Feels Like Spring

It should've been a quiet week. It probably was, for some of us, but not for me. I spent every weekday afternoon out and about trying to find someone qualified to take my fingerprints for my FBI background check for our visa appointment in March. It also coincided with a really horrible Portuguese week for me, where I felt like I hadn't learned a thing and couldn't say anything at all.

The police station was the worst. I was barked at several times until they finally told me they wouldn't take my prints unless I committed a crime. No, was also the answer in the city offices, and in the courthouse, the second I started talking, every single person in the room stopped talking and looked at me.
Woo (later): Did you bear your testimony? 
No, but I guess I should have. I wasn't aware that I had the power to stop a room with a word and I was already in a pretty humbling position. I gave my standard, "I'm sorry, I don't speak Portuguese well" and forged on, where they told me they had no idea of any place I could have my fingerprints taken.

I took my own and mailed them. They're probably okay... maybe...

One thing Woo has struggled with for a long time is finding someone to snowboard with or, now, surf. He prefers to do things with people, but it's rare to find someone with a flexible schedule, around his age and skill level, living nearby, etc. But, this weekend he might have found someone?? An American in his early 40s, works 4 months out of the year as a ship engineer and is an avid surfer (with a young family, so not *too* avid). They had a good time on Saturday and plan to meet up again soon.

Linus had a really great week. He gave his English teacher a Book of Mormon and started asking his friends to stop saying bad words. I wasn't aware of it before, but apparently the entire range of English swearwords are used by a lot of the kids here in the 2nd grade. Linus felt really good about it and told me proudly every time he'd asked a new person. And he had a much better Sunday in primary than he's had in a long time.

Linus' teacher quit completely this week. We don't know why, but commuting 3 hours a day and being the mother of young children always looked like a painful situation to us. We *think* he's going to have a substitute on most days until a replacement is found.

Moses' teacher didn't show up on Thursday because she was sick. Most of his class went home, but Moses just went to the pool with Linus' class and went to his swimming class. That same day, his afternoon teacher didn't show up. We didn't know, and he was alone on the front porch for a while until Herbie showed up and they both went to the park.
Me: Mose, were you okay? 
Moses (shrugging): Yeah, I had my stick to defend myself.
He does have a pretty wicked swing with a stick.

Herbie's done some group projects with kids in his class where they all get along and are nice to Herbie, and then he's hurt when they reject him as soon as the project is over. This is an additional blow to Herbie because I'm pretty sure he considers himself to have been one of the cooler kids in the US. He does have two boys he always hangs out with, other outsiders, and to be honest, I think it's probably good for him to experience what it's like. It will make him a better friend in the future.

Archie has a long, black cape that he likes to wear around town, and I'm fine letting him. He feels pretty awesome; although, he's embarrassed and tries to ignore any stranger who points it out. But, it brings a smile to most people's faces, and many try to talk to him about Batman or 'Arry Potter.

Archie often has bad dreams. Every night in his prayers he asks for help to not have them. One day he told me he'd dreamed that he saw Penelope get eaten by a shark.
Archie: I thought it was real, Mom. 
Me (frowning, thinking of how that was pretty frightening): Hmm.
There was silence for a few moments before he smiled.
Archie: But when I have a good dream, I think they're real too.

Penelope comes home from school almost everyday excited about how well she's done in school. She really feels successful there, not only with her school work, but also with her behavior. Here's a typical one of her stories:

"My teacher took me upstairs to show the Portuguese teacher how well I could read and my class started yelling and being bad... my teacher got really mad...

Actually, all my kids tell me that there've been behavior problems, starting about a week before Carnaval. To confirm it, we got notes telling us that a new stricter, discipline policy had been put in place, the specifics of which had been posted on the school doors. Woo wondered why they hadn't just sent notes including the specifics.

Our kids have also been less than their best. Woo suggested we put them to bed an hour earlier, back at their old time. And as much as we both, at times, would like to be done with the super early bedtime, they have been better.

Ruby really seems to be enjoying herself here. She told Woo she wanted to live here forever and never leave. She tells stories at night of her enjoying and participating in discussions in class. One that happened this week was about volcanos and her teacher mentioned the volcano in Yellowstone that could destroy "the whole world." I was surprised to hear that even here in Portugal some are concerned about that volcano.

Another kind of surprising thing (to me) is that Ruby and Herbie say all the kids have seen (and loved) Studio C's Scott Sterling Soccer Shootout. Some even recognize the letters BYU from that.

Our cold snap is over and the weather has been in the low to mid 60s--feels really nice. Hope your week was great!

P.S. Can you find the picture of me?