Greetings fellow network of love lovers!
This post is a combination of a saved post from a few days ago and a short update on where I am now (at Rafael´s home with his family!)
Remember Rio---Copacabana Walk
Rio de Janiero---this place is letting me reflect slowly and hopefully about the things deepest and dearest to me. I can´t thank my friend Rafael enough for providing me with a plan and being enough of a friend to say yes to letting me spend winter break with him in his home country. He is a gift from God---a gift I am truly grateful for having been given.
I never expected I would find myself at any age, let alone as a 20 year old, spending three weeks in Brazil. What I knew about Brazil before coming here was that Sao Paulo was a really, really big city (around 16 million ppl. and growing) and that Rio was a place with a beautiful beach. Well, both of these pre-conceptions have been verified---but Rio, Rio has been more in one day than I ever imagined it could be.
I know I am being melodramatic. And I apologize. But it is SO difficult not to be caught up in this whimsical moment, this time of intense de-stressing, de-studying, de-LIVEry from anxieties and the struggles we all face. Oh the struggles are there---I am a human...struggles are a part of our core. However, the struggles are being faced in positive and creative, thoughtful ways. I am reflecting on the past semester, the past year, the past few years, my whole life in a sense. It´s difficult not to in a place like Rio de Janiero, on Copacabana Beach.
One thing that hit me as Rafael walked down the beach searching for seashells to collect for taking home (as if we were little boys all over again) was the sight of three white roses laying comfortably and peacefully near the moving waters of the ocean. What did they signify? Who left them there? Why were they still there?
Now that that moment has come and passed, I find myself still able to create a picture of the three white roses. At a basic level, when I think of a white rose, I think of purity, freedom, resurrection, redemption (Rio de Janiero is the place where the Christ the Redeemer statue stands on top of a massive mountain!). I think of weddings, baptisms, life, love. I think of a white flag, surrendering to war, giving in to peace. I think of creation, of beginnings, of the sun, of the moon, of the stars---all of these things and so much more.
And then thre is the image of the rose---of course, a flower of immense beauty. A flower used to say Í do´ or ´I still do´or ´thank you´ or ´you mean so much to me.´ We use roses for all types of celebrations---we use roses to express how intimate we want to feel at some of the most delicate moments of our lives---moments of complete surrender to life and death really.
So these snow white roses on the beach in Rio de Janiero, what I take from them is much. I don´t think I can find a perect explanation for why there were there or why my eyes met them in the sand on Copacabana beach. But what I do know is those roses symbolize the beauty and peace I am feeling in Brazil.
Rafael and I have just arrived in his parents home! I was greeted by a ´how are you´ from his father Angelo (I tried to stumble through a how are things in Portuguese), a warm hello from his mother Rosa, turning my lips to the left of her cheek to give the traditional Brazilian, Sao Paulo greeting of a hug and a kiss. (In Rio, there is actually two kisses, one on each side of the cheek, like in France). And then, of course, there was the third person in the house, Rafael´s comical grandpa sporting two different types of shoes, one sock, white khaki shorts. And to ward off the very warm weather in Birigui, Rafael´s hometown, Rafael´s grandpa Cuca comfortably walked around shirtless. He made me laugh and Rafael says he makes the entire family laugh. He complains and stretches stories in a light-hearted kind of way to get family and friends to laugh. Cuca´s room decorated with religious artifacts and a picture of his grandson nestled near his bedside, seems to tell the real tales inside the man´s heart. He seems like an awfully sweet old man.
More about Birigui a littler later. I hope to keep everyone updated and I keep all of you in my prayers during the holidays.
Christmas Eve wishes to all planning to celebrate. Feliz Natal! I wish everyone continued blessings during this winter and holiday season.
Until the next post...Bom dia!
I thank all of you who encourage me to continue blogging. Your kind words warm my heart even more than the beautiful warm weather here in Brazil! Hopefully some of this warmth can be transferred to the midwest, where all of you have seen some pretty snowy weather. In my dreams, I will think of a white Christmas! haha.
seu amigo bob : )