Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Getting the Hang of Things

Well there is a kind of routine setting in.  The boys are like a three-ring circus in the morning. Matthew is the first to wake up -usually around 6:00- and he thinks everyone else should follow.  Nicky is a very deep sleeper, and Timmy can go either way.  Getting them to eat breakfast, get in their school clothes, gather their school backpacks, and out the door by 7:30 is a true accomplishment.  The silence, after they leave, is truly deafening!!  Arthur got home from Buenos Aires late last night, and I must say having an extra pair of hands around is quite welcome.  He has taken the boys to school on his way to work, and Clo will probably walk to her job which is about a 20 minute walk from here.
After doing my blog, I head out to explore the neighborhood.

 Yesterday morning Clo asked if I would go to the grocery store and buy some chicken and broccoli so that Nissie could make some lunch.  The grocery store is very much like our supermarkets in the states, and I felt like a real local pushing my cart down the aisle and finding everything I needed!! 
Because the entrances are all open, it is not unusual to find pigeons inside the store-

 The neighborhood where Clo and
Arthur live is comprised mainly of high-rise apartment houses.  These pictures were taken on my walk to the grocery store-

  Also common are public telephones which I was surprised to see.  I think that must indicate that, unlike in San Francisco (where it is impossible to find a pay phone) not everyone has cell phones in Sao Paulo!

Heading the other way brings me more in to a commercial part of the area. 

This is where I go when I am ready for my morning Tall Cafe Americano at Starbucks.  The Sao Paulo Starbucks looks SOOO familiar, I find myself gravitating towards it as a kind of comfort zone.  Even the inside is a cookie-cutter mold of what Starbucks must look like around the world.

Last week, when I placed my first order, they asked for my name.  When I said, "Nancy" the young gal smiled and repeated it with a charming accent.  When I went in the next day, she said, "Bon Gia, Nancy."  She had remembered who I was!  When my cafe was ready, a young man had trouble reading my name off the cup and the gal told him how to pronounce it!  Cl couldn't really understand all of this.  She said Nancy isn't a common Brasilian name, but they shouldn't find it so foreign.  I find it charming as Nancy in the States is so common!

I asked Clo if there were a park around that I might go to.  She told me how to get there and I found it with no problem!!  At first I found a small little area, but kept going one more block and there was a huge park on both sides of the street.  A pedestrian bridge went over the busy traffic.  I think I will go back there today and explore more of it.

 There are pathways that wander through almost jungle-like vegetation.  It is really quite beautiful and instantly gets you out of the city.  After wandering around for a while, I found myself in front of a gate that led out to the Paulista- a very busy, main commercial road.  It was fun to walk down the Paulista amid all the traffic, pedestrians and store fronts.

 Once again, I was struck by how expensive everything was.

I don't have a watch, but I time my return to home with the bustling foot traffic around me indicating it is lunch time. The boys arrive back from school around 1:00 and I love hearing their exuberant "Hi NanNan!!"  Timmy and Nicky have brought me pictures from school, and Matthew just brings me his happy face!  There is a little down time, then we all eat a delicious lunch that Nissie has made.  It is the main meal of the day.

After lunch we are ready to plan the day.  We bring out our blackboard, and everyone shouts out all the things they want to do in the afternoon.  The first thing is always homework, so Timmy and Nicky get to work.  Nicky never knows what he is supposed to do, and of course the instructions are all in Portuguese, so Timmy has to translate them for us before he starts on his.  Timmy doesn't need any help with his, especially if it is math homework.  His Dad has named him "Googlehead" because he is so good with numbers!

Yesterday we didn't get to everything on our list, but we accomplished a lot.

We  went outside and walked around the corner to get some ice cream!

Then we came back and ate our ice cream outside while we played some games.

 Next on our list was baking.  I had brought a number of different boxed baked goods like muffin mix, brownies and cookies.  Yesterday it was chocolate chip brownies that we decided to make.  Yum!

After all that playing and cooking, we were all pretty tired and needed a bit of a quiet break, so we decided to watch the Karate Kid.  My sister, Janet, had given us the DVD for Christmas, and I brought it down with me.  I loved it the first time, and it was even more fun watching it with my three little guys who really loved it too!

Clo came home, and after supper, we all decided to play HeadBandz- a game I that Sara Ridder and her kids had taught us while we were in Mexico.  I loved it so much, that I bought it to bring to Brazil with me.  It is so much fun and we had a lot of laughs.

Nicky would sneak out of the room to go look in the mirror so he could come back and ask questions about who he was!!

Timothy was really in to the game and asked great questions and usually discovered what he was.

 Matthew was the funniest of all.  He was so in to this game, and would ask funny questions that were totally unrelated to who he was.  Then he would take his headband off, look at the picture, put the head band on again and say, "I am a jump rope!" And we'd all cheer and say, "Yes you are!!"

Another thing I brought with me was a 3-D puzzle of the Golden Gate Bridge which we assembled.  This is a picture Timmy took and he told me to be sure I put it in my blog!

When it is finally time for bed, Timmy and Nicky resist with all that's left in them, postponing and evading all our remonstrations to call it a day.  Matthew, on the other hand, reminds me so much of Haden.  When his battery runs out, he just stops on the spot.  He is with you one minute and gone the next, and it doesn't matter whether is is on the floor, the couch  or somewhere in between.
Phew.... at the end of the day, NanNan is ready to pack it in too!

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