Well - it has been a while but I was stateside for a bit and a kind of crazy journey. In May of 2012 I became an uncle to twins. A little boy and a little girl. When they were a week old, I rushed off to see them before I headed to Brazil and how wonderful it is to be around babies. OK - I think I need to back up a bit and say that while I am stateside I have offered to be a support for my sister from my father's sister (OK she is really my cousin and I am not really the baby's uncle but I choose to wear the title proudly) and her husband. Trying to spend as much time with them as I can. A two and a half hour flight is much better then the nine hours flight from Brazil and the other
benefit is that they are only four hours from mom and dad's so a great excuse to be all inclusive.
With a spare bedroom on the third floor and a couple of planned flights back to the Midwest in April / May (details to be forthcoming), I found myself at their home for a couple of weeks helping them get ready for the arrival of the little bundles of joy. I first helped transform their den into the babies room. A fresh coat of paint changing the dim gray walls to a soft green. Second task was moving all the adult educational books from the bookshelves and filling them with baby books which were purchased over several years in preparation. Finally I helped her pick up things like the cribs, changing table and other necessities for their arrival. Once the babies room was put together I moved on and painted a couple other rooms in their home. They have lived here for a little over a year and the colors of the previous owners were dark and drab so we needed to add some fresh vibrant colors more to their tastes.
It always seems like painting walls is one of those things we humans put off because it is hard making color choices, it is not fun, or we just can. Needless to say I was so happy to have the free time and it was a great project allowing me to be involved and I also made an unexpected trip to visit mom and dad in Iowa. After all the painting was done I began planning a baby shower for them with the help of my sister, mom, and two sister in laws. Since I was spending this week and a half here, I had not plans to return for the shower but thanks to my brother's gift of frequent flier miles, I was able to fit it
into my plans. Fortunately I was able to help as my family played host to family and friends celebrating in anticipation of the twins (more details to come - I am so behind on blog writing - LOL). I had one more visit to the Midwest planned for my nephews graduation from high school and my hope was that the babies would arrive before or during this visit as I would soon travel back to Georgia for final preparations to travel south of the equator. Of course the little buggers defied my plans and the twins blessed this world the day after I flew to Atlanta and of course with my pending three month stay in Brazil, I had to make a quick trip to welcome them. They are such a blessing and I am sure there will be more updates if my readers are interested in this journey of my life.
One of the evenings we spent on the farm we were treated to a traditional dish made with fresh caught "painted fish" from one of the local rivers in the Mineiros area. Prepared in a stew similar to how I have had cod and other fish in Brazil the flavor was wonderful with fresh tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes, it filled the house with a wonderful aroma. The painted fish itself was a little unappetizing to the sight and I was not fond of the mushy blubber like texture. But as the title of the post suggests, regardless of how it looks I am dedicated to give it a try and once I got past those two superficial observations the flavor was good. Afresh water fish without being gamy or fishy. Another delightful local meal served with rice that you must try if you are offered in Goias.
We spent the last few days on a farm in the middle of the
cerrado. No internet -no cell phones -just spending time with family and friends.
I have spent time in the past under these conditions and it always
brings me back to appreciating the simple things in life but also missing the
modern luxuries of communication we often take for granted. Cards were played, walks were taken, swimming was done and all around a lot of
relaxation took place. Of course with 10
plus people at the farm, the kitchen was always full of people preparing the
next meal whether it was fresh caught arapaima fish, homemade pasta, or the traditional
Brazlian feijoada. Several times over the stay I reflected back
to growing up when we would go to my grandma’s house and there would always
be people in the kitchen cooking. Lunch
and dinner with a coffee in between,
such a wonderful place for gathering and socializing. Life seems so simple and people connecting so much easier when you are able to disconnect from technology. There
were only a couple of times when I worried about things back in the
states... what if my family needed to
reach me? What if the people staying in
my house needed something? What if a
new business opportunity came a calling? But these
thoughts soon slipped out of my mind as I jumped into the
refreshing water of the pool, slipped into a wonderful afternoon nap in the hammock or pulled up a chair to sit and enjoy the evening
campfire. Days filled with fresh mango
fruit pulled from the trees, sun filled blue skies
and cows grazing just beyond the fences. Not a worry in
the world as I sit here staring at the
night sky with its half-moon and sparkling stars. I ponder how I don’t miss the feeding tube to
the world with the constant checking of the internet and endless possibility of
interruption of life from the cell phone. The more we have
the more we want, but in the end it is
these simple times that fill our soul and replenish our spirit.
Off we go on our second daily life adventure. Today our journey starts at the academia or
gym. With beaches being such a huge past
time for Brazilians, you can imagine there are gyms on almost every
corner. Some of the gyms are smaller and
some of them larger. Your work out experience can pretty much be what you want
it to be. My gym is only blocks from our
apartment and so an easy three minute walk and you are there. Olympicia Acadamia. With a small number of parking spots along
the street and like many businesses in the city, it is located in a residential area. When I enter the gym I am greeted by the
desk staff and welcomed (in Portuguese of course). I have paid my fee and through the turn gate
I go, down the hall and turn left. The
gym is two levels with weights and machines on the bottom and cardio on the
upper level. My trainer (who's price is
included in the membership) has a small area in the corner with files where
they have written up a routine for the day. I guess you can say the experience includes all the same thoughts, feelings and smells found in gyms in the states. OK, maybe not as much smell as the gym is open air with walls that don't quite connect to the ceiling leaving a four foot opening around the
top allowing the daily breezes to flow through. The interesting difference with
this gym is there is an Olympic size pool where swimmers practice their strokes for hours each day. I am truly amazed as they drift from one end of the pool to the other for literally hours, perfecting the particular stroke they are working on. Olypicia Acadamia's claim to fame is that they have trained swimmers who have metaled in the Para-Olympics and Pan American Para Games representing Brazil. I held off on writing this post hoping to write a little about one of the swimmers great medals in London but he had a poor showing so no medals this time around. I have gained admiration for these athletes as they train day in and day out swimming for hours at a time. As for me, it is back to the gym and hoping to stay in some sort of shape as I age gracefully. They gym is the gym no matter where you are it sure is nice to have time for it.