Brazil, A Love Story and Surgery!!

I've been soooooooo long overdue for a life update on here!!!  It's not for lack of wanting to do it though!!!!  The past month has been AMAZING and it will take some time to cover it all, but I just have to finally start!!!

So... most of my extended family went to BRAZIL for just over 2 weeks and what an "ADVENTURE" it was!!! Between my brother's wedding (more on that later) and meeting my sponsored children (more on that later), eating Brazilian food and fun site seeing, it was simply more than I had ever hoped and imagined!!!!!

Here are some highlights from the trip... our tour bus broke down one day and we were stuck at this restaurant with this park.  Before I knew it, we were ALL on the playground having fun!! My dad turned 80 while we were in Brazil, but he still acts like he's in his 30's!!!

I also got to meet a Facebook friend who is a fellow scrapbooker and photographer in Brazil!!!  Her name is Cristina Tronco and we swapped Scrapbooking magazines that we are both published in and then she was our tour guide around Porto Alegre for the day!!!!  How fun is that????!!!!!

And Brazil is not complete without going to a professional soccer game!!  We had soooo much fun cheering on the local Gremio team... we got 2 goals on video and they won!!!

So the real reason we went to Brazil was for my brother Mark's wedding to a beautiful Brazilian girl named Clara!!  

Their love story is one for the record books!!  Long story short, my brother has never married and instead put his passions into helping others... he has been to Brazil to help with the kids at the Chain of Love Homes at least 15 times and planned on semi-retiring there soon.  The past couple of visits, some friends kept insisting that he meet "Clara" their aunt and kept telling Clara about this great guy ("Marky" they call him) from Canada.  Neither of them were interested in meeting each other AT ALL!!!  In fact, one year Clara actually planned to be out of town when Mark was visiting just to avoid meeting him!!  

Well one day when Mark was back in Brazil, they finally both reluctantly agreed to come for dinner at the family's home!!  Within minutes of arriving, however, the family dog was hit by a car and seriously hurt!!  Mark and Clara were both suddenly swinging into action re: helping this dog... as a hunter, Mark recognized the signs of an animal about to die and was debating putting the dog down quickly to alleviate suffering.  Taking a dog to the vet in Brazil is exceedingly costly, but finally Clara offered to do that just in case there was a chance at survival.  So somewhere in between the dog getting injured and deciding what to do with it, a spark between them ignited and shortly thereafter, they were dating!! (NOTE:  the dog did survive, but not without serious long-lasting injuries she still suffers from today.)

So March 31, 2012, I had the privilege of being their wedding photographer!!!!!! What an experience on all levels!!!  Seeing my brother so happy and meeting a whole new set of relatives and getting to capture it all in photos was surreal!!!

A couple of my favourite photos are these ones right after their kiss during the ceremony...

So here's my new extended Brazilian family including my two new "bouncing" nephews!!!

I have thousands of photos from that day, but these will do for now :)  Meanwhile we got to stay right at the Chain of Love Homes campus where we have sponsored kids for years!!!

  Six years ago my family was there and it was soooooo awesome to return and see how all the kids have grown and changed!!!  At any given time there are about 90 rescued street kids that Chain is providing homes and education for... and their stories of rescue and horrific situations that they came from are utterly heart wrenching... it made us want to bring them all back home with us!!!  We sponsor two kids... a boy and a girl... Taira (AKA "Patrick") who I will share more about another time...

And Janaina who I will also share more about at another time.
YES, I'll definitely share more about how a HUGE chunk of my heart is back in Brazil with these kids and several others, but for now, I need to take care of this....

Two weeks ago (shortly after returning from Brazil), I had knee surgery in Banff!!!  After 20 years of dealing with a detached ACL, I finally had it repaired!!!  I had to very strategically schedule it in between major events and upcoming trips (Mexico in July and Hawaii in Nov) to allow for full recovery.  I thought by now I'd be back dancing in the streets, but alas, I guess I'm older than I thought and looks like it will take a little more time.  And because we fried our laptop while in Brazil, I have not had much opportunity to be online while putting my knee up!!

So much more to come and many more photos and many more stories!!!  Another day though!!!


Anonymous said...

Allison I loved this post...So much love comes from the words...And the pictures of your brother and his new wife are stunning!!! Get well soon!!!

jill said...

Hey girl -
Always a blessing to hear and see how your life is going. Loved all the photos and the stories. Wishing Mark & Clara sooooo much happiness together. He looks so happy and she is gorgeous. Would love to sit down with a drink with you and chat in person about it all. Miss u terribly!!!
The knee photos bring back painful and horrific memories of my 3 knee surgeries -- yuck!!! Get well kiddo......and yes, we are all getting older!!! Make the kids do all the housework.......but don't tell them I said that.

Rosie said...

Wow, what a whirlwind of events!!!
Lovely photos of your brother and brand new SIL!
Hope your knee is better than ever after it heals completely!!

Jenni said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cristina Tronco said...

hey! i just saw this post today!
what a beautiful love story they have!

I was happy to see our photo here! I really enjoyed meeting all of you!

lots of love from Brazil
Cristina :)