I can’t believe he’s actually here! Dad arrived in Rio safe and sound this morning around 10am. I took the bus to meet him, and everything worked out absolutely perfectly finding him at the airport. I was running about an hour late, but there are some things you can count on in Brazil, and so his plane was running about an hour late as well. We took the bus back and stopped for a really delicious lunch at a restaurant on my street and near the beachfront I had never tried before. Afterward we went to the pousada and got Dad all settled in. I cannot BELIEVE the number of goodies he brought me! I’m telling you though, four jars of peanut butter, full packages of crackers, three jars of salsa, he had to have cleared out the Clif Bar aisle at the grocery store, a new laptop battery, a scientific calculator older than I am, chocolates, things my mom sent along too and the list goes on- what more could a girl want? We spent the afternoon walking the beach from Copacabana to the end of Ipanema and back (almost 7 miles!). We drank coconut milk (which neither of us really like very much, but it just seemed like the right thing to do) and watched the sunset from Arpoador. We got dinner at a quilo restaurant and talked with family back home. Dad had a long trip, so we’re taking it easy tonight and planning on an early walk on the beach after breakfast then lunch with some of my friends and a hike in the afternoon before Luciana’s band performs tomorrow night.
After Keia and I helped Joe move last week (to a secluded and awesome little apartment with two really nice roommates), we walked around the “Hippie Fair” that happens every Sunday near the metro station in Ipanema. The artwork at these fairs is incredible. I bought a tiny little painting from a older vendor who just adored Keia and myself and talking with us. I think I even ended up paying more than the old man asked since he couldn’t make change, but it didn’t matter because it was worth it just to meet him. There was also a kid’s samba block performing their routine on the street corner across from the fair. I’m always amazed when dancers and other performers remember such long, intricate routines like that. On Tuesday we went to a party where the live band played samba music for the first half of the show, and for the first time I felt like I could really samba! It really is a good workout, but once the move clicks I can see why it is so much fun.
Thursday morning we had another meeting with Professor Orlando at UFRJ about our project. We presented our project from last semester and some of the more recent research we’ve done to support the new direction of our project to his group of Masters’ Degree students… in Portuguese! Everyone was really impressed, and for the last couple of weeks I feel like my speaking skills are really improving again! I’ll probably reach another plateau, but for now I’m just trying to continue to speak as much as possible in Portuguese. I think it has helped that some new people moved into the pousada with whom Keia, our roommates, and I are becoming fast friends. We have another little group here now that gels really well, and it is a lot of fun to just go out for a couple of drinks at the bar around the corner or a party nearby and come home all together.
Still looking for a library, or at least a semi-quiet place with internet nearby to get some real work done. I haven’t really accomplished much studying at all since I’ve gotten here, and it’s tough to make myself with deadlines so far away and so many other interesting things to do. I think our classes at ENCE are going to be tough, but maybe the most useful topics in our whole Systems Engineering curriculum. I’m also starting to scan the job postings on cavlink because the realization that I’m still a 4th year, even though I’m not at UVA, just hit me recently. Days pass slowly here a lot of the time, but life is moving at one hell of a pace.