Moving along

Things are moving along nicely on the house now.  The heating and air conditioning have all been reinstalled.  Most of the interior painting has been done, the master shower and jacuzzi are back in and the tile is down in the bathrooms and laundry room.  The interior doors have been painted and hung, the gorgeous new front door has been installed.

Still to come are electrical (all the outlets and switches have to be replaced), kitchen cabinets and granite, vanities and backsplash tiling, carpeting, hardwood floors, ceiling fans, light fixtures, door hardware, and all of the minutiae involved in moving back in

We think we've seen the last of the "Smurfs"...at least we hope so!  They're the bio-suited folks who had the odious task of doing the mold remediation in the crawl space.  This was one of the most important processes to us, because without a guarantee that the house is mold-free, our house value would be severely impacted.

We didn't make it back in time for Christmas, but now we're hopeful that we'll be back in by the end of January.

I think February will be the perfect time for a housewarming party.



Time Passes

Some years fly by in a whirlwind of fun, adventure and joy.  Some just pass, almost unnoticed, in the monotony of daily routine.  2008 has had some fabulous highs for us and some dismal lows, so I can't say I'm sorry to see it go.  I have high hopes that 2009 will be better for all of us.

Thank you to our friends, family and acquaintances for all your love and support throughout this trying time.


Como é grande o meu amor por você

The title is the name of a song that is very important to me.  I learned it 27 years ago and have never forgotten it.

I was an "exchange student" just out of high school.  I put that in quotations, because I had already finished school in the US and didn't actually attend much in Brazil, where I was sent.

Instead, I immersed myself in the full-time pursuit of travel and fun.  The last family I lived with was absolutely amazing and I loved my time with them.

I was especially close to my "sister" there.  Her name was Eulice Gomes Duarte.  She was close to my age and had the most amazing spirit.  She was my sister and my best friend.  She taught me so much about Brazil, about family life there, about her hopes and dreams and, ultimately, about myself.

I begged and pleaded not to return to the US.  I cried when I got on the plane in São Paulo and the entire way home to New York.  I was heartbroken.

In the early '80's, there was no internet.  International long distance was prohibitively expensive and the mail was unreliable.  We managed to keep in touch for a few years, but eventually, time and distance contrived against us.  I went about 25 years without hearing from her or her family.  Without anyone to speak it to, my Portuguese was almost entirely forgotten.  A huge part of my life was missing, and I've been bereft without it.

About a year ago, I installed Skype on the recommendation of a friend.  I quickly began searching through the member rolls to try and find someone from Brazil I knew.  I eventually found the brother of a friend I had there.  His sister was actually one of my first friends in Brazil because we shared the same first name, "Virginia."  She always went by "Gina" and I by "Gini," but we always thought it was cool that we shared that unusual name.

Anyway, I contacted Gina's brother, Ernesto, who happened to remember me.  He put me in touch with Gina.  Gina looked in the local phone book and found Flávia, Eulice's sister, for me.  After a long and convoluted process of emails, skype messages and phone calls, Flávia sent me Eulice's email address.

Part of the problem I had in finding her was that she no longer went by the name Eulice.  She had changed her name to Lelê and her last name had changed with marriage.

When I got the first email from Lelê I wept.  All of the years of separation disappeared.  She is still the same sweet, beautiful, intelligent person I remember.  That missing part of my heart has returned.

I look forward to renewing my sisterhood with Lelê and eventually hope to be able to visit her and my whole Brazilian family again.

A few nights ago, we got to talk face-to-face via Skype video.  It was wonderful.  Somehow age has escaped her and she hardly looks older than she did back then.  But her voice is exactly the same.  She remembered a song in English that I taught her and sang it for me, "Follow me, where I go, what I do and who I know, take my hand and say you'll follow me."

I regaled her with my poorly-pronounced rendition of that song she taught me that I never forgot.  We both laughed through our tears.

Welcome back to my heart, sweet Lelê, and never forget:

Como é grande o meu amor por você!