Thursday, March 6, 2014

New Frontiers

no well-worn paths

Monday, February 10, 2014

In Rehab #2

digging for victory

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fast Track

I caught a glimpse of the sticker on the rear window: 

The answer to my success is Jesus

shortly before the car burned through the red light.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The view from my window #2

JWs sheltering from the sun

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Life’s a beach

Holiday season (Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro)
Breeding season (St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia Island)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013


Pulling himself up and steadying his arm on the low wall against which he had been sleeping, he looked across and narrowed his eyes in the direction of the car’s passenger seat.

“I had a dream last night,” he said, “that this would happen.”

For some time I had been asking W if he wanted (and was prepared) to see his father on the street and the opportunity finally arose this week. Earlier in the day, I had shown W a recent picture of Enildo so that the shock would not be an impairment to the reunion. The last time father saw son and vice versa was two years ago when I took the brothers from the rescue house to visit Enildo in rehab (before the relapse and his return to crack).

He stared at the image - sunken cheeks, rotten teeth - and closed his eyes.

But he was ready, he said, and Enildo too had been anxious to see W but (as always) was unable to leave the degradation of which he is now sadly accustomed. Nonetheless (and, perhaps, needless to say), they were thrilled to see each other.

I left them alone to catch up, and W told me later that he shared the sad news that his mum and step-dad (together with the six children) had been evicted from their apartment. News which - if I was to be honest - had made me angry when I first heard it, simply out of frustration in knowing that Enildo is in the same place as he was three years’ ago and that he is the father to five of those children.

Nonetheless, my love for this family remains unabated and notwithstanding the pain I feel when I look at pictures from two years ago, my hope is that the reunion with his eldest son will in some small way speak to Enildo about opportunity and loss.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A place called Home

When I begin to miss home I become strangely patriotic - snapping angrily at those who make a joke about the Queen or about our chances in the World Cup next year and I find myself defending things English that I’d ridicule under normal circumstances. 

I love and respect our Queen (“She’s not my Queen!” - Wesley), but there must surely be some kind of chemical imbalance in my brain for emotion to be registered when it comes to football.

And I don't know if all this technology helps. Two interesting articles recently raised the question as to whether technology – mobile phones, Facebook, Skype – lessened nostalgia or increased it. Does it give the illusion of closeness, or does it sadden the caller by reminding them sharply of what they have left behind (which is why parents were discouraged from phoning their children too often at English boarding schools)?
Apparently, certain kinds of modern personality find it better to suppress or eliminate the backward glance. Explicit discussions of homesickness are now rare...because the emotion was typically seen “as an embarrassing impediment to individual progress and prosperity.”

The immediacy that phone calls and the Internet provide means that those away from home can know exactly what they are missing and when it is happening. They give the illusion that one can be in two places at once but also highlight the impossibility of that proposition. 

The persistence of homesickness points to the limitations of the cosmopolitan philosophy that under girds so much of our market and society. The idea that we can and should feel at home any place on the globe is based on a world view that celebrates the solitary, mobile individual and envisions men and women as easily separated from family, from home and from the past. But this vision doesn’t square with our emotions, for our ties to home, although often underestimated, are strong and enduring.
And this longing, it is provoked and prolonged by the recurring leitmotiv of my time here: the faithfulness of my own family. 
Doctors are trained not to react to horrific injuries or conditions. It is called ‘clinical distance.’ But when confronted (day-in, day-out) by busted-up families, self-destructing individuals and children old before their time, and as I visit prisoners (literal and metaphorical) and am exposed to behaviours that are so outside what I have grown up around, I choose not to distance myself from these people's suffering (for fear that sympathy might trump empathy), but instead my own family become a sustaining reference.

I recall a Skype call with my sister a year or so ago, at the height of a particularly difficult episode at the rescue house, when she said to me “Just come home.” And that is the precious truth. And although it reminds me of how painfully inadequate and unequipped I am (what does it actually mean not to be able to go home?), no matter how difficult it may be from time to time, there is an ever-present safety net.

A security in the haven.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lost in the post

And the award for World’s Blandest Stamp goes to...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Predictions for 2014

A recent article by Reuters and a colourful Brazilian Calendar 2014 that has been floating around the interwebs has struck fear into the hearts of some economists due to speculation that a late Carnival combined with the World Cup and elections will mean that we’ll only be working for three months of next year (and thus sprinkle salt on an already sluggish economy). 

As if we’d do anything of the sort.

Carnival (x3), Infinite Holidays, World Cup Preparation, World Cup, World Cup Celebration/Mourning, Useful Month, Useful Month, Elections, Useful Month, Holidays

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Great São Paulo Bake Off™

A huge THANK YOU to all who recently came together in England for the annual pop-up cake shop!

I am incredibly grateful to those who baked-and-bought in support of the work out here. I wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for you.