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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Brazil Face Flag
So yesterday was two thirds a day of waiting around while Lu rented a car, followed by driving up to Botucatu. The car had a decent stereo and aircon, but was underpowered and had a tiny boot (a Fiesta, and 1 litre at a guess); I put one large case in it, and that was that... useless! The best vehicle here would be a Pickup Truck with a double row of seats, so we could stuff the back with suitcases - Lu's cousin used to own one of these, and I got driven in it to our wedding :-) Heck, I wanted to bring my bike down to Botucatu as it's pretty much useless in Sao Paulo city, and we could have thrown that on top. Of course there is the minor issue of being able to afford renting a pickup...

Anyway, the drive down was a bit fraught. Amélie was difficult for the first couple of hours, crying on and off. Understandable really as she's strapped into a seat and bored. Then I had a brainwave and used the cable connecting the iPhone to the stereo to fashion a holder instead. I then used this to secure the phone to the back of Lu's headrest so Amélie could watch Galinha Pintadinha (1 and 2). She was in Heaven, and completely quiet for the rest of the journey. Twas an awesome bit of jury rigging, even if I say so myself :-D I should have taken a photo. We need to get a proper car seat mount for the iPad, although Lu will need to get some content on it first.

We eventually arrived after 5pm (taking 3h10m), but to a lovely welcome. Amélie was very shy, and then both Amélie and Lu fell asleep from around 7pm to 10pm. Lu woke up first, and then the family celebrations must have woken up Amélie. It was good timing though and she got lots of presents, even though she was stuck to me like glue because she was so shy. While they were asleep I had a long discussion with Lu's cousin Isabela. I remember her when she was a dot, but now she's so big (and 9 years old), and both a sweet kid and a chatterbox. In fact I was amazed by how much she has changed, I didn't recognise her. She was fascinated by all things related to Europe and mobile phones, and I was barraged with questions. It was great though, because I can't get involved in big family conversations. One-on-one conversations are much much easier. There was a surprising amount of family present, which was great. The atmosphere was the usual mix of crazy and lovely. It's always tempting to slink away and hide in a room somewhere, but I did my best to try and join in.

I got a curious haul of presents. A fruit basket from Junior (but he knows I love fruit), a book in Portuguese about birds in the locale from Carolina (she knows I love wildlife, or at least taking photos of wildlife, and I'm often asking what bird is what), a HUGE hamper of various Brazilian sweets and savoury things from Lu's aunt Cida (not good for the waistline), money from Lu's parents, and a mini-figure box of the 11 Dr. Whos from Lu (I had said to Lu that I didn't really want anything, but she could get me a game or two when we get back to the UK, if she's still amenable). I got Lu some Hobbycraft vouchers, to add to the Next vouchers she got for her birthday (her two favourite shops!).

Around 12:30am I just had to collapse in bed, and slept through until 5am when Amélie woke up for a feed. I then got up around 7am and had a shower, as my eyes were really sore (I have an allergy to the oil on my skin which gets into my eyes, this gets particularly problematic in hot weather). Amélie was up around 7:30am, but is getting looked after by great aunts and a grandmother on and off, when she isn't running to be with Lu and I. I actually forgot to give Amélie her present last night - a Duplo set - but that means she gets it like a proper British Christmas present today.

No real plan for today other than more eating and family. We may well stay here for a week, as Lu wants a rest, and it's generally more relaxing here. A shame though that (a) there are no parks to walk around and (b) there is nowhere to swim, easily (oh for a close family member with a swimming pool!).

In Amélie news: she's now saying please (usually combined with "more" in both English and Portuguese, so it's "more mais please"). She said "Uva Passa" (raisins) yesterday which really surprised me, but Lu said she has said this for several weeks. She now says "shhhhhhhhh" when she's annoyed with how noisy we are being. She's also having pretend phone conversations with herself for some considerable time, although I remember she first did this several months ago when I was on the phone to a job agency. Her vocabulary has exploded, and she's saying words left, right, and centre. It's hard to say how much she's remembering and/or associating, but it's probably a surprising amount. She can also sing the lyrics to several nursery rhymes, albeit the words are often garbled.

Physically there are no great changes. She can jump more confidently, and walks around on tip-toes (mostly because she knows it makes people laugh). It might sound odd, but her tongue is often poking out of her mouth. I'm not sure why this is, or whether it's of any concern. She also has a bit of a heat rash at the moment, and grazed her knee quite badly when she fell over a couple of days ago. Because she keeps falling on the scab and partly removing it Lu has applied a plaster.

I'm slightly worried about her here because of the two dogs (a dachshund and a yorkie) and a new cat (still more of a kitten). The biggest worry is the dachshund which is old and cranky, but an eye is always on her, and she seems to know to keep some distance at least.

And three photos from last night...

Giving Presents

^Lu's Dad gets a hoodie. The general consensus was that it made him look like a street kid :-D

Blue Tongue!

^Isabela. A very sweet kid.

Giving Presents

^After Amélie and Lu woke up, the former receives some presents.

All 16 photos from yesterday are here at Flickr.

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(Deleted comment)
It's very cute. Tempted to give it to my nephews as they're huge Dr. Who fans, and I just don't have the space.

(Deleted comment)
Nope, no display cabinet. The house is overflowing with things that serve no real purpose, so I'm on a mission to clear it all.

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