Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's been a year already

Today marks one year to the day that Luiz and I touched down at the Rio International Airport. So much has happened – so much progress – both here as well as in the US.

I’m grateful for the patience my in-laws and friends continue to show as I struggle to actually speak Portuguese. I’m getting pretty good at following along with most conversations and I’m definitely better on the phone – but any serious conversation of any length continues to be out of reach. This is very frustrating for me. Osmosis is not working – I need more formal instruction. It’s on my list!

Luiz and I are both grateful for the progress we have made to get him integrated into a cancer-care situation that is the best available. And we’re even more grateful for the LACK OF PROGRESS his Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia has shown over the past year.

Have I mentioned that Luiz now rides the busses for free? After a mere four months of paperwork, signatures, documents and waiting the ‘system’ has granted free transportation to him so he can get to and from medical appointments. As I used to say when I worked at the American Cancer Society: “You’re not going to survive your cancer if you can’t get to your medical appointments!” Here in Brazil they take that seriously and give free bus passes to anyone with a chronic illness – who can survive past the four months it takes to finish the paperwork!

Luiz has made great strides in getting his Flor de Luiz floral design business up and functioning. One unexpected lesson learned is the popularity here of permanent botanicals (fake flowers.) It’s a good thing economically – they don’t die on you if you fail to sell an arrangement within a few days!

We have both morphed into slow-paced locals who feel good about ourselves if we accomplish just one thing per day. There is always tomorrow. What’s the hurry?

Over all, not bad for one year in. Good friends, great family, Jim’s legal, Luiz is working and we have a brand new beach umbrella whispering our names every day to be taken out for some sun.

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