Brazil is different than Brooklyn
That's what Nico said to me yesterday while we were walking to the beach here in Rio. It's so cool to see a city that I've been visiting for the past 11 years through my child's eyes. The last time we were here, Nico was only 8 months old and as exciting as it was to bring him to Brazil for the first time, this trip feels so much more poignant. He loves adventures and on our way to the airport on Tuesday night, he couldn't contain his excitement.
Our flight had been delayed until 11:30pm and even though we left right around his bedtime, he didn't seem the slightest bit tired. He knew this was a very special occasion, or "vacasion" as he likes to call it, a cross between a vacation and an occasion. Daniel only speaks to him in Portuguese and when Nico first started talking, he would always respond in Portuguese. Once his English surpassed his Portuguese, he stopped. As we were driving to the airport, he told me he was going to speak Portuguese in Brazil and he started practicing on his own: "Backpack...mochila! Sugar...açúcar! Dog..cachorro!" It was truly the sweetest thing and of course melted Daniel's heart. Anytime he hears his son speak his native language, it strikes a chord.
We've been settling in and figuring out the best ways to navigate Rio with two kids. We introduced Nico and Leo to agua de coco on our first night here and they both loved it. After he'd finished, Nico exlaimed "I can't believe we just drank water from a coconut!" Traveling with children can be tiring, but to watch them discover an entirely new place is so worth it.
Daniel's grandmother lives just a few blocks from the beach and we've started most of our mornings there after breakfast at Rio Lisboa, one of our favorite padarias. I'd heard about Baixo Bebê, a beachside playground, before I became a parent, and it's funny to finally spend some time there. Right next to Baixo Bebê is Baixo Vovô, a place where grandpas come to play volleyball together in their speedos. Only in Rio. I love it.