Today marks one week in Rio! Highlights:

  • barra sunset hammockApartment life: Is fun. We have an elevator. Which makes me feel fancy. Our space is not exactly clean or organized or decorated yet, but there is a hammock, which is the world’s most important piece of furniture in my book. And it faces the sunset. And I don’t need much else.
  • Work: I am blessed with bombtastic people to serve with here. It feels like best friends in the making, like a small family for a lifetime. And it’s so dang good to be working in a Christian school again, but relaxed and open in a different way than I have known. I have already seen and anticipate more of the creative challenge that comes with making things work with fewer resources, being flexible, and interacting with a ton of different people from all over the world. But it feels oddly natural and right to me. I think I’m just where I’m supposed to be.
  • Cockroaches: 0 Rachel: 2 It may have taken me twenty minutes, Leana’s moral support, half a can of Raid and a hammer to kill him, but by the grace of God, I did. We came home from dinner (where we had just been sharing various international cockroach stories: I may have conjured him) and lo and behold, I hit the light in my room, and this foot long beast was chilling on the floor as if he owned the place. He had on my scarf. Homeboy was fast but fear is a powerful emotion and I murdered him. The next morning one of his friends surrendered to me, as well. May this be a message to all baratas out there – I may scream, but I will kill you.
  • Mosquitoes, fleas, things that bite: a million – Rachel’s body: negative pi squared (is that a big number? not a math teacher.) My limbs ooze puss, everything itches, my brain itches. I’m disgusting. I can’t even shave my legs because I reopen wounds, so I’m hoping the hair growth starts providing a protective forest from future bites. I’ve been Pinterest-ing ways to make my own bug repellent and tiki torches. I have amassed a large supply of citronella and candle wicks, and will probably accidentally light myself on fire.
  • FOOD: There are many things I have not tried yet because I ran out of money and don’t get more until September, but oooohemmmgeeee let’s talk about meat and the many ways they cook it here. Let’s talk about farofa (sp?) and it’s crunchy starchy goodness on everything. Lets talk about acai, and gelato, and the choco-lactose party that is anything I order at Starbucks here. And my vitamin C intake comes in the form of a caipirinha.
  • first beach run!
    first beach run!

    Brazilians: Are friendly, BEAUTIFUL, affectionate. I love a culture that kisses and hugs me before they even know my name. I’m not sure when/if I’ll get used to speedos on the beach…but I appreciate the “all bodies are speedo-worthy bodies” mentality, which extends to the famous Brazilian bikinis. (Nope, I’m not in one, yes, I’m doing squats everyday.)

  • Weather: Well, it’s “winter” here. So the locals are in turtlenecks, scarves, etc. I’m my glowy self in the 100% humidity, so…really looking forward to summer. You can feel the sun in a different way, smells are more powerful, nothing is ever dry. Even binder paper holds water and bleeds ink, and you need special “anti-mofo” (anti mold) things for your closets. I think I will be able to taste the air on my tongue soon. It feels like thunder around the corner. I love it. My hair does not.
  • first time to church together!
    first time to church together!

    God showing up: In little things. In new friends, in sunsets and hammocks and figuring out how to make a water filter system work. In children I’ve only known a few days running through a crowded room to throw their arms around me. In getting dressed in the mornings and thinking “Katie gave me these earrings, Traci this jewelry box, Jess wrote me that postcard, Ry loves these shoes” and just feeling like people from home are with me. In cool testimonies (I work with some really awesome people) and small reminders that yeah, we are living close to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but this is still the mission field, teaching is the most important (paid) job I can think of that I can do, and life is too short to not spend it somewhere beautiful, doing things I’m good at, with and for people I love, so. It’s good, man. It’s all good.

love you miss you wish you were all here at all times