Saturday, November 19, 2011

Elias' Eagle Project

Today was Elias' Eagle Project day.
We made work tables (picnic tables) for the Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center's Outdoor Classroom.
Everything was set up in stations.
Jude thought he was a pretty good helper with the pencil behind the ear.
The Scouts worked really well for about 40 minutes... then there was some messing around.  I'll just say that pretty much everyone has dark stain splattered all over them.
Assembly had a bit of a learning curve to it.
The little tables turned out to be quite sturdy.
Now I really want to make one for us!
They're not actually crooked.  They were just stacked on top of each other to fit in the trailer.
Here is the final product! Delivered to the Nature Center! Seriously proud of Elias and all the hard work that went into this project. Also, so grateful to the generous friends and neighbors who donated funds and time. He has had some amazing Scout leaders here in Texas who've really helped him along the way.  I had no idea how INVOLVED an Eagle project was.  One down, three to go!

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Visit to Rio

Tami is going to have to post the pictures again once I write this.  She can post whatever ones she would like.  I was finally able to visit Rio for the first time.  It truly is a beautiful place.  I only spent a few days there but I was able to eat some of the local food, (which was outstanding), visit the stores and check out a few places to live.

Rio is as expensive as everyone said was.  If you want to live an America life in Rio and have all the same things, it is going to be very expensive.  If you are willing to live more like someone in Rio and eat the local foods, drive the local cars, etc., it is going to be much more affordable.  I didn't check the price of speedos and bikinis but they should be very cheap.  We stayed right across the street from the beach and if you pay by the amount of material that goes into the suit, they would be giving them away. 

I was able to look at two different places.  One was a house and one was a condo.  The condo was directly across the street from the beach.  It had an amazing view but I'm not so sure we want our boys waking up every morning to the other view that comes along with the beach.  Plus, I'm not so sure Tami could handle the boys in such tight quarters without a yard.  It was very nice though.

The second place I looked at, fit our lifestyle much better.  It had an outdoor barbeque that used wood and coals instead of gas.  I think that's about all I remember about the place.  I'm sure Tami will post a few pictures.  The house is in what they call a condo community so it is all gated with guards 24 hours a day. 

The realtor also took me around to look at the stores and compare prices.  We went into Walmart just to look at some of the things they had and to be shocked at what they would cost.  Brazil has a very high tax on everything that is brought in from out of the country.  It is definitely an advantage to buy local.

Lastly, the day we arrived we heard that the police where going into one of the favelas to take it over and get all the drug runners out.  They had already captured the leader of the group as he was trying to sneak out of the neighborhood in the trunk of a car.  The good news is that they closed the American school down, the bad news is that they had to do it for fear of stray bullets and anything else that might happen if a gun battle broke out.  They took tanks into the favela.  From what I have heard, it was a fairly peaceful raid. 

Other than that, Barra da Tijuca is absolutely beautiful and we are getting excited about the move.  Hopefully, we will have our visas in time to move right after the new year.  One more thing.  All the condos and house have maids quarters which is a room and then a bathroom that is kind of separated from everything else.  We already have four little maids that were born into their jobs so we are going to keep that open for anyone that would like to come visit.  The plane tickets are expensive but the housing will be free. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Photos From South America

 Bogota, Columbia
 Bogota picture from my hotel room.
 Quito, Ecuador
 Lima, Peru
Lima, Peru

Rio de Janeiro

Tami and I committed to starting our blog back up so that we can post pictures and keep some type of log of our adventures in Rio.  I'm sure most people know (because of Facebook) that we are moving to Rio right after Christmas.  I am traveling to Rio, Argentina and Bolivia this week.  I will be able to spend time in Rio looking at places to live and checking out the local Walmart for Tami.  She wants pictures of every aisle.  Most people are really excited for all the local markets with fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, fish/meats, etc.  Not Tami, she wants the comforts of Walmart.  We have been told that about the only thing that is similar to the Walmart here and there is the name. 

The boys are getting registered for school.  They will be attending an American school in Rio.  The entire population of the school is less than Elias' 8th grade class at his school.  Did I mention that the school in Rio is K-12?  It will nice to be in a smaller school atmosphere but have all the curricula of a much larger school. 

Jude already knows exactly what Rio will be like.  He has watched the movie and knows exactly what to expect.  He still wants to know what language he is going to speak when he is talking to his friends.  He will probably be the one who picks the language up the quickest. 

We are currently going through the visa process and getting all of our paperwork completed so we can move.  I am the most excited out of everyone.  I can't wait to get down there.  The boys are excited but they are a little bit nervous at the same time.  Tami is all nervous and a little bit excited.  We are going down during the summer and right before carnival so it should be an exciting couple of months. 

I will post a few pictures of my last travels to Venezuela, Colombia, Equador and Peru once I find them.