Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Site Updates

I've made a few minor changes to our blog in the last few weeks. You may have noticed the tabs at the top of the page, a new feature from Blogger. Important information that used to get lost in the sidebar has now been moved to its own page. You can check our fundraising progress (and even download our fundraising packet, should you so desire) by clicking the "Fundraising" tab. You can view our most recent newsletter, and all archived copies, on the "Newsletter" tab.

I will continue to add tabs over the next few weeks -- a "Contact Us" tab with our current contact info, a "Prayer Requests" tab, and perhaps even a "Wish List" tab. People often ask us what we want from America, and I can never think of anything on the spur of the moment, so this might be a good way to keep a running list of the little comforts of home that are difficult to find or outrageously expensive over here. Eventually, each of the boys will get their own tab as well, so grandparents and other interested parties can keep up with important information like weight and height, clothing and shoe size, current interests, and new skills.

Let me know if you have other ideas for information you would like to see included on our blog!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life at One Year

The changes that one year can bring will never cease to amaze me.

April 6th, 2009
West Bloomfield, Michigan

And one year later...

April 6th, 2010
Lisbon, Portugal

Happy First Birthday to our sweet, sweet Stephen!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Easter Weekend

We had a four-day weekend over Easter -- Good Friday is a public holiday in most of Europe, and our teacher gave us Monday off as well. Here's how we celebrated this year:

On Friday evening, we hosted our first ever Messianic Passover Seder in our home. A friend introduced us to this lovely Easter tradition in Japan many years ago, and we have talked since then of making it one of our own family traditions. But for one reason or another, we never attempted it until this year. Nathan, Jordan, and a friend from church, "Ze," who lives nearby came to celebrate with us. On the menu for the evening -- roast lamb with rosemary and baby potatoes, strawberry spinach salad, and lemon pepper zucchini. And of course, the obligatory matzah and charoset (an apple, nut, and honey mixture). And for dessert -- chocolate macaroons.

In this picture, you can see the table before we began. In the center is the Seder Plate with the symbolic elements, central to the retelling of the story of the first Passover.

Friday evening also included my birthday celebration. Jordan made me this amazing "Portuguese Yogurt Cake." Such a simple recipe, but so good. Isn't it pretty?

Alex gave me this bulldozer for my birthday! It's the first gift he's ever picked out for me all by himself. Thanks to Aunt Jordan for taking him shopping!

On Saturday evening, Alex and I decorated Easter eggs together. If you look closely, you can see that we are using a Disney Princess egg decorating kit. This is what happens when you have girl cousins and Nyanya mixes up the Easter packages. That's okay -- Alex is man enough to handle it!

Sunday was church of course, and included a performance by all the children.

Then, each child received a chocolate bunny and another gift. This is Alex with his friend Daniel, who is also 4.

On Monday, we went down to the Parque de Nações, the site of the 1998 World's Fair. There is a bunch of stuff to do down there, like an Oceanarium and a Knowledge Museum. We couldn't do it all in one day, but we bought combination tickets, good for one month, that will give us entrance into everything. On this day, we decided to ride the cable car, which Alex thought was great fun.

View from the cable car

Flags of all countries who participated in Expo '98

Stephen and me in the cable car

We went to a park that had a bunch of large musical instruments for the kids to play. Alex especially liked the gong!

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Lest you think that all we are doing is "the tourist thing" here in Lisbon…

The following is my first writing assignment in Portuguese! (English translation follows.) Keep in mind that, at this point in our language learning (and it will probably always be this way, to some degree), our strongest skills are reading and writing. Listening and understanding what is being said to us, and especially speaking back are still very, very difficult. Even so, being able to write our self-introductions gives us a certain sense of accomplishment and the realization that we already know how to say so much – even if it's only on the level of a 1st-grader!

Olá nós somos os Campbells. O Rusty tem trinte e seis anos. A Laura tem trinte e três anos. Eles têm dois filhos. O Alex tem quarto anos. O Stephen tem um ano.

O Rusty é do Oregon na America. A Laura é uma filha de missionaries no Kenya. Eles são casados já há dez anos. Agora, os Campbells moram em Lisboa. Eles estão a aprender português porque no próximo ano, vão para Angola. Eles são missionaries da Igreja de Cristo.

O Rusty gosta de música reggae, de fazer snowboard, de jogar basquetebol, de ver desportos na televisão, de cantar, de viaja, e de comer a comida da Laura. Ele tem uma irmã. Ela chama-se Ronda, e ela tem dois filhos gemeos. Eles chamam-se Robbie e Johnny.

A Laura gosta de cozinhar, de tocar piano, de lêr, de escrever, de coser, e de fazer os "scrapbooks." Ela tem uma irmã e um irmão. Eles chamam-se Julie e Matthew. A Julie é casada com o Joshua Marcum. Eles são missionarios na Bolivia já há quarto anos. Eles têm três filhas. Eles chamam-se Michaela, Eliana, e Jana. O Matthew está a fazer mestrado licenciatura na religião. Ele vai casar com a Janille Wood em Julho. Os pais da Laura moram em Livonia de Michigan na America. Eles chamam-se Larry e Diane. O Larry é pastor da Igreja de Cristo em Livonia. A Diane é secretaria da igreja.

O Alex gosta de pizza e gelado, de brincar com os carros e os comboios, e de andar de bicicleta. O Stephen gosta de comer e de brincar com o Alex. Ele tem seis dentes, e vai andar depressa.

Eu amo a minha família!

Hello, we are the Campbells. Rusty is 36 years old. Laura is 33 years old. They have two sons. Alex is 4 years old. Stephen is 1 year old.

Rusty is from Oregon in America. Laura is the daughter of missionaries to Kenya. They are married already for 10 years. Now, the Campbells live in Lisbon. They are learning Portuguese because next year, they are going to Angola. They are missionaries with the Church of Christ.

Rusty likes reggae music, snowboarding, playing basketball, watching sports on television, singing, traveling, and eating Laura's cooking. He has one sister. She is called Ronda and she has two twin sons. They are called Robbie and Johnny.

Laura likes cooking, playing the piano, reading, writing, sewing, and making scrapbooks. She has one brother and one sister. They are called Julie and Matthew. Julie is married to Joshua Marcum. They are missionaries in Bolivia already for 4 years. They have three daughters. They are called Michaela, Eliana, and Jana. Matthew is doing his master's degree in religion. He is going to marry Janille Wood in July. Laura's parents live in Livonia, Michigan, in America. They are called Larry and Diane. Larry is a minister for the Church of Christ in Livonia. Diane is a secretary at the church.

Alex likes pizza and ice-cream, playing with cars and trains, and riding his bicycle. Stephen likes eating and playing with Alex. He has 5 teeth and is going to walk soon.

I love my family!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Our First "Field Trip"

Our Portuguese teacher, Eunice, designates one Friday each month a field trip day. We don't have classes that day -- instead, we get to do some sightseeing with a very knowledgable tour guide! Our first field trip was with teammates Nathan and Jordan, and fellow students Kevin and Angela, who have since departed for Angola, where they will be working for about four months.

We spent some time wandering about in the Alfama distict of Lisbon. We saw a couple of churches, meandered through the Roman Theater Museum, and eventually wound up at the Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George's Castle). After exploring the castle, we had lunch at a cafe before heading home.

Enjoy the pictures!

A line of tram cars

The church of St. Anthony (the patron saint of Lisbon)

Lisbon Cathedral

Group picture on one of the steep alley staircases of Alfama

The guys exploring the castle walls

Group picture at the castle, with a gorgeous view of Lisbon in the background

Lunch at the Pois Cafe

**Thanks to Eunice and Angela for several of these photos (our camera battery died pretty early in the day)!**

Saturday, April 03, 2010

An Afternoon in Downtown Lisbon

In the last few weeks, we have had several opportunities to explore our "home-for-a-year" of Lisbon. Here are some pictures of our first expedition.

It rained for a solid week when we first got to Lisbon, and then we began our language studies, so the first chance we had to really get out and explore was about two weeks after we arrived. We took advantage of the sunny weather one Saturday and headed downtown.

We went to the Jardim Estrela and let Alex burn some energy on the awesome playground!

Next time, we'll have to remember to bring bread to feed the ducks!

We rode the tram (it's free with our bus passes).

We walked down narrow cobblestone streets that looked like they hadn't changed a bit in about 3 centuries (minus the cars, that is).

We stopped for a bite to eat at an outdoor cafe -- tostas mistas (grilled ham and cheese sandwiches) and coffee.

And Stephen practiced walking.

The cafe had a great view of the rooftops of Lisbon...

... and the river (over on the other side, you can see the enormous Cristo Rei statue, a replica of which is in Lubango, Angola).