Felipe's Farewell

With the timing of Felipe's fiance visa, he had to fly out several weeks before the end of my school year which in a strange twist of fate means that our parents are taking care of our fiance's until we are reunited in a few weeks. The Bier family gathered at Guarulhos International Airport to send Felipe off last night. It was an evening filled with a few tears, phone calls of well-wishes, and lots of hugs. Baby Gustavo couldn't quite make it until take off and fell asleep right in the middle of a photo. It was such a relief to get the phone call this morning that Felipe had landed in Texas and made it through immigration without any bumps! It's been a long road of paperwork to get to this point, but now, we just have to wait for the big day in July!

Protesting The President

For those of you not up-to-date on Brazilian politics, the economic situation here is not good and came about rather recently, mostly due to the election and subsequent re-election of President Dilma Rousseff. Many people here are not happy with her performance as leader. And, what do people do when they disagree with those in power? Stage a protest. This is not, however, intended to be a rant about all of the things that could be done differently, but rather a snapshot behind the political lines here.

As we emerged from the metro onto Avenida Paulista with thousands of other protesters, the first thing that struck me was the atmosphere. Compared to what I have read over the last year about all of the protests going on across America, and the violence and calamity that ensue, I was surprised to see that this protest was not only peaceful but felt almost like a massive block party. If there is one thing that Brazilians know how to do well, it's throw a party. They are never short of loud music and this day, was no exception.

Brazilians take a lot of pride in their country. Generally, when I travel and people learn that I am American, I frequently get questions about American pride and why we have so many darn flags around. But, after living here for a year and a half, I'd say that Brazilians have an equal amount of love for their home. I chose to post images in black and white to put focus on the action taking place, but, were they in color, the bright yellow and green apparel would be exuding Brazilian pride. The sign below reads "Out with Dilma! I want my Brazil back!"

When we had had enough of the crowd for our liking and were trying to make our way down to the next subway stop, I got stuck in the above crowd, next to the above policeman. The police in Brazil tend to strike a bit of fear in the general, law-abiding public and are known for their "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality. With the crime rate here, it's understandable but that's a post for another time. If you look three shots up, you'll see that each police woman's hand is near her weapon. That's just how it is here. Now, imagine being pushed along by a crowd without your feet even touching the ground, trying to keep your head upright while simultaneously avoiding an accidental graze of the gun of the officer in front of you. Ya, stressful.

As a foreigner, some people have told me that Brazilian politics are none of my business but as I will soon be married to a Brazilian and my future children will be half-Brazilian, I do believe that it is appropriate to take an interest in what is going on, to some degree, for them. I am not and will never be Brazilian by blood, but I do hope to one day see Brazil rise up and meet it's potential.

Paranapiacaba | Brazil

To celebrate my return from the States, Felipe and I returned to Paranapiacaba for a day-hike through the lush surroundings. We chose to go on a professionally-guided hike this time; the schedules can be found here, on the Ecotour site.

Since our arrival in the morning, we had noticed several couples wandering around in rather, non-traditional, attire. Since Paranapiacaba is a well-known spot for engagement and wedding pictures, we didn't think anything of it. But, when we returned from the hike, it was like stepping into the twilight zone. Turns out, it was Steamcon 2015.