Living in a Renovation Zone

The mission here is a busy place with 396 children in the school, a busy dental clinic and all the personal required to keep everything running smoothly. During the week it is alive with activity and noise…I love it! Living right in the middle of all the action is wonderful…exactly what I like. When I go walking down my steps to go somewhere or do something…the children are calling, “Tia, tia” (Auntie, auntie). I’ve been here long enough they know me and I’m getting to know them. Now I can talk with them too which is always fun. Of course, I get lots of love and hugs too. Nothing makes my day better than that!

The past few weeks have added new noise and activity as they’ve been renovating the apartment where I’m living. They are expanding the current office and creating a new larger location for the library. I’m discovering progress and change often require getting dirty. Anyone who has lived in a renovation zone knows exactly what I’m talking about. This process of expansion has meant busting through cement/brick walls creating new doorways, closing up old doorways…and a WHOLE lot of red dust and dirt! I have discovered keeping things clean is impossible…so I just make sure the door to my bathroom and bedroom are firmly shut. Thankfully I’ve managed to keep at least those areas mostly clean this way. It’s provided a learning opportunity for me as well…I now know the words for dust, dirt, and all the things that go along with what’s happening.

Tools for the job!

This week Monday was moving day for me into another bedroom here in the apartment. They added a room to the apartment by breaking through the wall…so I moved into there. Monday was spent giving it all a good cleaning…then I moved my stuff including the bed I was sleeping on into the new room. Quite the job but I got it done.

The new room…where there’s no green paint is where the old door use to be and the new door on this side.

Nice and comfy for me…I think this is my favorite room…and I’ve had the privilege of trying them all out!

Monday I moved and Tuesday morning the next stage of renovations began…breaking through the wall in the room I vacated to access the office! That room is going to became another office. By the end of the day…I had no trouble getting into the office to reboot the internet if need be. Before I’d have to go out of my apartment, down the stairs, around the building, up the stairs and into the office. Now I can simple walk through this big hole in the wall…


Currently as I’m sitting here retyping this blog I wrote last night and somehow ended up losing…this is the scene:

So as you can see there’s more cleaning in my future!

As all this progress and change is happening around me, I too am continuing to learn and advance in my Portuguese. I have my lessons three times a week and spend many hours studying on my own as well. I’m feeling more comfortable and confident with the language. I’ve been conversing more and even initiating conversation (I’m using those terms very loosely!). I have to laugh because it never fails…I begin talking to someone only to realize I have no idea what the word I want to say is in Portuguese! So I say it in English while racking my brain to see if I can come up with the word in Portuguese. Sometimes I can, other times I have to try to use hand gestures or my wonderful Portuguese/English dictionary I have on my phone. Everyone bears with me as I stop and start throughout the conversation…helping me along the way if they can. It’s kinda messy…like living in a renovation zone…but a necessary part of progress! I don’t love a mess, but I’m discovering with learning Portuguese…sometimes you just have to get in there and get “messy”. It’s exciting to see be able to see change happening…and I can! Literally with the renovations and also in my ability in Portuguese. I look back to a couple months ago and I see how far I’ve come and how much I know now that I didn’t know when I came.

Looking ahead….I only have 3 weeks left here in Brazil! The time has just flown by. I’m trying to spend lots of with my friends and continue to learn as much Portuguese as possible before I leave. I won’t be anywhere close to fully grasping the language, but I will continue my studies in Canada. My location may change, but my desire to learn this language remains.

Progress…moving forward…speaking of which…here’s that doorway in the last picture now.


Thank you for your continued prayers, encouragement, emails, Facebook messages, Skype calls and letters! Many times they have given me the boost I needed to continue pressing on and reminded me why I’m here.

P.S. To all my friends and family in Alberta…could you please try to make sure you’ve progressed to spring/summer by the time I arrive?!?!?! Or if not, can someone please bring my winter coat and boots to the airport! I arrive May 30th.

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  1. Maggie /

    Great to catch your wonderful Spirit and news Jay!

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