Thanksgiving at the Embassy

First of all, there’s a correction from last week on the kids here not knowing their own schedules. Herbie says that they know, but are constantly asking each other as a way to make conversation. 

Something that has completely eluded Linus, who would never dream of asking anyone anything he already knows for the sake of conversation :).

We had our embassy appointment this week. It was a sacrifice for Archie who cried the night before.

He was winning in behavior points at school, five points ahead of Matilde (who won last period), and missing school one day meant she would likely gain back that five points on him. (He was only ahead because she’d missed a day earlier in the period.)

He had a bad night at scriptures, which was obnoxious until I talked to him and found out why he wasn’t feeling well. I explained why we had to go to the embassy and why he needed a passport. He agreed it might be more important, and he felt much better.

I was kind of looking forward to being surrounded by a bunch of Americans. We saw dozens of people, but only two of them were American.

The embassy was guarded very heavily by a Portuguese security company. There were Brazilians waiting in the room with us (one child had been born in the US). One guy behind the desk was actually from Peniche.

Ruby was talking to me, told me the couple behind us were Brazilian, then leaned over and asked them in Portuguese if they were Brazilian. She abandoned me, and about thirty seconds later I heard her talking about the gospel, which the women was very interested in talking to Ruby about. Ruby spent the rest of the wait there talking to the woman, and left with her number and lots of ideas for further contact.

Ruby is such a natural missionary. I’m often amazed.

We anticipated that getting to the embassy would be a little stressful. We’d never been there before, didn’t know where to park, didn’t know how bad traffic would be, and we had to leave much too early.

Woo drove us perfectly to the pin I’d dropped when I looked ahead of time for a place to park. There were a few instances of slow traffic, but nothing too bad. We got out of the car. I thanked Woo and told him it hadn’t been nearly as frustrating as I’d imagined, and at that moment a security guard stopped us and told us we had to move the van. We’d parked in the Brazilian embassy’s parking spots.

Woo offered to find parking alone while I took the kids on ahead, through security and started.

He found a parking spot two or three blocks down and I’d only just gotten started handing in applications when he came in.

We were there about two hours? With everyone being quite pleasant and patient. Woo talked a bit with a man from New York who was in Portugal for a week and had had his passport stolen. (Some one broke the window in his rental car.) He also was surprisingly pleasant for having to spend a couple hours of his vacation at the embassy (and who knows how much time with the police and car rental company…)

When we walked out of the embassy a lot of the kids were for driving straight home, but Woo was in an exploring mood, and suggested we walk around, so we decided to make the day our Thanksgiving vacation.

The zoo was nearby, and we were able to see crocodiles, zebras and many birds in the front entrance park. There were four peacocks just hanging around the McDonalds.

After lunch (at Lidl), we went to our favorite park by the temple. When we first got there, we had the pump track all to ourselves, and it never got too crowded.

Herbie stayed there the entire time and would’ve stayed longer. He and Woo loved it, but Woo wished he were in better shape. Apparently, it’s exhausting. Herbie did no complaining. He just kept going around and around and around.

Linus preferred the skatepark, which only had one or two other people on it. Unfortunately, one of those people was always smoking and Linus left because of it.

The bar park was most kids’ favorite. Under the bars is super springy poured rubber. It really is nice to walk on. Moses took off his shoes and dribbled a soccer ball in and out of all the posts, bounding with every step.

Thanksgiving day was a usual school day for us, but I decided to make a roast, mashed potatoes and gravy and two pie-like items for dinner.

Pie crust has always been a struggle since we moved here. I don’t have the right tools, the dough always ends up too moist, and I don’t make it often enough to get it right.

I got frustrated in a way I haven’t in a long time, and considered crying and maybe throwing the dough, but said a prayer instead. I managed to make two “pies” in cookie sheets that weren’t disasters, and that the kids and Woo all loved, Linus especially. At least he was the loudest about it.

The day before the embassy I had a lot to prepare. Penelope came to my rescue by washing several potatoes, spearing them and throwing them in the oven.

She was very, very pleased to have practically made our baked potato dinner all by herself.

Many Portuguese people compliment the kids’ Portuguese. It appears that foreigners speaking with native or near native accents are rare. I’ve even had people tell me that other Americans have lived here, but their kids don’t sound like our kids. (Maybe because they often put their kids in the international schools, not straight into the public schools?)

After our trip to the embassy, I wondered if any of them could actually pass as Portuguese. In Archie’s opinion only Penelope could.

I think it’s universally agreed upon that Penelope speaks the most Portuguese Portuguese in the family. And that I speak the least Portuguese Portuguese :).

Moses was under strain a lot of the week. He’d ordered a new pair of shoes and a watch from Decathlon last week. Normally our Decathlon orders come very quickly, sometimes even the very next day.

There was a false alarm on Saturday, all day on Monday, and finally the package came on Thursday during Moses’ lunch break, but at the very end, on his way out the door, when he was already running a bit late and didn’t get to open it.

We've been through our President Nelson talks one time, and are reading them again (per the invitation). Woo is taking a week off of surfing for his sacrifice to the Lord (The Hope of Israel--not a conference talk, but a bonus talk I printed for the packet). He's doing indexing instead.

And... here's a picture of my buzz for those who've asked.

And that’s our week. I hope yours was great!