Chelsey and Her Weaknesses

This week was hard, but not the hardest week we've had here, and not because of kids hating school in Portuguese and throwing lots of tantrums, like I was expecting. The kids have behaved exactly like they do starting school at home, and we're used to that by now.

But Woo and I found ourselves under a lot of stress, which at the time had us wanting to pull our hair out. The specifics are, by now, kind of trite, but there were lots of hours spent on the phone getting no where, lots of hours standing in lines in crowded shops getting nowhere, and little to no time to do the stress-reliever things we enjoy (and kind of need for sanity).

On one of my busiest days someone from the branch invited me to hang out in a cafe, which I reluctantly accepted. I was reluctant because hanging out is close to the last thing I want to do. Ever. And on a busy day it was pretty close to torture for me.

Ruby was confused, mostly because she's never seen me doing something like that before and also because she associates going out with dating.

"But, Mom. She's another woman--"

I started to explain, "Ruby it's not all about dates, and hooking up. Sometimes it's about being friends... "

I would've explained more about how I personally never felt that way, but most people did. I never got the chance because Woo was doubled over laughing. He couldn't believe those words had just come out my mouth.

By Friday some things had been accomplished. The last of Linus' books were available at the book shop. Herbie's last book came in the mail (and we were here to get it--we didn't have to wait in line at the post office). And Woo finally reached someone who understood our gas company conundrum and did something about it. (We think!)

Ruby comes home and tells us the interesting things she's learned in her classes. She rarely did that in the US. I don't know if it's because the bus ride home distracted her, or because now she has to work harder to learn through the Portuguese and there's a greater feeling of accomplishment when she does. She's really enjoying astronomy and French. She read ahead in her French book and did pretty well on the pre-test, but missed the one that had a line up of celebrities and asked which one was French. Most were American and she'd never heard of any of them.

Herbie's math class is already beyond what he's learned. He and I worked on it together. There was one symbol in it I didn't recognize. Reading the book led me to believe it meant one thing, but that was wrong. The internet showed me it was another. Still, we weren't getting it quite right. Woo came to the rescue, and I, at least, understand what's going on. (I did 8 more problems just for fun :). Herbie is still shaky, but now that we're teaching him the right thing, should get it.

Moses' proudest moments are when he makes a new friend. That's always a good day for him, and something he's excited to tell me when he comes home. He's made a few friends this week. He is loving recess. It's longer here and as the oldest aged kid in the school, he's feeling pretty successful on the soccer court. He was very upset when Penelope got a scrape and he, as her oldest brother, had to miss some recess to help her. Woo tried to help him see that he should be happy to help his little sister, but it was a miss.

Linus is also excited about new friends and thought it was fun to have girls chase him all recess and not catch him. It became less fun when everyone decided to be on Linus and Moses' team and there was no one left to do the chasing. Linus is a second grader in a merged class of mostly third graders. The tallest third grade girl in the class has decided to be his girlfriend. And he has one more, he says.

Linus' teacher said, "Copy this exactly." And look at the q's in the first few words Linus wrote. He's coping the printing exactly!

One morning Penelope's teacher said (in Portuguese), "Penelope doesn't speak. She sings. But she doesn't speak." Woo told her to pretend she was singing when she needed to talk. Penelope giggled and I guess it worked. Her teacher says she's speaking now. Penelope smiles and waves at all sorts of kids when we're leaving the school, and they say, "Tchau, Penelope!"

Archie loves, loves school. He's finally lost the bags under his eyes he had the first few days because he couldn't sleep for excitement. His teachers say he's repeating some Portuguese after them. He's also teaching himself how to read and write. He wrote this note for me, which says "Archie" and "I love mom." Then he drew a picture of us walking over a bridge together. And of course, I think it's a masterpiece.

Saturday we had a baptism. It was in the ocean. We walked through tiny, cobble-stoned streets from the church to the beach (Ruby regretted wearing high heels). The water was rough and cold. I thought Maria Julieta was very brave, and this proved to be true when after being immersed in the water, the waves knocked her back down, and then the Elder too, on top of her. I laughed. The kids watching on the rocks laughed. Woo claims he did not laugh. He was too concerned for our newest member. I paid for my inappropriate laughing while waiting to drape Maria Julieta with a dry towel. A fast wave came in and soaked my shoes and sprayed my dress.

Walking back to the church, Herbie slapped a random door. Much to our surprise, someone opened it immediately. Even more surprising, they knew Penelope and were thrilled to see her. They called behind them for their daughter and a little girl in Penelope's class came to the door. "Olá Penelope!" It was too crazy to be coincidence.

I think I'm finally done. I'm just going to leave with this public service announcement: Smoking kills.

Hope your week was great!