What are some of the things that come to mind when you think of the word “grandma”?  Perhaps you have many wonderful memories of being spoiled with a never ending supply of food and the occasional (and by occasional, I mean frequent!) gift at the most random of times. As it turns out, grandmas in Brazil are not much different! To help explain, I will share a funny story that happened this morning.

The night before, my roommate Haven and I realized that we had accumulated one too many plastic water bottles, and we decided that we needed to ask someone where to put them the next day. Now, it just so happens that our host mother who speaks English cannot be with us in the morning, so we have to use our best Portuguese speaking skills to communicate with her mom, who does not speak any English. When we presented our host grandma with the water bottles, she immediately assumed that we needed more water.

Can you find the recycling bin?

To make a long story short, we ended up having to spend at least five minutes trying to explain what we wanted in Portuguese and I had to physically take the trash out of the bathroom to explain to her that we did not need more water, but we wanted to get rid of our excess. It was incredible how exceptionally patient she was with us, despite our huge language barrier.

Here is my host grandma with her pet bird!

I can’t finish this post without at least mentioning a few of the other things she has surprised us with on this trip. For one, our host grandma has washed every piece of my dirty clothes since the day we arrived, and has even gone the extra mile to fold it and put it on my bed. Don’t you wish you could have your own host grandma at home? In addition, she wakes up early in the morning to make us breakfast and sends us off to school with snacks and a nut mix she made herself. Tonight she even brought us multiple new bags of local nuts and fruit to try!

Because I have not had the presence of a grandma in my life for many years, I have been incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful one in Brazil. I am looking forward to spending the next couple of weeks with her, and hopefully learning to communicate better to avoid any more garbage mishaps!

One of the breakfasts she prepared for us

P.S. As I wrote this blog, I had the pleasure of drinking from a coconut and snacking on cashews that (you guessed it) came from my host grandma.

-Kayla Richardson





Categories: Brazil 2018


Kathy Wilkinson · May 10, 2018 at 9:00 pm

Kayla, What a blessing to again have a grandma. I imagine both of your original Grandmas, in heaven, are smiling down and are so grateful that your host grandma can do some of the things they would love to be doing. I am reminded of the saying “pay it forward.” When you get the chance to be the granddaughter, daughter, etc for someone who’s loved one is gone or far away, you will be the answer to someone’s prayers.

    Amy Kovach · May 10, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    We have so many opportunities in life to love those around us and the Brazilians we are meeting are reminding us of this every day.

Global Honors · May 10, 2018 at 9:14 pm

For sure! It really is such a blessing. 🙂

Susan Richardson · May 10, 2018 at 9:30 pm

Kayla, this brings tears to my eyes for so many reasons! I am so very glad that your host family is so loving and kind, and that you can have tangible family even as far away as Brazil.
I am sure that if your 2 grandmothers are able to see down from heaven right now, that they are all smiles, knowing that you are experiencing and feeling the love and kindness of a grandmotherly figure.

    Amy Kovach · May 10, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    Kayla comes in every day with smiles and stories of how wonderful her host family is. It is so much fun to watch!!

Rebekah Distaffen · May 10, 2018 at 11:50 pm

Grandmas are grandmas everywhere 🙂 This made me miss my grandma, Kayla <3 I'm glad you get to have this experience in Brazil, and, once we get home, if you ever miss your host grandma feel free to stop by and see my real grandma– she loves you!

    Amy Kovach · May 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    I love how the host families love the students!

Bethany Dreyer · May 15, 2018 at 3:44 pm

So beyond proud of you my beautiful friend!!! And I know your grandmas would be too <3

Teresa Ward · May 21, 2018 at 7:16 am

What a wonderful tribute. This description certainly personifies Helena. When I visited the family last year, I became very ill from overeating. I couldn’t say, “No” at a previous student’s home. This marvelous lady took such good care of me. She made the best homemade soup. It was exactly what I needed to feel better. I consider her a second mom. We overcame the language barrier by God’s great provision. I love this woman.

    Global Honors · May 21, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    She really is wonderful 🙂

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