“Can I help you find somewhere?”
The voice behind us speaks in a soft Portuguese accent. We must look a little lost in this new city – this city that I’m starting to fall in love with. I turn around to see a beautiful woman with a warm smile standing there. Our guardian angel chuckles to hear that we are looking for the ‘Museu dos Óculos’. She puts us back on track and waves us on our way.
Eventually, we find ourselves walking in through the door of a stunning white and blue house lifted straight out of 1900’s Italy which has since been converted into an opticians. After a few words with the receptionist I am relieved to discover that the museum lies just up some wooden stairs.
We are soon greeted in Portuguese by Ivani, a middle-aged woman with reddish curly hair. She has a warm face and an infectious laugh.
And so she walks and talks.
We journey through the ages past silver monocles and ivory fans, across the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and up to the designer sunglasses found in Vogue Magazine today.
There is something very lovely about this woman; we instantly have a connection.
After our personal tour I find out that she has been curating the free museum for over 17 years now with the love of her life. She gave up being the journalist for the Mayor of São Paulo and this was her personal collection.
We thank her for the tour as she gives us a tight hug. Suddenly she tips her head and says “coffee?”
Over steaming espressos we talk about travel, fate, and my love of Brazilian telenovelas. It was a perfect afternoon. We laughed a lot.
Then with one last hug we say goodbye to our new friend. She wishes us happiness on our journey and I’m suddenly touched by her kindness.
Walking out into the blazing afternoon sun once more, I can’t help but smile.
It’s strange where life can take us sometimes. The places we go and the people we meet along the way change us forever.
And that afternoon, it only took 700 pairs of glasses to see that these little random moments are what makes this big crazy world so utterly beautiful.