Our overnight flight out of Miami went well. We departed at 9:45pm, and as the plane climbed over the illuminated city, it was only moments before the bright, beachside metropolis gave way to the long, black Atlantic Ocean.
Lesleigh was giddy to be airborne. She had a huge smile on her face, and just kept shaking her head in both belief, and disbelief saying, “All the work we’ve done is coming together, and we get to be ambassadors for our country. This is our life. Can you believe this is our life? How incredible and humbling.” I was really glad to be there with her and it made me happy to talk with her. I’d been so focused on logistics and planning that I hadn’t stopped to take it in, in a while. It felt good.
We both tried to get some shuteye and slept as well as we could. At sunrise, we were just beginning to fly over South America. Between the clouds, it was dense and green, as far as the eye could see. As we began our decent into Recife, I could see more of the city we’d call home for the next few days. High rise after high rise built up along a long beachfront. Very pretty from the air.
After almost three hours spent in baggage claim and customs, we were met by our two contacts, Stuart and Matt. They were friendly, helpful, and excited to see us.
Stuart drove us through town to our hotel, and helped us get checked in. He gave us a few tips about the area, and is coming to meet us for dinner tonight for a more extensive briefing about the work we’ll be doing here.
When Lesleigh and I checked in, we both fell asleep. I woke up and did some work and then we decided to walk along the beach. We’re staying across the street from the Atlantic Ocean (As I write this, I’m watching a big group of people play a pickup soccer game on the beach). Beautiful sand, and warm, blue water was a welcome way to spend part of our afternoon.
We stopped at a beachside shop and ordered “Água de côco” (a local treat, where they take a fresh, refrigerated coconut, hack the top off with a machete, stick a straw in, and you drink it ). It was cold, and delicious. I’m definitely going to have to get a few more of those before our time here is through.
As I write this, Ben and our AMA contact, Marc, are airborne. They’re scheduled to arrive later this evening. We’re excited to finally meet up, after days of roundabout travel.
Tomorrow we do our first program; working with local students who are passionate about music. It should be a great way to kick off our work here.