Some pics from Chile. . .

June 21, 2010

Living room

View of the andes from our balcony

more view of Andes from balcony

guy walking his dog by riding his motorcycle

view leaving our housing complex

View of Santiago from top of Avda. St. Teresa

average smog day - view of city from Cerro San Cristobal

in front of the Virgen on the top of Cerro San Cristobal

church at the top of Cerro San Cristobal

one more from Cerro San Cristobal

December 13, 2009

An interesting sign on the wall in my hotel in Rio de Janeiro:

Translation: “Before entering the elevator, make sure it has stopped on this floor.”

Rio de Janeiro – 2nd Trip

October 18, 2009

A post I wrote to my kids today:
I hope you’re all having a good Sunday and that you learned something in Church. I went to church here in Rio de Janeiro in the ward called the Botafogo ward. It was great. A young man about 20 years old or so was being baptized, so I went to the baptismal service right after the regular meetings were over. It was great to see someone get baptized who had heard the gospel from the missionaries, read the Book of Mormon, felt the Holy Ghost and become converted to the Gospel. I look forward to when each of you can be missionaries for our church and you can share what we have in the restored Gospel that we get from the Book of Mormon.

Yesterday I wasn’t working, so I took advantage of the time to so a little bit of sight seeing in Brazil. I went to a place called Pão de Açucar, or “Sugarloaf” in English.    Sugarloaf is on of the most famous places in Rio and Brazil. It is a giant rock sticking straight up out of the ocean about 1,000 feet. They have a tram that goes up to the top. There’s another hill half way up where the tram stops first called Morro de Urca. (I don’t know the English translation). Yesterday I went on the tram. The tram stops at half way up at the Morro de Urca for people to get out and take a look around. These first two pictures are looking northward toward the Guanabara beach and the downtown area of the city. In the 2nd one, the little red dot is where I’ve been staying and working:

SugarLoaf1
SugarLoaf2

The is a picture of the Botafogo neighborhood where I have been going to church. In the foreground you can see a helicopter landing pad and at the bottom right, a helicopter parked. They take people on helicopter tours from here.
SugarLoaf3

This is a picture from the Morro de Urca looking up toward Sugarloaf. Unfortunately, after I had already paid for the tram ticket and gotten half way up (to Morro de Urca), a cloud settled over the top of Sugafloaf – you can see it here in the top part of this picture. So I don’t have any pictures from the highest point
SugarLoaf4

Even though I couldn’t get any pictures from the top of Sugarloaf, I got a couple from the tram on the way up:
Sugarloaf5Sugarloaf6
That was my adventure yesterday. I spent the rest of the day reading a novel in Portuguese to help me better learn the way they say things down here!

The last two picture I wanted to share are looking up and down the beach in Copacabana where I stayed last time. The waves are big, the sand is very white, and there are lots and lots of people:

CopacabaBeachSep20092CopacabanBeachSep2009

on being back in Brazil

September 25, 2009

I recently was asked by my company to be the HR Manager for Brazil — my task is to travel to Brazil for 2-3 weeks of every month to create an HR department and processes.   (I told them the most I will do this is for 9 months).

So now I’m back in Brazil after an absence of 17 years from my days here as a Mormon missionary.   Some observations:

  • HR actually is being done here, just by the payroll supervisor.  He got a master’s degree in HR and sees himself as the HR department.  I haven’t been able to figure out how to break it to him that the corporate office didn’t think there was an HR department and that they sent me here to be it.   I haven’t yet fully explained to him how much I’ll be coming here and what my role is — still trying to figure out how best to handle it.   I need to make sure he doesn’t feel like he’s being deposed by a know it all American.
  • The hotels here try to conserve energy by requiring you to insert your room key into a slot just inside the door.  No key in the slot, no electricity in your room.  They ought to try this in the US.
  • Friday I visited our warehouse in the Manguinhos neighborhood — it’s in the middle of three favelas (slums) and is so dangerous you have to be out by 3:30 or so in the afternoon or you might as well sleep on the floor.  At least the main office is in the center of the city.
  • I can see why Barry Manilow wrote a song about Copacabana.  Check out these pictures taken from my hotel or close by:

ViewFromHotelRio2-Sep2009ViewFromHotelRio3-Sep2009ViewFromHotelRio-Sep2009

  • Relearning Portuguese is much more difficult than anticipated.  I thought it would be easy since I was able to speak it pretty well before I left the last time and because I took several Portuguese classes in college.  Well, 17 years have taken their toll.   The biggest gap is in vocabulary.  Even when I was here before, my vocabulary was focused on religious language.  I’m a little bit overwhelmed, and even more so when I think about how I’ll need to pick up some Spanish soon to be able to take over for our Latin American HR Leader while she’s on maternity leave.   Say a prayer for me.
  • Rio is dangerous, but it’s not Baghdad.   I was almost expecting to be assaulted right as I walked out of the airport.   My wallet is already prepared to hand over when that time comes, but I may get out of here without it happening!  Then again, I am in the Zona Sul, which is the nice part of town.
  • The toilets don’t flush well, even in the Windsor Excelsior on Copacabana beach.
  • Brazilian rice and beans are awesome — the irony is that at the lunch buffet here at the hotel they didn’t have any beans.  I had to ask for a serving to be brought out from the back.
  • Speaking of food I’m going to make my brother Andrew and brother-in-law Chris green with inveja (jealousy):  I’ve been eating and drinking suco de caju, pao de queijo, salgadinhos, caldo de cana, pasteis de queijo, feijoada, caldo de frango, vitamina de abacate, suco de mamao, lots of guarana, Coke with cane sugar in it rather than high fructose corn syrup, and the list goes on.
  • They don’t make you take off your shoes or take your laptop out of your bag when you go through security.   Very cool.  They must not have heard of Richard Reid, but I don’t mind.
  • I’m still getting used to using a comma instead of a decimal and vice versa.  For example, 12 dollars and 40 cents is written $12,40.  I’m also trying to get used to writing dates backwards from how they are written in the states, such as 22/9/2009.
  • Even in Copacabana at a nice hotel, there can be little tiny ants crawling around in your room.
  • Here’s a distant shot of the hill Corcovado with the Christ the Redemer statue on the top.

OnTheStreetinRio-Sep2009

  • The Mormon church is the same wherever you go — what great people here!

FrontOfChurch-Rio-Sep2009

don’t take things for granted

August 28, 2007

My wife Elizabeth was 4 months pregnant.  She had some slight bleeding yesterday, and then the cramps started last night.  Our worst fears came to pass as the miscarriage visibly began with broken water.  I was surprised how quickly it proceeded.  I found myself holding beautiful, four inch, lifeless fetus in my hands.

The on-call doctor recommended monitoring the bleeding which didn’t seem to slow down.  I knew it was time to go to the hospital when she felt faint.  I knew it was time to get the paramedics when I walked back into the bathroom and she had passed out on the floor.   They set her up immediately on oxygen and IV fluids.

What was really terrifying was following the ambulance to the hospital at 12:30AM.  Why?  The ambulance stopped at the first stop light we got to — but at the next one, it turned on its lights and proceeded through the red light, followed closely by me.  Why were they speeding up?  Why were they huddled around her?  Of course, my brain was in overdrive, conjuring up various scenarios of how long I’d stop working after the funeral, how I’d manage to provide the irreplaceable mothering to our children. 

I parked across the street from the ambulance entrance and ran toward it.  She smiled at me and said hi.  Wow.  They must have just decided to go through red lights because they could.

We weren’t out of the woods yet however. Elizabeth’s blood pressure was very low and unstable. And the bleeding kept going. The ER doctor had some worried looks on her face. They ordered blood for a transfusion. At one point she had 3 IVs going into her all at once — one with red blood cells, one with saline solution, and one with pitocin to stimulate uterine contractions. She was about to pass out again on the hospital bed until the blood drip started.  Finally she had surgery to make sure everything was as it ought to be, and now an extra day in the hospital to make sure no adverse reactions to the donated blood.

I realized through this process that when I really need to, I can stay up all night and still function.  I was reminded of how fragile life is, and how easily it can be taken from us or those we love.   I was humbled at the fact that this has happened four other times, (two others required surgery, but weren’t as intense or dangerous as this one) but we’ve still been able to have four children.   Life is precious.

Hello world!

August 28, 2007

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