24 Jun 2006

Well, my site disappeared, and for a good reason: I moved, and the server came with me! I have had two weeks full of new things: saying goodbye to my dear friends in Portugal, traveling to the U.S. (complete with the delays that I love so much), seeing my parents, moving to Denver and a new apartment there, buying a new car, beginning at a new job.... I'll try to tell about it. So sit back and enjoy the read!

Sunday, June 11: My last day This was my last day (for now) in church. After the morning service, Filipe took several photos of me with my spiritual family and with the young adults. It was great of him to do that! They are photos that I'm sure I'll hang on to forever. In the evening service, I had the opportunity to say goodbye to everyone more definitively. It was a strange feeling. Two years seems so short, but it is amazing how much happened. For the good and for the not-so-good, friendships are what mark us.

Monday, June 12: Traveling The trip started when Tiago and Henrique came to pick me up at home. I was running around the apartment trying to put everything in order to leave the landlord and my roommates happy with me. My flight left at 10:30AM, so we went to the airport a couple of hours early. We met Elsa there, and a little later Filipe as well.

The trip went reasonably well, but it is alway a pain. I went through London and Chicago on the way to Des Moines, which is where my parents met me. In London I didn't have time to eat because I didn't have much time for the connection and there is always a line to get through security. That is to say, I wouldn't have had time if the flight had left on time, but we had a delay and the airport and then even more time waiting on the plane. The problem: not enough electric power to cool the jet. Anyway... it seems like these "unexpecteds" are pretty expectable. I missed my flight out of Chicago, but it worked out well and I still got to Des Moines only a few hours later than planned.

My parents were there waiting with open arms to meet me. =) It was a great welcome! Since they had rented a van to make the move, I could stretch out in the back and sleep all the way home. From door to door, the trip was 22 hours. I could be worse!

Tuesday, June 13: Moving I got my things together from my parents' house, and with a LOT of help from my dad we got pretty much everything in the van. Since the van only has two seats but there were three of us making the trip from Manning to Denver, we set up the Lazy-boy recliner as the third seat. I was joking when I brought up the idea, but we ended up really doing it!

It's about 600 miles from Manning to Denver, so we didn't make the whole trip in one day; we left in the afternoon from Manning and stopped for the night Kearney. I bounced around a lot in the recliner, but at least it was comfortable for sleeping!

Wednesday, June 14: Stairs and more stairs We drove the rest of the way to Lakewood (a suburb of Denver) where I had arranged an apartment. There we met up with my uncle Neil, who helped moving stuff. My apartment is on the third floor and we had to carry everything upstairs, go back down, go up, go down, up, down, up, down. It was was quite a warm day, too. Ugh. I felt sorry for my parent and Neil. I won't put them to helping with moving like that again! Next time I hope to be rich and be able to pay someone to do the legwork! =)

By about 5PM we had everything in the apartment, and I still wanted to take advantage of my parents' experience for buying a car. I already knwo the model that I wanted and the important features for me: a new Toyota Corolla, with manual transmission. The saleman did a salesman's job: put on a little pressure, nice and friendly-like, of course, and praised the car a lot. I decided that the car was worth the price they wanted, so it was a deal! They still needed to do the final preparations on the car, and I needed to come up with insurance and take care of the $$$, so it was left for the following day to really seal the deal.

Thursday, June 15: Taking care of business I got my phone number set up, something I really needed, and took care of finances at the bank. Mom stumbled upon an Allstate agent and there we spent quite a while to get insurance for the car and for my apartment. Afterwards we went shopping for some things that I needed for my new home. My parents hit the road for Manning after having lunch at my apartment, but it wasn't so hard to say goodbye this time since we knew we'd see each other without some much time passing this time.

In the afternoon the car salesman came to pick me up at home for us to go finalize the purchase. It was all already arranged, and I just had to give them the check and them give me the car. =) The car is pretty cool. It's not powerful, but it's enough to drive in normal conditions.

I guess this marked the end of the more intense time of moving and changes, and since then it's gone more calmly. I discovered that I catch an open wireless network in a corner of the living room, at a specific position. The connection dropped a lot and was reeeeeeallly sloooow but it was good enough to get a connection to the world.

I ought to confess as well that I got sad some of those days, despite all the new and good things, because when I had left Denver in April, it was with a lot of anticipation for a friendship with Catia when I came back, and this fell apart in the meantime. =( Don't ask me what happened; someday I hope that God explains to me!

More coming soon in PART II.... (I promise!)

There are already some photos in the gallery!

13 Jun 2006

Friends are Friends Forever

Submitted by Paul Brown

To say goodbye, my church in Porto organized a little "lanche jantarado" Saturday evening. One of the songs that was presented was one I had never heard translated to Portuguese and in English probably I haven't heard it since high school graduation time: Friends are Friends forever. (I don't have the translation to Portuguese with me, but when I get it I'll put it here, too.)

Friends are Friends Forever

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can't believe the hopes He's granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long to live as friends.

With the faith and love God's given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you'll live in
Is the strength that now you show

But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

For those in Christ, we never really say goodbye; instead, it's "until always." Still, absence leaves a feeling of loss, what in Portuguese they call "saudades". Eu tenho muitas.... Grande abraço para todos vós!

3 Jun 2006

Thesis defense

Submitted by Paul Brown

It hasn't been officially scheduled yet, but Dr. McCalley from Iowa State will be on the jury would like it to be on Friday, July 28. That means there is a very good chance that it will be then. =) In fact the chance is so good that Prof. Peças Lopes here in Porto told me to go ahead and buy tickets! So I did!! It was hard not to cry at the price tag, but travelling in the summer is like that.... I just have to remind myself that having an M.S. will make it worthwhile.

The flights are actually pretty good: 15 hours 15 minutes to get from Denver to Porto and 17 hours and 8 minutes to get back. I have to travel on Sunday, which I usually avoid, but that's when I could. There is no law that says that one has to be in church every Sunday!

1 Jun 2006

Inacreditável!

Submitted by Paul Brown

Resultado: 22 pontos

Eu tenho um excelente vocabulário.

Teste Seu Vocabulário.

Oferecimento: InterNey.Net

I saw a link to a vocabulary test in Portuguese and went through it just to see. I was amazed to be told I have an "excellent vocabulary". Some of the words have roots similar to English words, and guessing can still hit some others, but still: I was quite surprised! =)

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