Thursday, January 20, 2011

14 YEAR ANNIVERSARY 01-20-2011

On January 20th, 2011, today, Gil and I just completed 14 years together.

Gil and Ray's shadow on the beach near our house! Okie running in the distance :)

Instead of describing a fancy night in an expensive restaurant in Boston or tell you about a romantic drive down to Manhattan for a night in the town to celebrate our 14 years...I decided to describe how we met.
We are stay at home people. I mean we really enjoy staying at home. We love to cook our own dinners, open a bottle of wine and rent a movie from Redbox or Netflix...We love our home and love each other's company.
So, I decided to describe our first day together. This is how we met:

It was 1997, I was only 25 years old, it was a typical January afternoon in Sao Paulo, a nice drizzle, the air was nice and cool.
I had just graduated Law School and worked for a law firm in the Berrini Avenue area of Sao Paulo, if you are familiar with Sao Paulo, it is close to Morumbi Mall, Rede Globo and the new Hilton.
That specific afternoon my bipolar, OCD and ubber mean ( female ) boss sent me to a Federal Court on Paulista Avenue, right next door to MASP to discuss and argue an urgent case with a Federal Judge.
I was a Junior associate attorney and was responsible for going to court and talking to judges and solving complex situations, in other words, I had to do most of the political lobbying for the firm, I knew important people and was skilled in resolving complicated appeals and discussing the law firm's position or thesis as we called it.
The senior attorneys always stayed in the office developing strategies and writing the appeals and theories for the defense or next steps etc...
I have a cousin who had been working with a very important Federal Judge of the Supreme Court so in typical Brazilian "Who do you know" fashion I was the guy who did the lobbying for the law firm.
It wasn't so bad. I had to go to the courts and discuss how the courts were leaning on this subject or that subject.
I can tell you right now, there were no bribes involved what so ever. I heard of bribes in the clerical personnel who would take R$100,00 for changing the date of a stamp if you missed a deadline. We never missed a dead line and I never even knew who were the dirty public employees by the way.
I never heard of any dirty judges. I am sure they existed but they were extremely rare. The judges are very proud of their careers, they made great money and many of them had family legacies as judges and would not stain their families reputation with bribes or anything illegal.
Long story short, my job was to socialize with the judges and find out what they thought about this law or that law. I was a Tax attorney so we were talking about the most boring subjects in the whole wide world.
We basically discussed the constitutionality of this tax or that tax or when some company was unfairly double taxed for some special reason. You get the picture.
If we knew what the judges thought about each tax situation, we could better prepare strategies for appeals and what not...
Having a cousin in the Supreme Court, I had access to parties, dinners and other social events where I had the opportunity to get to know the judges and their assistants personally.
It was a very cool job. Even more cool because I was young, didn't have a lot of money and my Firm gave me all kinds of expensive gifts so I would always be well dressed, with the best Armani suits, Bulgary tie holder or pin, expensive watches and pens that job, appearing successfully was almost more important than actually being successfull.
So, back to how I go to meet Gil.
That afternoon, we had a "Mandato de Seguranca" "Security Mandate" against a certain government agency that was freezing one of our client's account to get their money for a certain tax that was supposedly already paid.
So, I had to physically go to the court, file the Mandate which the judge "has" to answer immediately while I waited, but judges are really busy, so immediately meant a whole afternoon.
I walked around the court house with my GIGANTIC BRICK SIZED MOTOROLA cell phone waiting for the judge to call me so I could call my boss and the firm would decide the next step depending on the judge's decision.
I got really bored and wondered across the street into the "Conjunto Nacional", a very traditional Sao Paulo Mall that has several large book stores. What better way to kill time!

CONJUNTO NACIONAL ( Where I first met Gil ):

This is the house that STUPID people decided to tear it down to build the Conjunto Nacional on the corner of Paulista  Avenue with Augusta Street

This is Conjunto Nacional Gallerias/Mall when it was first built.

This is "Conjunto Nacional" today on the corner of Paulista Avenue and Augusta Street in Sao Paulo

This is one of the book stores inside Conjunto Nacional where I first met the LOVE OF MY LIFE :)

I went into the Vienna near the book store, which was packed.
So I saw Gil reading a newspaper and sipping on his coffee at the counter and started enjoying a delicious Goiaba Cheesecake next to him.
I had the weirdest feeling that I already knew him...(He told me later that he had the same feeling ) I had no idea how or why, you know when you see someone or you are in a situation that you feel you have already seen before? That feeling...
It was crazy because I had a girlfriend of 7 years at the time. I wasn't then and have never been promiscuous, but I was feeling very attracted to this guy.
We started talking, he was very serious and as usual very masculine, we were an intant match at that point and I didn't know why we started talking, you know, small talk, about the weather, the city, stuff like that...I was in a relationship and so was him at the time.
We were having a very good time, the conversation was flowing naturaly.
Time actually flew by and I actually got a call from the judge's office about 3 hours later. They had a decision.
I invited him to come to the court house across the street with me so we could continue to talk after I spoke with the judge.
He agreed.
We won the case! I called my boss and Gil and I went out to dinner, it was raining cats and dogs by then and every Paulistano know you just don't try to drive around rush hour during a summer storm when the sky gets black, you find a Mall, a store a movie and kill time until the storm has passed along with any localized street flooding and traffic jam.
We had a great dinner while the rain pounded the city and it's stubborn commuters who fought inch by inch to see who got home first.
Not us, we were sitting back having a relaxed dinner and literally falling in love for each other with every passing minute.
We ended up staying until the restaurant closed, well, in Sao Paulo that means 2 am...
Sao Paulo never sleeps so we had other places to go, we ended up going from Bookstore to coffee shop to another restaurant, a fast food place this time because we were already hungry again...
All of a sudden it was morning and it was almost time for me to go back to work.
I didn't even want to go to work. I wanted to stay with him...
Talk about love at first site...
I was young and a night without any sleep didn't affect me at all, try to do that today and I will end up in a coma.
I still had to go home and face my girlfriend of 7 years and he had to do the same.
I tried to break up with my girlfriend because what I felt for Gil I had never felt for her in all of the 7 years we were together.
I really liked her. She was/is a wonderful girl. She actually still is my sister's best friend, they go to the gym together every day.
I have no doubt I did LOVE her, but in a completely different level, what I experienced with Gil was a first for me. I never knew you could feel like this for another person.
With Gil I had butterflies in my stomach every time I saw him. Hell, I still do!
It changed me beyond comprehension.
It was like before I met him life was in black and white and after I met him life was in neon bright colors with sparkles.
Not that my life was bad, not at all. I was happy, I was ok. I would have probably gotten married and had kids with her and would have had a calm, nice life.
However, with Gil I learned the real meaning of the word LOVE, passion at first and even better, today I look at our 14 years together and I realized that my life with him has tough me the true meaning of happiness.
I am happy. I am not kidding you. I am always happy, even when things are not well, if I am with him I am truly HAPPY.
I would like to offer today a cheers to LOVE and HAPPINESS!



Stephanie said...

What a beautiful story!!! Happy Anniversary to you both! We'd all be so lucky to find love as you have!

SN said...

That is so amazing! Congrats to both of you on this special day.


Rachel said...

Beautiful :) Congrats on 14 yrs together!! That is an amazing feat.!

Gil and Ray said...


I have no doubt you found love :)
Thank you!


Gil and Ray said...

Thank you Sara and Rachel, you guys are so sweet!


Jana @ Paper plains said...

Aw, this was just one of those great things to read on a rainy day! Congrats to both you! There are too many people that argue against your relationship and will NEVER ever feel that in their lifetime, I feel sorry for them.

Very happy for you both and have a fantastic anniversary =)

Though Im still pissed about that house they tore down? I love that bookstore but wow, what a shame!

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Jana,

So true, it is a very sad situation, as and I get older I pray to God to give me patience and tolerance to be able to be cool when facing blunt discrimination...I have been less and less understanding of such blunt agression that we still endure from time to time...the last time was with American Airlines...but I don't wanna go there...not today...
The important thing is that we are TRULY HAPPY, we live a quiet and simple life and this is more than enough fo us.
I am confident civil rights will evolve slowly but surely in the right direction so I don't torture myself about it...
Thanks for the kind comment.
If you liked that house, you should find a picture of Avenida Paulista on the turn of the century. You would have a freaking heart attack...the most beautiful houses from one end to the other...
There were still many standing during the 70's when I was a kid.
You just gave me a great post idea...I will gather some cool antique Sao Paulo pictures and write a post before and after... :)

Danielle said...

Happy Anniversary!! :D :D Thank you for sharing your happiness with all of us. :)

Gil and Ray said...

Dear friend Danielle,

Thank you for the kind words!
I am also very HAPPY for you and Alexandre with the new move.


Jim said...

Happy anniversary Ray and Gil. 14 years -- good for you. This April will be 11 years for Luiz and I. I won't be able to blog about our first meeting, however. It's rated NC-17.

But I absolutely love your tale of carefree talking for hours and hours and hours. You know you are on to something when that happens.

Congrats again -- and may your lives continue to bring you both such happiness.

Gil and Ray said...

Dear friend Jim,

Thank you so much, yes, you are write, when you loose track of time while talking to someone, that is a very good sign...
Believe it or not, we still do that today...we talk ourselves to death, about everything, today, is stuff we read on the internet that we share with each other and discuss world politics etc...
Hey, Congratulations on your up and coming April 11 year Celebration!
It's always good to hear from you.


Gil and Ray said...

Oops, I meant, you are right!

Too early for me...

Jim said...

Luiz just smacked me across the side of my head --- this year will be 12 years together.

Oops. =;-)

Gil and Ray said...

I will dare to say you are having such a good laid back
"Qualidade de vida" that you are loosing track of time... ;)

That is not necessarily a bad thing :)


Gil and Ray said...

Dear Readers,

Thank you guys!
There's nothing like feeling your humanity and kindness through your words. It is really precious to us. So, again, thank you all very much. People like you are the main reason for us to regret the perspective of leaving this great country behind. American and Canadians have in common this gentleness in their words when communicating with their fellows. Not that Brazilians are too different, but, maybe, they ( us ) tend to be a little more impersonal and almost too humorous for my taste, yes, I have gotten a little bit more uptight living here...and like Ray said, we Paulistas are uptight to begin with, if you know what I mean. Well, I prefer the North American way when the matter is communication, and I will miss it greatly.