Saturday, December 14th, 2013
I slept thinking that it was all a good dream and woke up with certainty that the dream was actually coming true. We had breakfast at home, hot cereal with yogurt, very taste, that Janet made. I couldn't finish my food, though. Philip was the official "dishwasher", he washed the dishes all the time (and I don't think it was because I was there).
- Have we decided if foxes eat oatmeal yet?
- I don't know, but leave it there that we decide later.
So my bowl with the oatmeal was there, half eaten. I hate wasting food, but I really couldn't eat anymore.
Philip had an alumni lunch, from Wheaton College, where he graduated. From there we would go to a play. We spent most part of the morning talking, mostly Janet and I, since Philip needed to get ready for the lunch. We even went for a walk in the neighborhood.
What an amazing person is Janet! I was already fascinated for her person from what Philip had written, but she was the character, now she was a real person in front of me. Even though I was fascinated by Philip, we sord of knew each other more, because of the emails exchanged over the years. I started emailing her after Wild Goose Festival, but it was this weekend when I really met her. You don't need to be married with her to want to talk about her. The Yanceys couple is truly fascinating.
She showed me the famous mountains that she climbed, the house where they had lived before, asked me questions, showed me where a female elk died and was not eaten by any animal, just stayed there until it completely decomposed. It was only it bones there, but the snow had covered.
She also showed me a barrel and explained to me that the sand that was in there was to creat friction for the cars and especially for the delivery trucks, so they could drive more safely.
She explained me that the kids in Colorado have outside classes where they learn the difference between the Evergreens. And she taught me how to.
It was indeed a wonderful morning with Janet. When we got home she told Philip about the covered elk.
Before the lunch we stopped in a mountain. Red Rock, or something like that. It was an arena that hosted several famous concerts over the years.
We arrived at the lunch place, and there were those little name tags. Philip saw some friends and introduced me to them.
- This is Dani, she is our friend from Brazil.
I am the Yanceys friend, la la la
- Nice to meet you, blsakhejsh?
- She is going to be a writer, that is how we met each other.
Ok, I think I might be the same color as the Christmas decorations now.
- And what you are writing about?
Am I really talking about my book?
- Right now I am working in a book about grace, about how we can see it in different aspects of our lives.
Philip was looking at me like a proud father while I was talking.
At lunch we met Julie, a middle-aged lady that lived in Japan for over 20 years. She beat cancer twice, and now was in treatment again. She had an East accent, even though she was actually American. Both of them were really friendly. I talked "professionally with the husband, he also asked about Brazil and was pretty interested in what I was saying. I didn't talk that much to her, but her simplicity and joy of living was pretty impressive, she radiated gratitude. I am just passionated about cancer stories, I can't help myself.
Sitting with us were also two girls, sisters. One went to Wheaton, the other was her sister's guest. They spent the whole lunch talking to Philip, they were all vaults talking to him, just like me, and he was all friendly as always.
There was also a lady, Thereza, and her son, that was finishing his Masters in some famous Opera college that I forgot the name. And another guy, who was married and unemployed. Thereza knew Philip, he told me by the end of the day, in the car how did that happen. They gave the unemployed boy indications of places to get a job.
I don't remember to meet anybody else, other than the speaker - which I was introduced by the-Yanceys-friend-who-came-from-Brazil-and-want-to-be-a-writer - but I suspect that I sat in the coolest table there.
The lunch was little sandwiches and for desserts little typical American cakes.
Then, the play. What a production! From the little kids to the old man who was Mr Scrooge, all excellent actors, perfect soundtrack, a cultural event for anyone find fault. Isaiah 9:6 reading by a little boy some time in the play.
Sitting behind us was the Japan couple. At lunch, Janet said how she liked there, and I was amazed. I was "forgeting" that I was guest of a couple who traveled all around the world. Talking about that sometime during the day, Janet must noticed the twinkle in my eyes, because she said that I should travel all around the world some day and actually she afirmed, "who knows, some day you could do it". I was a writer, after all.
But Julie was an amazing person that I wanted to know better. She wished me a Merry Christmas and good times here in the US, not because she had too, because I could hear the honesty on her words, to actually really wish me all happiness in the world. I really wanted talk to her more, she must be an incredible human being.
After the play we went to a walk around Denver. First stop was a street market, Christmas themed. We ate fresh chestnuts, looked for Janet's sister ornament. Janet peeled some chestnuts, gave to me and offer to Philip also.
- No, thank you.
- Aren't you hungry?
- I peel my own chestnuts. It makes me feel more useful.
Male ego and the constant need of self-approval, present in the best men, hahaha.
We went to take a picture in the big blue bear. Philip took the picture.
Then we went for dinner in a brazilian restaurant called Cafe Brazil. The owners were Colombian, though. The music was hispanic. The menu was Brazilian - headlining Feijoada and Caipirinha. I ordered a chicken Feijoada, Janet did the same. Philip wanted the traditional Brazilian Feijoada. I also ordered a mango juice, which was delicious. Before dinner they gave us a papaya "soup", that had onions on it and something else. It was to make our stomaches ready for the Feijoada. But it was too spicy, didn't finish the first spoonful. They loved the food, but didn't order any desserts. Philip was thinking about the pecan-pie that was at home.
- He loves desserts!
- Yes, I do!
Wen we got home he ate the pie, but I couldn't eat anything else. He said, "somethings just don't get out of your mind, you know?", and ate his pecan-pie with all the happiness in the world, even though he was saying that was being impolite in front of the guest, just because he was eating when I didn't want to eat. I said that there was no problem. We talked more about my future as a writer, my plans when I come back to Brazil, it was a good time.
He told me about Thereza (from lunch). He talked a few years ago about loving our enemies and showed a picture about an Al-Kaeda guy talking: "those are our enemies". Her husband had an idea then, to develop a website with pictures of terrorists, called "Adopt a terrorist to pray". I have read about it in one of his books and then realized that I have talked to one more character of his books.
Philip checked my Facebook, each one of the posts and then commented in one of the pictures that I posted to thank them because I was there.
I have a comment from Philip Yancey on my timeline!
- Thank you to teach me how to use this, I will follow you to check how you are.
- So, have you ever translated in public, Dani?
- If I was going to visit you and speak somewhere, would you translate me?
- Oh, no, never translated in public. Just the conversations between my mom and my host mom.
- So they talk to each other?
- Yeah, and I translate both ways.
- Oh, I see. She says: "she is highly irresponsible" and you translate as "she is highly responsible". She says "she is terrible with the kids", and you say "she is great with the kids", like that, right?
- hahahahahahaha, no, I do translate right, but she actually really likes me.
After a long time talking we went to sleep, the last day was coming. It is funny how the time seemed to go to fast and endured forever at the same time.
Sunday, December 15th, 2013
So there was the last day. The day before Philip said that he wouldn't spend the whole day with us and Janet told me to pack up, because we probably wouldn't come back home after church.
I woke up really early, so and was enjoying the room and remembering every single moment, trying to absorb the dream that was true. I looked through the window and watched the Colorado mountains. Thought how nice it would be if I could live there.
I talked to some friends through Facebook, got dressed, packed up, cleaned my room. I went downstairs and there was Philip. I think I could spend one thousand days with them and I would still think that was super cool to see Philip drinking his coffee in his living room.
That last day Philip cooked the breakfast, omelet with ham and cheese. I am used already to this kind of American breakfast, so I happily ate it. Actually, that was the first time that I was hungry since I got there. The altitude messed up with my stomach a little. After that Janet peeled a mango for me and I ate more than a half of it.
After that they went to get dressed for the day. Philip came back first, so I took the courage to ask him to sign the books that I brought with me in my backpack. I put one extra name because I guessed wrong, so he readily went to his office and got one more book and signed. I didn't want to bother him, but he really enjoyed what I did. He asked me to not put the books away so he could show Janet how much books I got him to sign.
Before that he had given me his newest book "The question that never goes away", that was released only now in the US, but it was already in England (therefore, would be with British spelling, in other words, perfection - Philip's book in British English). He also gave me a book to give to my host mother, in appreciation for letting me go there.
I bought them some presents, that didn't get home before I went there, but I wrote some cards.
- Awe Dani, you ARE a writer - a bilingual one!
He told me more about the other house that they had before, the one right in the middle of the mountains.
- Life is full of losses and gains, Dani. We lost our mountain, but we got this creek. You lost the daily contact with your family and fiancé, but here you are, living amazing things.
Because he wouldn't spend the whole day with us, we went in different cars. Janet in one, Philip and I in the other. A gentleman as he proved to be everyday that I was there, he opened the car door for me, and we were talking in the car going to the church.
My life mentor was indeed giving me tips for everything, and we were also talking about nothing, like two friends would do. We talked about my instropection as well.
The service was really nice. So there I was, singing and listening to the pastor, next to the Yanceys. I think this kind of everyday things were the most amazing things about this trip. The "profesional"conversations on Saturday were really awesome, but the everyday of people that you admire so much was something truly amazing that I was able to see it.
After the service Philip said goodbye. He would go to the mountains to finish his new book, he wanted to finish last month yet. I thought that the farewell would be totally different. But I goodbye to him like if I was doing that with some friend that I would see again soon, even though I have no clue when I am going to see him again.
Janet and I went back to her car, where we talked until we got into the mall where we would have lunch.
- The fact is, Dani, God made you brazilian for a reason. You might not live there forever, but that's where he wants you for now. And you will make History no matter where you are.
I was not talking bad about Brazil, though. She kind of say that in the middle of our conversation and that actually deeply moved me.
I had a slice of pizza for lunch, she bought a candy popcorn bag to eat in the car and we went to the airport. Same feeling in the farewell that I had with Philip.
In the airplane, everything was becoming clear in my mind, I was finally realizing what just happened to me. You know when you are working out and just realize how tired you are when you actually stop? It was kind of the same thing those days, living in a paralelal world inside the paralelal world that is already to be living in the USA.
I said on my first post about it and say it again. God wants us to dream. Actually, everything that I described with less words that would be enough to describe everything, is much much more that I could possibly dream. The grace of God is not only surprising, it is priceless. It is not for free because God is a nice guy only, because even if we wanted to pay for it, we could never do it. And it is not present only because of our salvation (which would be more than enough), but in every step, in every moment of our lives, in every breath.
It is about this illogical, inexplicable, irresistible and surprising grace, the theme of the book that I am writing. The first half of it came to paper after I met Philip in person, the second is to come, even more inspired.
I will always be grateful to God for the opportunity to meet Philip and Janet, since when I was 13 and read his first book, until now, when they call me their friend. God is just awesome and his love is extraordinary.