Since I learned what a "sitio" was, I've wanted an invitation. And 2 days before the Carnaval holiday, we got an invitation to go to someone's country home--hooray! I'd been feeling a little down about Carnaval because we didn't really make plans, but this was exactly what I'd hoped for. We didn't really finalize things until the day before, but thankfully we had enough snacks and food, so it wasn't such a big deal. On Friday night, Matt asked, "what about traffic?" I called our hosts, and they said that they were going to leave at 7 am the next day, and they thought it would take 90 minutes, rather than the normal 60 minutes. Oh boy, were we wrong.
Once we got to the edge of Belo Horizonte, it was stop and go. For 3 hours. Thankfully our kids didn't complain at all (miracle of miracle!), but let's just say it was not a fun drive. I found out today that this route (the 381, going to Vitoria) is the worst.
But we made it.
We drove up a big hill, through many trees, with our host's son running to show us the way. The house was so cute and cozy, and the whole weekend we got to smell the smoke from the wood fires (for heat in the house, and behind the kitchen for cooking. Cooking on wood stoves is very common in rural Minas Gerais, and many say that it makes the food taste better. Well, the woman who cleans our apartment building says that...). It rained a lot while we were there, but we had fun watching movies, roasting marshmallows (we brought a little taste of American culture with us), playing games, and talking with our hosts. They were so generous, so gracious, and so patient with our attempts to communicate in Portuguese. Sebastian and his friend Lucas played lots on the tractor.
And apparently, he fell off it! He said that he was trying to get down, slipped, and landed on his head. He "woke up" with his friend shaking him. Ay! Boys!
On Sunday afternoon, it stopped raining for a while, so we went out to explore a bit. We found:
Bunnies! Pigs! Chickens! And a stick bug that Sebastian wanted to take home! We also saw lots of butterflies, a caterpillar, some cool birds, coffee plants, a nice garden, banana trees, a cinnamon plant, and an area that is being developed to harvest fish. We got TOTALLY muddy (as in, I'm still doing laundry), and had lots of fun. Bea played on the tractor (and didn't fall off), Dora chased a cat, Sebastian found a malagueta pepper plant. He started pulling of the peppers, and decided it would be fun to smash one. Two minutes later, he put his finger in his mouth. Boy oh boy! Did he scream bloody murder! We learned that eating avocado helps alleviate the burn.
It was fun to get out of the city, nice to get to know some people better, and fun to spend time together as a family doing something different. We hope we can go back again!
Butchers, Nationalism, and Empathy
2 days ago