Glenn Greenwald: Life Beyond Borders
By Fred Bernstein
How They Met
Greenwald: I was drinking a guarana tea on Ipanema beach; he was playing beach volleyball. His towel was near mine, and we started talking. I was 38; he was 19. I was established in my career; he was poor. I grew up in a South Florida suburb; he grew up an orphan in a Rio de Janeiro slum. So I was sure, especially in the beginning, that everyone assumed it was the classic midlife crisis type of relationship. But our love kept growing, and that made any concerns about what other people thought irrelevant.
Over time, we learned to turn the age difference into an asset, something that keeps our relationship vibrant and mutually stimulating. He prevents me from getting old, cranky, set in my ways, stagnant, and unspontaneous, and I keep him focused on career, future, responsibilities, and avoiding at least some of the bad mistakes of youth. It translates into this: I end up playing video games with a bunch of 23-year-olds until 3 a.m., and he ends up reading the Nietzsche I give him. Being young and from Rio, he's still way ahead of me in the hedonism department. But I've been learning to give up control and be more spontaneous something you can only do if you have absolute trust in the other person.
Miranda: I was playing volleyball with friends, and he was reading on the beach, and the ball almost hit him. I apologized, and from then on I was looking at him and he was looking at me. We talked after the game. I didn't speak much English, and he only knew a few words of Portugese, but we communicated everything important. When you meet the right person, you know it, and we knew it in that moment.
I think it took one week until we moved in together. I had dated men before Glenn, but not many; I'm a guy who likes to settle down. We've been together five and a half years. I used to go everywhere with him, but now that I'm studying, I sometimes have to stay in Rio when he travels. That makes me uncomfortable. He exposes himself to so much hate, and there are a lot of crazy people in the world. He has to do what he has to do. But when he travels without me, something's not right for me. I hope we will have children. I never knew my father, and my mother died when I was 5, but I was always around my cousins' kids. Kids bring so much joy to life, and I want Glenn to have that experience, too. I think he's going to be a great father.