As I slip on my new favourite blue and white Havaianas, I grab my sunglasses and head out the door. It is another glorious day with not a cloud in the sky. An air-conditioned Metro train provides me with a brief, refreshing respite from the burning sun shining just above the surface. Back out onto the bustling street once more, a giant Santa Clause defiantly wears his warm woolly clothes and smiles through the heat. I see trees covered in baubles, penguins carrying presents and elaborate nativity scenes being played out, all in the Brazilian midday sun.
And that's when it hits me: I am 5,899 miles away from gloves and scarves, mince pies and mulled wine, ice-skates and log fires. A momentary pang of missing home wrings in my stomach and leaves behind a feeling that I just can't shake.
And then it suddenly occurs to me that a huge number of people in this wonderfully crazy city might not have ever seen snow before. I smile as I watch a snowball hurtling through my mind and go crashing into a happy snowman.
Shopping done, I trade in a mulled wine for a Caipirinha and sit watching the world go by. Our beautiful blue planet is home to over 7 billion people, all with different life experiences. But despite our differences, we all have the same beating hearts, hopes and fears.
And that's what makes us family.
As 2013 comes slowly to a close, I want to thank you for following my blog every week and being part of the journey. You add colour to my life and inspire me in ways you don’t know. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and hope that 2014 brings you health and happiness!