We spent the first part of our trip traveling to Brandon’s mission in Sao Paulo. I’ll admit I was a wee bit nervous about going because A. I don’t speak the language and B. I don’t speak the language. I tried learning Portuguese before we left, ha, but really I could only say “Where is the hotel?” and “I don’t speak Portuguese.” It turned out AMAZING though and I loved getting to know the people he taught. We were so sad to leave because these people that Brandon met, taught, and served with have such strong testimony’s not to mention they are hilarious, and are very good friends! So…. Here are the highlights:
We stayed in Sao Paulo for over a week. We rented a home through homeaway, which was perfect for us. We saved so much money doing it this way and were happy with it. The only thing that was a little weird was that we shared the property with the owners of the little house. We ended up seeing them a lot but they were pretty interested in the church so that worked out the way I’m sure it was meant to! Plus they had this really fat dog that they called “Gordinha” which roughly translated means little fatty, ha ha.
We were able to visit two of Brandon’s areas where combined he spent 15 of the 24 months he served… so a LONG time! We went to a wedding, ate SO much food, and just enjoyed being around his friends who I now consider my friends. Words can’t really explain how strong and humble and friendly these people are, you’d just have to meet them! They are incredible members of the church and opened their homes to us. They were so kind to me even, and especially, since I didn’t speak the language. It’s also a pretty cool thing to see that even when you can’t communicate through words things like kindness, goodness, love, and laughter are all universal.
I think my favorite thing was going to church and watching Brandon reconnect with all these people. The Spirit was there, friendship and love were there, and we always got fed REALLY good meals after, ha ha.
It may sound weird, but I became good friends with some of these awesome people, especially the women! They were great moms, had hilarious humor, and were great examples to me. We hope they’ll be able to come up and visit us sometime in the future.
Aside from visiting amazing people we did a lot of sightseeing! Here’s some of the things we did while we were there:
- Hiked Pico de Jaragua… There were COOL monkeys there! It was a 3000 meter straight up hike with about 80,000 steps at the end. I may have almost died and thrown up at the top, but it was worth it!
- Visited soccer stadiums all over. We saw a few including Brandon’s favorite. It was pretty cool because most of them were open to the public and had tracks around them!
- Saw Brandon’s mission home, places he lived, and the MTC in Brasil
- Visited a bunch of different parks. My favorite was the Ibirbapuera park. It was HUGE, like miles huge, and had museums, biking trails, running trails, a massive pond, and cool statues.
- Shopped until we dropped on Ave. Paulista and 25 de Marco and a million malls. The Brazilians sure do like their malls! 25 de Marco was a tad scary and crowded for me but it certainly was an experience, ha ha.
- Oh. And we spent a lot of time sleeping in, ha ha. It was awesome.
- We did a session in the Sao Paulo temple. This might have been the part I was worried about the most! It turned out just fine, despite some language barriers. There was thankfully an English speaking sister missionary that was there to help. I was so grateful to hear English especially there! The sisters were so sweet and they were excited to have us there. So aside from my headphones [that usually translate] not working, the temple was great.
Did I mention the food?! I fell in love with these things called coxinhas (pronounced co-sheen-ya). We ate a ton and everything really did taste so good and REAL! I was not a big rice and beans fan but I actually loved eating it when we were there.