Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pictures of Portugal #14

Thought you might be interested in our "local" stuff.  We live in a very beautiful place called Casalinho.  It's about 10 minutes away from Tanners school in Sao Pedro and about 10 minutes further is the bigger city of Tomar.

The front of Tanner's school in Sao Pedro.  It's grades pre-school to 4th grade.  Like the "Smart Car" parked sideways?  Very common in Europe.

This is the front gate to Tanner's school.  I drop him off and pick him up at this gate every day.  The lady behind him doesn't let him out the gate until I get there.  She's also the lady who realized Tanner was wearing slippers to school (past blog entry).

This is the local cemetary - in Sao Pedro.  Cemetarys are very different in Europe than in America.  A lot creepier - which I like.  They are more "monumental" and "Catholic".

Our local "Castle in Tomar".  Enormous!!!!

Interior grounds of the Castle.  Quite amazing.

The next few pictures are of the "Ciganos" (Gypies) in Tomar.  They basically take over a piece of land that belongs to the city and build their own community.  From what we've been told - the "city" is very intimidated by them and won't kick them out once they've formed their "community".  I'm very intrigued by them, for some reason.  I really would love to see the inside of one of their homes.  But, they are very protective of their community and won't let you snoop around.  Rick and Devan tried driving in their neighborhood and some little cigano kids told them they needed to leave.

They build their homes out of pretty much anything.  They usually have wood or metal pieces for their roof with rocks or bricks holding them down.


2 cigano women walking out of their "neighborhood".  Couldn't get a great picture because they usually stare you down.

And finally, my weird "health symptoms".  Thought I'd include a couple of pictures of my "symptoms".  Not only have I had a fever on and off for like 4 months, but I also broke out in a rash and my fingers and toes keep going numb at random times.

Not a great picture of my flabby arm, but basically I got these little red itchy bumps all over my arms, legs, tummy, and a few on my face.

Can you tell which of my fingers were numb?  This happened one day when I was cleaning the house (so I wasn't cold because I was sweeping and such), but then all of a sudden my hands went really cold and my fingers went numb.

Pretty weird, huh?  My toes do the same thing - I'll have to take a picture of my beautiful feet the next time they do it.

So, I couldn't decided if this ambulance was actually for dead people.  Doesn't it look like it would carry a casket?

Pictures of Portugal #13

The following are pictures of our Christmas away from home (far, far away!!!)

Bringing home our Christmas tree.  We went down the street to the forest and cut one down ourselves. Although it isn't your typical Douglas Fir.  They do not sell real Christmas trees here, and we just couldn't bring ourselves to buy an artificial one.

Christmas Eve morning (before we left to go to Fatochas for Christmas).  Our funky Christmas tree.  What do you think of our Christmas tree stand?  We used a decoration that was in the house already. 

Christmas Eve at Fatochas.  Her table was full of traditional Portuguese desserts (enough to feed about 30 people).

Christmas Eve dinner at Fatochas.

We finally got our traditional American turkey- the Sunday after Christmas.  They didn't have turkey's available in November (so no turkey for Thanksgiving).  And the traditional Portuguese Christmas dinner seems to be Bacalhau  (which is dried cod fish - it's better than it sounds).  Just out of curiosity - do our turkey's back home usually have the wings on them?  Seriously - I can't remember and this bird seemed to look different for some reason.  They did give me the bird with the neck attached (about a foot long) - I asked the butcher to chop it off.  He looked at me very strange when I told him he could keep it.

We introduced our puppy, Beethoven, to Tanner's new Christmas bunny.  Tanner was not happy about that.

Pictures of Portugal #12

The following pictures are of our "branch" (church) Christmas party.  The women planned it in about 10 minutes at church.  It turned out great and we had a terrific time.  Things really don't have to be stressful to be fun!!

The start of our party - GOOD FOOD!!
The man in front is Luis, he's our 2nd Counselor in the branch Presidency. 

Members of our branch.  This girl in the background is Isabella - she's a live wire with some major spunk.  She is not one bit shy and teaches us lots of Portuguese.

We had more people come than we had expected - so we had to open up the room divider.  Notice we are eating in the chapel. 
Elder Duarte (Devan's black brother) is our Branch President & Elder Walter (the one who towers over us) is the 1st Counselor.  The other man is Julio.  We have become very good friends with his family- I'll tell you more about them later.

Julio led us in a game called "Cat and the Rat".  I think I told you about that in an earlier blog.  Very fun game. 

Kaylie playing "Cat and the Rat".  She almost got caught.  She actually did get caught later on.

This is Julio's son, Paulo, sitting between the Elder's.  He has a HUGE crush on Kaylie.  He kept taking pictures of her the whole evening, thinking she didn't notice - until we started taking them of him.

Picture of Paulo.  Pretty cute kid.

I know this video is terrible and sideways, but I just thought it was too funny not to put on my blog.  Rick and I made Elder Walter sing a Christmas carol (which he couldn't remember the words to at all) while he did some break dancing, in order to get his nametag back.  It was very funny.  He was quite the sport.

Pictures of Portugal #11

Tanner's Christmas field trip to Obidos.  They took these really nice buses.  Not like at home, where all the schools take "school" buses.  We tagged along in our own car, so we could spy on them...

Nativity set up in Obidos.  The whole town was decorated for Christmas.  They do it every year.  It's called Obidos Vila Natal.

Aren't we just so cute?  This was along the "fort wall" around the town.  This was a look out spot.

And aren't we just so cute, to?  This was the same lookout spot facing the other way.  If you notice the stone wall in the back ground - that is the wall we are sitting on in the picture - it surrounds the entire town of Obidos.

This is Tanner & his teacher (who speaks English pretty well).  We had finally managed to catch up to Tanner's class. The kids in his school were required to wear Santa hats so they could be seen easily.

Walking around the fort wall.


This was the cool "look out" spot.  On the other side of that wall was a "death" drop.

Kaylie inside a very old church in Obidos.

The "main drag" in Obidos.  This was the BEST DAY EVER!!!!  Kaylie and I had SO much fun shopping in all the little shops down this road (yes, I think Rick was just slightly bored, but very patient).   Then when the sun went down, this street was all lit up with Christmas lights.  We love this town.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pictures of Portugal #10

Will the real "Dumbledore" please stand up?

We kept seeing this guy around town.  A lot of the older men where these coats - very funny!!!

We were eating in this little cafe and in came this very hard looking woman with her baby.  Can you tell what the "toy" is that the baby is holding?  It's a cigarette lighter.  Made me laugh.  No wonder all the people in Portugal smoke - they start them VERY young.

This is a very "cool dude" in our ward - Vilmar.  He and Rick did not "plan" the outfits.

Devan has become our official wood chopper.  We go through wood like crazy because our house has no heat in the main areas.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pictures of Portugal #9

Tanner's favorite spot to do homework, when the weather's good.

Rick's work station - yes, he still works occassionally - believe it or not!!

Devan's crawdad catch - we cooked them up for dinner - YUM!!  That's Devan's hand, by the way.  You won't catch me sticking my hand in with those things - you should see how they clamp on to him with their claws.

Devan's "yellow" crawdad - supposedly very rare - he tells me there is only 1 in 30 million that are yellow.  I don't know if that's true, but I'll choose to believe it.

This is the entrance to the dog pound where we adopted our dogs.  Nothing like the dog pounds back home.  Very sad!!

Kaylie trying to pick out a dog.  Each of those doorways had about 25 dogs inside a block wall area. 

Kaylie with "Amber" - the first dog we adopted.  Amber is a little freaky!! 

Our adopted puppy, Beethoven, sleeping on Kaylie's lap while she does her school work.

Thanksgiving dinner with Elder Duarte & Elder Walter.  No whole turkeys to be found in Portugal, so we had turkey breast.

Rick with Tanner & Elder Duarte (P-Day), and of course our puppy Beethoven.