Happy New Year 2003
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Another year has gone by, and here we are again, writing to our friends to share with you how 2002 was for us. The photo that comes with this letter was taken in early December in front of our house right after the first snow storm of the season. As you can see, the kids are growing fast!
Sasha is turning 15 on the 31st of December! She started high school in September, and once again made it into Honors English. This year, she wants to be a psychiatrist when she grows up. She drives her mom and dad crazy by locking herself up in her room and listening to punk rock, burning CD ROMs with MP3 tracks downloaded from the Internet, and chatting online all the time with her friends. In April, during Spring break, she traveled to Orlando for a week with her two best friends (Debbie and Edith) along with Edith’s parents. She and Alec traveled unaccompanied to Rio, two weeks before Lucia and Mauricio did. After considering drum lessons (which did not please her parents too much), Sasha started taking electric bass lessons in September.
Alec was 11 in August. He is into math, computer programming, music (he learned to play the
guitar this year - thanks to Geraldo), and soccer. He’s become a little bored with swimming. Alec is in Honors Math and currently plans to become a neurologist when he grows up. He says that while he thinks that he will enjoy studying the brain, he doesn’t think he would really like to operate on one! His travel soccer team (Stallions Torpedoes) did quite well in the spring, claiming first place undefeated and climbing to the National II division. In the fall, they were able to hold onto a spot in National II. Alec, who loves playing forward, was moved back to midfield this year by coach George. Though he didn’t like playing midfield in the beginning, he actually says now that he also enjoys playing that position. In November, Mauricio obtained his soccer coaching F-license from the US Soccer Federation. Starting in Spring 2003, he will assist with coaching the Torpedoes.
While we are on the subject of soccer, this year Brazil won the Japan/Korea FIFA World Cup! Brazil played a very weak elimination round in 2000-2001 (the weakest in history). Right before the cup started, we saw Brazil’s team start to improve a lot, which made us really excited for the cup. Mauricio got up in the middle of the night for every match in June. Lucia and the kids saw all of the Brazil matches and Lucia actually saw some of the other matches. She said she couldn’t sleep with all the yelling downstairs! It was great having more than 20 people over at 6 AM for the final against Germany, and drinking German beer at 9 AM as penta-campeões (five-time world champions). It was great watching the Brazilian fans cellebrating on the Brazilian TV Globo Internacional. Alec now often proudly wears the five-star Brazil jerseys to soccer practice.
Our friend Geraldo Veiga, who left AT&T last year, moved in to live with us in April. He plans to return to Brazil next year after a 25-year period in the U.S. It has been great having Geraldo over. The kids love him. He teaches them so much: music, history, current events, French, computer programming, … He has also setup a wireless network at our home, so now we can get on the Internet from anywhere in our house.
We traveled less this year than last. Lucia and Mauricio went to Boca Raton (Florida) in March for a telecom conference. We visited with friends Joyce and Marcel in Palm Beach. Joyce and Mauricio went to school at Escola Americana in Rio together. In July and August, the family spent time with friends and family in Rio (seven weeks for the kids, five for the parents). In Brazil, we spent most of our time in Rio, staying at a friend’s (Silvia Barandier from California) nice apartment at the Lagoa. We traveled several times to Renalva’s (Mauricio’s mom) country house in Itaipava, to Búzios for five days on the beach, and also to Angra dos Reis for three days at a beach resort. It was great! And Mauricio even got a little work done in Rio. His first Ph.D. student (Renata Aiex) defended her thesis in August and Mauricio was, of course, on the thesis examination committee. He was very proud of her. In September, Mauricio traveled to L’Aquila (Italy) for a three-day conference of the Italian Operations Research Society. An unexpected opportunity that presented itself to Lucia in November was a non-work trip to India with almost everything paid for (thanks goes to our friend Marina Roesler for that!). Lucia and Marina spent a week going through Bombay, Goa, and a few different places in the state of Kerala. It was great! Great food, kind people, amazing colors... The last night was spent on a boat going through the Backwaters of Kerala. There was a cook, a driver, and the machinist on the boat with the girls. Waking up at sunrise in the middle of a lake with the early sounds of the surrounding villages... what an experience! Finally, in November, Mauricio traveled to California for another conference. While the conference was in San José, he and Brazilian friends Luciana Buriol and João Lauro Facó managed to squeeze in some sightseeing and visit much of the Bay Area: San Francisco, Berkeley, Sausalito, Monterrey, Big Sur, … Mauricio also got to see his god daughter, Joana Goic, who he hadn’t seen in four years. He was amazed to see that Joana is almost as tall as he is! Joana is a very good student and will start college in 2003. Sasha and Alec, as well as the other god children of Mauricio and Lucia (Dominque Resende, Felipe Monteiro, and Breno Guimarães) have big shoes to fill!
At work, the year started quite tense. With the meltdown of the telecommunications industry, AT&T had to make major cuts in personnel this year. At Mauricio’s laboratory, the cuts were draconian: about one-third of the scientific staff was let go. Fortunately, everyone in Mauricio’s department, which does network optimization, among other things, survived. Lucia’s part of the business also suffered cuts, but she was unaffected. Lucia continues to design telecommunication networks for large corporate customers. Mauricio’s current Ph.D. student, Luciana Buriol, spent the last 15 months working with Mauricio on Internet routing research which will make up the bulk of her dissertation. Her stay in New Jersey ended in December with a big feijoada (typical Brazilian dish) for over 40 people. One of Mauricio’s biggest professional achievements this year was the publication of two books that he co-edited: Handbook of Applied Optimization, published in March by Oxford University Press, and Handbook of Massive Data Sets, published in May by Kluwer Academic Publishers. Each book has over 1100 pages, with contributions by over 200 authors, taking more than four years to finish.
In 2003, we plan to travel with the whole family to Brazil in July and to Japan in August, where Mauricio has a conference in Kyoto. That should be fun!
We hope that you all have happy holidays and that 2003 be full of happiness, health, and achievements.
Kisses and hugs,