Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Metta's wild adventures in toddler photography

I thought I was being helpful, but I'm just not sure. A new friend of mine needs a few pictures of her little girl for an upcoming 2nd birthday announcement, so I offered to try out my new camera and get some really cute shots. I looked at some great photography of kids the night before, I was all pumped to try out the camera with this new little model, but it turns out I had some tough competition: pinecones, rocks, even DIRT was more exciting than I was. This little girl is so fun to hang out with, and she is the biggest smiler, but for that one hour she insisted on looking serious, looking down, or looking away! I should invite Marcos to come along on these excursions... he can make a great monkey face...

(Before and after photoshop on this last shot...)

Brazil #4: VÍDEOS (videos)

I have been wanting to post some of the short videos we took in Brazil. This video is of Thatiane at her 15th Birthday party, dancing with her father! In Latin America, the 15-year birthday for girls is exceedingly lavish, and this was no exception! Prior to this dance with her father, there had been a procession with candles, she received a ring from her father, and cut the cake! Dinner was served at 1am, and we got home from dancing and the festivities at about 4 in the morning.... Whew!

Thatiane blows out the candles!

This video makes me laugh every time. I thought Marcos was taking a picture, not a video, so just us all bobbing, waiting for the flash cracks me up...

This is Danny and Grandma dancing to the "YMCA" song at Sammy and Mariana's wedding. The quality of the video took a hit because blogger automatically reduces the size of the video while it's loading so that it's not too heavy, but you can still get the drift...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Brazil #3: CASAMENTO (wedding)

The main reason we went to Brazil was to attend the wedding of Samuel (Marcos' brother, the youngest of the four siblings) and Mariana Ribeiro. In Brazil Temple weddings are not recognized legally because they are not public, so most Brazilian members of the church who wish to be married in the Temple have a public wedding the evening before their sealing. Sammy and Mariana rented a local event hall, which was separated by dividers into two sections: the wedding ceremony portion with the wedding aisle and rows of chairs, and the tables for eating and dance floor on the other side of the partition. The wedding started at 8pm, and the consumption of amazing cakes and dancing with a live band went into the wee hours of the night!

Here are just a few of my favorite pictures from the wedding night, and outside the Campinas Temple the following morning.

Mariana signing the wedding certificate. Her veil must have been ten feet long, and was bordered by beautiful lace. The bishop of their ward conducted the ceremony, and it was short and sweet.

Yep, I think he likes her.

My favorite picture of Sammy and Mariana taken the night of their wedding. The best part of it: they didn't even know it was being taken!

Sammy and Mariana with Pai and Mae, in front of the backdrop provided by the professional photographers.

Belle and Pai.

Sammy and Mariana outside the Temple in Campinas, Brazil, on the morning of July 12th.

The Prieto clan (minus the newlyweds and Marie and Kaitlyn) in front of the Temple. Marcos and I came from North Carolina for the wedding, and Danny and Belle came from Utah. We didn't know Belle was going to be at the wedding until she showed up at the airport with Danny! What a great surprise!

Metta in Macro Mode ("M cubed") again...

Mae and Pai: Truly the best couple at the wedding.

The Prieto Boys: Samuel, Marcos-the-most-handsome (Mariana, Marie and Mae may disagree, but I am the one writing the blog), Daniel and Pai.

Okay, listen, I'm experiencing Blogger Burn-out right now, so I'm going to stop. Roger, over.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brazil #2: TRABALHO (work)

One of the pleasures of being on vacation is that it often means taking a break from work. Although Marcos and I did not do much work while we were in Brazil, I found myself interested in people's daily existence, and what they do professionally to support their families. In these next photos, I've included just a few shots of what work is to a hand full of people in Sorocaba, Brazil. You'll notice that I left out pictures of people sitting at desks. Truthfully, I didn't take any, because it wasn't a stretch of the imagination from what I was used to seeing here.

Pai (Marcos' dad) is a lock smith, and for many days of our vacation Danny (Marcos' brother who was visiting from Utah) went to work with him at the shop. One of the first days of the trip, our cousin Giselle taught Danny and I how to reproduce keys! The process was really quite straight-forward, but learning how to do it gave me one of those "I feel useful" kind of feelings.

For some women (and presumably men) work happens at home, and often in the kitchen. After a Sunday evening event at church, we gathered at Tio Gilson's home (our uncle) with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandma for a late family meal. Tia Claudete and our cousin Claudia had made the most delicious baked rolled sandwiches and cake. I love how Tia Claudete is ruling the kitchen in this photo.

Police men in downtown Sorocaba. Most of the time Police men drive little cars, but I thought the horses coupled with those caps were a nice touch.

It is quite common to see people on the streets who make a living from collecting recycling from garbage bins, and taking it to the recycling centers to trade their collection in for money. It is nice to think that so much waste is being recycled, but isn't it a privilege that most of us can make a living engaging in other work? On one occasion a little child was perched on top of the heap of garbage.

At a Churrascaria, the famous Brazilian bar-b-que all-you-can-eat restaurants. Waiters come from the kitchen with steaming hot meats on a skewer, and slice as much as you desire right onto your plate. And there are so many different kinds of meats! Beefs and porks, and sausages, and chicken wrapped in bacon, and even grilled pinapple and baked cheese... There are little spinning dials on the table, and when you are stuffed, you roll the dial from the green "yes please" to the red "no, thank you" and the waiters know that you are finished.

Marcos talking with the workers at the juice bar. Thankfully, they gave us the recipe for"Swiss Lemonade", my new favorite beverage: whole lemons, peeled and cut into 8ths, ice, and sweetened condensed milk to taste blended in a blender and poured through a strainer to catch the lemon pulp and seeds! ONOlicious!

Brazil #1: CORES (colors)

So, we're back from Brazil, and I can't say enough about how much we loved being there. Marcos and his siblings were together with their parents for the first time in seven years, and it was so cool to see them in action. I think I gained eighteen pounds for the amount of time we spent gathered around the kitchen table eating Mom's delicious food, but for the QUALITY of time that we spent together as a family - that sort of feel good, laughing, teasing, happy time - I would have gladly gained eighteen more.

I was thinking about making our Brazil experience into blog entries, and the whole idea seemed overwhelming. How do you summarize such a vast experience? And then I had it: in categories! While I was taking pictures of our trip, I thought that it would be nice to have an entry dedicated to colors, so we'll start there... with colors.

This is me in downtown Sorocaba, the city an hour outside of Sao Paulo where the Prietos live. If you look downward in Brazil, the world is not very colorful - just a smear of smudgy browns and grays - but if you look straight ahead, it's eye candy. Through American eyes it may be considered somewhat garish (though through Japanese eyes, rather dull), in Brazil many of the shop fronts and walls are painted very colorfully. I rather enjoyed the more haphazard look to the town.

Sorvete! Up on the hill above one of the main roads in Sorocaba is a wonderful ice-cream shop. I chose guava, which was heavenly, and Marcos chose rum-raisin. This picture was taken against a metal garage door.

Here I go again in Macro mode on our new camera. This was experimental, with the bamboo in the foreground being in focus, and Marcos faded into the background, but it came out oh-so well. We didn't even intend for this to be such a model shot, but with Marcos' natural good looks and charm, it's difficult to stop the flow...

Tangerines at the local farmer's market. Each day of the week, the farmer's market meets at a different local around Sorocaba so that local buyers have a regular source of produce close to their homes.

Hawaiianas on display at the grocery store. This is THE brand of all brands when it comes to buying slippahs in Brazil, but for the most modern styles, prices range up to $20 for a pair of rubber slippers. That's love.