happy new year from 5 bodebrozes

max, angela, mimi, giacomo, meows

Hello hello, and welcome to our 2022 holiday card edition! This year we got used to being a family of five: 2 adults, 2 kids, 1 cat, all chaos. Things are incredibly hectic right now, but it's (mostly) joyous. Read on for individual updates!


~ in memoriam: nonna thea (1929 - 2022) ~


I'm (Angela) so sad to write another in memoriam this year, but my beloved grandmother, Teodora, died in May 2022, just a few weeks after her 95th birthday.

Nonna Thea was an anchoring force in my life. I moved around a lot throughout my childhood and adulthood, but Nonna's apartment in Gorizia, Italy, was always there. Nonna and I shared many similarities: the biggest one being we both loved making and seeing art - I would guess Nonna painted more than a hundred oil paintings. My favorite memories are going to art galleries with her.

Nonna was a legendary chatterbox. One of my favorite memories (now a popular family story) was when I brought Max to Gorizia for the first time. Nonna spoke no English, and Max no Italian. Nonetheless, on a long drive through Friuli, Nonna chatted with Max for long stretches. An exasperated Max - trying to interject - turned to me and said, "Please tell her I don't understand a word she's saying!" I interrupted her: "Nonna - Nonna! He can't understand you." Nonna waved me away, "I know, I'm just chatting." We took a trip through Italy together in 2007. She talked my ear off. It was the only time in my life that I lost patience with her; we were on a bus to San Gimignano and she was loudly commenting on the other passengers. "Nonna, please!"

She was deeply devout; I often said (and still say) that she embodied Catholicism's best teachings - on charity, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion. Her favorites were the Virgin Mary and Saint Francis; she sent me rosaries, and reminded me earnestly about how she was praying for me, for Max, for the kids. I felt like I could tell her anything, and I did. As a result, sometimes little old ladies in Gorizia would stop us to say, "Oh, Thea! Is this the American granddaughter? [to me] Hi! How was the job interview?"

She had unflagging energy - even well into her 90s. She claimed not to have a sense of humor, but she was a bright spark of life, full of good will, earnestness, gratitude and curiosity. She was inspiring - the way she found joy in a life full of loss and change. I will miss her forever.

Nonna, Mimi, Angela in 2019


Mimi

  • Turned 3 in February.
  • Loves: painting, "projects", "experiments", making holiday cards, her teddy bear ("Maraca" (?)), her friends, marshmallows, Miss Molly (preschool teacher), her brother, dinosaurs, Peppa Pig, Dino Ranch.
  • Mimi "grew up" even more in how she related to herself and others - she could tell us when she was frustrated, or feeling jealous, or excited. She became adept at finding compromises ("comp-mise"), attempted (and often succeeded) in playing us off each other, and learned how to lie, tell jokes, and offer comfort.
  • Her imagination really took off: the closet housed monsters or wolves; certain songs evoked brave little girls exploring dark forests; her stuffed animals went on vacation; her bath toys were nervous schoolchildren. When we asked her how her day was at school, she sometimes told us she flew up into the air and got stuck in the sky. One of her favorite games was pretending to be an orphaned fruit bat (?) who wants to come live with us.
Mimi

10am gelato at the italian christmas market




Giacomo

Halloween costume was ewok

Giacomo

  • Turned 1 in October.
  • Loves: balls, things that roll, cats, laughing, music, taking it easy, electronics (turning the TV on!), his sister, giving slobbery kisses, giving family and strangers affectionate smacks, trying to get adopted at the playground, sugar (he is a bloodhound for junk food!!), doing whatever his sister does.
  • Hates: diaper changes, clothing changes, haircuts, getting his nails done.
  • Giacomo spent much of 2022 in easygoing bliss; so much so that we called him a Buddha baby. He was happy to sit and smile and play (independently!). In the fall, he got a bit more mobile and opinionated - but still overall remaining a jolly, sociable guy.



Angela

  • 😭 Quit my job at Optoro, after having spent almost 5 years there.
  • 🎉 Joined Discord in June as a Senior Data Scientist - Causal Inference. Very happy so far.
  • 🎮 Bought a Nintendo Switch. Became addicted. Send me your Nintendo friend code! Ask me about my feelings on Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (I have an essay in my head about this).
  • 🤔 Made 120+ predictions in January 2022, and was decently accurate again. Will blog about it sometime.
  • ⚓ Got my first tattoo, in memory of Nonna Thea (1929-2022).

Angela

yo these years are flying by




Max

serious gentlemen

Max

2023 was dominated by the challenge of juggling work and caring for our two kiddos. I am now in my second year at the World Bank – where I work on issues as diverse as climate change, World Bank reform, and researching the effectiveness of our loans. I enjoy the work as it allows me to witness the sausage being made – from project teams to senior management and the bank’s Board. On the side, I’ve also continued teaching my Master’s-level course as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown. This year, I extended my course from half a semester to a full semester. That was both a blessing and a curse: while I enjoyed teaching, it also meant that I spent countless evenings and weekends in service of my students while Angela had to solo parent (thanks, honey!). At the risk of sounding like a politician, I’ll forgo teaching next year – to make more time for my family and myself.

Outside of enjoying the kiddos growing up, the best part of the year was the small work, and parenting breaks my mom gifted us. She visited DC in the spring and fall, we had a joint vacation in California, and we visited Germany for Christmas. Thanks for the help, mom!

Lastly, we’ve missed some friends as they moved to faraway places (London, Amsterdam, East Jerusalem) but also gained some new ones – largely via Mimi’s school friends. I also had a great time reconnecting with grad school friends on solo weekend wedding trips to Mexico and Philly. So in summary: the year was all about kids, work, and trying to catch an occasional break!