Monday, July 28, 2008

BRAZIL! Summer of 2008!

I am just now finishing posting our pictures from our trip to Brazil! I took so many pictures! I tried to only use the very best ones...but I had such a hard deciding which ones to use...I still had to make 5 different slideshows (see below) which probably included way too many pictures...sorry! But it was such an incredible vacation that I wanted to capture every moment!

What a wonderful experience, visiting the place where Tyler served his mission...so many sweet memories meeting the people of Manaus. We spent 5 days in the city of Manaus, seeing the sketchy places Tyler lived as an elder, visiting the dear families that he taught and baptized, and spent three wonderful evenings going to dinner and farewell parties with President and Sister Itinose and their family. It was their last week before they headed home to Sao Paulo. It was so fun to get to know them since we have spent so much time with their daughters, Melina and Mariana, in Utah. Sister Itinose is just like Melina...so much personality and so darling!

There are tender moments that we experienced that are forever etched in my heart as we visited the families that Tyler taught. Some of my favorite moments are when the little boys in their soccer uniforms ran up the steep hill to Tyler, threw their arms around his neck and squealed with joy when they saw him et out of the car. Or the night we spent the evening in the Oliviera families home, sitting together in their little living room, where their baptismal certificates are framed and hang on the wall, as we listened to them tell us in portuguese how Sis. Oliviera was so excited to meet us that she couldn't even go to work that day and how Tyler is one of their sons because he taught them the gospel. Or when one little boy was so excited to meet us that he eagerly pulled out his cell phone and showed us the pictures of Elder Holt, taken when Tyler had taught the family the gospel many months ago! These are just a few of highlights of our time spent with the people Tyler taught. Having a missionary is a such blessing, but returning to see the fruits of his labors was an experience that we will never forget!

Driving around in Manaus was crazy, because it is such a huge city with insane traffic, extremely confusing roads and signs, and people driving like maniacs! It was nuts...but it made for some unbelievable memories of intense driving with Dad at the wheel, Tyler playing "navigator" and the 4 girls squished in the backseat of a little Fiat...it was awesome! All I have to say is that Jeff Gordon has nothing on Dad!

After our time in Manaus, we took a boat ride up the Amazon river and spent 3 days in the rainforest! We loved our tours on the Amazon river, and staying at the Ariau Jungle towers (where Survivor 2 was filmed) was an adventure! One of our favorite activities was crocodille hunting at night..it was awesome! And our guide, "John of the Jungle" and Regiani ("Crocodille Dundie"), our boat driver were amazing!

Then we headed down to the Brazil/Argentina border, to the spectacular Falls at Iguassu! The boat ride down the river to view the falls was wild and unforgettable! We stayed at the Hotel Das Cataratas overlooking the falls and we loved the view of the breathtaking falls from our steps of our hotel.

Our last 3 days were spent in Rio and...Wow! Rio was so beautiful! The views from Sugarloaf mountain were simply spectacular! We stayed at the famous Copacobana beach and it was the perfect way to end the vacation...enjoying the sun and relaxing on the beach with the family!

Brazil is such an amazing country...so diverse and beautiful! After spending 2 wonderful weeks with the family, I once again realized how much I love traveling to foreign countries with our family, exposing them to different cultures and seeing the beautiful world that our Heavenly Father created! It's feels like a little bit of heaven on earth! Oh yeah,... and once again, I realized how much I love to take pictures...lots of them:)!

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