Today is my birthday. It’s the first time I’ve ever won shorts, a tank top and sandals to my birthday party. I’ve definitely never been so smokin hot before either…haha. The day began at 6:45am when I woke up and realized that I had stupidly set my alarm for 6:15 EST and that it wouldn’t go off until 9:15 my time. So I sprang out of bed and hurriedly got ready and crammed some coffee and toast down my throat in order to be ready for our 7:15am departure time. Josefina had a nice shiny package waiting for me at the breakfast table — an adorable deep purple dress! No, really, it’s so cute! I love it. After I almost choked myself on the toast and burned my tongue on the hot coffee we ran out the door and caught the bus just in time. Not going to lie, it was really hot and uncomfortable. So many people crammed on one bus without air conditioning is definitely not an ideal situation. We arrived in Niterói and caught the boat to Rio where Cintia met us and took us the bus that would take us straight to Corcovado. The train up the mountain was pretty cool. There was a Samba band on the train serenading us. We go to the top and thankfully it was much cooler.

We got to the top of the mountain and then had to take an elevator up to the base of the Christ. We got on an elevator with a group of British tourists. Gosh, they were so funny. So today there were a ton of Brits and a ton of Germans. Well the nice old British ladies on the elevator commented on their European neighbors saying, “I’m so glad we beat the Germans up. You know it’s always good to arrive anywhere before the Germans. They’re just so pushy.” Once we got off of the elevator we still had a few escalators to go before we reached the top. It was really a spectacular view of the city. The Christ statue was pretty impressive, but I thought it would be bigger. The weather was beautiful and I could see all of the important points in the city. Josefina and I had a wonderful time.

Afterwards we headed over to Plaza Shopping and ate lunch and I grabbed a few last minute gifts. It was also super nice to be in a climate controlled building. Seriously, the heat has been absolutely brutal. Wander told me today that December is much hotter than normal — it even made the news. Gosh and after a much cooler than normal November, this heat is just awful. I don’t think I could survive January and February here. The heat makes me feel so tired and sluggish. Plus, I just feel terribly stinky and gross. I don’t even try to make myself look nice anymore. It’s not worth it; my clothes immediately become moist with sweat, my face gets all red and is constantly beading up with sweat, I stink, and my hair is in an eternal ponytail to keep it off my neck. As for makeup, yeah that would literally just melt off of my face. So I have to be content looking…umm, natural…

Oh yeah and while we were at the mall, Josefina bought me the most beautiful earrings. We went to a really nice jewelry shop and she told me to pick a pair. Like I’ve said before, everyone here is so generous and kind to me. It’s really quite overwhelming.

Then we got home and Giselly was waiting with a gift in hand for me. Ahh, another adorable present! She bought me the cutest purse. Then we hurriedly left to go to Davi and Lucas’ school for their Christmas plays. They were both so adorable. Davi’s was much longer and there was a reception after. Davi was Papai Noel! So cute, he had a Santa outfit and everything. Their class sort of sponsors an orphanage and the orphans came to watch the show and at the end each child brought a present for one of the orphans. It was really sweet. Lucas only sang a couple of songs and then they went to their classrooms to take pictures and give the parents some gifts that they had made.

I got back home and ate some dinner and watched “Ti ti ti,” with Gi, Josefina and Avó and just kind of relaxed. Giselly and Wander had another present waiting for me. Another absolutely adorable dress! It’s black and white and oh so cute, I already know Annie is going to want to borrow it…:) Cintia also gave me a gift then. She and Eduardo bought me a really cute pillow with all of the tourist points around the country! A great way to remember my time here and it’s sooo soft and cozy! I saw it in the mall one day and really liked it…:) A little while later the doorbell rang. It was Ana!!!!! She came for my surprise party! Her brother dropped her off, but he came back later after picking up Bill. Some other friends from church came, too. I had a fantastic birthday and will always remember it. I’m exhausted now…it’s midnight here. So, I’m going to sign off for now, but I’ll post the pictures soon…hopefully tomorrow!



PS thanks for all of the birthday tweets, e-mails and e-cards! they helped to make this day extra special! love to all!


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