Saturday, September 1, 2012


Just thought I would share a few of the tiny successes I have had which feel like HUGE accomplishments to me:

Yesterday, I took the kids to school all by myself.  Tessa has a great fear of being lost. The whole way there, she sat in the backseat with an anxious look on her face, and repeatedly asked if I knew where we were. I did. Most of the time. They arrived on time and unharmed. I even found my way back home!

Tom had stayed home to wait for the washing machine repair man. When it became evident that he wasn't coming, I took Tom to work all the way across town. I then found my way to the grocery store. (I only missed one turn--but found my way back. This is  more difficult than it sounds, as most streets in the center of town are one-way. Many of the major streets have round-abouts as well. Just thinking of the trouble that the ONE North Logan round-about has caused back home, it's interesting to be navigating multiple round-abouts with drivers who practice "fastest or biggest car goes first" traffic rules. Just a little side note about the driving: Tom thinks I fit in very well here with my driving skills. I don't know whether to be flattered, or offended. I do pride myself in the fact that at least I look like a local when behind the wheel of my vehicle.)

Anyway, at this store, they have a place where you can buy ready made food at lunch and dinner times. The workers give you a number. You stand in a line and order what you want and they serve it up behind a counter. Then, your order goes to the register and when your number is called, you can pick it up. The line was long and I had to order the food before I could actually see the signs with the names of the food. I successfully ordered rice and chicken on a skewer using actual Portuguese words!! Then, I saw something way down the line that looked like enchiladas. (I love Mexican food!) I said, "enchiladas". This is not a Portuguese word. The woman looked at me blankly. I was able to point and gesture (I think I even hopped at one point???) and she figured out what I wanted. When I got close enough to the sign, I discovered that they are called, "panquecas", and they are actually meat wrapped in crepes-not tortillas. (They were delicious!) Then, I waited for my number to be called. It was called several times before the guy in front of me pointed to my ticket and then to my order. I need to study numbers.

The repair man came to fix the washer in the afternoon. I was able to communicate to the security guards who called the house in order to let him in. This is the first time for that, and I felt proud! I was then able to determine that the washer needed a new motor and that he would bring it the next morning at 9:00. I even taught him a few English words. I find that if I concentrate really hard, I can understand a lot of what people say. The speaking--not so much--I guess it will come.

I am beginning to attempt to speak to people. We went to a restaurant for dinner. I was able to tell the waitress that there was no toilet paper in the bathroom. I said it in a complete sentence--and she understood me!! My head was swollen all night.

With the kids off to school, I was able to get some work done around the house. (It took me most of the day just to sweep the floor.)

 I know these all sound like small things, but it's amazing how triumphant they made me feel. Small victories...


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  2. Para bems! Vai ser uma Brasileira mesma muito logo.

    OK, don't grade my Portuguese. It has been nearly 30 years since I have used it. You'll be speaking like a native in no time. Remember, it has only been a couple of weeks.

  3. ah, the little things in life!

  4. Hi Kathy, You don't even know me, but I've worked with Tom on autism stuff in Utah. When I asked him how it was going, he gave me your blog. You are one courageous woman!! I have a 14 year old with severe autism. Every time I have a "life altering" experience, I say it will surely make a good story later. Your stories are great. I'm sure your family with laugh at them forever. My husband went on a mission to Brazil, he said to tell you... ficar firme May the force be with you