01 August 2013

Friday Quick Takes {vol. 15} The WYD edition...

Home and happily exhausted for Brazil and look forward to writing some post's reflecting on all the awesome crazy that is World Youth Day.
So today, I thought I would do a set of quick takes reflecting on some of the most memorable/crazy memories of WYD Rio 2013.

Tuesday morning our flight landed in Detroit.  I didn't sleep too great or at all on the long plane ride from Brazil...but I did get to watch the movie 'Jane Eyre', which was great because I have been wanting to rent it for awhile.  I was SO happy to be home, but at the same time kind of sad because our group had such an amazing time and didn't want to leave all our new friends/family.

When we got home, Jim had balloons all over the living room saying things like, "Go Pope Francis!", "I missed cuddling with you!", and "Welcome home mi amore!"  He also got some flowers and had done a fabulous job cleaning the bathroom for me...nothing is more wonderful than 11 days pilgrimage and coming home to a clean, hot shower!
Later that evening, we went out to dinner with my parents, brother, sister, and future bro-in-law for some American food and sharing stories and presents from Brazil.  Only bad thing is I got a cold when I got home, but nothing a little vitamin C can't handle:)

So on our first full day in Rio, we went on a tour of Corcovado/the Christ Redeemer statue.  Having to get up at the butt crack of dawn (talking 5am) and having breakfast early was rough, but we were all definitely excited to see it all.

It ended up being a VERY rainy/windy day, and all we could see was literally the statue of Jesus because it was so foggy and cloudy.  Honestly, it didn't really bother us because our spirits were high just to be there.  My mindset was a person on vacation is more focused on just seeing a great view and snapping the perfect picture, but we were on pilgrimage, and pilgrims focus more on the spiritual significance on it all.  The image of Christ's open, welcome arms are such a real sign of God's love for all people, and especially how we felt welcomed into the homes/lives of the Brazilian people we met.
And hey it proved to make all the more memorable because of the weather...it's all about perspective, right? :)  The only downer was when the high winds killed my umbrella, it died a very painful death.
As our group was chanting "USA, USA..." a local Brazilian TV channel interviewed my Dad and I, and then later when we were eating lunch we got to watch the interview!  Too cool. You can check out the interview here

"The backpack fiasco of 2013."  One of the things with WYD is upon arrival you get a special backpack full of a pilgrim and liturgy guide, food and transportation cards, an official shirt, hat, and more...well we didn't get our back packs until Wednesday afternoon.
We had group leaders driving around over 2 days all over the city trying to get our packs, especially because we had free transportation and food cards in there to use during the official WYD festivities.

Honestly by Wednesday morning, we were preparing to deal with the worse of it...but thankfully we got a call that morning as we were in the metro station we had secured packs for our group.  SO excited, we cheered and shouted and in thankfulness broke out in praying the Our Father right there in the station.  Thanks for the hook-up Jesus, boy did it help us out!

On Sunday morning at Mass, with 3.7 million people on Copacabana beach we performed the largest flash mob in history to honor Pope Francis.  Check this video of it all!  I'm the one dancing around in the Iraq flag:)

How freaking cool is that!?!?

One thing WYD teaches you is patience.  One specific instance helps me remember this.  The day Pope Francis arrived our group arrived at the beach very early like at 9am to set up an area for our group to watch the Pope drive by.  We camped out there.all.day.long.  From 2-4pm it started getting more crowded and people were hovering around us, and we were starting to keep a close eye on our spot.  From 4-6pm, we literally spent the full two hours pushed up against the barricade, because of the pushy and somewhat rude people behind us.  They actually started yelling at us, and eventually started pushing so hard they moved the barricade over our backpacks and forward like 6 inches...thankfully they had volunteers lined up to push it back, and also the National Guard was there to offer even more security.
It was at times hard trying to think kind and charitable thoughts to the somewhat loud, pushy people behind us.  Let's just say at the end of the day we were glad to head back to the hotel and sit down from all the standing and pushing...but hey, it's a memory to always be able to look back on right?  all.about.perspective.

So from the last 2 pictures from above, you can tell (even if it is blurry) we got to see the Pope!  Actually our group got to see him 3 times drive by, which rocked my world a wee bit.  Sunday morning before Mass, I even got to record a video of it on my phone.  For some weird reason I can't upload it from the computer here.

So before going to Brazil I realized that they speak Portuguese, which sadly I realized upon getting there I should have studied better.  Interestingly enough, all the people we met were very helpful and kind with the language even though I felt like a shmuck at times for not learning it as good as I could have before coming.
There were many a times in the hotel restaurant or eating out where we would just point to a dish...but the one phrase I got down good was "thank you"; or in Portuguese it is "obrigado."  We joked throughout our time there that this one magical word seemed to get us around fairly well with little to no problems.  No I am not advocating to not learn the native tongue of a country you visit, but in our case it happened to go rather smoothly!
It was cute because for the last 11 days I have been so used to saying it everywhere I caught myself saying it to Jim the other night when he made dinner...bringing a bit of the Brazilian back home with me!! ;-)

Be sure to check out the link-up party over at Jen's...have a happy weekend!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. I love reading about your adventure at wyd. So blessed that you got to go. i remember in spain, when people were pushing up against us, it is so hard to remain charitable. can't wait to hear more about the trip. taking requests? Okay, how did the logistics work out with the vigil being canceled?

  2. What a great experience! Not sure I could have dealt with the craziness of it all, though! I'll live vicariously through you!


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