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  • At precisely three years and four months ago (April 5th, 2009) I was landing here in Boston. I had left family and friends back in São Paulo (Brazil) and moved here to start in a new position, to get married and build my own family. And even though it was my choice to move here, I knew I would terribly miss my friends and family, with whom I was used to talk, confide in, and just enjoy each other's company on a daily basis.

    My first arrangement was to find a place to play soccer. I wasn't even here yet and I already had a team to play on. I arrived on a Sunday and the following Saturday I had my first soccer match. One thing to keep my mind occupied.

    What really made all the difference in my life here in Boston though, happened purely by coincidence, or better saying, by destiny. While researching where to live in the Boston area, it was recommended that I talk to a coworker that lived in one of the cities I was interested on (Brookline). This guy was Russ, and both him and his wife (Adina) would become my very best friends.

    We had already exchanged a few emails, but our first real conversation happened when we got a shuttle ride from the office to the nearest T (subway/metro) station together. He told me a bit about himself, including the fact that his wife was German, while I shared with him that my fiancé-soon-to-be-wife had also been born in Germany. When we parted and went each our own way back home, my first thought was that maybe I would be able to make good new friends here after all.

    To say that both Russ and Adina saved my life would be an understatement. They represent the true essence of the word friends, from the many many many trips to Ikea to buy furniture to my house (plus helping carry it up two flights of stairs and get it setup), through the many deep conversations in moments of need, to the countless dinners we had together, laughing and talking about life.

    When I got forced assigned to spend a week teaching a class in China, exactly on the week of my wife's birthday, only a few months after we had been married, with her already pregnant, Russ and Adina took her out for dinner on her birthday and made me feel a little less frustrated by knowing that she would have someone here to make her feel welcomed and loved.

    When my wife and I had to hurry to the hospital in the middle of the night to bring our little one into this world, I had no doubt about whom to call to watch our eldest girl while we where there. I knew I wouldn't need to worry about a thing while she was with them, and she indeed had a blast.

    They were always there whenever I really needed them, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

    But of course life wouldn't be life without change, so today we had lunch together to spend some quality time before saying goodbye and wishing a bon voyage on their move to Germany, which will now be their home.

    It's strange, but now, after all these years that I'm already living here in Boston, I finally understand how it was for all my friends and family back in São Paulo to see me leave... to know that it was an important journey for me and wish me luck... while at the same time feeling a deep sadness. Sadness not because of the loss of a friend, as I believe we always carry our true friends inside of us wherever we may go, but because it will not be as easy and convenient to see each other, when a quick phone call was all that was needed to rearrange the route back from work and stop for drinks and a good chat at the bar just across the street.

    Still, it is always good to know that there is another corner of the world where you can be certain that you will feel just like home, because a true friend is there waiting for you.

    In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~ Albert Schweitzer
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