Still Us, Just Here

Ruby had an exciting week. She went on her first field trip to Lisbon (has another next month) to visit the planetarium, see a play and eat at McDonalds (something her classmates were excited about, but Ruby was not and took her own lunch).

The school held time trials for the 1k, long jump and 100m. Ruby won the 1k and 100m and took 3rd in the long jump. She qualified for regions in all, but can only choose one. She's choosing the 1k because that's the one she won by the most.

Herbie seems to be experiencing social extremes. He is pretty unpopular with the boys. He has one good friend, but a 14 year old boy in his class (they think nothing of holding kids back here) and a 16 year old kid in our neighborhood are making his life tough.
Herbie: I prayed like one million times that I wouldn't see R-- on my way to school. And I didn't.
We think he's safe, but it's not fun to have people picking on you. Herbie has noticed that both Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Renlund have talks where they mention they moved to new places as 11 year olds and had troubles with their peers.

On the other hand...
Moses: Do any of the girls in your class like you?
Herbie: Yeah, all of them.
Moses: Really?
Herbie: Yeah. And some in Ruby's class too.
Ruby and Herbie were late coming home from their Portuguese tutor because they got talking about missionaries and our new prophet with their tutor and W--... some guy who works at the school, just happened to be in the room taking out the trash or something, and got drawn into the conversation.

Linus also had a good experience, where his class was talking about visiting different countries and his teacher brought up that he'd recently been to Spain. He said he'd been to the temple. His teacher asked the class if they knew what that was. They didn't, but his teacher, for some reason did, but she let Linus explain. They also talked about baptism (Linus was able to say he was getting baptized soon), and then the Book of Mormon.

At this point in his story Linus said, "And then I ran and got my Book of Mormon out of my backpack to show them!"
Me: You had a Book of Mormon in your backpack?
Linus: Yeah, I always do. My English one.
Swimming was once again the highlight of Moses and Linus' school week. Moses was happy they got to swim finally. He swam all the way to the other side and then back. I was expecting everyone in his class to be better swimmer than him, but he says they aren't.
Moses: No, they're like Linus. (turning to Linus) You swim like a foot before you stop and come up.
Linus: No, I don't! I go way more than a foot!
Moses: No, it's a foot.
Linus: No, when I look up I'm way closer!
I'm inclined to believe Moses here. Linus does a lot of wheel spinning.

It's not that cold here, but the water's cold. Woo only went surfing like 3 times this week. And he still got that old January/February itch to go somewhere warmer. He did a bit of research where Fiji, and South Africa and everywhere else failed. He zeroed in on Laie, Hawaii and Raglan, New Zealand (low population, near temples and surfing... the three things our lives will revolve around in the future??).

But our adventure here isn't over yet, and we know we'll return to Utah for at least a couple years.
Woo (complaining about something related to his calling): ... now I’ve lost all potential blessings... just to make sure... I’m going to say the word “butt” right now.

The kids whined and complained and I practically had to kick them out the door to go to the beach Saturday. Of course, almost the second their lungs filled with fresh air they were having the time of their lives. Archie and Moses, in particular, ran in and out of waves. They really should've worn their swim suits, but I didn't think they'd get in above their knees.

Penelope was feeling a little sick. She didn't run at all, but walked along behind me picking up treasures in a little bag. But she was feeling strong enough to walk back to Archie when he started crying and hold his hand the last bit home. They were the best of little friends, eliciting smiles from old people everywhere.

In fact, we had two people walk into church today. One woman who has watched us walk to church every Sunday morning from her balcony and another woman we met our first week here, who's always so excited about the kids and was surprised to see her friend (the one with the balcony) talking to us. They both accepted Books of Mormon, took a tour of the church and talked about coming to a meeting. We will see.

People often ask me if I like Portugal, if I like living here, and I say yes. Because why not? I'm pretty adaptable and I'm with my family. There are parts of life here that I really enjoy (my runs, opportunities for us to learn a language and be missionaries, etc.)

At the same time, I've discovered again, that you're the same person, with a lot of the same problems, and after the initial transition it feels a lot like the life you were living before. Moving somewhere new and exciting doesn't erase those things and it's a mistake to think it will.

But I'm pretty comfortable with myself and my weaknesses. There are really only two things I don't like here: the visa struggles looming over our heads, and the fact that I have to mop the ceiling and walls of our apartment every month to clean up mildew and mold. Oh, there's one more: the dog poop everywhere. Ugh!

Well, that's about it. Hope you're doing well!