After almost 25 years in California, our family moved to Florida. It was time.  Doris and I had done some incredible things throughout our stay in California.  Doris started Samba Collection in our art Studio on Daisey Avenue.  I had my first art show there, was accepted into the new artist gallery at the LA County Museum of Art, co-authored VisualText with Amnon Meyers, we started SambaLa, we owned Tonys Restaurant for a number of years.

SambaLa was by far our most expensive hobby but in many ways the most gratifying.  I found myself, Doris and our friends doing things we would never been able to do without our little samba school by the sea.  Carnavals we put on, the best carnaval ball ever put on in LA (in my humble opinion), launching the Rio car in South Korea, playing for Bridget Fonda’s wedding, doing the 2010 Rose Parade, playing with Beck and 160 other musicians, the Brazilian Day in LA, and most recently, playing for the world-cup trophy tour.  But the biggest of all by far was Unidos do Mundo where we got 19 countries to parade samba dancers and drummers in the Sambadrome in the year 2000.

I also met Dr. Ricardo Carezani who turned me onto real science and what it is to truly be a scientist.  I love hanging out with the most brilliant minds on the planet that no one knows about in the newly formed John Chappell Natural Philosophy Society. I got to do the movie Einstein Wrong – The Miracle Year and see my father go from a retired electrical engineer to a very competent scientist in physics and gravity.

I saw the birth of our child Luanda in 2005 on Ocean Avenue in Long Beach and remember running at 4 am in the morning with my cell phone to our car since we didn’t have a garage at the time.

So many great memories…

But there are times to move on in life and this was one of those times.  The traffic, the droughts, the constant responsibilities of being leaders in the Los Angeles Brazilian community, the higher and higher taxes, the constant fighting to pay the expenses in a place that is although very beautiful, had lost its appeal to us.

Don’t get me wrong, Los Angeles is a very special place with world-beating people and many life-time friends. But for Doris and I, it was time to pull up our stakes and move on. It wasn’t hard for me because personally, because I have always been an adventurer and was ready for a change.  Heck, I sold everything and moved to Rio when I was 26 when I had a great job and great future in the United States.

My Big Surprises in Florida

There are a number of things that surprised me here in Florida.  Number one, at least where we live, GREEN.  Luanda turned to us one day in the car and said: “everything is so GREEN here”.  I asked her do you like the green? She said “yes!  It all looks like a park!”  She is right.  Here in Boca Raton, you feel like you on vacation every day. Of course Palm County gains 500,000 snow birds every fall and winter because people want to be down here and they want to feel like they are on vacation.

Something else: taxes. Six percent and there is no state tax.  Wow, in California, you spent $100 and the bill was over $110 just because of the taxes.  Wow, here, it is $106.  Over 4% savings right off the bat.

Something bad: Chipotle doesn’t have sofritas! California usually leads in new trends.  Here no.  Doris and I are big-city people in a slower-paced world but we are just fine with that these days.

Programming and Technology

You would think that there is no programming down here in Florida.  Think again. They need programmers here.  There are lots of retired wealthy people wanting to invest in “disruptive technology” and this technology needs programmers. Money to invest and a need for computer nerds exists here!  Good for me!

My Biggest Surprise of All

It rained almost every day here when we first got here in Florida.  Every day.  And some of the storms were STRONG.  Funny thing though. With each rainstorm, I felt something was right again with the world.  That all the rain that didn’t fall during my last 25 years in California was falling down all at once on us here in Florida. It was very cathartic!

I looked up and saw gorgeous clouds in the sky.  Imagine, half our world in Southern California was a picture-perfect blue sky most every day or a perfectly grey one with the marine layer.  The sky didn’t exist in Southern California.  There was no reason to look up.

But here in Florida, clouds come in all shapes and sizes, with lightning storms at night that Luanda had never seen.  Clouds at sunrise and sunset that went from deep purple to white to brilliant yellow making watercolor paintings for all to see.

Rain and clouds are natural.  No rain and clouds is unnatural. Southern California is great for Hollywood because it doesn’t rain.  But its not great for those who love clouds.  I like the rain.  I miss the rain.  But I really missed the clouds.  The kind of clouds we used to watch go by while laying in the grass in Ohio.


Final Thoughts…

Luanda is happy here with her new school and although it is very demanding, she literally yells “I LOVE my new school!” now and then.  That is why we moved to Boca.  My parents moved to Worthington Ohio for the schools for us.  It was super important.  We moved here to Boca for the schools for Luanda.

The name of her school?

Verde Elementary.

Verde in Portuguese and Spanish means green.

Welcome to Florida!  Hope to see some of my California friends here for a SHORT stay.  😉