brazil recap

instead of splitting this up into days, i'll just hit it once and go crazy.

this re-entry has been one of the hardest i've ever had. it's been extremely hard to let go of the family trip - there were only twelve of us - and it's been funny, the whole thing has been very very hard to describe. basically nothing happened when i thought it would, the people i met were a kaleidoscope of warm hearts and open hands, i have rarely felt so free to be affectionate – and i am still surprised by the depth to which i've come to know the people in this network, that i have only been a part of since the timid early days of this journal.

it started out with a flight from chicago to dallas... where i was only given 30 minutes to make my connecting flight but then not given a ground crew. so my next flight was missed and i had to be rerouted through Santiago, Chile.

it looked pretty. i couldn't leave the terminal :)
ah, santiago

to make a long story short, instead of a three hour flight to a nine hour flight, i took a three hour flight to a nine hour flight to a five hour flight. arrived in Sau Paulo around 7pm instead of 10am as originally intended...

tig's friend Juba picked me up at the airport and we drove for about an hour with the windows down, teaching each other random vocabulary words :) i only have a few phrases committed to memory, one being "what is that?" which sounds like "key-eh-eeso?"

so the next hour was like, vocab lesson
[point] "key-eh-eeso?" "watch"
[point] "key-eh-eeso?" "tree"
[point] "key-eh-eeso?" "stick shift"

and eventually we found the church where the boys were playing.
bola de neve

i meet handfuls of people and can't hear their names, can't retain them! i nod along anyway - it is a soft language, the edges are blended. i see Tiago first, then Reinaldo, then Brad. Each in his own way offer an extremely warm greeting - Tig with bursts of hugging and petting; Rei with long hugs and Brad with questions about family and home.

it's a lovefest :) during their show, Brad dedicated Solace to me in front of everyone, then Tig does in translation. most amazing and humbling thing: i receive public applause :) four people approached me about the song, the story behind the song is from Brad's and my first-ever conversation in which i told him i literally made signs for a living but i didn't know what God's plan for my life was... i only knew this wasn't it, that i wasn't done moving... and now, three years later! the before-and-after of it is a baptism.

i got to chat and hang with my new friends after the show, but eventually we packed it in and drove a long way to an unbelievably beautiful hotel in the middle of town. the guys and i hung out for a while before sleeping, still excited to see each other... finally i got a shower and conked out at 4:15am. alarm set for 11am. beautiful.

next morning i woke up before everyone else and read a book of brazilian poetry in my room. the view was wonderful, but i didn't want to roam about on my own just yet.
foot photo

eventually we checked out of the hotel and went to our driver's home for lunch, where we were joined by armistead. it was at this meal that armi and i were introduced to the meat-on-a-stick phenomenon of casual dining :) Portuga is an excellent cook!
this home is like a compound

after a leisurely lunch we bummed around, played with the dogs, and got back into the van.
van time

i mean, come on, the guys had a live TV show to do
tv show

after which i got to meet tiago's dad (AWESOME) and we went out for açai (also very cool) (pronounced ah-sigh-EEEE). açai is a kind of fruit pureé that's like the consistency of sherbert. i described it as looking like ketchup soup :) just to be a smartass. but really, it's yummy.
açai

and because i couldn't ever finish mine, it was often poached
ready to pounce on my açai

to avoid the weekend Sao Paulo beach traffic, we stuck around Portuga's home until the wee hours, picking at lunch leftovers and playing with the dogs.
sneaking the puppies some food

romantic night lights

and really really late in the evening / early the next morning we were driving in circles and finally found a beautiful Grecian-themed hotel, checked in, SLEPT.

the next morning we were greeted by the grecian courtyard and rumors of the beach
hotel courtyard

after a light meal we took off for another concert, and found the rumors were true: there was a beach, and it was beautiful and freaking HUGE.

so this is really cool - we got to see a rehearsal of a drum troupe, this kind of setup is popular throughout brazil and just heart-thumping good times. they played rhythm after rhythm and while the guys had tuning and stuff to do i got to dig my toes in the white sand and just soak in the afternoon.
drum corps

the sun was fierce, hardcore heat but a few hours later it mellowed and we went to the water
twilight

that night the guys played one of the best shows i've ever seen them play and i'm sorry to say i have no photos of it. they played at a church that was extremely hospitable and welcoming to us, they were encouraged to play long solos and talk about their music in between songs - basically make it whatever kind of show they wanted :)

afterwards, brad, armi, and i found the back stairs to the rooftop and had a quiet moment as we let our feet dangle over the traffic below, watching carnival traffic breeze on by.
perched on the roof

but there was a crowd of local talent gathering across the street, and there was no way we were going to miss out
improv

this went on and on, we were having a great time and were reluctant to leave but of course the night was turning into early morning again and our driver needed to sleep. and we did too, but who among us will ever admit to it? nobody, that's who.

the next day we waited like puppies at the window for JAMES, one of my favorite people on the planet. James eventually made it to the hotel, Juba joined up with us, and with our expanded group we wandered three blocks east over to the beach in our own neck of the woods and caught some lunch.
beach

the day was grey but lovely
clouds rolling in

and sweetly uneventful. we walked around for a few hours, went to an art market, headed back to the hotel; had dinner at a local joint a few blocks away, came home and had a Bible study that unfortunately only went on for a little while because... it was late. short but very sweet.

the next day we rallied, checked out, and left on a quest to find another television studio. we chilled in the green room, the guys signing autographs and giving an interview, us laypeople idling around with each other
autographing

things started to run late so armi, james, and i left for the airport while the guys were on live TV - we were able to watch from the van!
live TV in the van

we raced to a local airport and caught a 45-minute flight to Curitiba, where the party continued, basically getting to the hotel with just enough time to splash faces with water and head to the rehearsal dinner
rehersal dinner

and it was so sweet - Tiago and Deise introduced every single person at the dinner in both Portuguese and English, so we got to meet the whole roster of family and friends. i was introduced as the person who designed their save-the-date cards :)

i spent the night putting together favors at Deise's parents' home, giggling with her english-speaking friends and we all crashed junior-high-summer-camp style, mattresses on the floor...

the next morning i woke up and walked down the street to the salon where the girls were taking turns getting ready. i loved listening to the chatter, trying to pick out the handful of words i know (read: colors and numbers) we hung out until it was only a couple hours left to go before the wedding, at which point i went back to the house and did my own little makeup routine :)
house behind the house

deise is always so effortlessly beautiful, so to see her dressed up in white is extraordinary.
ready to go

we got to the wedding and already the pre-wedding party was a joyful reunion. Juba and his girlfriend were there, our boys and a family from Denver who had been traveling with us for a couple days, they host Tiago when he lives in Denver - their four year old girl and two year old boy are endless entertainment :) they're both the kind of kids that make you want to have kids.
dinner table

we partied with them before the wedding, during dinner, and during the reception
emmy and brad

and i'm sorry to say i have to depend on my friends to provide photos from the reception! i left my camera in the purse all night. after dinner some people in the wedding party broke out boxes and boxes of props for pictures and general mayhem - masks, glow sticks, blinking rings, feather boas, etc etc etc... i can't wait to see some of these pictures (*hint* fellas! haha)

basically we closed the place down and partied until they unplugged the speakers for us. there was live music - GREAT dance music - and eventually our band played a set. nearly everyone stayed for the whole night! i didn't get to bed until after 5am.

The next morning was good for recovering, we rallied and walked down into the town to find some lunch, it was Semester at Sea style where we just wandered until something looked or smelled great and walked in. lunch fare was simple (still meat-on-a-stick, but simple) and after a meal we had to mosey along to the airport.

view from the curitiba hotel

i began to miss our crew hours before we left each other... at the airport we had a few hours to kill. the guys had to meet with a brazilian publicist, and then tiago and deise were going to hang out for a couple hours until we all had to split up. rei, armistead and i passed the time looking for trouble in the airport shops until tig and deise were able to make it to the airport.

suddenly the meeting was over, goodbyes had been started but not finished, and we were all running like spider legs from one body shooting off in our own directions - chicago, denver, new york, puerto rico, the bahamas. and here i am, back in chicago on a sunday afternoon and wondering what God could possibly have in store for the future. brazil rocked my socks off.

especially with little surprises like an entire soccer team chillin at my gate.
munchkins at the airport