This morning (Saturday) over a breakfast of guava juice and pão de queijo in a juice bar near the apartment we rented in Rio, it seemed like we had come to know at least a small part of this great country that plays such a large part in our son's life.
Our road trip from São Paulo to Rio was a beautiful drive, mostly along Brazil's stunning coastline. We spent two days in the colonial town of Parati, including a trip to a "you can't get there from here" beach in Trindade, forty minutes away. We sat at a table on the beach in our bathing suits while eating one of the best meals (shrimp in a sauce made with dende oil) of our trip. We then drove to Rio where we spent two nights, had two great dinners, saw the city from the heights of Sugarloaf and Santa Teresa, and walked for hours along Ipanema and Copacabana, two of the world's most famous beaches.
And suddenly it was time for us to leave Brazil.
It wasn't a perfect visit, but it was pretty darn good. It's hard on both sides when parents parachute into a grown child's life for eight days. But our visit got the job done—we can now picture him in his São Paulo apartment, and we know some of the places he hangs out. We have experienced the richness he sees in the Brazilian culture. We have seen the challenge and the opportunity that Brazil offers him.
Seth dropped us at the Rio airport for our 3:30 flight back to São Paulo and then to New York because he was heading north to Minas Gerais for work. By the time we boarded the plane, I had forgotten the few not-so-great moments of our visit. As the plane climbed into the sky over Rio, tears ran down my cheeks.
It never stops being hard to say good-bye to one's child.