I went to another churrasco last night… this one celebrating the birthday of my first Brazilian friend, Raquel. It's amazing to sit back and think about the influences in your life, and unconcciously both Raquel and I have had a great affect on each other.
I met Raquel three years ago during my first trip to Brazil. I spent my first 5 days in the hotel where she worked. Not speaking even a word of Portuguese, I was desperate to start somehow, so after wandering around aimlessly for a while, I resolved to sitting in the lobby of the hotel with my Portuguese book, trying to listen to her talk to the other receptionist, and look up the words I heard. This didn't work at all, but after a while, they were forced to stop ignoring me, and that's how we met. Raquel has since told me that she thought I was extremely strange, and that she wasn't sure what to think of me at first. Now if that was hesisitance on a Brazilian scale, I don't know what to think, because I went out with her and her friends a few times that same week, met Rodrigo (her boyfriend at the time) , and two weeks later I was at dinner with them for my birthday, and Clarice had made me a cake.
Since then, I recommended Raquel to my friend Steve, and she began working for him at Rio Holiday. Then she met Scott, and client from California, they started dating, she came to the US to visit… and now they are engaged and she has plans to move there.
Meanwhile, I left my job and chose to come back to Brazil primarily because of my amazing experience here, thanks to Rodrigo and Raquel. You never know the effect the next person you will meet will have on you, or vice versa.
*The picture above is of Raquel (second from left) and her friends, and the second is of my friend Deborah (who I met through Raquel my first night out 3 years ago, and now works for RioHoliday as well) and her sister Natalia.
**More pictures can be found here