Nossa, gente!
Everyone here is going crazy with the world cup of soccer, and it hasn't even started yet. Although I am ashamed to say that Canada is NOT participating. Of course the States are, and even Iraq!!! Why not Canada! Everyone keeps asking me, where's your country? ya...not so cool.
Yesterday Andréa and I decorated the school with streamers and ballons, and all sorts of banners and little flags in Brazil colours...green and yellow. It took us almost 4 hours to finish!!! And it isn't even a big school either! But it was so much fun, and it is so worth it to decorate it and then everyone starts to get in the soccer spirit, and have national pride!
I have some big news...tomorrow Andréa, allana and I are going to São Luis until Monday! This is a city in the North of Brasil, and it will be the first time that I am swimming in the ocean! I'm so excited! I hope that we have a good time, which I'm sure that we will. We decided to go now before the games begin for the World Cup, because once that starts, then it will be pure craziness in every city in Brasil. Plus, I haven't gone on a trip since I got here, so it will be lots of fun!
This week has been very good. Just helping out with the school here in Taguatinga, and then today at Vôo Livre...Sadie, the lady who is teaching for Graça there, is a very good substitute for Graça. We had a wonderful day today, and I know that it is going to be fine.
I learned something new yesterday...if you have a headache, then put salt under your tongue and it will help to balance out your blood pressure. Sure didn't know that before!! It is true that you learn something new everyday!
The weather here is so dry now...can't remember the last time that it rained. And it is pretty chilly at night, but I'm getting used to it.
There are some poisonous spiders here, but I haven't seen any yet. I think they're mostly in the rainforest, thankfully!
Do you know what they call me here when I get red from the sun? A camarão...which is a shrimp...yeah, it's pretty funny! So the kids at Vôo Livre were all making fun of me, saying when we come back from the beach I am going to be a shrimp. I hope not...I'm taking lots of sunlotion.
Well, I should go get some rest for our trip tomorrow...hope you all have a good week-end!
Love, Ash:)


Andréa and I went to Vôo Livre today, and it went well. She taught them about countable and non-countable nouns...now, I sure didn't know what this was before I came here. So, even in your own language you can learn something new!
For lunch we drove to her boyfriend's house and his mom had lunch ready for us..it was rice and beans, and squash, somekind of meat, and then fried fish...and it was still in the shape of the fish. That kind of threw me off...but it was ok...I took one without the head, just the tail. It tasted good though. (by the way, the sardines we ate were from a can, but you can probably buy them fresh too)
I think I'm just getting a little too fished out lately!!! It is very good!
Not entirely sure what is happening tomorrow, but you know, surprises are fun.
You know what else I like? Listening to Portuguese music on the radio and understanding more than I did when I first came here. It is so cool!
Obviously it isn't that easy to understand everything, but if it is a slower song, I can usually catch at least a sentence or two and understand!!
Well, I'm signing off for tonight...getting a little tired.
talk to you all later
Love, AShleigh


Well, I suppose the weather here isn't that cold, but for Brazilians, it is. I think the coldest it can get in this part of the country is 8 or 9 degrees Celcius. Right now it only gets as low as 15 degrees at night, but it is so cold right now.
The classes went well today at the school. Next week we're having a party in two of her classes. I'm really excited, because it's fun to relax with the kids once in a while. Everyone is so excited, though, because there is only a month left of this semester, and then they get two weeks off for holidays. Some of the students there are graduating this semester, too, so they are even more excited!
Today I had sardines for the first time. I really liked them! Vera put them in a tomato sauce with green olives and I don't know what else, but it was good! Then we put the sauce on top of rice or spaghetti noodles. So good!
Tomorrow Andréa and I are going to teach at Vôo Livre...thankfully it is her day off, so she can come out too and the kids won't have to go another day without class!
I hope you all are taking care. Oh, I forgot to mention that I got my visa extended here on Tuesday for another 90 days. Had to pay a small fee, of course, but I'm glad that is all taken care of. Now I don't have to worry about anything.
Talk to you later. Thanks for all your prayers for me!
Love, Ashleigh :)


Right now the weather here is like desert weather. It's hot during the day, and then really cold at night. And the coldest night of the year is June 25...craziness!
Unfortunately today I wasn't able to go to Àguas Lindas, because the lady that I'm going with now that Graça's in Canada had a doctor's appointment really suddenly. And Andréa won't let me take the bus because she is afraid of me getting robbed, so I stayed here and went to the English school with her. She's afraid because once she went on a bus and the guy who makes the change was talking to her and saying he got robbed four times already. She thought,"oh, that's not bad, he's probably worked on this bus for a few years." But he told her he has only worked on the bus for 4 months!!! Then he started talking how it's good when they just rob the bus and then leave, but sometimes robbers hijack the bus and take it somewhere else. So, ya, I really don't think I'll be taking Brazilian buses any time soon!
That's all for now, folks. I hope that you are having a great end of May.
Love, Ash


I went to the English school today with Andréa. She is ahead with most of her classes, so the first class just finished watching a movie and then wrote a little composition about it, and the second class just did some book work.
Yesterday was hard to watch Graça leave, but I know that she deserves this vacations so much. She called us today when she arrived in Canada, to let us know that she got there ok and that her trip went well. I miss her already, and today it felt like the house was falling apart without her. It's like she is the glue for everybody and when she isn't here, nothing goes right.
Today I answered the phone, and the lady on the other end wanted to speak with Graça. I was trying to tell her that she is in Canada, but I get kinda flustered speaking on the phone, and the lady was really rude to me saying, "Não entendi!!!!"(I didn't understand) She was so rude the way she said it though. That's the first time that has happened to me on the phone. Usually people on the phone are pretty nice to me. Another time I answered the phone today, and I told the lady I was Canadian, and she was saying how my accent is really different. It was funny.
Tomorrow Andréa and I are going to the police to get my time extended here. My 90 days are almost over, and I have to get my passport extended for the last 90 days. I have to pay a small fee, but that's ok.
I should go now, though. It is late, and I'm really tired.
Love to you all,Ash


Sorry I haven't written in a while...I have been kind of busy. I am really sad right now, though, because Graça leaves for Canada tomorrow morning. She will be there on Monday. I am going to miss her so much. I don't even want to talk about it, because just thinking about her leaving is making me cry. I am going to put off thinking about it until I actually have to say goodbye to her at the airport.
This week was really good. I went grocery shopping with what seemed like the whole family on Tuesday, on Wednesday we went to Vôo Livre, and then on Thursday Andréa and I went out for dinner with some friends to celebrate her friend's birthday. It was fun. Then yesterday we didn't go to Vôo Livre, but I had a good chat with Graça's youngest daughter Dani, and then spent the afternoon with Graça and Andréa shopping and stuff. At the grocery store I was really grossed out because they sell pig tongues and pig ears and pig tails and honestly it looks disgusting just stacked up like that.
Today we are having "Feijoada", a really delicious Brazilian dish. However, they use the meat from cow tails, which I thought would be gross, but when I tried it it is delícia!!!
I should go, though. I think it will be lunch time soon, and I don't want to miss anything. Hope you all are doing well.
Love, Ashleigh


I am going to start off tonight answering some questions that were asked...
First of all, whether or not Brasil has it's own currency. Yes, in fact, it does. It is called the "real" or in plural "reais". Their bills are very pretty. On the backs they have different pictures of animals and birds. And now, for the price of the average car, it is around R$25,000 to R$30,000 "reais". I'm not sure how much that is Canadian, but I think it's around $14000.
Gas here is selling for about R$2.60 per litre, and I think that would be about $1.30L in Canadian money.
About the smells after they eat, no I don't notice anything different. But you're right, it's probably because I am eating the same food. But when I first got here, I noticed that their breath smells different. Probably because they eat a lot of beans and rice. I don't know how much of a difference that makes.
I think they actually do have log houses here. I know that they aren't as common anymore, but Graça said that she grew up in a log house. Mostly people in poorer towns like Àguas Lindas use bricks that I think are made out of clay or something like that. But many of the houses are made out of stone.
They do have taxis here. Did you know that taxi is the only word that is the same in most every language? Except that it is just said differently.
Speaking of that, this morning I think everyone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. We were trying to drive through town to get to the road to Àguas Lindas, and there were a whole bunch of drivers that were in bad moods. Some guy wouldn't move out of the way for Graça to drive past. Then, we came upon a bus that I think hit the back of a car(not very hard) This school van came up alongside the bus (he was driving half on the sidewalk and half on the road) and we could see through the window he was yelling at the car to move so he could drive by. ummmm...hello!!!! They just had an accident! (It's funny because you don't have to understand a language to know that someone is mad). So when the light turned green, he almost ran over one of the witnesses to the accident so he could on his way. Man alive, I sure wouldn't want him to be driving me to school!
That's another thing that is different. Not many people here own vans, and the only ones you see are for schools. They don't have very many school buses, and if they do, they are clearly marked for the school they run for, not generic like in Canada, marked "school bus". But the vans just say "ESCOLAR" which basically lets you know that they are transportation for schools.
Their movie theaters are very nice. In one of the malls here, called "Taguatinag Shopping", they have about four floors of shopping, and then the top floor in the mall is just for the movies. They have nine rooms for movies, and they're just like Galaxy cinemas, rising up from the floor. Their movies are up to date, too. We have "Ice Age 2" like they do there in Canada (translated it is "Era do Gelo 2") as well as Mission Impossible 3(Missão Impossivel 3). It's awesome for me,though, because they get them with it still in English but Portuguese subtitles, so I am at an advantage, because I don't have to read anything!!! (they will do voice-over Portuguese when they put them on DVD)
There are many beautiful flowers that are blooming right now, but I don't know what any of them are called. They have "black-eyed Susans", but that is all I know. They have this weird bush that has branches with thorns on them, but has cute tiny little flowers the colour of coral. Then there are the trees that are beside the roads as we drive. Many of them have beautiful flowers that are pink and purple! So pretty!
They also have this different plant that I think I have seen in Canada too. It is a wine colour with pointed leaves but it has some dark stripes on it too. And it grows very tall.
I think that's all for today. Sorry I missed yesterday...sometimes I don't have the urge to write anything. But yesterday was good. I was able to help Andréa in one of her classes as she marked tests.
By the way, she's doing fine, just walking kind of funny on her foot. She said today," I think I'm going to attempt driving, but I'm just afraid that I won't be able to press on the brake pedal fast enough if I need to. " So I think she's going to wait a couple more days. I'm so glad that I have never broken any of my toes. Surprising, though, considering how hard I can bang them around! I learned this REALLY crazy long word...I think in English it is "unconstitutionalistic"....ready for it? Ok..."INCONSTITUCIONALISSIMAMENTE". It's alot of fun to say!!!
Hope everyone has a good night, and thanks for all your prayers for me. I am praying for all of you too!
Love, Ash :)


Today was fun in Àguas Lindas... although most of the kids in the classes were sleepy today, so it was kind of frustrating when I was working on their pronunciation with them. Graça and I really like the last class, though, because they actually want to learn, and they are such quick learners.
Andréa broke her pinky toe today at the school, and she can't really drive her car now because it's on the foot that she uses to press the gas and brake pedal!!! So pray that it heals quickly, because she is a very independant person, and I know she is going to be frustrated not being able to drive everywhere!
I have some questions to answer for someone who asked me(namely Pops...)
The malls here are better than our square mall in my city, let me tell you that much. No, they vary in size, of course, but in Taguatinga there are about 5 malls or so, and in Brasília, well I don't know, but there is a lot. They like to shop here.
The city I live in isn't really poor, I mean some of the houses here aren't that big, but most of them are fairly nice, and in some parts REALLY expensive. There are also many apartment buildings, and I think people generally like them better because they are safer than houses. All the houses have big walls and fences around them, and some even have those electric wires above the fences to really keep the theives out. I guess they have a problem with theft here, so they take every precaution to keep themselves safe. I have yet to see just a normal looking house like we have in the suburbs there in Canada, but I doubt that they even have them here. My house is made out of, well, I don't know really, it looks like stone to me. Inside they have normal drywalled rooms, well upstairs anyways.
they even have an open area downstairs, with no ceiling on it.
Sure couldn't have that in Canada, with the snow anyways!!!
Àguas Lindas and Vôo Livre are only about 40 minutes away, so it is not too long of a drive. Plus in Brasil, you get used to driving a while to get where you want to go because the traffic is so incredibly crazy and the stop lights are so long!
Everyone who lives in my house has bought their own car, so we usually are able to drive everywhere, which isn't a good thing...I think I have gained some weight just from not walking much. However, for people who don't, they usually ride bikes or take the bus. Many people take the bus to work in the mornings, and you should see how crowded they are. You have not seen a full bus until you come to Brasil. Honestly, they are so full that you can't see through the windows to the other side, there are people standing up and so jammed packed together they look like a bunch of sardines stuffed into a can. It is pure craziness. I can imagine how it smells!
Speaking of that, I don't know if you want to hear this, but it is weird, because the BO(body odour) here smells different. I didn't know that people in different places smell bad differently, but it's true. It is different than Canadian BO, and I don't know why. But it is still horrible, nonetheless, and alot of the kids at Vôo Livre don't wear deoderant, and it is not a nice smell, trust me!!!
Thanks for the questions, and I will answer any others that you have.
Love to everyone, ttyl
Love, Ashleigh :)


A Puppet Show Messup...

Good evening...Boa Noite...Bonne Nuit...
It was a lovely day in Brasìlia, when suddenly Ashleigh decided to turn a lovely puppet show into a puppet catastrophe...let me fill you in.
This morning was the presentation for the puppet group from Vôo Livre at the American Women's Club International. Graça and I left home at 7:30 this morning and went to Àguas Lindas to get the four girls who are in the puppet group. We went back to Brasília where the meeting was taking place and started setting up the stage for their presentation. Now, the stage they have is just some plastic piping and some curtains, but the plastic piping is very difficult to pull apart if it is put together wrong. So, the youngest of the girls, Jorcina, asked me to help her pull some of the tubing apart because it wasn't in the right position. That was when everything went wrong. The force of both of us pulling up on the tubing made the pipe come out so fast that we didn't even see it coming. BUT it hit Jorcina in the face and all of a sudden her hand came up to her mouth. Her front tooth had been hit and become chipped, and the part of her tooth came flying out of her mouth. My goodness, I felt so bad. I know it was an accident, but we're not talking about a girl who is easy going. Jorcina is 14 years old, and is very beautiful, as are all her sisters. She, out of all of them, is very proud of her beauty, and so having a chipped tooth is like the end of the world for her. I didn't know what to do, and she would hardly talk to me afterwards. I offered to help pay for the dentist to fix it. I think Joyce will help, too. I mean it was neither of our faults, so I shouldn't feel too badly. But their are 4 girls and one baby boy in her family, and I know it would be too much for them to pay for it. So I hope it won't be too expensive to get fixed! So the whole morning she was in pain, and then after that she was moody, and she kept looking at it and crying. I feel so bad. Oh well, what can you do, right?
The rest of my day was good, though. I got to help at the English school and in the second class Cristina let me read their oral listening test to her students, and that is always fun. This evening Vera made pastelzinho for dinner, so we had it again. So delicious!
Tomorrow we're going to Àguas Lindas again for the day, and I am looking forward to it, like always.
Please pray for Graça as she prepares for her trip to Canada on May 21st. She is really looking forward to it, but she's nervous too.
Thanks for all your prayers for me. God is taking care of me, I know. I love you and miss you all. Talk to you soon.
Love, Ash :)


Good morning from sunny Brasil...I hope the weather is beautiful wherever you are today. Last night it rained out of no where. It was so weird. Because the rainy season is over, so it shouldn't have rained at all!
Last Friday Andréa came with us to Vôo Livre, and it turned out to be fun after all. I was kind of jealous that she was coming too, which, I know, was totally stupid. I guess I kind of think of those kids as MY Àguas Lindas kids, and I knew that everyone likes her and that they would all like her more than me. That just tells you that i have NO self-confidence at all...no, I do. LOL!!! I guess I was just having a bad day. But it was good, and I felt bad for being jealous afterwards. She has a good heart...
I had a good week-end...I went with Graça, Andréa, Val, Allana, and Andréa's boyfriend Halison to the feira in Guara again on Saturday. I don't remember if I described it to you, but it's basically just a big open air market but inside. Shop to shop filled with clothes, and you can buy fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread...really pretty much anything. Andréa wanted to get something for Graça for Mother's Day, but she wanted her to be there to choose it. We had lunch there..."pastelzinho"...they're liked pastries filled with whatever you want...you can have chicken with cheese, chicken heart, cheese and tomatoes...whatever. Most of us wanted meat and "catupiry", which is a type of cheese. It was so good..they make them right there for you. I smothered mine in hot sauce and it was delicious!
In the afternoon Allana and I went on a walk and I took some pictures of some beautiful gardens near to Graça's house.
Yesterday we went to the English church in the morning, and the pastor talked about marriage, and how important it is to try to work through problems that you have in a marriage, and not to divorce without trying first. It was a very powerful message, and I know that it affected many couples in the church, as there are many, unfortunately, who have marriage problems. I think that is why he chose to talk about that.
In the afternoon I tried to sleep, but I couldn't. Man, when all the kids are here, there is no way that a person can go to sleep. And Brazilians talk very loud. They keep complaining that I talk too softly...it's not my fault! Even Canadians complain that I talk too softly. haha. So, maybe when I come back I'll be talking really loudly, you never know.
We went to the Brazilian church at night, but I had to leave and sit outside halfway through the service. I was getting kind of frustrated that I couldn't understand anything...and it was too hot in there too. Outside there was a nice breeze.
Today Graça and I took a quick trip to Àguas Lindas to practice the puppets with the girls, as they have a presentation tomorrow. It was good, and I think they are well prepared for tomorrow.
I know that this afternoon I am going to the school to help Andréa and her classes, and I am looking forward to it because I like her afternoon classes. The kids are so nice.
I hope you guys are trying some of these foods that I have told you how to make...honestly, you will never know how good they are until you try them!!!
Love to you all...take care.
Love, Ash
p.s....a quick reminder...whatever you want to know, ask, and I will inform!!! :)


Another Recipe...and the adventures of A&A

For all of you who are adventurous, I don't know how expensive they are right now but this recipe involves avocados. Take all the fruit out of an avocado and put it in a blender. Then add some milk(not too much) and blend. Check to make sure it's not too runny. If it's a little bit thick, add some more milk as well as sugar to taste, and blend. Makes a , somewhat healthy, and delicious snack!
Last Saturday(I know, I know, that was like almost a week ago...bear with me here!) I went with Andréa to her boyfriends farm again. We had planned to go suntanning in the morning, and so we did just that. Except that the sun didn't really come out, so we decided to go exploring "her farm" as she tends to call it now. The place we went suntanning is on a slab of rock in the middle of a little river that has like a million little waterfalls all along it. So pretty! We went exploring upstream, and we encountered only one or two little waterfalls, but we had great adventures. For one thing, we took our cameras, and some of the rocks are pretty slippery, so we had to be careful not to drop them. For another, we had to do some rock climbing up the waterfalls, and in some places we weren't sure how deep the river was. Because of this, we dubbed our explorations "The Adventures of A&A"(because both of our names start with "A". We said that we could make a movie, and we'd be better than Indiana Jones, because we're prettier and wearing bikinis! If anyone had seen us, they would have thought we were so crazy. We kept saying things like, "A&A....crossing the slippery rocks" or "A&A...tackle the thundering waterfall". Then...we were walking along and there was this huge vine, and Andréa grabbed it and said,"I'm Tarzan!!!" and then I looked up, and there was this HUMONGOUS spider sitting in a web attached to the vine she was swinging around!!!!!! I started screaming and she stopped swinging but stood there as if frozen and kept saying, "WHAT!! WHAT!!!" She thought that there was a snake or something, because apparently they have found boa constrictors around there. So afterwards we were laughing SOOOOOOOOOOOOO hard, and then I said, "Tarzan?!!! Not so much, Barbie!!"
Oh, what a morning it was. As we were going back to our suntanning rock, I was just about to step on a rock, when I saw a spider just as big as the other one sitting on it, so I decided not to go that way. During the morning, too, I kept losing my sandal, and had to rush after it before the current took it downstream. I also got my foot stuck between two rocks underwater...man alive, that was funny!
So, that was the adventures of....wait, I forgot something! Andréa's boyfriends family owns some cows. When we were heading down to the river in the morning, there was one with horns, and naturally we thought it was the bull, and we were walking so it wouldn't notice us. When we were coming back for lunch, it started walking towards us, and we got so scared, (yes, I know, we are prisses!) and were ready to run the other way...but thankfully we got under the fence just in time before he came close to us. In the afternoon, we went back but her boyfriend came with us(his name is Halison, by the way). The bull was standing right at the spot where we come through the fence! Andréa and I were all freaking out and stuff, and saying, "That bull is going to kill us!", when Halison says, "That's not the bull!"....HUH??? Then he points to a peaceful thing that we thought was the cow, chewing its cud, and says, "That's the bull!!!" We laughed so hard when we realized this, and when we saw what defines the bull from the cow, and saw the udders on the cow. Who knew that cows can have horns!!!
Then on Sunday in the afternoon we went driving around in Celça's jeep, and Andréa and I were standing up in the back and making lots of noise. All the people on the street were looking at us like we were crazy people...The adventures of A&A continue!!!
Today I helped at the English school again, and Cristina needed to do something for college so she let me take her last class for her. That was fun...at least they speak good English.
Also, on Tuesday night Andréa, her friend Artur, and I took the other Canadian, Chris, to a Churrascaria, which is a restaurant that specializes in barbecue meat. I think he liked it, but he is so shy I can't tell for sure. But it was fun.
Tomorrow I'm not sure if there will be any classes again at Vôo Livre, because I'm not sure when Zeza's funeral is.
But I hope that we can go, because I like helping in the classes there.
Thanks for all your prayers...please continue, because the inside of my mouth is all red and my throat is infected, and I'm not sure what's wrong. I'm taking some medicine and it seems to be working...love to you all!
Ash :)


Hi to everyone. Sorry I haven't written in a while. I had a really fun weekend and it was also a holiday on Monday. But I do have some bad news before I continue. There was a lady who worked at Vôo Livre doing some cleaning and taking care of the property itself, along with her husband. This morning Graça and I were just getting ready to leave for Àguas Lindas, when another teacher there phoned us. He told us that Zeza(her name) had died last night, from bronchitis. I guess she went to the hospital, but by the time she got there, she was coughing blood and was already dying. I really didn't know her that well, but you know, it's so sad because we saw her there everyday around Vôo Livre. How short life is. I am pretty sure that she loved the Lord, so we can have hope that she went to heaven, but still. It's so sad. So today we went there to see if there was anything we could do, but I think she is still at the hospital, and they closed Vôo Livre for today because of mourning, so Graça and I came back home. Please pray for her family, especially her husband, because I don't think she had any children. It's crazy to think how one day you see a person and then you never know if you'll see them again after that. It is so important to live for each day, and take the time to talk to the people you love, and even the people you don't love. Life is too short to waste a day being mad at someone. I have learned this many times. Thankfully it has never ended badly for me (to be mad at someone), but how do I know that the next day they will be gone from me? Zeza was certainly the last person on my mind that I would never get to see again. So please, let this be a reminder to everyone to take time to say "I love you" to someone you love, or just say "hi". Also, this is very important to people who don't know the Lord. What if you died today? Do you know where you are going after you die? Because Jesus did die for you, and He is waiting for you to ask Him to come into your heart, and let Him be your Saviour. Things like this really make us wake up, especially because we don't know when our last day on Earth will be.

Now I'm really not feeling let talking about my adventures on Saturday. Maybe I will write back later or talk about it tomorrow. I'm sorry that this blog is so somber, but life isn't always fun, is it? All I know is that as long as God guides our paths we can get through the bad stuff, too.

Love, Ashleigh :)