Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Alex Reading

I have been meaning to post this video of Alex reading for some time now. Okay, obviously, he's not really reading. He memorizes books and then he pretends to read them -- with lots of expression, and turning the pages in all the right places. It's very cute. We received this book in a package from my mom last fall, "The Berenstein Bears and the Great Road Race." I read it to him about six times the first day. The next morning, I noticed that he already had it almost completely memorized. A few days later, Rusty took this video. Alex recites almost word for word what is in the book. Pretty impressive for a 3-year-old!

** If you are viewing this post on Facebook, you have to click "View original post" in order to see the video.**

Friday, May 14, 2010

É Assim Que Eu... (This is How I...)

Another writing assignment, which we just completed, was to explain how we do something, using ten steps. We had to write five each... I won't share them all with you, but here are some of the better ones:

É assim que eu vou à igreja (This is how I go to church) - by Laura
  1. Eu saio da minha casa às quinze para dez. (I leave my house at a quarter to ten.)
  2. Eu ando para a paragem. (I walk to the bus stop.)
  3. Eu apanho o autocarro para a estação de Odivelas. (I catch the bus to Odivelas Station.)
  4. Eu apanho o metro para a estação de Picoas. (I catch the metro to Picoas Station.)
  5. Eu subo as escadas. (I go up the stairs.)
  6. Eu ando na Rua Tomas Ribeiro por três ruas. (I walk down Tomas Ribeiro Street for three blocks.)
  7. Eu grito para o Alex, "Esperas! Paras! Anda-ca!" (I shout to Alex, "Wait! Stop! Come back!")
  8. Eu volto à direita na Rua Filipe Folque. (I turn right on Filipe Folque Street.)
  9. Eu ando para a Igreja de Cristo. (I walk to the Church of Christ.)
  10. Eu chego à igreja às dez e meia. (I arrive at the church at 10:30.)
É assim que eu faço o TPC (This is how I do my homework) - by Rusty
  1. Primeira, nós pomos as nossas crianças para cama deles. (First, we put our children in their beds.)
  2. Então, a Laura tira o nosso TPC da mala dela. (Then, Laura takes our homework out of her bag. **TPC stands for "Trabalhar Para Casa." In English, "work for home" or homework!**)
  3. Ela faz essa, e eu arranjar chá ou café. (She does that, and I fix tea or coffee.)
  4. Eu então ponho a minha cabeça na minha mão e arranho muito. (I then put my head in my hand and scratch it a lot.)
  5. Então mais ou menos cinco minutos, eu digo "AAAGGHH!!" em o voz muito alto. (After more or less 5 minutes, I say "AAAGGHH!!" in a very loud voice.)
  6. Depois, eu escrevo algumas coisas no papel, mas eu não sei o quê. (After, I write some things on the paper, but I don't know what.)
  7. Então, eu arranjo a outra bebida para mim. (Then, I fix another drink for me.)
  8. Eu fico muito cansado, e a minha boca abre e fecha, abre e fecha, abre e fecha porque eu não posso parar bocejar. (I become very tired, and my mouth opens and closes, opens and closes, opens and closes because I can't stop yawning.)
  9. De qualquer modo, eu faco o meu TPC, mas eu não sei como. (Somehow, I complete my homework, but I don't know how.)
  10. Ultimo, eu fecho os meus livros, atiro a minha caneta, e arranjo  mais uma bebida. Então, eu vou para a minha cama e repouso na cama e durmo enquanto minha bebida fica muito frio. (Last, I close my books, throw my pen, and fix one more drink. Then, I go to my bed and lie down and sleep while my drink becomes very cold.)
É assim que eu lentamente estou a ficar loca (This is how I am slowly becoming insane) - by Laura
  1. Eu caso, e depois de dois mêsas, eu vou para o Japão para trabalhar. (I get married, and after two months, I go to Japan for work.)
  2. Depois de três anos, eu volto para America e eu fico a mulher do aluno na escola de graduação. (After three years, I return to America and I become the wife of a graduate student.)
  3. Eu volto para o Japão, mas então saio depois um ano para tratar da minha sogra moribunda. (I return to Japan, but then I leave after one year to take care of my dying mother-in-law.)
  4. Eu tenho dois filhos. (I have two children.)
  5. Eu sou pobre e desempregada e sem casa e sem seguro de saude por muitos mêsas. (I am poor and unemployed and homeless and without health insurance for many months.)
  6. Eu junto-me à equipa dos missionarios vão para Angola. (I join a team of missionaries going to Angola.)
  7. Eu vou para Portugal. (I go to Portugal.)
  8. Eu tento aprender português. (I try to learn Portuguese.)
  9. Eu vou para Angola. (I go to Angola.)
  10. Finalmente, eu faço "check-in" no hospital dos malucos. (Finally, I check in to the nut-house.)
Okay, obviously that last one is a little tongue-in-cheek. I was becoming bored writing about things like "how I make French toast," and "how I make chai," so I decided to be a little more creative. However, I will say that there have been times over the last few years when I have wondered if I might be starting to lose it. Let's hope that #10 doesn't become a self-fulfilling prophecy!

For more "This is how I..." entertainment, check out our teammate Jordan's blog, where you can learn how to make Portuguese yogurt cake and how to learn Portuguese.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Just for Fun

This is what happens when Mommy forgets to brush my hair after my bath:

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

First Day of Portuguese Preschool

Almost since the day we arrived, we have been exploring our options for a preschool for Alex. We wanted to send him to school while we are living in Portugal, not only for the social interaction, but to give him a jumpstart on the language. After several weeks of looking around, asking questions, and determining what we could afford, we finally settled on O Peixinho Azul. It is a great little preschool with friendly and flexible teachers and staff, some of whom speak English. Alex also has a little girl in his class, Sofia, from Australia who speaks English and is helping to ease his transition. So far, he really seems to enjoy it -- he's making friends and learning some Portuguese. He goes for just a half day right now and comes home after lunch. But it's five days a week, so he is in school while we are having our Portuguese classes. It works out well. The most difficult part is getting him to and from school. There is no bus (that we can ride with our passes) that goes near his school. So, we ride a bus, walk through a parking garage, and then cross a field in order to get him to school. But the exercise is good for us, and thankfully, Sofia's parents give him a ride home most days.

Here is Alex on his first day of school. He was so excited! He didn't even want to come and say goodbye to me when I got ready to leave. I can't believe what a big boy he's becoming!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Adventures in the Alentejo

In mid-April, we decided to take advantage of a three-day weekend and go exploring a little further afield from Lisbon. Rusty rented a car, and we headed east to a region of Portugal called the Alentejo. It was nice to have wheels again, and to escape the concrete jungle we live in for a couple of days. Lisbon is a beautiful city, but at least where we live, it seems like we are surrounded by nothing but high-rise apartment buildings. It was nice to get out of the city and see countryside -- fields, villages, spring flowers, and houses on large plots of land.

Some friends told us about a place to stay in the tiny town of Lavre, called Anema. It is a dairy, run by a Christian Dutch couple. They have a small cottage on their property (with a full kitchen so you can do your own cooking), which they rent very cheaply. It was such a lovely and peaceful place, and I hope we can be frequent visitors there! Alex especially liked watching all the animals, and we all enjoyed the fresh milk, yogurt, and cheese that they gave us.

Amena provided a perfect central point for exploring some of the Alentejan towns, many of which have a medieval flair with castles and old city walls. On Saturday, we spent all day in Évora and the surrounding area. Sunday, we visited Estremoz and Évoramonte before heading home to Lisbon. Here are some pictures of our adventuring.

View from our cottage

A game of four-in-a-row

Pack-mule Dad

Tour-guide Mom

Exploring the castle in Montemor-o-Novo (on the way to Évora)

View from the castle wall -- the round structure is a praça de touros (bullring). Bullfighting is a national institution in Portugal, and many of the bulls come from this region.

The Templo Romano (Roman Temple) in Évora

We climbed to the top of the (Cathedral) in Évora for this great view of the city

Near Évora is the Cromeleque dos Almendres, a grouping of nearly 100 megaliths, or "standing stones," kind of like a mini-Stonehenge.

Alex loved climbing on the megaliths! In fact, when we asked him what was his favorite thing we did this weekend, he said, "The place with the big rocks!"

Rusty took this awesome picture of me and Stephen at the Cromeleque. I think we could almost be models for Hotslings!

The ramparts and palace of Estremoz. The squarish gray structure right in the middle is the keep, the Torre das Três Coroas (Tower of the Three Crowns). We climbed all the way to the top of it for a stunning view.

The castle town of Évoramonte

On the castle roof

View of the town from the castle roof