Oi, gente!!! How's it going? I'm doing fine today. You know, I heard somewhere that Brasil has the most beautiful skies...being here long enough, I'd have to agree. God is the most creative painter. Every day that we go out, I never see the same cloud formation, the same types of clouds, or the same colours. It is so beautiful that I have to stop and thank God for how wonderful He is. Even when it is raining and there is a huge thunderstorms, the clouds are so dramatic and beautiful. I definitely have to take some pictures of them for you so you can see what they look like. It truly is amazing. Today we went to Águas Lindas and I wore shorts even though it was cooler. I had a feeling that the sun would come out eventually, and it did! Graça sort of left me in charge of the classes today. She taught the first one, and then she told me that I have to practice giving instructions in Portuguese, so she let me handle the other three classes. (Thank goodness it was just review sheets!! Although I know that she would never let me teach grammar until I spoke better Portuguese) Let me tell you, it's one thing teaching them how to pronounce words in English, but it's a whole other thing when you've got 15 kids teaching you how to pronounce the word "Paragraph" in Portuguese. I think I can finally pronounce "parágrafo" after trying it out like a million times. It was so funny! I found something out today...one of the little girls I was attached to in November, told me that she wasn't there to say "goodbye" to us when we left because she didn't know we were leaving that day! I had wondered where she was then, and it made me sad knowing that she was thinking she'd never get to see me again. But she told me today that she's glad I'm back, and she'll come to the project every day I'm there so she can see me. She speaks very fast, so it's hard for me to understand her, but she's so cute.
For all you people who are interested in cars, there are very few people here who drive automatic cars. Almost everyone drives standard. It's very odd! And, the only people who drive vans are people who shuttle for schools and people who maybe need it to carry their work tools in and stuff. Everyone else drives little cars, and some mini pickup trucks.
Anyways, it's time to go...Love to you all! Love, Ash :)


I like the weather here...it always varies. Well, in the rainy season anyways. You always have to be ready for the rain, weather the day started out sunny or not! I love helping out with the teaching. The other day, Andréa asked me to make some quiz questions about a movie that the kids were watching. It was so awesome. Now she's using it for 2 other classes of hers. At least I feel helpful doing that! On Monday, Andréa's sister Cristina had to go somewhere, so she left me in charge of her 2 afternoon classes. The first one is an advanced class, so they're very good at English. WE only did a crossword puzzle, and a few other word games, and then we listened to an English song and they had to fill in the blanks for the lyrics. For the second class, she told me they were only going to watch a movie, which I was glad about, because they speak very little English! That was a fun day.
We went to Vôo Livre again yesterday. Graça just brought some review pages for the kids to do. It's a good thing too, because it was almost as if she hadn't taught Present Continuous to them at all! The funny thing is, they're teaching them all this grammar,but it all has a title. Stuff like Present Continuous, Countable and non-countable nouns, things like that. However, I don't ever remembering learning all the titles for things like that. So, Cristina asks me if it's right, and I don't know, because I learned all the grammar stuff so long ago!
I love the food here so much. We have rice and beans every day, but Vera makes such good food to accompany it. One day she made these tortillas with corn, and sauce and meat inside. So good. And sometimes she makes these flat noodles(I think it's linguini) with some sort of a sauce and meat and corn. They like to eat eggs with anything. I did try pizza with eggs on top, very good. And they put eggs on top of noodles, too. But it's very good!
The Brazilian people are very nice. They always say hello to everybody, and even if they meet for only five minutes or something they can strike up a conversation. It's so neat.
I've been able to go to 2 of Anrdéa's university classes with her. It was fun to go, but I didn't understand a word the proffessor was saying! I think she's taking law, so some of her classes are really boring for her even.
As I learn more Portuguese, I realize how difficult it really is. Not just some of the pronunciations, but the verb conjugations and past tense and future tense. It's craziness! Sometimes when I'm around everyone speaking Portuguese, I tune out, just because they speak so fast. It's funny though, somehow I always know when they're talking about me!!!
I think that's all for today...sorry to keep you all waiting. I don't do it on purpose!! And if any of you want to know about something in particular, just let me know, and I'll write about it.
Love, Ashleigh :)


On Thursday, it was just another day at the English school. Usually I help Andréa write things on the board, or read a dialogue with her for the class. I like it, because I feel like I´m being helpful. Cristina usually gets me to check the pronunciation on words. The last class in the afternoon, one girl had to do a presentation in English(of course). So, she brought in a CD with a popular song on it, and then we had to look at the lyrics she handed out to us, and put them in order. It was fun, because after her presentation was over, Andréa told the kids, "I'll give anyone five bonus points if you go to the front of the class and sing this song." All but four kids jumped up and ran to the front of the room. They all sang along with the song, and some of them were really funny, being so dramatic. So, that was a pretty fun class. In the evening, I had been invited to go to a birthday party in Águas Lindas. I only knew 3 or 4 people, but their were only about 10 people there. They were all around my age or younger. It was at a little pizzaria in downtown Águas Lindas, which isn't very big! It was fun, although no one there spoke English...that's ok...I got to practice some more Portuguese. I had alot of fun.
Yesterday, we went to Vôo Livre again, and Joyce was there, thankfully, so I didn´t have to do anymore impromptu teaching again! She was still really sick, though. I like helping out in Graça's class. Usually, I'm the one who works with them on their pronunciation. It takes about 10 minutes, sometimes, and I just get them to repeat words after me, and then get them to say sentences on their own. I correct them whenever they need correction on their pronunciation. It's quite interesting how they pronounce some words. I love it! I don't mean to laugh at them, but sometimes it's so cute to hear them say words that sound nothing like they're supposed to! For instance, they have a hard time saying the colour "purple". It comes out more like "purpow". They have a hard time saying "th" sounds as well, because there's no such combination in Portuguese.
Last night Andréa asked me if I wanted to go swimming and suntanning with her and her friend this morning at her friend's house across the street(realisticly, she would be the one suntanning, and I would be working on the lobster look...oh, how fetching!) But, as it turned out, it wasn't sunny at all this morning, and it eventually rained...so much for that idea!
Today, as I said, is a rainy day, so we're not doing too much. Anyways, I'm going to sign off now. Cheerio!
Love, Ash :)


Sunny Days...

AAAAH....Eu gosto muito muito dias de sol...ya... I really really like sunny days. oh yes. Today was beautiful. It was actually NOT a jeans day, like I thought when I was choosing what to wear this morning. Can you say OVERHEATING!!!!! Before we left Taguatinga this morning, Graça told me that Joyce called her last night and told her that she couldn´t teach again today because she is sick, so I would have to do it. I was totally not prepared. For 2 of the classes(the more advanced ones) I got them to listen to a song with English lyrics and write down the words. It was very good for them, but they sure didn´t like it...whatever, what else can they expect???? For the other two classes, they were too small for me to teach, and i didn´t have any material for them to do, so Graça included them in her classes too. So, that was my day...I hope you had a good one too!
Love, Ash :)
P.s...Thanks to everyone who leaves comments, I really enjoy reading them!


It has been raining at least once a day for the past 5 days or so. It makes it kind of cold, although I know that you all would die to have the weather 25C...haha...I know how you feel! The sun did come out today though, so that was a nice change. This morning I helped out in one class, and then after that Graça and I went into Brasília to do some errands. This afternoon I helped in one class, and then just observed the other two. Tomorrow we´re going to Aguás Lindas again, and I´m really excited. Sorry this isn´t as long as my other blogs, but I don´t have much to say. Love to you all! Love, Ashleigh :)


I´m BACK!!!

hi, finally I am able to write again...wow, it seems like forever since I´ve written. Sorry to keep you all waiting. It´s been an interesting week. Last Tuesday nite(which was a week ago, i know, but bear with me here), we went to a meeting at the same Brasilian church we went to last sunday nite. I didn´t really know what it was about, but when we got there it was mostly women. Then this lady was speaking, and she was really loud, and she started praying and speaking in tongues. I found it really weird, and weirder because it was in Portuguese. Apparently this is common, but I didn´t really like it. God also healed one lady through her, and I found that very different. But I was really upset that day because I had been coughing, and I´m not really patient. I was really fed up with my cold, and the runny nose and everything. So, everyone was standing up but I was sitting down because I wasn´t feeling too good. Everyone around me was praying and being really loud, and then all of a sudden that lady came and was beside me, and she touched my shoulder and started speaking in Portuguese( I think she was praying). Anyways, I started to cry and I felt a warmth throughout my whole body. She left me then , and I kept crying. After that, I felt a little bit better, and since then I my head wasn´t all stuffed up. I´m feeling much better now, and I only cough when I laugh. But I really do believe that God healed me that night, and he used her to pray for me. It was such a cool experience, even though a little weird. So thanks for all your prayers for me, I know they helped too!
Well, I do want to write a little bit about the food here. I´m not drinking as much pop as I thought, and we do eat cheese(in portuguese it´s called QUEIJO) However, their cheese is definitely not as good as the stuff mom buys, and I miss it! We have rice everyday, usually with a bean sauce, as well as a juice of some sort(usually Goiaba). Everyone here says I don´t eat enough, so they keep pushing me to eat more. If you know me well, at home I like to eat, so I think they´re just trying to fatten me up!!! LOL
Last Friday when we were at Vôo Livre, Joyce was away, so I got to teach all four of her classes by myself. It was pretty boring, because we were just reading, practicing their pronunciation. Thankfully 2 of them were advanced classes, so they speak a little more English than the people in Graça´s classes. I had to do an exercise with one class about long and short vowels...that was an interesting experience! They finally got it though!
On Saturday, it was Graça and Pámela´s Birthdays, so I got to celebrate a typical Brazilian birthday(and yes, they did sing Parebéms pra Você ....and the little chant afterwards...it was so cool!)Parembéms pra Você is their "happy birthday" song... I taught it to my family after I came back in November. So, that was neat.
Yesterday after church Graça and I went out for lunch with André and Celça and Pámela and Luiza. We went to Pier 21, where there is a food court. It is beside the water, so afterwards we got to walk around down at the shore. Luiza is so cute, and she can say my name now(when she´s not mad at me!) It was funny, though, because I asked André to hold my purse for me when I took the girls down to the shore, and when we were just about to leave, I realized that I didn´t have it. I asked him where it was, and he gave me this horrified look, and took off to the bench where we had been sitting. He left my purse there!!! I told Celça,"That´s the last time I leave your husband in charge of my things!" She laughed, and agreed with me!
Well, I´ll write more later...hopefully it´s sooner than later!
Love to you all!
Love, Ash :)


Sorry I haven´t been able to write the past few days. The family computer broke down, so they have to get it fixed. Right now I´m at the Graça´s Yale English School, using their computer. On Sunday, Graça and I went to the International church in Brasília, and it is an English speaking church, so that was nice. Then all the family came to Graça´s house for lunch, including some friends, so it was a noisy afternoon. When everyone left, Graça and I went out for a walk before church, and then we went to a Portuguese speaking church that started at 7:30. It was a little bit overwhelming, and the pastor was very loud, but I´m sure eventually I will understand what they are saying in church!
Yesterday morning(monday) everyone but me and Vera went out, but Vera was doing her thing, the laundry or whatever, so I did some cross stitch for a while. Then I got really bored, so I went for a walk on Graça´s street. It was nice and hot, almost too hot. André and Celça came over with the kids again...just in time for lunch of course. So I got to visit with them, and then in the afternoon I went to the English school for 2 classes with Andréa and Cristina. I have my schedule for what I will be doing now. On mondays, Graça and I will be having a Portuguese class for just her and I, and then 2 classes in the afternoon with Andréa and Cristina. On Tuesdays, one class in the morning, and 3 in the afternoon, until 6:30 at night! YIKES! Wednesday is vôo livre, and then Thursday is one class in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, just like Tuesdays. And on Friday it´s Vôo Livre again. I will just be helping Andréa and Cristina with whatever they want me to do. Right now I´m just watching them.
So, things are going well in that respect, however, I still have my cold, and such a bad cough still. It´s especially bad in the mornings from 6-7, when I first wake up, and I feel like I´ll wake the house up with the noise of it. I´ve been taking some stuff for it, but am not feeling any better. So, please just pray for me, because I hate being sick! So, I´ll talk to you all later, and hope that you are doing well!
Love, Ash :)


Family Life

It´s always an experience living with another family, and I´m living with another family, as well as a different culture, so it´s very different. However, today was Saturday, Sábado, of course, and so it wasn´t a special day in terms of doing things. But first, Graça´s son in law, André, wanted her to get him so he could pick up his car from the garage(he and his wife were away). So we drove over there, and then he said he was tired of his house. He wants to move north to a city called Natal. He suggested that we go back to his house and get his family and just hang out for the day, because he´s bored. This man is like 40 something and he is like a big kid. He´s so funny. So, we picked up his wife, Celça, and their kids, whom I´ve already mentioned(Luisa and Pámela). Then we did a bunch of stuff, which included going to a book store, going to a market, eating out at Girafa´s(a fast food place) and just hanging out at home. It was so fun. I love their family, and they are so nice to me. Celça speaks better English than Graça, and André practices his English on me, so we had a great time. André already teases me, and he was telling me that apparently a long time ago someone got murdered in Graça´s house. He tried to scare me by saying that her ghost still wanders around sometimes. However, Graça´s daughter ,Cristina, said that if we have Jesus, who can be against us, right? And nothing can harm me. Apparently it is true, but Cristina is right, I don´t have to be afraid. But it´s still kind of unnerving nonetheless!!! haha
Also, I met Graça´s fourth daughter today, Daniele, who has two kids, 7, and 6 months. So, I got to see the family resemblance among all of her daughters.
So, it was a very cultural day, and seeing how the families are with each other. Unlike many Brazilian men, André is very affectionate with his wife, and it´s good to see this. The kids also love both their parents. And, the cool thing is, André gets along with Graça, even though she is his mother-in-law. He always calls her "sogra"(pronounced like "saga"), which means mother-in-law, and he puts his arm around her and hugs her all the time. It´s so nice to see.
It´s very odd, being with so many family members all the time. I wonder if sometimes they feel like I´m a fourth wheel. But they speak only Portuguese to each other, and Graça only translates for me for some things, so I just sit back and listen to them, and TRY to understand what they are saying to each other! But they do include me, which is awesome.
(Mel, I taught Pámela the cup game...she loved it! She´s only 7, so it took her a while to catch on. )
Sorry if this blog is kinda boring, but I did have a fun day. I also tried to get some sun. (You should see how white I am compared to them!) I got teased about that as well!
Anyways, I will write later. Tomorrow Graça and I are going to church at 10, and I think Daniele is bringing over lamb to eat for lunch, so that should be interesting, and it will be another full house!
Love, Ash :)


I was so happy to go to Aguás Lindas today. It was a surprise for the kids, so that made it all better. There are so many that I do not know, and many of the kids that i DO know and did not see. However, I got to reunite with many of them, and it was sooooooo good! I am still not feeling too good, so Graça did not make me do too much...I was able to get the kids to repeat sentences after me, and Graça likes that because I am a native English speaker, so therefore they can here how it sounds better than if she does it, even though she speaks amazing English!
She teaches 4 classes on WEdnesdays and Fridays, 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. So, by the fourth class she was really tired. Please pray for her...she has not been well for a month and has just recovered from surgery. So, she is really tired. And she wants to come to Canada for a visit. I will also pray for all of you that need prayer. Oh my goodness...today I learned sooooo many Portuguese words. It is so good to be in Graça´s classes, even though she does speak mostly in Portuguese, because she has to translate the English words for them so I get to learn what they are as well! Legal!!!! (that means "cool" in Portuguese) Well, I should go. Louisa and Pamela´s parents are here and I should go meet them(that´s Graça´s daughter and son-in-law). ttyl
Love, Ash :)


I found out that Graça is paying for the Internet monthly, so I can probably write everyday, if I can. Which is good! Today is kind of a lazy day...Graça did not have anything planned for us to do today, because she knew it might be too much, especially since I just arrived. So, Graça, me Conçepcion, and Graça´s little granddaughter Louisa went for a walk downtown Taguatinga because Graça just had to pick up a few things. Downtown is very close to her house, so we just walked. It´s kind of hot today, but there´s a nice breeze. Everyone here is kind of finding it cool, but of course I´m not used to it so I like it. I think later on Graça and I will go to the market. Tomorrow we´re going to Vôo Livre, and I´m really excited to be going finally. Graça usually teaches there on Wednesdays and Fridays I think, so Joyce said that was fine if I came too. I hope it would be fine! I can´t wait to see all my little kids again! Anyways, thanks for your prayers...I´m still feeling kind of crummy, but I´ll be fine. I think I gave Louisa my cold, and she´s only two, so that´s no good. But, what can I do, right?
Love, Ashleigh :)


I have arrived!

Well, I made the flights safely. What a journey, wow! I cannot believe how fun that was though. And I was worried about travelling alone. It was really neat, though, because at each airport I met someone who I was able to talk to and did not have to worry about being seen as alone. In Toronto, I met Sophia, a 76 yr old woman...who believe me, did not look 76...I hope I look as good as her when I am that age. She called me her therapist, because she has had some bad things happen to her this year, including missing two flights already that day. And her house burned down in August. So, it was nice talking to her for 2 hrs., and I almost cried when I left her behind, because she was so nice to me.
My second plane was almost taking off, but then something maintenance wise happened, and so we had to go all the way back to the airport, and we sat on that plane for 2 hrs. Thankfully they started the movies so we were not that bored. However, that flight was already 91\2 hrs long, so really we sat there for 11 1\2 hrs...not fun. So, needless to say, I was almost late for my connecting flight to Brasilia, which was my last one, but after all the crying, worrying, and running to my terminal, I get there and the flight attendant says,oh, this flight is going to be delayed for an hour.
I was so happy, but at the moment, did not know it, because I was still all knotted up inside, and I went to the bathroom and cried for a while...just letting all the tiredness drain out. Because boy, was I tired. And sick...I have a cold. Oh well, it will go away. Then I splashed some cool water on my face and I was fine! So I met a girl there who was from Atlanta, but originally from Brasil, visiting her parents in Belem. We talked for a bit, and I was able to use one of her phone cards to phone Joyce and let her know that I would be late. Well, that was a fun adventure all in all.
It was so nice to see Graça and her daughter Andrea at the airport. And it was hot!!! Wow, pretty humid! Anyways, Graça drove me to her house and that is where I have been and am right now. I put all my luggage away, settled in, had a little nap, and was able to just hang out with Concepcion and Vera, who I think are Graça;s helper ladies..not sure yet, but whatever. Also, Graça~s granddaughters are here right now, one is 7, and the other is 3...they are adorable, and it has been fun trying to have some conversations with them. However, I should sign off now...not sure when I will be able to type next...maybe in 2 days...we will see. Anyways, bye for now...thanks for all your prayers for me!
Love, Ashleigh :)


I'm leaving on a jet Plane!

Today's the day...I'm so excited. I just decided to check my e-mails quick before I left and just write a quick message to everyone. I hope you all are doing well. To anyone I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to, I'm sorry. I love you and will miss you greatly. However, August will come soon enough, and in the meantime I will keep you updated as to what's going on. I'll be in Brasil tomorrow morning at 6 AM, and I'll be in Brasilia at 11AM. Just remember, there is a 3 hr. time difference. They're ahead three hours, so I'm not sure if that means I'm losing time or gaining it...I think I'm gaining it. That makes sense. oh well, goodbye, and I will talk to you later!
Love, Ashleigh :)


Today I have a ton of stuff to do. It's going to be a crazy day! Thank goodness I got up early. It seems like it's going to be a beautiful day. The sun is shining, and it's not too cold. I would like to be able to write more, but there's so much to do. So, until we speak again, tchau tchau.
Love, Ash :)


Going to Brasil

I can't wait until the flight on Tuesday...although I am nervous. I'm so glad that I have this opportunity to go to Brasil.
I am going for 5 months, which does seem like a long time, but it won't be long enough in the end.
I don't know what else to say right now. However, when there is stuff to write about , I'll be back.
Love, Ashleigh :)