(My Dad's parents and the families of their 3 kids: there are 19 of us now)
Well, let's see, the best news of the entire Brasil-Mexico-Iowa-Georgia-Brasil trip: we made it all the way back home on January 1-2 without standing in any long lines or having a single plane delayed! I am pretty certain that is a record for us (we usually can't even fly Moline, Illinois to Atlanta, Georgia without our plane being delayed!) So, who knows, maybe Eric will allow us to leave Brasil at some other point in the future if enough time passes that he can forget about our travels TO the US! :)
We had an awesome Christmas though and got to see tons of family and a few friends too! We spent December 21-25 in Urbana with Eric's family and got to go to Grandpa Zieser's house for the big Zieser Christmas Eve gathering. At 4:15 Christmas morning, we left Urbana to catch an early morning flight to Atlanta. We made it Grandma and Grandad Tyson's in time for Christmas Dinner at noon! I was a little bit concerned since we left Iowa prior to Santa's arrival and then got to Georgia after he had already left. I wasn't sure he would be able to find us this year, but we were lucky enough that the big man in red is pretty dag-gum omniscient and left us some presents in Georgia! :)
The day after Christmas, I got another year older. Eric now gets to boast for the next 4 months about how old I am. Lucky for me, he catches up in April, so his fun is short lived! It was nice being in Perry at my grandparents' house for my birthday again. It has been tradition for as long as I can remember to have my birthday dinner there. (Although I did miss it the year I turned 18, due to working at J.C.Penney that year. Seriously people, is it REALLY necessary to make your returns the day after Christmas?!?) But anyway, we had my traditional birthday meal: lasagna, salad, garlic bread, angel food cake, strawberries, and whipped cream. (I write this all here, so in the future if we don't make it to Grandma and Grandad's Eric has a record of what he is supposed to make for me!) ;)
We traveled back to Brasil via Rio de Janeiro this time instead of Sao Paulo. The airport experience was much nicer and I would recommend going that route if possible when traveling into Brasil. Sao Paulo has been a complete zoo every time we have ever been through there. We stood in line less than 1 hour total between customs, re-checking our bags at the TAM ticket counter, and security while in Rio. Compared to our most recent trip through Sao Paulo where we were in lines for near 5 hours, this was so much nicer!!! Who knows if it is like that all the time, but we had a positive experience on this trip!
We made it back to our apartment about 5:00 Wednesday evening. We spent some time yesterday and today checking in with the Federal Police here. They have to issue us some documents, get our finger prints on file, etc. since we will be here for more than 90 days now. There is a whole list of other things that we have to get handled too in the next week or so before our shipment of household things can be shipped to us. Add that to needing to get bank accounts opened, cable/internet hooked up, electricity changed over into our name, checked in with the US Embassy, and a sizable list of other tasks, then you can imagine that we will be keeping ourselves entertained with paperwork over the next couple weeks. My feet turned black while walking around the apartment barefoot yesterday, so I guess that after I worked so hard to have it nice and clean before we left it is in great need of a good scrubbing again. Hmmmmm, I guess I have to quit procrastinating now and get to work with my new best friend, the mop.
Coming up tomorrow: why you don't want to invite Eric and me to come visit you . . . a story told with a single picture.