Stories of Lorena

Lorena is my priceless two and a half years-old niece. She started talking when she was about 12-13 months and haven’t stopped since. My brother posted this little vignette in his blog and I couldn’t help but translate it:

We were watching Shrek on the weekend when Lorena commented:
“That donkey doesn’t stop talking…”
I couldn’t resist: “You are right! Like Lorena!”
“It isn’t Lorena who doesn’t stop talking, it’s the donkey! The donkey doesn’t stay quiet. Doesn’t stop talking. Lorena stays quiet. It’s the donkey! The donkey who doesn’t stop talking! Not Lorena daddy! It’s the donkey! He doesn’t stop talking… “

I guess after that monologue, my brother was able to stay “I have no further questions your honour”

Familia Trapo in Europe

After a whirlwind three-day tour of Paris and two days in Rome, my parents, brother, sister-in-law and three-year-old nephew arrived last saturday afternoon.

Familia in Plaza Catalunya

They were tired but seem to be enjoying their trip immensely. We were amazed at how well the little guy is coping – he basically sleeps every time they get into a bus or subway and has been quite a good sport in the many visits to museums and sights. They sometimes have to carry him – he doesn’t have a stroller anymore – but overall he’s pretty good.


Family on its way

My parents, my brother, his wife and three-year old child have just left Brazil on their wayto Europe. They arrive tomorrow in Paris, via Madrid, where they’ll spend three days before moving on to Rome for two days. They’ll finally arrive here in Barcelona on saturday. My parents were in Paris last year but my brother and his family have never been to Europe and are VERY excited. Looking forward to their visit…

San Juan (or Sant Joan)

The feast of St John – a religious holiday that conveniently coincides with ancient pagan ceremonies related to summer solstice  (or winter solstice in the southern hemisphere)- is celebrated in many catholic countries with lots of music and bonfires. 

In Brazil, the end of June marks the feasts of St John, St Peter and St Anthony and in the north and northeast part of the country their celebration is bigger than Christmas. In most of Brazil the festvities have a rural flavour and everybody dress as hillbillies and do square dancing, build up big fires, and eat all kinds of food that are typical of that holiday.  Festa Junina, as we know it, is very popular and its celebration has gone beyond June 24 to mark the last few weeks of June and beginning of July. Every school has its own dance and here's my nephew Matheus in his daycare's Festa Junina and my niece Lorena and her brother Luan at last year's event:



Now, the parties in Barcelona are considerably wilder than anything I've seen in Brazil. The main festivities happen in the beach, where they enact the coming down of the sun and moon and the beginning of the age of hell. I heard there are some wicked fireworks involved. But since we are not into crowded events, we decided to check out the neighbourhood parties and bonfires. You'll see pictures and more comments of the night in Alan's blog . Suffice it to say that it felt like WWIII was on and anarchy had set in. They actually lit a bonfire in the middle of the street – without stopping traffic(!!) – that rose to about 4 stories!!! Very surreal. Anyways, I'll try to put a video of it here later. I'm trying to get them on youtube. Stay tuned. 

A Brazilian in Barcelona

An old friend of my dad’s has a daughter who’s in Porto (Portugal) for a couple of months. She emailed me a couple of weeks ago to ask for hotel recommendations in Barcelona. I offered our humble abode and she arrived last Friday for the weekend.

Melissa is a doctor doing residency in pathology and we hit it off right away. She’s adventuresome, likes trying different foods and has travelled every weekend of the past month to make the most out of her short stint in Portugal. Since she was in Barcelona for only two days, I recommended she take the Bus Turistic. On saturday she visited Passeig de Gracia (La Pedrera, Casa Batló), Las Ramblas, Barri Gotic, the beach, Port Olimpic, and Montjuic. On Sunday I walked over with her to the Sagrada Familia and Hospital Sant Pau.

Alan and I walked by Gaudi’s masterpiece more than once but this was the first time I took some time to look at all the details. I realized the carvings on the two sides of the church have to do with the life of Christ. The older side (detail above) has scenes from his life, the newer side have the details of the passion of Christ, with scenes devoted to his trial, death and ressurrection. It was fascinating. Next time I go by I’ll get some pictures of the other side for you.

At Hospital Sant Pau (about which both Alan and I have talked before), we looked for the Pathology lab. Unfortunately, it was closed.

On Saturday night we went to our first big party in Barcelona. It was our friend N’s 30th birthday party and the party represented Barcelona – it was held in a beautiful apartment in the old town, with high celings, colourful walls, and tiled floors, the guests were from all over the world and the food was amazing. I don’t have photos but it was nice that Melissa had such an ideal Barcelonian experience in her two days here.