Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Snail Mail letter: Written 30 Jan 2012


Today’s letter is about customs and things about Brazil. I said I would write about
these things.

First of all, I talked about these things at Christmas time but…no one has
carpet. All buildings and houses have tile. I like this a lot. It makes it easier to
see creatures and clean. Some places in Centro have carpet because it’s a big
city…but that’s it. Everyone has their houses with walls and gates around them.
Hence the clapping because people can’t knock on anything. For the most part
people are really nice. Not all the time receptive…but a lot of times people like
talking about Christ and God so why not let us in their house

Also their houses! It’s the weirdest thing but they have a house which most of
the time goes front to back, not side to side. (I think because it’s less money
because they don’t have to buy more gates. Haha, that’s a Katelyn guess. But the
weird part is the house ends and most houses have like another half of a house
behind, with everything (rooms, tile, kitchen) and even weirder is there is no door
or wall. Let’s see…what else? Oh. Random. This is the thing. I’m on the edge
of Londrina, but I’m still in Londrina. They have horses. Like horses working and
pulling wagons. Like on the main streets. It’s the craziest thing! So Brazilians
are great. But they clean the weirdest things like, at least once a week they are
cleaning their part of the sidewalks and patios with soap and water. They will
scrub it clean with brushes – even where the car goes (if they have one). But
painted things…not really that big of a deal if the wall is painted or the gate. So

Also, they don’t believe in big trash cans or big thrash bags. Or Ziploc bags for
that matter. Food! Rice and beans always. Mostly pinto here. Some people
have black, but mostly pinto. Milk is in boxes and doesn’t need to be refrigerated
before opening (like soy milk). And other things are in boxes, not cans. Not a
lot of cans here. No good selection of soda. They have Coke and Guarana here
(like a mixture of Sprite, Cherry and Ginger Ale). Sometimes Fanta and on a rare
occasion, Sprite. They have like 4 options of cereal but they are pretty expensive.
And they’re in English which would explain the price. Bread for meals is only for
special occasions. The only time I’ve had bread here is at meetings with Sister
Tavares, or when we go to a bakery.

Salads are interesting here. You call it a salad if there is a vegetable mixed


with vinegar, oil and salt. I don’t think they have pepper here. And you don’t cut
up lettuce. You have leaf lettuce in pieces and sometimes they have different
vegetables but they never mix the vegetables like salads in the U.S. But always
have the vinegar, oil and salt. And Halls mints have different sweet flavors down
here that people treat like candy here.

Also money. The smallest coin is a 5 Centavo. But it doesn’t work when the
total is $21.12. And they REALLY like correct or close to correct change. Like
today, I tried giving two twenties to the guy for my food. And he didn’t know
what to do with it. So Sister Checketts had to give him ___ and $15 centavos and
then I kept my $20…and that was it. He didn’t give $3 centavos back because the
smallest is a $5 centavo. Kinda crazy!

Also it’s a rule. If there is a fruit tree and the tree is on the person’s yard but
some of the branches with fruit are hanging over the wall that fruit is for anyone
who wants it. As it passes the wall, it’s the person’s.

Oh! Also…people don’t walk into a house or past a gate without the owner
saying “pode entrar” meaning you can enter. So the person literally waits until
the owner says that they can come in, even just past the gate. Also if you want to
ask someone a question or stop someone on the street or walk past someone you
say, “com l’cenca” or “excuse me.”

And lastly I will talk about greetings. When we don’t know the person, do a
contact on the street or such, we shake hands. But when we meet a person and
we shake hands or hold right hands) as we give a little lean in and touch cheeks
and make a kissy noise. If we know the person beforehand, we also greet and
say bye with more of an embrace and kiss on the cheek. Members of the church
you’ve never met before, also the same thing (a little embrace and kiss). With
people that are your friends or you know well is a good hug and then a kiss if
you want. And then the men are pretty good at shaking hands. I haven’t had a
problem yet. Not saying I won’t, but for now…not a problem.

Oh another thing…eggs aren’t refrigerated…so I make sure to cook them and
not have any cookie dough when we cook cookies. Which brings up the next
point. People here think American cookies and pancakes are like “heaven-sent”. I
really don’t understand. I mean they’re good but people make good sweets here
too. And cookies aren’t found here. So when we make cookies, people LOVE

Also, sweetened condensed milk is literally used for almost anything. Frosting,
on pretty much anything, as a treat itself, on Jell-O, as filling for stuff, flan (which
is called “pudim” here. And ya, kind of funny, on bananas too. So ya, pretty

And that’s it for my customs and Brazil letter for this week.

I LOVE ALL OF YOU! Good luck with your week and such!

Love, Katelyn

PS: I haven’t had a Brazilian comp yet but I guess they shower like 5 times a day if
they can. haha

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