November 2001
[Use the BACK button on your browser to return to Kleber Family Update.]


Continuing the glorious-weather-theme from last month's update, here is the family enjoying an afternoon café on November 1. Ahhh. 71 degrees.

Too bad that didn't last. Soon enough, the temperature dipped into standard winter weather: highs in the high 50s; lows in the 40s.

Doesn't sound so bad, does it? UNTIL you remember that homes in Portugal do not have heat. It gets pretty darn cold huddled around your space heater when it's 50 degrees outside your uninsulated, concrete apartment building. Brrrr.

(Jordan would like it known that he thinks 50 degrees is just about perfect. Inside or out.)
(Debbie would like to point out that she is perfectly comfortable in that long-sleeved t-shirt at 71 degrees.)

Setting aside our petty cyber-bickering, the great news for the month is that Drexel is finally enjoying school. Praise God and thank you for all your prayers.

The first four months in Portugal were painfully difficult for Drex. We are so proud of him and very thankful that he is now enjoying school and speaking enough Portuguese to make friends. (Special thanks to dear Julie Peterson who had some very wise, very helpful advice for a Mom who wanted to snap every time she heard someone spout "Ah, don't worry. Kids adjust so easily.")

To celebrate, here are two photos of Drexel's Escola São Lázaro:
Left -- Main entrance. Those are Drex's classroom windows on the main floor.
Right -- This photo was taken out Drexel's bedroom window. It's fun to be so close!

On other fronts, things are going well at the Habitat jobsite. If you look closely at this photo, you will see that the family who will move into this Habitat house has already placed a decorative name-tile over their front door.

With no more volunteer teams planned until late next spring, Jordan is enjoying a little time to do some hands-on work of his own at the jobsite. Plus his Portuguese is improving to the point where he can talk to some of the subcontractors without translation help. Very, very exciting!

So, what were you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Our family was so thankful when the local grocery store finally restocked the peanut butter that we bought EVERY JAR.

Seriously, various friends asked how it felt to be outside the USA for Thanksgiving. Surprisingly, it was a wonderful experience. Not because we wanted to skip Thanksgiving, which is a holiday that we all cherish. But rather because this has been our first year to experience a full, luxurious Christmas "season," in the true sense of the word. The hustle/bustle/stress of Christmas is completely gone.

The Christmas decorations (real Christmas decorations--with Baby Jesus) come out with the castanha vendors. But instead of fretting that we are denying Thanksgiving its due and swearing to not sing a carole until The-Friday-After, we joined our Portuguese neighbors in enjoying a long, leisurely Christmas. We had been humming caroles and taking walks at night to view the lights and such for weeks by the time Thanksgiving passed us by.

Perhaps we'll celebrate Thanksgiving the first weekend in November next year... in order to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Let's close with a couple of photos of the Kleber family enjoying their first Portuguese November.
Austin is smiling because the local high school finally agreed to let her audit a math class in preparation for Portugal's University Entrance Exams (like the SATs).
You heard her... "I love math!"

May God bless you all. Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.

[Use the BACK button on your browser to return to Kleber Family Update.]