country · entertainment · family · fun · photography · Vacation

Memories To Remember – Brazil Part 1

img_8515Visiting the hometowns after almost 30 years… 

Brazil stretches roughly 2,700 miles from north to south and from east to west to form a vast irregular triangle that encompasses a wide range of tropical and subtropical landscapes, including wetlands, savannas, plateaus, and low mountains. Brazil contains most of the Amazon River basin, which has the world’s largest river system and the world’s most-extensive virgin rainforest. The country contains no desert, high-mountain, or arctic environments.

Chris and I were born in Brazil and we haven’t been back to visit our family in a very long time. We finally decided to plan our trip with the boys. We went in May 2021 for 22 days and the weather was around 80-100°F daily. There’s no real winter season. We had a blast and enjoyed our family trip. I decided to post some tips and ideas in the hopes it will help you make a decision to visiting this amazing country. Despite all the media negative reports of kidnappings and murders taking place in Rio and elsewhere in the country, these occurrences are actually incredibly rare, especially for tourists. That is not to say that the country is free from crime. Fortunately, we didn’t experience or witnessed any. It was a memorable trip for us and the boys and we plan ongoing back sometime soon. =) 

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The reality is the majority of tourists will leave Brazil thinking the media paint an unfair picture, yet unfortunately incidents and accidents do happen and not always crime related.

#1 Deciding if we wanted to enter as a Visitor or as Native. 
Since we have multiple nationalities, this was the first thing we needed to decide on.
We decided we wanted to enter as a native (We had Brazilian passports) and the kids as a visitor (American passport only) to save time and question from custom. Well, that didn’t workout as planned. The immigration customs in Brazil were a little ridiculous. Even though we had our Brazilian passport, they asked a million questions and ended up causing issues to let the boys in to the country. (Because they have multiple nationality Brazilian and American) After a while they decided that it was ok to let them enter as visitors. My suggestion for anyone with multiple nationalities is to have ALL passports in hand. 

#2 GETTING A PASSPORT/VISA
* You will need: A valid U.S. passport. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if they are traveling to Brazil for tourism, business, transit, artistic or sport activities, with no intention of establishing residence.
* Passport Photo: Photo should be 2”x2” (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered and sized between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm). (We took our photos at CVS and I believe we paid $17.00 each.)
* Apply Early! Getting your passport in the mail takes about 6-11 weeks. Find forms online, print them and fill them out prior to your appointment to either your Town Hall or US Post Office. I don’t recommend mailing the application in, as this could potentially cause major delays.
* Fees- Passport book: You will pay -$165 for a standard passport book (Valid for all international travel by air, land, and sea)
#3 Immigration and Customs Regulations
* When arriving at Airport:
Everyone has to do an immigration and customs declaration. Airline must distribute both immigration and customs forms to fill out before your arrival. However, it is recommended to download and fill out the forms before traveling. You should be careful with this form, as it must be returned when you leave the country. There are two different doors at customs, as in most airports: the green line (“Nothing to declare”) for those who carry allowed items (clothes, books, personal equipment, etc.) and the red line (“merchandise to be declared” ) for those who are bringing some special items to Brazil. At this point, you will be asked to deliver the customs form to the agents and open your luggage for inspection.
*Currency Restrictions for Entry: More than 10,000 BR ($1,850.20 USD) must be declared to Customs
(Today’s Exchange Rate $1 USD = $5.40 BRL) This amount is per person. Trust me, you do not want to bring more cash than stated above. Not only for safety but customs are a little tricky when you bring 
more than enough. Avoid using ATMs in unfamiliar, secluded, or lightly protected areas. You can use your personal credit cards anywhere and the currency is exchanged on the spot so you know exactly how much you are spending in US dollars. Plus, it’s the safest way. 
* Luggage What can you carry: Items in Brazil comparing the value of the dollar up on top is very cheap. Pack light and buy what you need after you arrive and settle in. – clothes and other articles for personal use only (quantities must be compatible with the duration of stay and be for personal use only). This includes all type of electronics. Don’t bring more than one item per traveler. 
REMOVE all price tags – I packed a few clothing items for my personal use, and the items were brand new. I did not remove the tags on them when we went through customs. They tried to charge me a Tax fee for my PERSONAL clothing (ridiculous if you ask me.) 
* Brazil Airport Tax regulations: If you bring new things, worth more than US$500, you must fill out the customs form. All new products valued at more than US$500 are taxable. The exemption limit is personal. Passengers traveling with family members (spouse and children) cannot combine their personal exemptions. The tax is 50% on the value that exceeds the above-mentioned exemption limits. The tax will be assessed by customs officials and its payment is a condition for the release of the goods. (Basically they look up the highest value and tax you half of it.) If you don’t pay, you leave the airport without your items. 

#4 Driving – License or Permit (IDP) and Car Rental (If you decide to drive)

It’s not necessary to have an international driver’s license to rent a car in Brazil. You can drive a car if you obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) within your first 30 days in Brazil. You should not drive in Brazil if you do not have an IDP unless you have acquired a permanent 

Consider avoiding the use of public, municipal buses in Brazil at any time of day, and especially at night. Crime trends indicate an elevated risk of robbery or assault on public bus systems throughout Brazil. The U.S. government recommends against personnel using public, municipal buses in all parts of Brazil.

We decided to drive as Chris knows his way around and wanted to drive to other states instead of taking a bus or train. (as mentioned above, just not as safe) It was easy for him to obtain an international driving permit (IDP) with AAA to drive legally and worry free. Anyone with a valid driver’s license can apply for an IDP. 
* How to Apply:  AAA is one of only two private entities in the U.S. authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue an IDP. You will need to provide: An application, two original passport pictures, a valid U.S. driver’s license and pay $20 permit fee and you’re ready to go!
* Car Rental: Renting a car in Brazil is one of the best ways to explore as much of the country as possible. Renting a car might not be worth the hassle if you are just planning to remain in one place. Drivers tend to be reckless in big cities, and they do not always comply with traffic laws. There’s a wide variety of rental companies to choose from in Brazil. We opted to rent and pay for everything in advance online (We used Booking as our go to for all we needed as the safest option and rented from Foco Aluguel de Carros ) We rented a Jeep Renegade (The biggest car available to fit 5 passenger – Note the luggage space is very limited to 2 bags) for 22 days and paid a total of $470.32 USD. We picked up at Rio de Janeiro International Airport and dropped it off at the same location. 

aerial view of city buildings during daytime


The violent crime rate is high in most Brazilian urban centers. Public transportation, hotel sectors, and tourist areas report high crime rates, but these incidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Be aware of your surroundings.


#5 Safety & Security  
*Thieves: 
Unfortunately, robbery is a major challenge for Brazil. Sometimes the larger the car is, the more targeted you will be. You will need to stay vigilant to reduce the threats. If you can avoid it,  don’t drive at night. After 8 pm, you can even ride through red lights to make sure criminals don’t target you. However, you will need to be very careful when doing this. Carjackings and hold-ups can occur at any time of the day or night, especially at intersections and in tunnels. Some robberies involve individuals robbed at gunpoint and taken to make purchases or to withdraw as much money as possible from one or more ATMs. You should also be mindful that Brazil’s road conditions can be incredibly unpredictable. Parking is limited and you might want to check with street guards if any around if you need to pay to park off the street. You will be able to park your car only in public parking spaces, and these are marked on the street with a white line. Yellow means you’re unable to park at any time. 

* Do not travel to: 
Informal housing developments in Brazil (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas), even on a guided tour, at any time of day due to crime. Neither the tour companies nor the police can guarantee your safety when entering these areas. Even in favelas that the police or local governments deem safe, the situation can change quickly and without notice. In addition, exercise caution in areas surrounding favelas, as occasionally, inter-gang fighting and confrontations with police move beyond the confines of these communities.

To reduce the chance of becoming the victim of a crime, limit the belongings you carry with you. Carry your money in your front pockets and limit the number of credit cards you carry. Make copies of all of your personal documents – including your credit cards, license, passport, etc. – and keep them in a safe place. This will be helpful if you lose your documents. Do not carry or wear valuable items that will attract the attention of thieves. (I personally removed all jewelry, including my diamond ring.) If you need to wear expensive jewelry or carry a camera, conceal it until you arrive at your destination. Be aware of the street environment and avoid contact with those who may be looking for robbery targets. Seek a safer location. Go into a store, bank, or simply cross the street. Do not walk on beaches after dark. Assaults are common. Use increased caution when hiking in isolated areas, particularly near popular tourist locations in the city of Rio de Janeiro. 
* Victims of Crime: Hope this won’t happen to you but if it does you should contact the local authorities to file a Brazilian police report before departing Brazil. In most instances, you can report crimes to the tourist or civil police. You should also inform the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
* The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Brazil is divided among four services:
* 190 – Police * 191 – Police on interstate roads * 192 -Ambulance * 193 – Fire Department and the U.S. Embassy at 011-55-61-3312-7000 Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. 

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Brazil is impossible to summarize in just a few paragraphs. In other words, this will be in multiple parts. Stay tuned……

Hope you enjoy reading.. If I missed anything or if you have any question, let me know in the comments below.

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It’s been too long

I haven’t updated my page in almost a year wow

so much has happened in my life ….

I’ll share a few photos for you all to see how we are doing 🙂

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1 week that #iadopted

Today marks 1 week that our lives has changed forever. 🐶

Kal is adjusting well. He had a little hard time in the beginning eating and leaving his bed. but now he just wants to eat. And I mean E. A. T. 😂

This little guy eats everything he sees in front of him. (Grass. Leaves. Furniture. Etc.)

He loves sleeping. My couch is his favorite spot.

He’s quiet. Doesn’t bark too much.

Has started sneezing a little. (winter in NE no surprise there)

He sits every time he sees a treat. (Without anyone even asking lol)

Some days he goes up to the door when he needs to go outside.

So far we had only 2 accidents in the house.

We see the Vet in 11/29

Over all a good boy and we love him so so much.

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The process on adopting a #rescued dog …

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The process on adopting a rescued dog …

We started looking for a dog to adopt probably the beginning of October 2019 

We got rejected by the 1st shelter, we looked because we don’t currently have a pet … 

I was sad, frustrated and almost to the point of giving up.  But I decided to move on and fight for a puppy we could love and care for. 

I got a to of offers to buy and I did consider it. But I thought to myself those puppies need a home and we can save them and give them just that a loving home. 

So why adopt and not buy? 

Not only are you giving more animals a second chance, but the cost of your adoption goes directly towards helping those shelters better care for the animals they take in!

I filled out around 6-10 applications yes, that was a lot but I insisted.
Some of the places NEVER even got back to me to approve or deny my application.
Some got back to let me know the dog we had selected was no longer available. When I asked if there was any other dogs I never heard back from them. 

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I found this site called Great Dog Rescue New England (GDRNE) I looked at all the pets they had available and was so in love. I decided to fill out yet another application and hope for the best. 

I filled out my application on October 19th, 2019. On October 20th less than 24 hours they got back to me saying “ Thank You for the application “ I was so exited and happy I couldn’t wait to move forward. 

I shortly got an e-mail from J* ( Very nice lady that has been helping me since ) 

J* advised that the dog I had selected was no longer available she on the same e-mail sent me a photo of the brother that was still available. 

 

In a flash I sent the photo to all family members and we all fell in love with him. 

I told Jennifer we would adopt the dog. 

Today is October 25th, 2019 I already spoke to Jennifer many times via e-mail text and phone call. 

She referred me to the shelter parents (An Amazing lady) and we FaceTimed and I got to see our Baby. She sent me photos and videos. She has answered all the question I had.   We continued to communicate till the day Kal came home. We now have a home visit pending and we get to have the baby home on November 09, 2019 

We were so happy and amazed.. 

I will recommend to anyone looking to adopt to Look at GDRNE they are amazing.

Our Paw baby name is Kal    🐾  He is a rescued dog so no one knows for sure his breed or age. But he looks like a Beago so that’s what we’re gonna say he is lol. 

He is approximately 7 weeks old, so His Birthday is September 06, 2019 

I guarantee Kal will have a loving family and he will be loved and spoiled by all. 

A Little about a Beago …….

The Beago is a mix of two very popular dogs, the Golden Retriever and the Beagle. They are two very well-known dogs that are loved by everyone.

Because of this, the Beago is a popular hybrid dog breed that may be the perfect dog for you.

These pups were made to be a part of the family with how easy-going they are and their ability to get along with anyone and anything.

If you want a sweetheart that will be happy to see you every day and someone to play with all the time, the Beago is the right dog for you.

Follow Kal on Instagram and Find Out what he’s up to on his day to day 

Thanks For Reading 🙂

Adopt Don’t Shop  🐾

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When Life Gives you lemon 🍋

There are definitely times when bad things happen so Good things can come your way.
I’m a true believer of ” Everything happens for a reason. ” either it’s a good or bad one.
Last year I was living a life that I would come home every day shower and sleep. To wake up in the morning and do the same thing over and over.

I liked what I was doing. Just not how it was happening. Working over 48 hrs a week I started getting sick again. And ended up having a lot of doctors appointment etc.

as I was getting all these appointments I was no longer able to put all my effort into my job.
One of the days I had to call out because of being sick. I got asked by my Manager to find another job.

I couldn’t agree more with him that I needed something else.

Me and Chris always had this dream of working a Monday – Friday. 9-5pm paid holidays. And able to take time off.

The job I had obviously wasn’t allowing me to do so. And not to remind you it made me sick all over again due to stress and long hour days.

I decided to post my resume online. Hoping and praying for the best.

I decided to give my two weeks at my current job.

I remember feeling sad, annoyed and stressed.
I do have a lot of bills to pay. So I was very worried I wouldn’t find anything.

I sent out a few applications that day.
To my surprise, I received a phone call that morning ( when I had just given my 2 weeks ).
It was this amazing lady ( very friendly) looking for an office manager. I set the appointment for an interview.

I left that company that day in tears. I couldn’t believe what just happened.

I was so amazed. And happy I could of left there jumping up and down in joy.

I got offered a job as an office manager.
Working Monday – Friday 9-5pm. Getting paid holidays. Time off as I need it. With an amazing family. That knows how to be a boss and actually care for their employees.


True I don’t know them yet. But I have a feeling this is gonna be a lifetime relationship.
I thank God daily for this opportunity a dream that came true without me even deserving it.
Ok I might deserve it 😂, but you all know what I mean? I didn’t expect it to work so fast.
I’m sitting at my desk this afternoon and all I can think about is how grateful I am. 🙂

Isaque has started a new job and it’s a great opportunity for him.

Joshua will start a new job Monday.

Gabe is doinggreat at his job.

Chris also got offered a job and opportunity that made him very happy. Now we have time to work and enjoy our lives.Couldn’t ask for more.

Follow us on Instagram

Elly & Chris Filho

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Happy 21st. Birthday

Wishing my son Joshua a happy 21st

Love you

Devotion · family · reeding · World VS Life

Seeking God in worship

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God is mysterious, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God. Our lives, however, can become mundane, tedious, and cold.

Worship. We all do it. Every day our affection, adoration, devotion, honor and reverence are given to something or someone. Who or what do you worship? All too often my devotion lies with the things of this world. But when we see God for who He really is, worship is true and spontaneous.

One night our family attended a professional basketball game. As the players ran onto the court with fireworks going off (yes, inside the building!) my kids were completely mesmerized. The high-tech, full-surround arena video screens shouted out to the spectators, “Everybody Make Some Noise!”

The whole place was electric with screams, whistles, and any other available form of noise-making. The excitement over the home team just making one basket was unbelievable. As I looked around, I saw this guy wearing an obnoxiously large team hat and a small group of young men in appropriately-colored face paint. Whether the basketball team was doing well or not, the fans were sold out! This was a form of worship.

My kids play sports and so I realize how easily a fan could get a little overboard on the excitement scale. These games can be a lot of fun. It’s fun to be a fan and root for your favorite team. However, I’ve always believed that God desires a similar (and even greater) passion to be exhibited for Him, the All Star Player who made all the stars and knows them by name!
He is the MVP for all time and eternity! He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! The Great I Am!

My prayer is that this simple devotional will strengthen your relationship with God in such a way that you’ll dive into a fully-abandoned worship mode with The One and only One worthy of your worship. Agree with me in this prayer and may you never be the same again! Amen?

‘Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy. ‘ Psalm 99:5 

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9 arrested during Border Patrol checkpoint

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I never really read or watch the news. I’m so sick of bad news all the time. today I opened up my FB and first thing I see is this NEWS ARTICLE about immigration. I didn’t have time to read the story till late this afternoon. I was a little disturbed. I honestly don’t know what to think about it.. or what I would do…

some of the comments from the people there

“We were kind of like scrambling to get out documents, but they didn’t ask for them,”

“I thought we were waved through because we were white and if we had not been white, I think we would have been asked to show some documentation,”

“I hate to think of the way our country has been demonizing immigrants lately.

When I read that it got me thinking on what I always hear from the president ” Lets make America great again. ”

Do you honestly believe doing this will make America great?

Do you believe getting rid of all types of immigrants will help this country?

This is what U.S Customs and Border had to say….. 

Full statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

“Border Patrol immigration checkpoints are a critical tool for the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws and are part of our defense-in-depth strategy to accomplish the border security mission.  Although most Border Patrol work is conducted in the immediate border area, Section 1357 of Title 8 of the United States Code, along with several sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act, give Border Patrol agents broad law enforcement authorities, including the authority to question individuals, make arrests, and take and consider evidence.

At a Border Patrol checkpoint, an agent may question a vehicle’s occupants about their citizenship, place of birth, and request document proof of immigration status, how legal status was obtained and make quick observations of what is in plain view in the interior of the vehicle.

During the course of the immigration inspection, if an occupant refuses to answer an agent’s questions, the agent may detain the driver for a reasonable amount of time until he or she can make a determination regarding the occupant’s immigration status.  CBP is committed to the fair, impartial and respectful treatment of all members of the trade and traveling public, and policy prohibits the consideration of race or ethnicity in law enforcement, investigation, and screening activities, in all but the most exceptional circumstances.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK???

 

News article

friendship · love · women · Wordless · World VS Life

25 beautiful quotes on friendship

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  1. “Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.” — Socrates
  2. “Some people go to priests, others to poetry, I to my friends.” — Virginia Woolf
  3. “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” ―- C.S. Lewis
  4. No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”— Alice Walker
  5. “The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.” — Hubert H. Humphrey
  6. “One of the most beautiful qualities of friendship is to understand and to be understood.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca
  7. “Walking with your friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” — Helen Keller
  8. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
  9. “The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  10. “We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” — Ray Bradbury

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  1. “Never leave a friend behind. Friends are all we have to get us through this life – and they are the only things from this world that we could hope to see in the next.” — Dean Koontz
  2. “How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.” — Shel Silverstein
  3. “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” -― Elbert Hubbard
  4. “Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” -― Mark Twain
  5. “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” -― Joan Powers
  6. “There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” ―- Jane Austen
  7. “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” -― Linda Grayson
  8. “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” ―- C.S. Lewis
  9. “What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” -― Aristotle
  10. “The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away.” — Barbara Kingsolver
  11. “Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
  12. “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” — Muhammad Ali
  13. ‘”He must have known I’d want to leave you.’ “‘No, he must have known you would always want to come back.'” -― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  14. “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?'” ―- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
  15. “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” -― Anaïs Nin

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Happy Birthday 🎈

Wishing my husband a happy birthday. 🎈

Thankful to God for given us the opportunity to be part of one family. The opportunity to have you as a friend. A husband. A father. A pastor. I love you 💕 forever and always.

Thank you for all you do for us.