Archive for Bill & Sue's Journal
 
 
 Tuesday morning, September 1, 2009

 

My doctor told me not to move around too much so as not to break stitches after having some spots removed from my chest and back yesterday. So I’ll sit here this morning and blog.

 

Three weeks ago about this time, we’d found Natali at the airport in São Paulo and were heading for Rio. We arrived at the airport just as her plane was landing. But we ended up waiting in the wrong terminal for her.  Finally, realizing our error, we made the long walk to the other terminal to find her waiting and worried for us.  In the end, it was a happy reunion for all of us! 

 

From São Paulo we had a short flight down to Rio de Janeiro, I watched out the window as more and more clouds gathered the nearer we came to the coast. We landed in a downpour with a forecast of rain for the next couple days. After checking into our hotel, I asked about hang gliding (which was my main reason for going to Rio). By phone, I talked to a guy named Hilton and told him that if the weather cleared at all and was good for gliding to give me a call on my cel.  

 

Within an hour, the weather cleared and stayed sunny the rest of our trip.  Hilton called back and sent a guy to pick us up at the hotel.  By three that afternoon, Natali and I had pretty much signed our lives away and were jumping off a cliff at Gávea, and gliding – tandem, of course, with someone who knew what he was doing - over the Tijuca forest and golf club, continuing on out over the ocean and finally landing on the beach. The flight lasted about fifteen minutes, but wow…was it worth it! An unforgettable experience!!  Check out pictures at http://spoelhof-brazilnuts.blogspot.com/

 

Sue met us on the beach where we landed.  Hilton gave us a ride back to the hotel where we cleaned up. By then Natali was wearing down after all her flying of the past twenty-four hours. 

 

We celebrated our anniversary – and surviving hang-gliding – with pizza at a sidewalk café by Lido Park on Copacabana beach. Walking back to the hotel, we picked up some water and snacks. After tucking Natali into bed early, Sue and I meandered back along the beach and wandered through some of the shops. 

 

The following days, we toured around Rio.  We took the cable cars up Sugar Loaf Mountain. That was where on a visit years ago, when Natali was only two years old, she ran under a chain on the ramp to the cable car (not much thought for safety back in those days) and almost fell off.  My sister Jewl, who was visiting us, went under the chain and caught her at the very edge.

 

We went along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Enjoying the scenery and sandcastles.    

Finally we took the train up on Corcovado with the huge Christ the Redeemer Statue (now a Wonder of the World).

 

We had lunch in Tijuca at a churrascaria – a steakhouse where they continuously bring around different types and cuts of meat on skewers which you can eat to your heart’s content.  There Natali got to eat her favorite, chicken hearts.

 

All too soon it was time to fly back to São Paulo, pick up the car and drive back to Bauru.  Kind of spur of the moment, we considered staying a night in São Paulo so Natali could see the old homestead and maybe some old friends. I called around and got hotel prices, and then got stuck in traffic, and decided it was time to just get out of town. 

 

Once back in Bauru, we started settling in. Within minutes the phone rang, and life here was going again.  It was still fun having Natali here!  We talked and relaxed and laughed and played games and toured together around the region.

 

Along with lots of folks from church, Natali met Suzana (the lady who saved Sue’s life a few years back) and Mario (who painted a picture for her one Christmas).  Sue and Natali got their nails and toes done together a couple times, even with little flowers painted on the nails.

 

They loved shoe shipping in Jau – a town about thirty minutes away with huge outlet malls with just ladies’ shoe stores!  I brought a book along for that trip. They made a haul!  A couple rainy days we wandered around downtown Bauru and even visited the hands-on train museum. Located in the center of the state of São Paulo, Bauru was to be the railroad transportation hub for the state.

 

We took another day trip to Barra Bonita for a boat ride on the Tietê river. It’s an unusual river which flows inland instead of out to a coast.  In São Paulo, it has a reputation for being very stinky and polluted, but out here it’s a clean, grand river with hydro-electric dams with locks for boats and barges to pass through, and good fishing.  I thought our kids were pretty well-rounded until I heard that Natali had never gone through locks on a boat. In spite of the cold and wind of that day, it was a fun trip complete with a picnic in the park.

 

The hardest times, as family, to be apart are end of the year holidays and birthdays, so we celebrated Sue and Natali’s birthdays (which are both big “0” ones for them this year) complete with chocolate cake and frosting roses on top just like Mom used to make for every birthday.

 

All too soon the time came for our little girl to leave the nest again.  On the other hand, it was nice that none of us wanted to see the end come, and there were tears accompanying the good-byes.

 

Ministries continued on during this time. August was a great family month at church with seminars, guest speakers, films and all kinds of activities going on.  It was sad to see it all come to an end this past Sunday, with the teens leading the service, but so many commented on what a great help it was for them in centering their homes on God’s principles.  

 


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