Away and Back Again


Leave it to the first kid free vacation in three years to kick off a month of silence.  At the end of July, S and I ditched the little one with my in-laws and headed to California to visit relatives in San Diego, make our way up the coast on Highway 1, and attend and amazing wedding with dear friends.

At first we wondered if we still actually had stuff to talk about and whether the trip might turn into hours of uncomfortable silence driving in the car.  Luckily, we realized we still really do like each other (not just love each other).  Of course, the sleeping in, not having to think about nap times and bed times, potty breaks, temper tantrums, and being able to just sit and read whatever, whenever, we wanted also helped.   We spent two weeks drinking incredible coffee, sipping wine, and exploring cities and towns up the coast.  When we got to San Francisco we were treated with amazing food and our old Chicago friends.

That said, we also missed L.  She started daycare/preschool the Monday after we left and by the time we returned she seemed more grown up than ever.   Most incredible though was how in two weeks of school and staying with S’s family her Portuguese exploded.   For nearly three years S spoke to L only in Portuguese and was rewarded with a word here and there in her English responses.   However, now it is quite the opposite.  She switches to speak in Portuguese with him, even if we are all together and speaking English.   She conjugates verbs in past and present and even corrects my pronunciation.

All this was just a month ago, but time here seems to slip away and it seems like months ago.   We came back and had a few days with S’s family before they left.   Then S was off for work and our good friends from Chicago arrived, just before he got back.  So between, going away and being back showing off the city and clocking in as much friend time as possible, I haven’t taken time to check-in.    But today I decided that would change.   I’m back.


Happy Anniversary

In my head it has always been the 24th.   Apparently, according to S we discuss this every year and I always insist on the wrong day.   Last week he asked me which day it was going to be, knowing perfectly when our anniversary actually was.  I told him the 24th and he simply responded, “Okay, this year it will be then.”   He didn’t insist it was the 23rd.    He prefers I come around on my own time to knowing he is right.   And he was . . .is.   Yup, every year I misremember our anniversary.

I blame it on the fact that we had to move the wedding a day ahead after we found out that Brazil would be playing in the world cup on Thursday night (June 22nd, 2006).   In all honesty, I wasn’t told we would have to move it exactly, just that if we did choose to have it on Thursday that we would have to have TVs present at the wedding party.    I knew very well that my husband-to-be loved me, but I was not so foolish as to believe that he would be so taken by the night that he would forget that there was a Brazil game happening that very moment.   In Egypt, the weekend is Friday and Saturday so that left us with Friday night, June 23rd, 2006.   In the end it all worked out.  We spent the night before our wedding watching the world cup with friends and family and our wedding night without TVs (we had plenty of other entertainment, including a belly dancer, a midnight buffet, a hidden bar, fabulous friends, my (and my family’s) attempts to dance to Arabic music, and a petty thief to wrap up the party).

So in my head I always move the date forward.   At least that is how I think I have come to the conclusion, for years now, that I think we actually got married on the 24th.  That and I have a preference for even numbers.    (I won’t even get started on the fact that our official wedding date is in May, the day we signed the papers after bribing officials and visiting six different government offices.   It was a painful bureaucratic day that we prefer to forget and is a story for a different day, especially since it continues to haunt us in my Brazilian residency process).

But while I have to be reminded of the date (never again after today!), I don’t have to be reminded of why.   Six years ago I made a promise to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, a man who I never imagined I would find.   A man who makes me laugh, who makes me blush, who can still make my heart flutter like he did the day we met.  Six years ago I celebrated finding a person who makes me a better person.   A person who turned a skeptic into as much of a romantic as she will ever be.

I never did believe in fate, but Gido (S’s dad) taught me to reconsider.  His love story was one against all odds.  One that brought a merchant marine from Egypt to Brazil to find S’s mother and marry her.   One that included traveling to Argentina to try to get married because Egypt and Brazil didn’t have diplomatic relations.   One that ended up in a marriage via power of attorney and a long (fabricated) hospital stay so his father could avoid going home during the war.

Gido believed our story was one of fate as well, though against fewer odds.   And honestly, it is nicer to think that my Fulbright application to study a year in Brazil after college was denied because there was something better in store.  It’s reassuring that S listened to his father and waited until after he worked for awhile before he jetted off to the States.  We would have just missed one another, close but not close enough, since I was headed to Rio not Recife and he to Colorado and not Nebraska.  Neither of us planned on ending up in Egypt.   Never did I think that Gabo, an old friend from Chile, would stalk down my future husband in a desperate attempt to land some Spanish teaching job with a hot guy!   But that’s what happened.

Today S told L the story of the best party of our life that we were, consequently, recovering from six years ago today.   She wanted to see the video and when she saw the party she told us she wanted to go there.   I don’t blame her.  I’d go back too.