News from Brazil
As promised, I am blogging you from Brazil. I traveled to Rio de Janeiro last week. More than thirty years ago, my sister, Charlotte, married a Brazilian. They were both on the rodeo team at Colorado State University. They moved to a remote area in the state of Sao Paulo to manage a corporate ranch.
Years went by, they moved to Rio, and eventually divorced. She was by then, through and through, a Brasileira. She would visit us yearly, but always returned to her home, her business and her son.
Last winter, I was on my way to Elko for the Gathering when I received a call from my nephew that Charlotte was in the hospital. Luckily, I had a valid Brazilian visa, so I called my son who met us in Vernal, Utah with some summer clothes and my passport. I traveled the next day to Brazil, and stayed for two weeks. (My father--84 then--, his 83-year-old cousin, my husband and son went on to Elko for the festivities,) My sister was gravely ill, but recovered. I returned home to twenty below weather—the only person in my community with mosquito bites and sunburn under my Carharts!
Charlotte planned with great excitement her summer trip to visit us, looking forward to the new baby, her 40th high school reunion, and the wedding. She entered the hospital (seizures) the day Seamus was born, July 3rd.
The trip to Brazil entailed first a journey to Los Angeles, home of the Brazilian consulate. Due to increased red tape after 9/11, it now takes about two weeks to get a visa. After numerous phone calls and armed with a letter from the doctor, her friend Lexie and I descended on the consulate. By then they knew my voice, and I think gave us the visas just to get us out of their hair. “It’s the crazies from Wyoming again! Get them out of here!”
In the Beverly Hills neighborhood where the consulate is located, we learned two things. Nobody has heard of the La Brea tar pits (which we visited) and it is possible to run into Paris Hilton. Really.
Now we are here, and I don’t know what to say about that. Charlotte’s condition worsens by the day. My fantasy of her rising from her sick bed at the sound of my voice has not come true. The visiting hours are so limited that Lexie and I have a lot of “down time.”
Yesterday we decided to visit the Jardim Botanico, which were started by the Emperor Dom João VI of Portugal in 1808. The crowds were thin, due to the pouring rain, but as Lexie and I assured each other, “At least it’s warm rain!” We really liked the orchid collection. A high point (for me) was the bamboo trees with names carved into them. On the Savery Stock Driveway, where we will be trailing sheep in the next few days, is the “Sheepherders’ Hall of Fame,” with its carved aspen trees. I did not see artwork comparable to that created by these oft isolated men, but there were lots of tamer romantic entries.
We head home on Saturday, much to the relief of my family, who have been left with my work, as well as theirs. Part of my heart will remain here, with my sister.