So, here is what we have done so far:
Taken a lovely walk around Nadja and Rafael´s lovely neighborhood. It reminds me so much of Hawaii it is uncanny; lush and green, humid with sweet air and a cool breeze when you need it.
Visited the Public Market in downtown, a place filled with marvelous smells and sights and sounds. It is so cool to be surrounded by a language you don´t know, trying to guess at conversations by reading the faces and the few words you sort-of recognize - it makes you realize what an adventure you are having! After a lovely lunch we walked along the Guaiba river, watching the preparations for the New Year´s celebration that would be held there. Ava got to drink fresh cocomut milk out of a coconut!
Had dinner one night at one of Nadja and Rafael´s favorite pubs, and then another night at a fantastic sushi restaurant. We have also eaten delicious ice cream, and tasted some of the local fruits. But best of all has been the meals Rafael has prepared for us. In addition to being a brilliant scientist, he is also a gourmet chef. On New Years Eve he made mushroom risotto and filet mignon, and then on New Years Day, despite being a bit hungover, he managed to cook us the most incredible traditional Brazilian barbeque, complete with several varities of meat on swords, each one more delicious than the one before it. As I write this I can still taste it, the amazing flavors still lingering on my toungue.......
Last night still seems like a dream, staring out over the city from the windows of Nadja and Rafael´s apartment, watching the fireworks, drinking champagne.......This is our life! How is this our life?!?
Thank you. To all the powers that be. Thank you. We are eternally grateful.