Mixing this post up with some fun and some intrigue. Enjoy:
Below is a picture of me with two of my favorite families of all time. On the left are the Menossis. Rodrigo was one of my best friends and companions in Manaus, and continues to be a great friend. His "princess," Isabella, may be the most perfect match to a man that I have ever seen. On the right are the Parrellas--my Mission Parents. Berenice was my new mother as soon as she stepped foot off the airplane and into Manaus. Her one request while I was here, other than come to their house for dinner, was that I make an apple pie with them. It was delicious, even if I say so myself. And there's Adelson Parrella on the end. He may be the most spiritual man I have ever met in my life, and as you can see in the picture, he has a twinkle in his eye that is only matched by the hop in his step. His infectious love for life and his great friendship has endeared himself to me as no one else beyond my own family. Such great friends, my only regret is that I can't see them more often.
Also, for those of you tickled by my one-time encounter with a cranky pregnant woman on a Brazilian Bus, this one's for you:
I never thought the day would come, but I've finally made an enemy. And in BRAZIL of all places--land of love, rice & beans, and the lowest suicide rate on earth. These people are incredibly happy--usually. But apparently the magical hormonal process that is pregnancy apparently overrides all of that southern joy.
She did it again today. This time, though, I wasn't even sitting. It was rainy this morning; not much, just a light dusting, enough to make it rather dreary on the bus. I had been riding for about twenty minutes, fairly pleased with my spot, wedged between two fairly-well mannered bus riders who kept their hands to themselves, and with my bag mostly resting on the seat in front of me (I'm facing the window). While trying my best to stay out of everyone's way, and DEFINITELY NOT SITTING IN THE DEFICIENCY ROW, up from behind reached a withered, leathery claw of a hand to tap me twice on the shoulder. Slowly turning my head, I found her eyes burning holes into mine: "Hey, sonny, I need to stand there!" she hissed. IT WAS HER--The same crotchety pregnant woman from last week! The shock of it made my brain literally fart, and I uttered 'deficiency woman' as Seinfeld used to utter 'Newman.' What is this? I thought A deficiency standing area?!Luckily, however, my brain was thinking in English at the time, and no one noticed my own verbal backhanded slap. Not wanting another "situation" with this woman, I tried my best to swim over the mass of people preventing me from moving. But as I was trying to slowly work my way around her, she began throwing her elbows around like Karl Malone with hips. She forced me to make my way awkwardly down the aisle, holding my laptop bag (IE--"The BIG HEAVY") aloft so as to not knock out any other smaller Brazilians, and squeeze into a mass of hands, purses, and bums, all trying to jockey for a better position at the back of the bus. Turning my head to see where the villain of my comic book life had stationed herself, I saw her comfortably wedged into the sweet spot I had previously occupied, looking rather pleased with herself. Before she got off--which happened to be at the NEXT STOP, I swear I heard her laughing hysterically in her scratchy, high-pitched poice. At that exact moment, The Foo Fighters' "My Hero" began to play on my iPod. I don't know if it was ironic or just flat out crappy. Either way, it just added to the already gloomy day.
Really, though, life is sunny and happy. Keep on keepin' on, gente! UM ABRACO!!!