Depending on how you work it, our family has a multitude of last names. There's Roberto Copa Matos or Roberto Copa. And if you're a telemarketer he's Roberto Matos. Then there's Elizabeth Turnbull - she didn't change her name when she got married, but she's still technically Elizabeth Copa. When she gets around to it, she'll be Elizabeth Copa Turnbull (to mirror her husband's last name). And then there's Daniela, our daughter. She's Daniela Copa Perez. Or Daniela Copa. (So far, no telemarketers calling for her.)

To keep it simple, we'll just call ourselves the Copas (who are part of the Turnbull Clan). Ok, so maybe simple isn't quite the right word.



Roberto works as a lab technician at UNC's school of pharmacology. He spends his days doing assays on brain receptors. It all sounds very hoity-toity, but Roberto insists that it's little more than cooking and following a recipe. But he recommends you don't eat the radioactive liganss he works with.

 What Roberto does says very little about him. Like many, he's best defined by what he does when he isn't working. For instance, one nigh when Elizabeth wanted to turn off her brain (something she does not do well) and watch "silly TV," Roberto got very excited. He had just the thing to relax them: The Howard Hughes Medical Institute Holiday Lecture Series

Roberto's latest passion (fortunately for Elizabeth) has migrated from holiday lectures to organic gardening. If he was independently wealthy, Roberto would live on a beautiful farm in the countryside, growing only for pleasure and eating the fruits of his labor. 

The Copas are not independently wealthy, or even dependently wealthy. But we are creating our own extraordinary farm at our little suburban homestead on the cul-de-sac in one of Durham's very ordinary neighborhoods. Farm may be a bit exagerated. But we are cultivating what will soon be a lovely Jardin Potager filled with organic fruits and vegetables.

And that, our dear friends, says it all about Roberto. In his heart of hearts, he's a creator. Whether it's assays, watercolors, or organic gardens, Roberto sees life as a piece of art waiting to be created.


Unlike Roberto, Elizabeth is probably best defined by what she does. She is an entrepreneur of the purest kind. She always has one eye on the many tasks she's juggling and another on how just about everything would make a great business venture -- usually for someone else (fortunately for her family).

Elizabeth runs her own business helping nonprofits with their marketing and fundraising. Her passion lies in service and international development and few things bring her greater pleasure than the thought that her work might make it possible for more people to get the help they need.

When she's not working, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with a good book, usually in Spanish -- another one of her beloved pastimes.

Like Roberto, Elizabeth is excited about the new "sustainable settlement" her husband is creating and she's up to her elbows in the project. Elizabeth has a heart for adventure and few things seems more exciting than the prospect of living from the land.


Daniela is a beautiful young lady who very much has her own things to say about herself. She's creating her own webpage, so be patient. It will be worth the wait.