I can't even begin to describe what it was like to have many of my closest friends, my family *and* most of Rico's friends and family all in the same place - especially since said place is my heart-home, the cidade maravilhosa, Rio de Janeiro.
Friends from different times and places in my life managed to make the trip, and it was such an amazing feeling to reconnect with people that I haven't seen in nearly 10 years in some cases. Even cooler was the fact that all of my friends got to meet each other, and meet Rico's friends - and everyone got along and hung out together, and are now in touch on Facebook and via email.
Having my friends in Rio was obviously quite special, but it wasn't out-of-this-world unlikely. Most of my friends are travelers, wanderers, people with a natural interest in and inclination to pursue new experiences. Having my entire family in Rio, however, was a totally different story. It was unprecedented. It was dreamlike. It was literally a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Some people in my family are quite international, several are multi-cultural and multi-lingual, and many enjoy traveling on a regular basis. Others (ahem, Dad) are decidedly content in the place they love in this world, enjoying that homebase for all it's worth, and only venturing out beyond a certain familiar and beloved radius when absolutely necessary. Others - like my Grammy - are reaching the end of the trans-continental travel line, at the point where the toll of long-haul travel is difficult to bear. Add that to the fact that Rio is a city with a terrible reputation, and that it is far away and expensive to reach, it was fabulous that everyone came together to show their love and support for me and Rico at our wedding.
They all made it. My friends. My mom (her husband, unfortunately, couldn't make it). My dad and his wife Laura (note that it was my dad's first time out of the US since he was in the army in the late 1960's, with the exception of a train trip through Mexico with my mom back when they were on their honeymoon in the 1970's). My uncle Hugh and aunt Michelle, and my cousins Jeff and Lauren. My Swiss/French/Mexican cousins AJ and Renaud. My aunt Cynthia and my cousin Libby. My 86-year-old Grammy, straight from Italy. Everyone came. It was special beyond words.
Here are some photos from the days leading up to the wedding.
Hanging out with friends - both mine and Rico's - at the boteco Informal in Leblon.
The courtyard of the casa rosa after remodeling. We put in the mosaic floor (made of pedra portuguesa) with the same pattern as the Copacabana boardwalk. The background of the lion's head fountain is now a terra-cotta color instead of that hideous mauve.
Banana trees in the garden of the casa rosa.
Igreja Anglicana de São Paulo in Santa Teresa, where we got married. It's literally across the street from the casa rosa!