January 28, 2016

Princeton Rugby Circa 1920

Graeden has loved the color orange from an early age. Every shirt I bought had to contain the color orange or he wouldn't wear it. With this knowledge in mind, for his birthday one year, my parents gifted Graeden my grandfather's Princeton rugby uniform. 

Wow. Just looking at it makes me laugh. Because seriously, did men really wear this back then? It looks more like a jester's outfit than a team jersey. I'm guessing the dates the team wore this to be around 1920 (my grandfather was born in December 1898). It's made of fairly thick wool and is in decent condition for being nearly 100 years old...only a few moth holes.

Well Graeden wouldn't wear it and it sat in a bag. For months. Tymon wanted me to give it away. What?! No way. This gem needs to be kept. So this past August when I was working to pack away our home in preparation to move, I came across it. 

My brother was helping me move some furniture and I gave it to him. He and my grandfather share a middle name, so really he's the rightful heir. Not only does the uniform fit Brett, but he loves it. And I'm happy. It's been passed down to someone who will love and appreciate it.

I haven't used my camera since I arrived in Brazil, which is a shame but also my phone is more convenient and less conspicuous. So when Tymon got it out to take some photos I found this photo of Brett in the uniform along side my friend Amber, who was also helping me pack my house. Three cheers for Princeton and to the team of friends and family who helped me move. You were a Godsend.

January 27, 2016

Brazilian School Year

The school year in Brazil runs from the end of January to the end of November or first week into December. Summer vacation is December and January. There is also a break for the month of July.

Today is the first day of school. When we moved to Sao Paulo in mid-2015, our children had just completed a year of school. Because we enrolled them into Brazilian schools with little Portuguese language skills, we chose to have them repeat the last half of the grade they'd just completed. It's the sink or swim approach to language. They aren't swimming in the deep end of the pool, yet, but their language skills have improved over the last several months.

As of today, I have a kindergartner, second grader, fourth grader, 6th grader and 7th grader. Interestingly enough, both Elliott and Graeden started middle school today. 

At their last school all grades were in the same building. In this new school there are three different campuses for the different ages. The elementary school is half a block away. The middle/high school is across the street and Kira's school is about a 5 minute walk away. 

A huge bonus to moving into our own home is that we moved so close to a great school. No more half hour drive to get to school. They can walk in two minutes. Or three if they drag their feet. In the duplex next to us there are a couple of families with kids. One has a son Jett's age and is in Jett's class this year and the other has a daughter Jocelyn's age and she's in her class, too. I hope this will be a blessing to them. It helps to have at least one friend when going to a new school. 

Kira seemed shy this morning when we took her to school and needed to sit with Tymon for circle time. She seems smaller than many of the other kids. And I just wanted to hug her. I sat with her at her desk for a little bit and she bravely waved bye when it was time to go. 

I know she understands a lot of Portuguese. When the teacher was telling the children that they could bring a toy on Friday but it couldn't be a little one, Kira turned to Tymon and asked why not small toys. She's got an awesome accent and often cries to me in Portuguese. Someday soon, she'll surpass my limited language skills and I won't be able to understand her. I figure that'll only help me to get better. Can't let a 4 year old show me up. Ha ha.

January 26, 2016

Jackfruit aka Jaca

A couple of times a week, our tutor Irina comes and works with the kids on their Portuguese language skills. Today she brought with her a jaca fruit. Wow! This is the largest fruit in the world. I've seen it growing on a tree and it's pretty incredible that the tree limbs can even bear the weight of this giant.

So jaca fruit has a milky sap that is very sticky. We covered the table with garbage bags and coated our hands with oil so each kid could cut off a section of the fruit. They each worked to separate bulbs of flesh from the skin and connective fronds of their portion and then further separated the seed from the flesh.

Irina told me she'd watched a video that said the sap from the jackfruit was good for the skin..as in eczema rashy skin. And well, I've had this rash on my arms for the last few months that won't go away. 

So it didn't matter that she didn't know exactly how to apply it. We don't need to bog ourselves down with details. Better to take advantage of the moment rather than lose out. She and Tymon just wiped some all down my arm. It felt like marshmallow cream. So so sticky.

See the milky sap exuding from the core of the fruit.
It's also on the outside where the fruit attaches to the tree.
Both the fruit and seeds are edible. The fruit is sweet and I can't really describe it. Some have said it's like a cross between a pineapple, mango and banana. I don't know that I'd go that far, I've made that combo in a smoothie on several occasions. This wasn't like that. Nonetheless, I like it. It's not my favorite, but it's not bad.

I took some of the flesh and made a smoothie with it and some pineapple and lime. Such a good smoothie. Elliott had 3 cups full. Most of the rest of our big bowl went to the freezer for future smoothies. Hopefully Jocelyn doesn't get diarrhea from eating so much fresh. Ha ha.

We put the seeds into the pressure cooker for 40 minutes, which softened them right up. They tasted a little bit like boiled chestnuts. I liked them and made a salad with them by adding red onion, salt, vinegar and olive oil.

And about my arm...I left the sap on for two hours while searching the internet in hopes of figuring out how the sap should be applied and how long to leave it on and anything else about it. Google left me hanging, which is frustrating. Isn't everyone looking up the process for putting sap on rashy skin? I ended up smothering it with coconut oil and then washing in the sink with soap and warm water.

Though I didn't find what I wanted, I did pick up a few interesting jaca tidbits. There is a natural latex in the milky sap which combined with vinegar can be used to treat abscesses and snake bites. I found recipes on how to make jaca glue. And I even saw a few articles about using jaca sap for roof sealant. Pretty incredible, really. 

Perhaps, that's why jaca fruit doesn't fall off the tree as it grows so big...it's basically glued into place.
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