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Saturday 30 November 2013

Spectacles spectacular

"Can I help you find somewhere?” the voice behind us speaks in a soft Portuguese accent. We must look a little lost in this new city - this city that I'm starting to fall in love with. I turn around to see a beautiful woman with a warm smile standing there. Our guardian angel chuckles to hear that we are looking for the 'Museu dos Óculos'. She puts us back on track and waves us on our way.
Eventually, we find ourselves walking in through the door of a stunning white and blue house lifted straight out of 1900's Italy which has since been converted into an opticians. After a few words with the receptionist I am relieved to discover that the museum lies just up some wooden stairs.
We are soon greeted in Portuguese by Ivani, a middle-aged woman with reddish curly hair. She has a warm face and an infectious laugh.
And so she walks and talks. We journey through the ages past silver monocles and ivory fans, across the 60's, 70's, 80's, and up to the designer sunglasses found in Vogue Magazine today.
There is something very lovely about this woman; we instantly have a connection.
After our personal tour I find out that she has been curating the free museum for over 17 years now with the love of her life. She gave up being the journalist for the Mayor of São Paulo and this was her personal collection.
We thank her for the tour as she gives us a tight hug. Suddenly she tips her head and says "coffee?"
Over steaming espressos we talk about travel, fate, and my love of Brazilian telenovelas. It was a perfect afternoon. We laughed a lot.
Then with one last hug we say goodbye to our new friend. She wishes us happiness on our journey and I'm suddenly touched by her kindness.
Walking out into the blazing afternoon sun once more, I can't help but smile.
It's strange where life can take us sometimes. The places we go and the people we meet along the way change us forever. And that afternoon, it only took 700 pairs of glasses to see that these little random moments are what makes this big crazy world so utterly beautiful.

Sunday 24 November 2013

A perfect drama

Beautiful men and glamorous women drink out of champagne flutes and talk in a language that I don't understand. I watch as words float poetically out of their perfect mouths and I'm caught up in the elegance.
Someone says something...and suddenly everything stops. The room falls silent as mouths fall open. Something is seriously wrong! What is going on? My brain can't make sense of the situation. After a minute or so of stunned silence, the screaming begins. The guests lash out at one other and start to claw viciously at expensive clothes. I need to know what's going on.
After some much needed translation, it turns out that the party was the pre-wedding dinner for the daughter who was about to marry her father but didn't know, then she finds out that he was not actually her real father anyway.
Alongside this, it was revealed that the man with perfect eyebrows had watched his sister deliver a baby in a bar toilet and had taken the baby off her to give to someone else to adopt. Well, now it turns out that he actually put the baby in a dumpster and left it there...well, that would account for the hysterics. My jaw is on the floor!
The mother of the man with the perfect eyebrows disowns her son and he is pushed forcefully down the stairs into the broken glass...
And then the credits roll against a backdrop of dramatic music.
I might just have witnessed the best telenovela in history, ever!
Laughing loudly against the theme tune, I realise something: no matter how difficult and challenging life can be sometimes, compared to what I've just witnessed, I'm living a doce vida.
And it's blissfully simple!

Monday 18 November 2013

Early hours of a new day

As cool rain beats down outside my window and splashes onto the 
empty pavement below, I open my eyes. It is still dark. Reaching out towards the wooden bedside table, I find my phone and gently press the home button. The screen jumps to life with a brightness that stings, and I watch as time flips from 00:59 to 01:00. The phone dims, and once again I am in darkness with just the sound of the downpour to keep me company. There is something deeply comforting about the noise filling the sleepy room. 
A memory of sitting in my dad's brick conservatory listening to the rain beat down onto the roof comes and goes, leaving me with a longing to see him.
I notice a small beam of street light spilling in through the shutters and have a sudden urge to see the city in the rain. And so I step sleepily out of bed and walk over to the window. As soon as I pop my head out into the night air my senses are awakened as Brazilian rain finds its way onto my face; it feels cool and fresh and lovely. 
I glance out over the sleeping houses and glistening trees, I think about the past few months and the thousands of miles I've travelled, physically and emotionally...
And as my eyes begin to feel heavy once more, I can't help but wonder what else there is out there to experience...

Sunday 3 November 2013

Sun and Samba

I'm up on the 11th floor looking down. The buzz of the city wafts up on currents of warm Brazilian air and carries with it bouncing Samba beats from musicians at a private party somewhere down below.
Today I spotted my first wild Parakeet. Flapping gracefully past the lush foliage, its beautiful bright green wings seemed to glint in the early evening sun.
And today I had my first Caipirinha. The lime infused cocktail that made my taste buds explode and awakened my senses, left me with just the right amount of afternoon sleepiness as we stepped out of the bar and into the sun.
The streets of London seem a million miles away now. I crossed over the Western Sahara and the Atlantic Ocean just to be here. And now that I am, the world suddenly seems a few degrees brighter than it did just a few short days ago.
The sun that I love so much beats gently down onto my body as it gratefully laps up every last ray. A sudden wave of happiness rushes over me as I realise that I'm right where I'm meant to be.
They say that home is where the heart is, and as I think about all the people in my life that I love so very dearly, I realise that no matter where I go, and whatever I do, I will always carry them around with me in my heart, never leaving, nested inside my travelling home.