremely helpful tool in understanding Portuguese.


Feliz Aniversário

This weekend I went to two different birthday parties. The first one was last night and was Maria Eduarda’s first birthday. Her mother is a friend of Giselly’s from the school where she teaches English. We arrived and I really couldn’t believe my eyes. We just don’t have parties like this in the US and especially not for 1 year olds. The little girl couldn’t even walk or talk and there’s all this big hoopla for her and a mountain of gifts. It made me laugh. Giselly informed me that her party was just small to average and that the big parties would really blow my mind. Here are a few photos to give you an idea of what it was like.

Just in case you couldn’t tell by all of the decorations, it was a fairy themed party. Yeah there were gift bags for all of the guests with Tinker Bell on the outside. Servers were walking around the whole time serving all kinds of food and drink. Mmm, there were these delicious fruity cocktails that I loved. There was also a chocolate fondue bar and that huge pink cake. We didn’t stay long enough to eat any it though.

Today we went to Wander’s cousin’s birthday party. It was much more low key and just family. It was really nice though. Per the usual there was food everywhere. I couldn’t possibly have eaten everything that they wanted me to eat. It was all delicious and I have a piece of cake that I’m saving for later. Here is a picture of Giselly and Claudia.

Well that’s about it for now. Seriously gotta study now! I have lots of homework to do tonight.



PS Tomorrow is another holiday. I know, it’s kind of crazy, right? Not sure exactly what’s it called, but this one is for shop owners…I think kids have to go to school though. But I know my gym is closed tomorrow, so I guess I’ll be jump roping tomorrow. TTYL!