It has been awhile since we last visited and a lot of things whirled past like a fart in a windstorm, sort of speak.

I took four weeks off in the States for the Family Reunion, which I missed the previous two.  It was good to see the family and all four of my kids together.  I am the one in the middle.Then I took a road trip in my little Barbie Car, as MotherDear calls it, down to the Austin and Houston area and then on to Santa Rosa Beach in Florida, near Destin.  I’m the one pretending to be asleep.  Any time spent at a beach is priceless, even if it rains.

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Issues that take place at the Consulate are one of the many reasons it is so enjoyable to work at, and each time something happens, I am impressed with the way the guards react.  Extremely professional.

Earlier this year, there was a mentally disturbed young lady who decided the US Consulate should give her refuge status, thus a free trip to America and a firm path to citizenship.  She camped out on the sidewalk across the street from the Consulate, day and night waiting for the Consulate General to cross over and give her a free ticket to the States.  Never happened.  The local Poliza would come by and question her, but she since she didn’t break any laws she was allowed to stay there.  At one point, she crossed over to the Consulate’s side of the street to harass the guards, and the Poliza showed up and took her away.  Within hours, she was back at her campsite.

She would often stand and yell obscenities to the guards or taunt them with offers of some sort of sex, but that wasn’t breaking any laws.  She was repeatedly taken in by the Poliza, but always returned.  This lasted almost a month until finally she was picked up and placed in a mental health facility.

I keep hoping she would return because I found her amusing.  On my way to work every morning, my path took me past her but she never bothered me.  She did speak to several females about things I will not mention here.  At one point I was tempted to take a picture of her, but I actually felt sorry for her and decided not to.

Occasionally, there are minor demonstrations that take place outside the Consulate.  The Poliza makes sure the demonstrations do not cross over to Consulate property.  I understand it is not a pretty sight when that happens.

A while back, a visa applicant was upset about something and decided to use his umbrella to break a window to let everyone know how he felt.  Didn’t go well for him.  The umbrella did nothing to the bullet proof glass and he ended up being suppressed by the local guards until the Poliza arrived.

What I thought was interesting, was how our local guards reacted.  They didn’t just stand looking at this guy like I would have done, but focused their attention on all the surroundings, anything that may take place elsewhere.  As it was pointed out to me once, if something takes place at the Consulate, be aware it may be a diversion for something worse.  The US has learned this in hard ways.

The Consulate’s Independence Day celebration took place on Thursday, June 28th.  This is any Embassy or Consulate’s biggest celebration.  It is an expensive gathering, but with no fireworks.  It is a gala where we invite dignitaries of the local Government, several high ranking military personnel and representatives of the American companies who do business in Brazil.  In years past, I did my best to escape having to attend these, but the RSO (head of security) in Sao Paulo felt the world will collapse if I wasn’t there.  So I showed up in one of my suits and stood around looking pretty, sort of speak.

I meet many incredible people here and become friends with several.  My good friend Carol, whose wedding I attended in Brasilia, has since left forever to be with her new husband in Japan.  Good for her, but not the Consulate.  She was a good nurse, even managing to make me stay healthy despite my objections.  She was at the Fourth celebration and we had our pictures taken with another good friend.Carol is the pretty one in blue and Fabbie is the crazy one in white.  Fabbie is the Office Manager for the Management Office and a joy to visit with.  Once a week, I will stop by her desk with a trivia question, usually about a movie.  I have learned to be careful which movie I mention, because many times she will burst out in song if the movie has one.  Beautiful voice.  I once asked her if she ever saw the Sound of Music, and she started singing how the hills are alive with the sound of music.  Mention Mary Poppins and she will start singing about a spoon full of sugar.  Mention the Wizard of Oz, and she sings of a yellow brick road.  Crazy Lady, so I call her my Crazy Lady Friend.

Here is another friend I will miss.  Her name is Jesse and she reminds me of my bossy daughter.  Vibrant, intelligent and full of humor.  She has also moved on to greener pastures as they all do.  One of the pains of working in the Foreign Service, is all the people you meet who have to move on.I made a batch of beans this weekend and as expected, it was delicious.  I added some sausage and bacon to it, but I wanted you to see what bacon looks like here in Brazil.  Look how beautiful it is!And the finished product was amazing, except I added a bit too much garlic.  And likewise, the side effects were amazing as well.  Here it is on a bed of rice with “country” cornbread.Life is made up of people, places and food  … and the Waters of the Earth who will always beckon those who visit her.  Let nothing pass under your feet without at the very least noticing as it passes, because you do not want to miss any adventure it may offer.      D.