Saturday, April 9, 2011


I got mail!!  Aww, mail is one of life's greatest underappreciated joys, in my opinion.

We don't have individual mailboxes here at my apartment building. The maintenance man, Sou Milton, acts as mail courier, delivering mail to our apartments and sliding it under the door.  If you receive a box, he waits until he sees you and then brings it up.  Apparently, he was so excited to get it to me, that he stalked Leonardo's parking space in the garage, to know when we were home.  He likes having Americans in his place.  He thinks we are fun.

Anyway, my box was packed full with great things like pictures, notes, a camera, delicious new shampoo.   And knitting needles!!!  And new glasses!  Oh, I was absolutely squealing.
Thanks, DAD!

And the rest of you fine folk, feel free to send me something.  I'll  make you a mixtape.

Yesterday, I was riding the ônibus home from school and an old lady sat down next to me. 
Now, old ladies are the worst. They never know how to slow down their sentences, and have total disregard for your ineptitude.  You can't play the 'não entendo' card with them.  They just continue to abrade you with more involved, faster versions of the same question.

She was old. She was lost. She needed help and she wouldn't be quiet.
I tried to pawn her off on the girls next to me, but she was persistent.
Long story short, I saved the day... in Portuguese!  She made it to her destination. 

Because I gave her directions. 

Because I knew my way around downtown. 

And because I speak Portuguese.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

"...the flooded rice fields lay shining in the sunlight like a broken mirror."

I am enrolled in Agricultura Especial II this semester, in which we study management practices and physiological development of important crops.  Since we are in the fall semester here in Brazil and approaching the winter growing season, crops of focus include potatoes, oats, ryegrass,.... and RICE!!  Three cheers for rice, which helps to sustain nearly four billion people, and to which we are virtually strangers in the state of Kansas. Never having seen rice in production, and understanding the weight of this plant's importance on food security, I've been completely stoked to get started. 
Last week for the practical, we loaded up in a school bus and took a field trip to the nearby processing facility.  We saw the storage units, the scales, and the dessicator (powered by a large wood burning oven).

This facility sells rice as a food product to distributors, but also sells seed for farmers.  Lots of seed.....  like enough to climb up.

 Later in the week, Leonardo offered to show us his research plots.  Rice production is responsible for relatively high emission rates of methane, and his team is studying how various production practices can influence gas production.   That's me- Sample Girl.

*Sidenote:  I love the science.  But I also just appreciate the chance to dig my fingers into some soil and walk around with no shoes on.

And it dawns on me, I'm working in a rice paddy
            God is good to me.