We flew out of our home city on a lovely Saturday morning. Our trip to the airport was seamless, but for the frustration of the TSA's new sorting system that, frankly, is completely useless. Oh well, we arrived with plenty of time to hit the bookstore before heading to the gate for boarding.
After a, relatively, brief 3.5 hour flight we touched down in Chicago. Paulo is originally from a Chicago suburb, and we were primarily flying to the Chicago area to visit Paulo's brother, Stefen, and Stefen's family, including their 4 week old baby, named RJ. Paulo's mom, Yvanka, was also staying at Stefen's house for an extended weekend. Though I had overhead several conversations between Paulo and members of his family and knew they seemed like very nice people, I was a little anxious to see how we all go along and whether they would approve of me as a match for Paulo. Really, who doesn't have a case of the nerves before meeting their sweetheart's family for the first time, especially when you fly halfway across the counry to do so?
Stefen picked us up at O'Hare and we drove the 45 minutes or so to the suburbs for a lovely couple of days relaxing with family. Both the boys in that family drive the same way, which was amusing to me. When we arrived and settle in, I felt so very welcomed by the entire group, and Paulo's mom is a ton of fun; she waved me over to the couch as soon as I arrived and gave me a big hug and kiss on the cheek (as well as could be managed since she was holding baby R.J.). She has an irreverent manner that makes you feel like you can say and do anything and that she'll not pass judgment. She's warm, funny, smart, and so completely excited to be a grandma. Tracy, Paulo's siter-in-law, is a total sweetheart - she has an infectious smile and always has something nice to say. RJ was spoiled in the best way by everyone happy to hold and cuddle him, not to mention feed him. That little boy sucked down bottle after bottle from the houseguests (I maintain that I'm the only one who managed to have him finish the whole bottle though, I think I held it at the perfect angle, heehee).
Most of our time was spent relaxing in the living room, talking about the Olympics and the elections. The only tense portion was when Paulo's dad (his parents divorced about 8 years ago) decided to come over while Paulo's mom was still visiting. We sat around the television and nobody said much, but it was completely tolerable. Paulo and I had a good talk later about the family dynamic, and I was honored to be let in on Paulo's very personal insights on how his family works and the decisions Paulo has made about how to handle them. It illustrated, yet again, how well we can communicate in both the good times and the difficult situations.
After 4 days we bid farewell to Yvanka and packed our bags to head for downtown Chicago the next morning. I'm delighted to have met Paulo's family and been so comfortable with them.
As a post-script, Paulo's sister-in-law, Tracy, is now an addition to my on-line social network and independentl confirmed that Paulo's mom "thought the world of me." YES!!! Though Paulo had already assured me of the fact, confirmation by Tracy adds that much more lustre to the situation. I can't wait to see them again, and to see how big RJ is!
Three good things:
1. Umm, Paulo's mom likes me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. I am comfortable around and really like Paulo's brother and sister-in-law, and his nephew likes me too :)
3. Paulo already mentioned going back to visit with me...several times.
Stay tuned for Chigaco Part 2!