Friday, April 23, 2010

GATE, no not GATO.

So, picture the SWAT team-then times it by 100. And you get GATE....the intense police SWAT-like team in Brasil.

These guys mean business. If you see them around--chances are the person they are after they are out to kill. No handcuffs required.

Let me set up the scene for this post.
For those of you that arent familiar with Brasil let me paint a quick picture. There are MANY neighborhoods in Brasil called "favelas"--which basically translates to "slums". And they are EVERYWHERE. Brasil is a "Developing country"--meaning they are climbing their way out of Third World status. It is very hard to make a living here, so a huge population lives in a favela.

WEEELLLLL--this is also where the Drug Dealers reside. I toured one of these neighborhoods once and they are like mazes. The streets are extrememly narrow and if you get in and dont know your way around--youre pretty much stuck. The drug dealers do this on purpose. Once the police get in there (if they can get in) its hard for them to get out.
Favelas start by people just finding material and building their own houses. They dont buy land..they just take it. Because of this most favelas are located on the side of a hill or something. You can have a rich fancy schmancy neighborhood--and a block away is a dangerous drug infested favela.
Rio De Janiero is one of the most dangerous cities in the world because of these Drug Lords and the people that live around them helping them.

"On with the story Shea" is what youre saying. Ok ok ok.
So, just down the street from Berns' parents house is a favela. From what I understand from talking to them it's usually a pretty "boring" favela in terms of any ruckus or things happening.
Well, a couple days after arriving--late at night there was a loud helicopter noice. Being that Berns is a very curious little critter he went out on the porch to see what the hub bub was about. He came running inside telling his mom and I to "Come quick"!
The helicopter was a police search helicopter. The spot light was right over the favela that was a football field away. All of the sudden we saw some regular police guys coming up the street on foot and entering the favela.
A few minutes would pass and some more would pass buy, then police cars would zoom past...after about 10 minutes Berns just said, "Mae-GATE!"
I said, "cat? huh?" (GATE, GATO...they sound the same)....Berns proceeded to tell me who the GATE were...and how intense they were.
There was a slew of them coming up the street entering the favela--helicopter still buzzing around our heads.

I told Berns to hurry and go turn on the news. He replied with a "Shea, this is an everyday thing in Belo. It wont be on the news. They wont even mention it in the paper.--It's never happened over here...but it's too normal for it to make the news"

My thoughts: "uh....*silence*"

The thing that shocked me the most were the people that lived in the favela just coming and going as they pleased and the whole event not even phasing them. How sad.
Being that Berns is interested in ANYTHING that has to do with the law, accidents, etc etc etc he decided that that incident made the trip.

We didnt see anything come out of it. The helicopter eventually flew away...I dunno what happened with the rest of the slew and hoards of police and GATE..maybe they caught their guy...maybe they didnt.

Experiencing a favela in and of itself is quite the eyeopening experience...add this to it and it just gives Suburbia USA a whole new glory light.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Clube Atletico Mineiro....

Berns is a pretty simple man. Really layed back. Chill.

Except when it comes to his home town soccer team. Atletico. Galo.

So when you add two of his favorite things in life together---his family and Atletico---he sparkles.


Practice makes perfect?

Rehearsal for the wedding:

Except....we found better things to do than "rehearse"....


Talking to the horses...or in Zoie's case, yelling at them.

Splashing in the pool--they would have jumped in if I woulda let them. Mean mom.

Running around being ridiculously cute.

I'm sure somewhere in there they did the rehearsal...we were just too busy playing...usually.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Picole por favor

My newest Brasilian addiction?

Popcicles-or- Picoles.

um. genius idea to make them actually taste like the fruit. They are ridiculous. The End.

No Adult Supervision Required

Berns' whole huge ginormous family lives in Belo. His grandpa and grandma's house is constantly flourishing with eleventy thousand people. Its the kind of house where kids roam wild and grown ups just look on in awe.
Zoie and Riley love going over there to play...what kid wouldnt?-Parrots that talk, candies, power wheels, wide open outdoor space to run, endless amounts of soda pop, a puppy, flowers to pick, presents to open, bubbles to blow, etc etc etc. They have free roam of the space--and if someone tells them "no" to something the rest of the family looks at them like they're crazy.
Being that Zoie is a beast and Riley has an imagination with no boundaries they both love having free reign of the house.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Praca do Papa

These days our trips to Brasil are all about family, eating, relaxing, eating more, more family, eating with family.
We have past the point of being tourists when we come to Belo. This trip is no different. Our days are spent just relaxing and enjoying the culture Berns grew up in.
The girls were in desperate need of a slide and some running space after a loooong, uncomfortable plane ride--so we visited Praca do Papa--(Pope Square). This is the same place where Berns proposed--and now it's the spot where our itties run wild and free. Makes me look at my life and grin. I'm blessed. Period. End of story.

Destination: 55 degrees South

The girls are pooped from the flight to Belo before it even begins. Probably cuz thinking about a 14 hour excursion in the sky is, in and of itself, exhausting. Never mind the fact that they didnt read the sign right above their heads....

Belo and Bicalho' we come.

Baby Beluga

What do you get when you cross a water baby, free swim lessons through the rec center, and a way cute polka dot swim suit? Our little fishy Zoie. She adores the water. And I adore the little bum cheeks that stick out of the ruffles on her suit. Win/win situation for all :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hoppin down the bunny trail.

Easter is my second favorite holiday by far. It didnt get that way til I had kids though. I get super excited about filling their baskets, egg hunts, precious dresses (another reason I guess I'm meant to have girls), peeps, and yes, even the annoying fake grass that gets everywhere.
This year Easter was that of pure perfection.
The morning was spent digging through the girl's baskets finding treasures the Big Bunny Man left behind. After that we enjoyed "going" to church in our pjs....That's right! It was General Conference weekend meaning we enjoyed listening to talks and lovely music while in the comfort of my cloud pj's and couch.
Being that I am 5 months pregnant, of course I had cravings and decided to put them into action. For brunch we ate crepes filled with delicious fresh fruit and whipped cream (hey, at least the fruit part was healthy.)

In between conference sessions the girls got to do their Easter egg hunt in our community park a block away from the house. Sooner or later it was time to actually get out of our loungin pants and put on some nice clothes to go to dinner at my Uncle's house. Zoie was fairly adamant about not taking pictures in her Easter dress....oh well.

Like I said, I love Easter. I loved it most this year. Just me, my family, and the leaders of our church. Doesn't get much better than that....unless you get rid of that plastic grass in the Easter baskets.