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.

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!

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.”

Ostracycle – Brazilian Bikers

I remember last year during Ostracycle, we stayed home but saw hundreds of motorcycles crawling the streets of our city for a week.

This year we walked over to Costazul to see what the madness was really about.

It was awesome.


Thousands of bikes, and their riders, packed into the streets. Brazilian traffic rules applied, which means there were no rules. Want to enter the main road from the side street? No problem! Jump right in, cause the traffic to back up for miles and then scream at the guy you just cut off. Just another day on the roads here.


There were sports bikes, cruisers, three wheelers of every configuration, and a couple of nice cars thrown in. There were Harleys and Hondas, Kawasakis, and some totally unidentifiable home jobs. Most of the three wheelers seemed to have VW bug engines.


There were vendors set up to sell every type of gear imaginable.


There were some seriously odd characters walking around, and some people who were seriously attached to their motorcycles.


I think my favorite item for sale was the baby-sized leather vests. Even cuter were the babies that were actually wearing them. I didn’t get a photo because I was overcome with the cuteness and forgot I had a camera in my hand.


Some of the bikes were old junkers, we saw some that were literally held together by pieces of rope, but most of them were really nice. Some of these paint jobs were fantastic.


So we strolled all through the area trying to keep cool by eating popsicles and frozen acai. We failed and were dripping with sweat anyway.

Still, we had a fun time seeing everything. We went early, and got home about an hour before the massive downpour rolled in and drenched everything. We still heard the bands playing later that night, so I know the party went on as usual.

I’d call that a fun Saturday.

Praia da Joana and Trash Cats

So I live here in the most beautiful of places, right next to the beach.

What do I almost never do?

Go to the beach.

I look at it, I walk next to it, I listen to it’s soothing wave sounds and I take photos of it.

But I almost never put on my (tiny) bathing suit, lay in the sand and swim in the water.

Time to remedy that.

I have a new friend here. She contacted me through Facebook when I was back in Houston last time to let me know that she lives here in my town. She’s from Switzerland and moved here about a year ago with her Brazilian husband, and she speaks English, (along with five other languages. That is so impressive.) and would I like to get together for a coffee or something when I get back to town?

I got back about six weeks ago, met her at the yoga school where we now both take classes, and became fast friends. It’s been SO nice to have a friend like this and I’m feeling very lucky.

Anyway, we decided to head to the beach and pretend we were tourists on vacation. This beach is about a twenty minute walk from my apartment. Thirty if you stroll slowly and enjoy the scenery, which we did.


The walk means broken sidewalks, the wooden bridge over the river, and a long dirt road. All of it with a very South American charm (meaning slightly broken and shabby but beautiful).


We pass the fishing boats and houses behind high walls, and finally reach our destination. Praia da Joana.


It’s a small cove of a place, with an island just off the beach which serves to break the big waves. The water is perfectly cool. Not too cold to swim in, but cold enough to feel so good after baking in the sun for several hours.


We stayed for about four hours. We talked, we watched the adorable baby next to us play in his little pool, we swam, we talked some more. All while laying in the sunshine. I made sure to load myself up with SPF 30 before I even left the house. My white gringa skin can’t take four hours of sun without it.


We walked up to the little restaurant/bar and ordered some lunch and a soda. If you look close below you can see Katja making her way back to our spot with our food.


Bolinhos de aipim with shrimp, and a guarana. They were much bigger than I thought they would be. Should have only ordered one, but I ate both of mine anyway. They’re just too good not to.


I love this beach. It’s a little bit hard to get to, so it’s almost never crowded. I’ve heard from friends that it is the favorite beach of the people who live here and I can see why.


We swam some more, and talked some more, and moved into the shade after a while.

Then we made our way home slowly along the same dirt road where we saw these very cool flowers. I’ve never seen them before, so I don’t know what they are, but look how pretty!


We cut through a gated neighborhood on the way back. Probably illegally, but what the heck. A random guy on the street told us we could go through, so we did.


And we tried to make friends with this gorgeous cat who was hanging out in the trash basket. He wanted nothing to do with us though, and took off as soon as we got close. How rude.

Why don’t I do this more often? Go hang out on the beach? I don’t know.

Part of it is that it’s normally just me. I feel a bit self conscious going by myself. It’s a lot more fun with a friend. Imma drag B down there on the weekends more often though. Every time we do it, we’re glad afterwards.

I’m so happy to have this new friendship. We’ve both been saying the same thing, but as it turns out things will be changing. Katja is going back to Switzerland soon, and I’ll be going back to Houston in two months. I will be returning, but she won’t be.

Sad face.

Luckily, we’ll stay friends and we’ve already promised to come crash on her couch when we’re traveling in the next few years and make our way to Europe. Be careful what you offer my friends, if you say we can come visit you, we will come visit you and invade your couch space.

I learned two things during this day at the beach.

One – Do it more often!

Two – Use minimum SPF 50 on your white gringo ass. I’m now sporting a raging sunburn with a tiny little white triangle on the part the tiny little bikini covers.

Here I Stand Again


Still going strong on my “Project 366″.

I’m a little bit surprised at this. I tend to flake out on long term projects.

I can’t believe I’ve remembered to take a photo every single day. I must admit, there have been a couple of ‘oh, crap’ photos at 11pm, but I still managed to squeeze something in.

Some of them are planned in advance. Things I want to remember later about our every day life. Things like watching episodes of Dr. Who together every night for three weeks. Things like the sunset off our balcony. Things like a visit to our farmer’s market, or breakfast at our local bakery.

Some of them are spur of the moment, or unique. A walk with a friend, a stop at the beach, a fallen branch.

I’m still having fun with it. I’m still getting funny looks from the people around me who wonder what the hell I’m doing bending over backwards to get a photo of our feet. That’s part of the fun, I suppose.

So let’s hope I haven’t jinxed myself by saying I’ll stick with it. If I wake up tomorrow morning and realize I forgot to take a photo today, I know it will be because I was feeling all smug about keeping up with it today. Such is my brain.

How’s your project going? Are your New year’s resolutions still in the works? Your goals? Are you taking that class you wanted to take? Reading that book? Doing whatever it is you wanted to do for the year? Because the year is flying by!

Leave a comment below and tell me what you’ve been doing that’s special this year.

Even though I posted this yesterday, I’m linking it up with Eden’s Fresh Horses Brigade today. Go check it out:

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade