Holmdel, December 2004
Dear Friends,
Happy New Year 2005

2005 is just around the corner and  we're back to share with you how 2004 went by for us.
The year began with lots of snow in New Jersey.  Mauricio's mom, Renalva, who arrived in December 2003 to visit, stayed until March, when it started getting a little  warmer.  During her stay, she made two beautiful paintings for us.



Quadro da Renalva
Quadro vermelho da Renalva

Alec and Sasha are growing up fast.  Sasha turns 17 on December 31st.  Alec turned 13 on August 3rd. 



Sasha and Lucia started the year in Rome.  They traveled there with Sasha's friend Debbie to celebrate Sasha's 16th birthday.  They stayed for five days, three in Rome, two in Naples.  
Sasha and Debbie in Rome.
Sasha and Debbie on Steps of Spain.

Sasha started the 11th grade in September and is starting to take the first steps toward leaving for college.  She's enrolled in an SAT prep course for her March 2005 (new format) SAT.  She is looking for a university in the east coast of the U.S.  Something not too close, but also not too far from home.  Her current plans seem to be leaning toward a major in something like political science or psychology.   Cool Sasha
This year Sasha started learning how to drive.  She took some driving classes and got her trainer's permit and now practices mainly with Mauricio.  After next March, she will be able to take her examination to get a permanent driver's license.  Sasha enjoys music and film.  She went with friends to see bands like Thursday, Thrice,  and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. At home, she can watch, over and over, a DVD of a movie she likes. One of her favorite films this year was the Brazilian movie  Cidade de Deus (City of God). It's common for her to go to a friend's to watch one or more DVDs.  Of course, her mom and dad are most often the chauffeurs.
Sasha and Lucia
Mauricio and Sasha in Petrópolis

Alec started the 8th grade in September.  His favorite subjects are still math and science and his biggest doubt now is where he will do his high school.  In November, he attended an open house at a small math and science magnet school near our home.  The High Technology High School takes about 60 students a year from all over Monmouth Country and directs the student's studies to math, science, engineering, and research.  Entrance is very competitive and he doesn't even know if he will get in.  But if he does, he worries he will lose his friends at Holmdel High School. 

Alec and Lucia
Alec continues to play on the Torpedoes, his travel soccer team since age eight.  While playing, he fractured his wrist attempting a bicycle kick during a tournament in October.  That kept him off the team for the rest of the year, tough he did take part in several practices (almost making Lucia go crazy).  His team went from premiere to second division and back to premiere this year.  In 2005, the team is planning a trip to play a tournament in Portugal.  Alec ran 14 kilometers in December to raise funds for the trip.  
Alec playing for the Torpedoes
Alec with broken wrist
Run for Funds 2004

During Spring Break in April, Alec traveled with his friend Adam and Adam's parents, Linda and Boaz to Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he mainly hung out on the beach. In August, he traveled to Scotland, once again with Adam, Linda, and Boaz.  He spent two weeks there and visited places like Edinburgh, Isle of Harris, and Loch Ness (no, he didn't see the Loch Ness monster).
Boaz, Alec, and Adam in Scotland.
Alec, Adam, and a dog in Scotland.
Alec and Adam in Scotland

Mauricio and Lucia are still working for AT&T at the same jobs as last year.  Though Mauricio's organization has appeared to be safer from layoffs this year, Lucia's organization was affected several times.  Lucia and Mauricio have both thought of leaving AT&T, but for now are still put.  Besides traveling with Sasha to Italy, Lucia traveled alone to Rio in February for ten days to be with her parents. 

Lucia e Mauricio em Holmdel
Lucia at Candido's in Rio
Mauricio em Paraty

Mauricio traveled much less this year than on previous years.  He went twice to Gainesville (Florida) to visit his friend and colleague Panos Pardalos and twice to Brazil for conferences.  Both conferences were in nice places: Angra dos Reis, on the coast just south of Rio and São João del Rey, in Minas Gerais State.  
Mauricio at WEA 2004
Mauricio at SBPO 2004

On the Angra dos Reis trip, Panos came along on his first trip ever to Brazil.  Panos liked it so much that four months later he was back in Brazil.  Panis in Brazil
Mauricio continued to be involved with Alec's soccer team, acting as an assistant coach.  He really enjoys it.  Alec playing indoor soccer
On her spare time, Lucia continues with her beads.  She took over one of the rooms in our house and really enjoys making jewelry.  She and several friends from work took part in two street fairs this year, where Lucia was actually able to make some money from her art. Bijuteria da Lucia

In July, the whole family made  its annual pilgrimage to Rio.  Mauricio and the kids stayed for five weeks, mainly in Rio, ... 

The gang at Sugar Loaf
Alec at Grumari Beach in Rio

Itaipava (at Mauricio's mom's house on the mountains near Rio), ...
Casa de Itaipava
and at the beach side town of Búzios.
Praia de Geribá
Lucia and Gabriel in Búzios
Kids in Búzios

Lucia stayed an extra three weeks working.  Again this year her management at AT&T let her work from Rio. The wonders of modern telecommunications!  Lucia at work in Rio
Besides seeing friends and family from Brazil, we got together with Florida friends Joyce, Marcel, and son Jason for a nice rodízio (all-you-can-eat barbecue) at Barra Grill in Rio.  They were impressed with Barra Grill as we always are, too. Joyce went to Escola Americana with Mauricio in the 70s. Mauricio took Alec and cousin Gabriel to Maracanã stadium in Rio  to watch Botafogo and Flamengo play a scoreless soccer match.  It was fun, nevertheless.  Alec and Mauricio are Botafogo fans, while Gabriel likes Flamengo (Lucia's team). On our last weekend in Rio,  we once again threw a big party to celebrate Alec's birthday at Lucia's parents' (Orestes Lucio and Maria Ignez) place.  It was packed.
Alec's 13th birthday.

Rio de Janeiro friends Johnny and Beth with sons Nick and Bernardinho, as well as Lucia's cousin Maria Luiza, spent the Christmas holidays with us.


Christmas time
Christmas Eve dinner

That's all, folks.  We all wish you happy holidays and a 2005 full of joy.  We hope that in 2005 we can meet to catch up on things and have some fun.



Kisses and hugs,






Lucia, Mauricio, Sasha, and Alec.