When I lived in Brazil
It was the best time of my life when I lived in Brazil. I arrived at the age of 6 and left at 8. Just two years. We took a ship from London to Rio, a floating hotel. My brother was with me, a year older than me and much braver. We had our own life on that ship, full of cartoons, fancy dress parties, and ocean views.
Rio danced to welcome us. I walked along Copacabana beach in my red swimming suit, carrying a bucket, squinting into the sunshine, the beautiful patterned pavements beneath my bare feet. At night we visited the Corcovado. Giant moths fluttered in the hot air; crowds, and the strange musical language crescendoed there, at the top of the world. I was a small girl standing amazed and wind swept at the feet of that concrete and vast, outstretched Christ.
My brother (aged 7) left for boarding school while we lived in Sao Paulo. For the first time I had my parents to myself, the house was quieter, the days gentle. Everything was bathed in love and sunshine. Our home was large, and my mother made my bedroom a nest of light and colours.