Olympic Memories

We did it guys, we survived.  The city of Rio pulled it off – nothing imploded, everyone had fun, and gosh darn did it look good on TV for all you NBC viewers. The Rio 2016 Olympics are (half) over. Now a two week break and let’s do it all again for the Paralympics…

I lucked out and did not get pulled into working the Closing Ceremony Presidential Delegation, so I had a real, honest to goodness, three day weekend. The city felt like it was recovering from a two week hangover – and can you blame them? Driving into work this morning felt like equal parts ghost town and a return to the normal – streets are oddly void of tourists, Cariocas are back on the road, school is back in session. A week ago I was only too ready for it all to be over, but today it is a little bit sad. When all is said and done, Parabens Rio! Nice job. And since it wouldn’t be my blog without a list, here are my top ten favorite Olympic moments (plus an extra two because I couldn’t stop myself.)

My Top Ten Favorite Olympic Moments:

  1. Getting “tatted up” for the USA vs. France women’s soccer game in Belo Horizonte and being part of a group of token Americans in the crowd. We handed out American flags, stickers, and tattoos to all the Brazilians around us, which was a big hit. I was with a pair of identical twin sisters who were wearing sparkly red, white, and blue cowboy hats. The Brazilians near us told us their family texted them to say they’d them on TV next to the “famous American girls.”
  2. Getting to see the Final Five at the women’s gymnastics prelims. They really are that good.
  3. This article about the Ryan Lochte snafu: U.S. Officials work behind the scenes in Ryan Lochte case. Wasn’t me this time, but my colleagues were definitely the “man in a suit.”
  4. Going to track and field the night Usain Bolt won the 100M dash and never making it to our assigned seats – we just wandered the stadium for hours standing here and there until we finally ended up on an unused press platform in the stands. Talk about good seats!
  5. Going to the Women’s Gold Medal Soccer match, even though it wasn’t team USA. Second row between the 18yd line and the half line. In the Maracana. Amazing.
  6. Being the Ambassador’s quasi-control officer and getting to escort her and her family around the Olympic Blvd area. And by escort I mean tag along and get into several of the Sposnor houses before they opened to the public.
  7. Getting on NBC at a Kerri Walsh Jennings beach volleyball match. If you watch aaaaaallllll the way to the end of the broadcast (not the primetime edit) you probably saw me, wearing the aforementioned sparkly red, white, and blue cowboy hat.
  8. The Japanese Prime Minister popping up at the closing ceremony dressed as Mario. Oh Japan. 2020 is going to be so awesome.
  9. Drinking expensive champagne at the French National House with friends to celebrate that the husband is finally done with his Master’s degree! We tipsy bought quite a few Paralympic tickets while relaxing there for the afternoon.
  10. Finally getting into the USA House (which is not a public National House, much to the chagrin of everyone, but a private house for Team USA Athletes and Sponsors) and finding the refrigerator full of greek yogurt that was free for the taking. Yum.
  11. Listening to my neighbors and their entire extended family watching the Men’s Indoor Volleyball final. We always knew when Brazil scored a point. We left the apartment to walk down to the beach halfway through the game and every single restaurant we passed had the game on. We were on the beach without the benefit of TVs when the game finally ended, but we knew Brazil had won because a woman ran out onto her balcony screaming “We are the champions!!!”
  12. And my favorite Olympic moment came on Saturday night, sitting at home and relaxing on the couch with the husband and a friend. We had sold our tickets to Jamaica House in favor of cooking at home (for the first time in weeks) and watching the Men’s Soccer final between Germany and Brazil. We may all have been rooting for Germany (shhhh!) but by the time the PKs rolled around we wanted a win for Brazil. Right around that time we looked out our living room window up at Cristo, who had been white for most of the evening. Just before PKs started we noticed that they were lighting him up green and yellow (Brazil colors) and I had a moment where I thought “even God wants Brazil to win.” And win they did. Parabens, Brazil. Parabens.

Ilha Grande

From our trip with the sister to Ilha Grande, an island a few hours from Rio. Just photos in this one. They can do more justice to the place than I can with words.

All photos by Kitty Non Grata’s sister. She has a much better camera than I do.

More Olympic Prep!

All kidding about my awesome t-shirts aside, it has been amazing to see the preparations for the Olympics in Rio firsthand. I drive past the beach volleyball stadium on Copacabana beach every morning on my way to work, I can see the camera fixtures in the lake for the rowing events, and I practically live on the city’s transportation website trying to figure out which roads are going to be closed when. (Don’t try to get to our apartment during the road cycling events…)

This Saturday, something even more exciting happened for the residents of Zona Sul – the roads and parks around the new metro stations reopened. For the first time in 3-4 years. Can you even imagine? It is a testament to the neighborhood that some of the businesses along those roads stayed open, and I do not envy the apartment owners who lived on top of the construction for all that time.

We went walking down to see “our” metro stop. It has been a hole in the ground since before I arrived, and it was so fun to see people out and excited (and taking pictures, just like me). Traffic in the area has been flipped in places, new signs are up, and the flow is so. much. better. The metro wasn’t an official Olympic infrastructure project, but it is linked to the Games. And man, we are so glad it is finally done. Progress being made right before our eyes.

Olympic Preparations

Olympic preparations are in full swing – venues are turned over to Rio2016, metro is about to open, my temporary employees are arriving… things are happening! It’s exciting. Finally.:)

This article in the Washington Post has a cool visual of the construction of the different sites.

Meanwhile, in the Kitty Non Grata household, preparations look like this:

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Think we have enough Red, White, and Blue?

Ch-ch-changes!

It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Kitty Non Grata family!

My childhood home is up for sale. The mom (henceforth referred to as Madame President) got a new job so the parents are moving! I feel like I should feel stranger about this, but the house has gone through so many updates since I left that it doesn’t really look at all like it used to. Plus, mom’s job is very exciting, so yay!

My sister and future brother-in-law both defended and passed their dissertations! We have a couple of doctors in the house! Can you imagine their house over the last couple of weeks? Two PhD candidates, defending within two days, living together? So glad that’s over!

The husband and I signed a lease for our first, non-government assigned, apartment together! People, I am almost 30 years old and I have never signed a lease on an apartment. I feel like an adult. Next step – buying an actual bed.

We also bought my plane ticket back to America. The end is drawing ever nearer. #I’mgonnamissmyview.  10 weeks and counting.

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Photo by Kitty Non Grata’s Sister – finally a good night image of our view!

Samba, Samba, Samba!

I started taking Samba classes with some friends a few weeks ago, and it is lots of fun and a really, really good workout. I remember watching the Carnaval parades and thinking that except for what the Samba queens were doing, it didn’t look that hard. Ha!

This is more or less how my class went this evening:

Teacher: “Move your hips more!”

Me: ::attempts to move hips more::

Teacher: “Now move your feet!”

Me: ::moves my feet::

Teacher: “Your hips! Don’t stop!”

Me: ::moves hips again::

Teacher: “Your feet! Lift them higher!”

Me: ::lifts them higher::

Teacher: “More hips! Move your feet! Hips! Feet! Together, move!”

Me: ::bends over panting, trying to surreptitiously wipe sweat out of my eyes…::

After class…

Me: “Moving my hips and my feet at the same time is really hard!”

Teacher: “Yes, but that is Samba. Once you can do that, you can Samba.”

 

My consolation was that I was in class tonight with another Brazilian woman who was just as uncoordinated as I was! But seriously guys, this girl cannot dance. But it sure is fun to try!