4 minute read

Meet the Fernandes Family

www.BlackhawkLivingCA.com @BlackhawkLivingCA #BlackhawkLivingCA

Photo by Kim Lind Photography
Story by Megan Scott, Resident since 2010

Alamo Safeway holds a special place in the Fernandes’s hearts because it’s where Lilia and Michael first bumped into each other 14 years ago. Michael says he feels as though something pushed him into Lilia that day, “When I first saw her at Safeway I knew there was something special about her and I needed to say hello. It almost felt like someone was pushing me to go up to her and I am so glad I did.”

Lilia says it was Michael’s kindness that made her fall in love with him. “I knew Michael was the one because of his selfless, generous and sensitive personality. He always puts everyone else’s needs before his own and will do anything to make his friends and family happy.” The couple married in 2008 at the Roundhill Country Club.

Michael is a Bay Area local. He was born in Walnut Creek and raised in Livermore. Growing up, he says he always wanted to be a firefighter, but a college job working for Starbucks sent him on a very different path, “While working at Starbucks I was offered a job servicing espresso equipment. I ended up realizing that I really enjoy working in the coffee industry and opened my own company - ABCEE, LLC - which imports European coffee beans and espresso equipment, and provides services to Starbucks and other companies. Good coffee is like fine scotch. It has to touch the tongue easy (low acidity) and have layers as it goes down to know you have something special. l fell in love with Trimani coffee because of these special properties it carries. Trimani means three hands: the farmer, the roaster and the barista. All must be perfect; only then can you have the best possible coffee.”

Lilia was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan and lived in Greece before her parents immigrated to the US when she was 13-years-old. Within a short time, Lilia says her family settled in Pleasanton, and everyone got busy pursuing their dreams. “Moving to this country provided opportunities for the whole family that they never had as immigrants in any other country. My siblings and I had access to an incredible education and world-class music teachers and coaches. My parents opened their own businesses and began their pursuit of the American dream.”

A Danville business owner, Lilia owns a law practice in the downtown area called Bulgucheva Law, p.c. The practice focuses primarily on real estate and business litigation matters. Lilia says the most rewarding part of her work comes with helping others. “Occasionally, I will take on a case against local cities and their police departments when someone’s constitutional rights have been violated. The most rewarding part of my work is the ability to help those who have been harmed or wronged and get them the compensation that they deserve.” When Lilia decided to open her own law practice in 2017, she quickly realized that Danville was the perfect location. It provided a gorgeous and quiet setting so she could focus on her work, yet it also has a beautiful downtown area, which is full of great restaurants and shops.

Music is Lilia’s other passion as she is a classically trained pianist and a soprano, with performances spanning from the Bay Area to Rome, Italy. “Music has always been an important part of my life. It provided stability when I first came to America and was something I could always do in order to feel grounded and focused. Nothing can ever compare to singing opera to an appreciative audience. You open your heart and soul to the public, which makes you extremely vulnerable. But it is all worth it when you are able to interpret the divine music the way the composer had intended,” says Lilia.

The Fernandes family includes two vivacious children, 7-year-old Daniel and 4-year-old Angelica. Daniel is an amazing athlete. He enjoys playing tennis and swims for the Blackhawk HOX. He also plays piano. Angelina has been dancing ballet since she was 2-years-old. She loves participating in dance recitals, singing with her mom and playing the violin. Several pets complete the household including Riki, a 12-year-old toy poodle, Emily, a 6-yearold cat, Drogo, a bearded dragon, Koda, a 19-year-old Painted horse and the newest addition, Rainbow, a Cangue bird.

Michael and Lilia say they always wanted to live in Blackhawk because of the strong sense of community and great local schools. “We wanted to live by the golf course and were lucky to find a home right behind the Lakeside Country Club in 2016. Although we do not play golf, seeing the golf course

every morning from our bedroom balcony is a daily reminder of how blessed we are to live in this wonderful community. Our favorite part about living in Blackhawk is a sense of community. You feel so much love and support from your neighbors and friends. In addition, the residents of Blackhawk are inspiring to us because everyone finds time to care for others in need, despite their own hectic lives,” says Lilia.

www.BlackhawkLivingCA.com @BlackhawkLivingCA #BlackhawkLivingCA