This is Goodbye


It’s over.

The apartment is empty, the accounts are closed and we’ve said all of our goodbyes.

I’m writing this from my house in Houston while Brian finishes off the last of his paperwork in Brazil. He’ll meet me here in four days.

It’s over.

I have such mixed emotions about it. Sadness for leaving friends, gratitude for the chance to know them, excitement for the future.

Gratitude wins.

We’re closing the chapter on Brazil, but not the door. Who knows what the future holds? Certainly not me. The possibility of returning in a year or two is still very much alive, but it’s not in the plan just yet. We have things to do, family to spend time with, new adventures to find and more roads to travel first. So much to do.

I’m sitting in my living room next to my daughter, enjoying the companionship of it. I miss my kids so much when I’m far away, and there is that gratitude again for having time to spend with them right now. Who knows what the future holds? Certainly not me. What I have is right now, my Girl sitting next to me, my Boy texting me, my friends still very much in touch.

Brazil is behind us, Houston is right now, and Scotland is in front of us.

Who knows what the future holds? Certainly not me.

But I’m excited about it.

I won’t be posting here on this blog anymore, but I’ll pick up from here and continue writing over on A Kilt and A Camera. Please come over and follow along. I miss enough people right now, I don’t want to miss all of you too.

Here We Stand, and Here We Go


Today is my last full day in Brazil.

Today the last of all of our furniture will be loaded on to various vehicles and shipped off to other people’s homes.

Tonight we’ll sleep at a friend’s house and stay up until the near-dawn hours talking and enjoying their company.

Tomorrow I will do a final tidy on my two big suitcases and one big carry-on.

Tomorrow I will take the long drive in to Rio and get on a plane.

Tomorrow I will say goodbye to Brian again for a while.

These last two weeks have been full of friends, full of parties, full of last minute activities and full of goodbye’s. I’m so glad to know we’ll have a chance to see so many of them again. We’ll try to come back for a wedding next year, and quite a few people we know will find themselves in Houston and Scotland with us later this summer. Saying a final goodbye to all of them at once would have been just too hard.

So we’ll move on. We’ll dry our eyes and head for the next adventure. We’ll continue to be so grateful for the chances we have to live where we have lived, and to go where we will go. We’ll keep in touch, we’ll keep the frienships we have, we’ll keep our heads up and carry on. It’s what we do.

I think I’ve got one more blog entry in me for this site. I’ll wrap it up when I get back to Houston, and then I’ll be moving on from here too. Please make sure you keep following along on our other site, A Kilt and A Camera. I love this blogging thing, and I’m ready to pick it up and carry it with me into the new unknown. Make sure to read over there so I can carry you all along with me too!

Now I guess I better get up and finish my packing. Tchau!

Making Time to See It All

Why is it that when we live in a place, we never take the time to see the cool things there? We never quite make it to the museums, or hike that trail, or ride our bikes around that neighborhood like we keep meaning to?

Now that time is short here in Brazil, we’re scrambling.

Katja and I finally made a point of going for that bike ride we’ve been talking about for two months, and finally made a point of seeing the bird park.

Check out our most excellent transportation for the day:


Tires filled? Check. Chains lubed? Check. Brakes working? Well…

Two out of three is good, right?


First we headed over to the Parque dos Passaros. Rio das Ostras is home to one of the nices bird sanctuaries and rehab centers in Latin America.


We had a guided tour by the Environmental Director, Victor.


It was really impressive, and so much nicer than we expected.


It was hot, and the middle of the day, so most of the birds were pretty inactive, but we still really enjoyed looking around and seeing the area.


Of course it helps when you get to stop and sample the fruit. Have you ever tried pitanga fresh off the bush? Quite good! Although a bit sour. I bet the juice would be really good in a lemonade.


After we dodged the mosquitoes along the park trails, we rode around town some more.

It was so nice to take our time, feel the breeze in our hair, see all the birds and lizards, stop for lunch when we felt like it, and park the bikes to sit on the beach of the lagoa to just talk and relax.


We live in a really fantastic place. I wish I had more time to explore it. This was the first time I’ve ridden a bike in years (why? I loved it!) and it opened up so much more of the city than I can explore on foot.

Note to self: Get yourself a damn bike as soon as you arrive in Scotland. Don’t wait.

It was a great day. Beautiful but hot weather, time spent with a new and fantastic friend, the freedom of going wherever we want. There is so much to see and do before we go, so much of a need to absorb it all and hang on to it. A day like this makes me feel like I’m doing it right.

Remember, I’ve only got about another week to write here. After that you’ll find me at A Kilt and a Camera. I hope you come follow along!

The Goodbye Party – Again and Again

One week to go.

The parties have started.

Friday night’s party was not technically our goodbye party, but it was a chance for us to see some of our friends for the last time before we go. It was a blast! It was an expat party, and quite a few of the people there were either moving to Scotland too, or have plans to visit there later this year. It was nice to be able to say, “See you soon.” instead of goodbye.

Yesterday’s party was harder. These were several of our Brazilian friends and we won’t see them again unless we come back here some day. We don’t know if that will happen though, so it really was a goodbye.

We all gathered at the beach in Barra São João, gathered around the BBQ and had a great time.


We roasted in the sun, went through gallons of water, and gallons of beer, we followed the shade.

We also laughed, told stories and jokes, and tried to pretend it wasn’t a goodbye.


Then we showed the Brazilians how to drink tequila.

Salt. drink. lime.

It was revenge for the first time they showed us how to drink cachaça.


Oh, the faces! First the confusion, then the wariness, then the grimace as the tequila and lime kicked in. Hilarious!


Everybody made a point of telling us how much they’ll miss us.


We were mostly successful at fighting off the tears.


Then Brian found a way to work it off with football.


We have been so lucky to make such good friends here. This is the hard part, the goodbyes. How do you do it?


How do you do it when they’re telling you they love you, and begging you to find a way to stay, and wishing you the best while they try to dry their eyes?

I don’t know.

I’m here for another week, and Brian will leave a few days after me. We have dinner plans every night until we leave. Every night we’ll spend time with another set of friends who we’ll say goodbye to.


Bring on the tissues.

A Walk Around Town

We’re trying to hang on to every last moment here. Taking in sights we’ll miss, trying restaurants we never quite made it to, seeing friends as much as possible before we go.

We took a Saturday stroll around town just to look at everything.


There is always the beach. The ever present sound of the waves, the weekend crowds, the miles and miles of skin, the children playing in the sand and the water.


There are families, grandparents, babies, friends. There is beer. There is sun and cool water.


There is the river from which our town takes it’s name. Rio das Ostras, River of Oysters. Are there any actual oysters in there? I have no idea, and if there were I certainly wouldn’t eat them. I know which parts of town that river flows through to get to the sea.


We cross the foot bridge and wander through the urban neighborhoods. There are fish shops, little cafes, families spending time out in their yards.


As we make our way to the center of town, there are still reminders that we are only two blocks from the beach.


Barefoot and wearing a speedo downtown and have no pockets for your cell phone? No matter, just stick it down your trunks.

Can you tell we’re a very informal people here?

We had a bonus treat this time. Cowboys at the cafe bar? Sure, why not.


Ride on up and grab yourself a beer. We live the good life here, obviously.

Bom Te Ver

As I wind down here, and get ready for new adventures, I’m looking around me every day and seeing the things I’m really going to miss.

Every morning at sunrise we hear the birds off our balcony. “Bom te ver, bom te ver.”


It means “Good to see you.”

What a happy wake-up call. OK, so I don’t like being woken up at sunrise by anything at all unless it’s bacon, but if some obnoxious bird is going to do it anyway, this is way better than a rooster.


I would shoot a rooster and eat it for breakfast with a smile, but how can you be mad at a bird that tells you it’s so good to see you every morning?


Especially when they’re so bright and pretty?


So I wake up, stumble out of bed and pull the balcony doors all the way open. Even as I stand there with my swollen, sleepy eyes and bed-head, they still say they’re glad to see me.


It’s a good way to start every single day.

I’m really going to miss them.

I have a feeling the birds in Scotland aren’t going to be nearly as cheerful. I have a feeling the northern birds are going to sound a lot more like “Oh, shit. Raining again.”

It’s Time to Go


Cheers, Mate. We'll miss this place. Madly.

It’s been four an a half years since Brian first arrived here. We had just started to realize how much we liked and cared for each other. What would 5000 miles do to that?

It made it stronger.

We’ve had the most amazing experiences here, especially the friendships that mean so much to us. We’ve learned a new language, integrated into a new culture, explored a little piece of a new continent, suffered through a medical emergency, suffered through long separations and had the time of our lives.

In three weeks we’ll be leaving. We’ll make a stop in Houston for a short stay, then we’re on our way to Scotland. After nearly twelve years away, Brian is ready to go back. He misses his boys. He wants badly to spend time with his aging father who may not be around for much longer. He’s ready to go home.

It’s time for a change for me too. Along with leaving Brazil and moving to Scotland, I’ve decided to move to the new blog. I will be writing here until we leave, and then I’ll be writing over at A Kilt And A Camera. I’ll also close down my @tomebug Twitter ID and be tweeting at @KiltandaCamera.

I’ve blogged here since August of 2005. Nearly seven years of massive changes. I can’t believe how many great connections I’ve made through this site. I’m so glad I got that wild hair all those years ago and decided to start my very own blog, even though I had no idea what the hell I was doing, or getting in to.

So, get ready. It’s sure to be an adventure. More to come as we make the mad dash to take advantage of our last three weeks here and get ready to move to the frigid north. No more hot sunny days with warm water at the beach, no more Portuguese, no more acai or tapioca, no more churrasco. We’re off to the world of Braveheart, haggis and bad weather, kilts and céilidhs, fish and chips. I’m so excited.

I hope you’ll still come read over at A Kilt and A Camera. I’ll miss you if you don’t.