Simply Stephanie

Simply Stephanie

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm lucky to be alive!!

    So, our time here in Brazil has definitely been interesting. Trying new foods, experiencing the heat (it's early summer here), and visiting several cities; but I think the most interesting things of all has been the driving. Now, if you think American drivers are bad, then you need to come visit Brazil. Speed limit signs mean absolutely nothing, and the whole "you're not supposed to pass on a double line" thing is a rule that no one follows.

   The drivers have there own rules and signals they use. For instance, if someone wants to pass you, you can let them know that it's clear by flashing your right blinker, and if it's not clear you flash your left blinker. Although this is definitely not a fool proof method seeing that Brazil is one of the deadliest countries in the world for road deaths!

  Well, today we went with the missionaries we are staying with to the state of Sao Paolo around 4 hours away from us in Minas Gerais, and the rain that has been holding off since we've been here decided that it would come today. So, on the curves and speed limitless roads we flew for 4 hours. Now, I am known to get car sick, so since we've been here it has been common for me to close my eyes once we get in the car. The missionary asks me unfailingly every trip, even if it's just to the church, if I closed my eyes. Well, on this rainy day, as soon as we got in the car he went ahead and told me to just close my eyes and he would let me know when we were there. That was a comforting thought!!

  We only really had one close call. The blinker-passing system that I mentioned; well we were behind a truck and he flashed his right blinker for us to pass him. Turns out, it wasn't clear. Our missionary driver had to slam on the breaks and swerve back behind the truck. Luckily the cars behind us hadn't caught up to the truck yet, so there was just enough room for us to swerve back in. Then the truck tried to signal us again to pass, but we weren't so quick to follow his guidance the second time around.

  All during this rainy trip, my husband and I were a little nervous. So the missionary's wife decided to take our minds off the roads and tell us some stories. This story time turned into horror story time. She started with one thing that happened in her family in 2010 and it got worse from there. Apparently 2010 was not a good year for this family! The stories consisted of the one where her sister in law got her foot completely crushed by a truck that was run up on the side walk where she was walking; another story about her nephews getting a hold of bb guns and one shooting the other and he ended up being flown to the hospital (don't worry, her nephews both survived); a story of her two brother in laws flipping their jeep; one where another missionary had a car full of people and he was hit by a semi truck.... The list goes on. I don't believe anyone died in any of her stories, but it was definitely not a story time for easing our nervousness.

  However, when all was said and done, we obviously made it here safely. We spent some time shopping and getting souvenirs, and tomorrow it's some more sight seeing and then back to Minas Gerais. Lord willing, we won't have to drive in the rain this time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Adventure Begins

     We have started our first adventure in the missionary life. Three weeks in Brazil for a survey trip.  I was nervous as this day approached. Trying to remember to pack everything we would need for three weeks, not to mention making sure we had everything we needed just to get on our flight since the airport was two hours away from home.

   The day we left, I felt very confident, especially when my husband would say "Make sure we have the..." and I had already packed it.  He gave me many compliments that day about how I had it all together. We left the house and headed for the airport.

   At the airport, it didn't take very long to get bags checked and get through security. We got to our gate with no problems whatsoever. The first flight went to Washington D.C., and then we had a connection to Miami, and then on to Brazil. The first two flights went perfectly, not one single problem. "So, where's this adventure?" You may be asking...

   The flight from Miami to Brazil is where it all happened. We didn't have a long layover at Miami to begin with, but our flight ended up being 40 minutes late!! Once we got off the plane we had a whole 15 minutes to get to our next gate.... on the other side of the airport. Yep, we ran all the way. We were the last ones to the gate. And when i say last ones, I mean they were shutting the gate to start preparing for take off. Hubby got to the gate just in time for them to hold it for us to get on. Once we got on the plane took off not five minutes later. Finally, off to Brazil!!

   But it doesn't quite end there.... From all the running, and stress, and the fact that he had eaten a very large bacon cheeseburger not long before, my husband got pretty sick on this flight. Air sickness isn't something he had ever had to deal with before, but it hit him hard this time. On top of being sick, about half way through our flight, a woman two rows in front of us suddenly starts yelling at the passenger next to her. She was yelling because the other woman, who was her mother, would not wake up. They called for a flight attendant who came and started to shake the woman and tap her face and still this woman would not wake up. They paged for a doctor on board and two came back to our aisle to help this woman. Did I mention that the woman and the doctors only spoke Portuguese and the flight attendant and all the medical equipment were only English?? Needless to say, it was definitely and interesting little pow-wow there in the aisle.

    So as not to leave you hanging, the doctors did wake up the woman, and after she vomited for quite a while, she seemed to be doing much better. Not sure exactly what happened, but I did hear something to the effect of blood pressure medications and some wine at the beginning of the flight, which may have been the cause of the whole episode.

   Definitely an interesting beginning to our adventure...and we hadn't even made it into the country yet. I'm sure it only gets better!

Monday, October 27, 2014

As ye sew, so shall ye rip

  Sewing was never something I was taught. It was something I had seen my mother do, something many women in my church growing up had done, but never something I was really interested in. Until about three years ago.

  I was in need of some skirts and I didn't have the money to buy them. My sister-in-law said she knew a lady who could turn old jeans into jean skirts. "How hard could that be?" was my thought. So a few youtube tutorials, my mother's old sewing machine, and a couple of pairs Goodwill jeans later I was making skirts for myself. From there, I moved on to taking in some clothes that were too big, and I was pretty proud of myself considering no had ever really taught me.

  That was all about three years ago. Since then, my mother-in-law gave me my own sewing machine for Christmas last year and I have done a few simple projects. A couple of skirts from Pinterest tutorials, and some hemming, but nothing too major. Then came the big idea!

  I have these two over sized chairs in my living room. Isn't that fabric absolutely lovely???
Ya, not really. Well, buying new chairs is financially out of the question, being that we're taking this survey trip and having a baby and all. However, a lady in our church has some experience re-upholstering furniture, and she agreed to help me with these two chairs. How great is that? All I have to pay for is new fabric; and by new fabric I mean, we're using creme colored painters tarps. It looks better than it sounds, you'll just have to trust me.

  She did warn me that it would be time consuming; and it definitely has been! I thought the worst part would be taking the old fabric off; and by the way, it's certainly not the fun part. Sadly, that's not the worst part. The worst part is when you have to sew the new fabric pieces together to be put on the chair. Again, my thoughts were "How hard could it be?".

  Turns out, it's a lot harder than it sounds. The sewing skills that I thought I had back then are really not all that phenomenal, I'm finding out. Piping - well, my advice is, don't use it unless you absolutely have to because I did a lot of ripping out what I had sewn during the piping phase. Cushion covers - never seem to fit the cushion right no matter how many times you have redone them. Pleating - I lucked out and happened to get it right the first try. Thank goodness!!!

  So what is the fun part, you may ask. Well, I'm guessing it's putting the chair back together, or just enjoying the finished product, but I haven't gotten that far yet. I guess I'll have to let you know if and when I can actually make this cushion cover fit the cushion. Till then, I have some more ripping to do.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Life as a missionary wife

     Well, the title is somewhat untrue...for now... I will be a missionary wife; and in three weeks that journey will begin. So I thought that I am close enough to this status that I could go ahead and use the title accurately.

     As I said, in three weeks our life as missionaries will begin as we head off for our three week long survey trip to Brazil. How exciting you say... Well, yes, it is very well as nerve-racking. My reason for writing this is because I have only recently realized how soon this is all actually happening!
    The realization hit me only a few days ago and I was left feeling very unprepared. As I am currently sixteen weeks pregnant, I suddenly started worrying about what clothes I am going to need in the next six weeks and the variety of sizes that I will need as my body grows, and whatever else a pregnant woman needs in a foreign country. Also, three weeks off of work can be a little taxing on the bank account...especially around Christmas time. Not to mention, my husband is in desperate need of new clothes before the trip ( I just don't think the two pairs of pants he alternates will do for three weeks). And then of course there's the whole we get back and it's time for Christmas thing... and I have to buy presents and plan a trip to Michigan to visit my family oh...ya..and make it to a wedding in Alabama two days after Christmas. So needless to say, my next two months will be very hectic... and there is that feeling of total unpreparedness again.
 On top of all that, my dad is coming in to town in two weeks to go hunting with my husband. They bond on all that outdoorsy man stuff. Which is great! I love that they get along so well. It's the threat...I mean possibility..that they will be hunting the morning we are supposed to leave for Brazil that worries me.
    My hope for that hunting trip is that my mother will be able to come as well. No, you are never too old to need your mom. In all my feelings of unpreparedness, I feel that my mom coming for the week before and helping me pack (since she's been through this before, including being pregnant at the time) will greatly help me feel more prepared for this little journey of ours.
    However, at the end of the day, yes I feel totally unprepared, but I know this is what God has called our little family to. So, I keep telling myself this is just the beginning and it's really not more than I can handle. Did I mention the fact that my mother refers to my father as Indiana Jones, and she often tells me that I married a man exactly like my father?? Ya, so if watching my father is any indication of my future.... this is DEFINITELY just the beginning.