So the month of August was absolutely insane.
August 1 and 2 were spent in Pennsylvania. We fixed Mom and Dad’s flowerbed in the back yard that has been falling down for about 10 years now. We also replaced a few boards that were about to fall down on the front grape barber and did some other random things. The flowerbed turned out quite nice and hasn’t fallen down. Yet. That afternoon was also the celebration of Emily and Russ’s wedding which was fun and I got to see some of my cousins who I haven’t seen in awhile. That evening, we tried to play mini golf only to find that the course was overrun by weeds and dirt, so we settled for Meyer’s ice cream instead.
The next week was spent at work and the next weekend was equally insane. Elvis’ birthday was on the 7th, so we went to Latin Palace for the first time in FOREVER. Don Enrique, the owner of LP was SOOOO touched when we gave him the invitation for the wedding that he almost started to cry! Elvis got his trophy and was incredibly proud of himself – it’s the first trophy he ever “won”! Saturday was spent preparing food and partying with Elvis’ friends who all came over to celebrate his birth. Or something like that. At some point in time, I wandered back into the house and fell asleep. Sunday we went to Sandy Point with Elvis’ cousin, Gerson, his wife Carolina and their son, Anderson. My friend Julia and her boyfriend Rene met up with us there. We had a great time feasting on watermelon, spending time in the water and playing soccer.
I left the following Wednesday to go back to Brazil. After 36 hours of travelling, I arrived in Rio Branco on Friday and started to get things ready for the course the next week. The course ran from Sunday through Thursday and was really well received. The workshop was for indigenous community leaders to learn about payments for ecosystem services and REDD (what we work on here). Many people liked it and have asked us to repeat the workshop in their home state. The only thing people complained about was the heat. With the humidity factored in, it was 113* one day and we were outside! Friday we had a small public seminar which was also well attended and well liked. This was in conjunction with the state government and on a slightly higher level
than the workshop the week before.
Saturday was spent tying up loose ends and shopping! Then I flew to Rio de Janeiro. Since the plane tickets aren’t any more expensive, I try to spend a few extra days in the country when I fly for work. The first time, I stayed an extra day in San Jose, Costa Rica and went white water rafting and walked around the city. The second time, I stayed in Cuiaba for an extra day to go to Chapada dos Guimaraes. The third time, I stayed in Sao Paulo, and this time I stayed in Rio.
Rio is an amazingly beautiful city. Mountains and beaches right next to each other – what could be better??? On Sunday I went to the market and bought myself a bag. I don’t think I bought much else there. Then I found my way back to the hostel and I went to Maracana – the largest
soccer stadium in South America – to watch a soccer game. That was pretty cool. There weren’t too many people there, but they sure made a lot of noise! Monday I went on a tour of Rio with a group from the hostel. We went to see a place where they go hang gliding, a waterfall in a state park, the Christ statue, a small neighborhood called Santa Teresa and Lapas.
I wish that we would have had more time in the state park to walk around and do some exploring – this is definitely on my to-do list if I ever have the opportunity to go back and I can go with someone (walking around a state park by myself is not on Mom’s Approved List of Things Rebecca Can Do Alone).
My favorite thing, though, was probably Lapas. Lapas is a neighborhood where apparently there are some crazy parties
that happen at night. We were there during the day, however, and we went to see these steps – there are 215 of them. This Chilean artist, Selaron, came to the neighborhood and decided to cover the steps with tile. And he paints some of the tiles, and apparently changes them around. They have been featured in a Snoop Dogg video and in the newest Incredible Hulk movie. They are really neat. Selaron, however, has some sort of personal problem and he always paints a pregnant person (not necessarily a woman) in all of his drawings. They turn out pretty cool, though. He was out for lunch when we stopped in, but I bought a drawing from him which will be hanging in our apartment as soon as we get a frame.
Tuesday was spent shopping and relaxing on the beach before my plane ride home.
Arrived home on Wednesday and slept. And did laundry.
Thursday I worked from Panera for a bit (man, I love Panera, I can’t believe there isn’t one in Georgetown!). Then Elvis and I packed up the car and headed to Grange Fair. Elvis really enjoyed the fair, especially the animals. I got to talk with Tina for a long time on Friday night which was wonderful. We also managed to get our marriage license, see Philip’s play and eat lots of fattening food in there.
Sunday was my bridal shower which was pretty neat. I’m still not too sure how I feel about being the center of attention, but whatever. I got a bunch of new kitchen stuff which is pretty exciting. Some new recipes to try out, too.
We got back late Sunday evening and I didn’t even bother to unpack everything! I was tooooooo exhausted! Monday was back to work for the first time in 2.5 weeks, then unpacking and cleaning. And all of a sudden, it was September! Who’da thunk it???