I now know why Cristoval is the highlight of the year here on the chacara. For four days and three nights we partied, played games, had sleepovers, got muddy and ate food together.
Experiences like these are like relationship greenhouses; they speed up relational growth and create great memories. Like rain and sunshine on newly planted seeds, it helps relationships germinate. And we had both rain and sunshine in big doses during Cristoval. Our family had an amazing time sharing this experience with the people we are getting to know here in Marabá.
Adjusting to a new culture and surroundings has been the easy part for us, it seems we're built for this kind of thing. The difficult part has been missing the relationships we invested deeply in at home. You can't rush friendship. But things like this definitely help to bring us closer.
There is also the 'cup runneth over' reward of hearing these kids laugh, seeing families have fun together and knowing it provided an alternative to the streets during Carnival.
|Luke and Marcos on the trail race|
I even had some times of understanding full conversations and being able to add in with some humour! I'm still a long way from where I would like to be with the language but I am seeing progress, which is encouraging.
One of the women told me that Luke speaks Portuguese very well-this is also such a positive sign, that the unique 'chicka-hauh' language he and Marcos have developed is not the only language he is learning. A few times I heard him speak and was blown away (and a little envious!) at how he is able to effortlessly conjugate verbs!
The relationships we had at home are irreplaceable. Being transplanted from your home garden means you can't take all the flowers that bloomed around you, you have to plant new seeds and wait for them to grow. After five months we are seeing the sprouts begin to emerge and take great comfort in knowing the flowers of true friendship will bloom before we know it.
|Emily was sharing her sucker (like it or not) with Phil|
|'Ski Race' three people strapped to one ski-races the other teams|
|Generations old and new|
|Faith is beginning to make new friends|