Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas and Family

We look forward to Christmas and getting the entire family together.  That goes double for us expats because it's rare that we get to have these family get-togethers with our own families.

Then the novelty wears off.

You see, we Americans, a chunk of us anyway, don't live near our family. We don't have weekly family lunches like the Brazilians. We aren't used to the in-your-face comfort that family members have with each other. You know, the one that allows us to say 'You look kind of fat in that sweater.'  

Brazilians have it down.  You become less and less sensitive to your family's idiosyncrasies when you are faced with them, at the very least, on a weekly basis.  Uncle's never-ending conversation topics, Aunt's annoyance at the invasion of personal space, or Grandpa's gas just doesn't bother you as much when you are around them constantly.

Now look at my family for instance.  My parents produced 4 offspring during their bedroom fun time.  Each one of us live in a different city.  We are close by American standards... I would dare to say that we are even close by international standards.

So you take us, our parents, our spouses, and the couple of babies we have produced and put us into one house.  There will be a bit of bickering. Someone is ALWAYS going to be too sensitive. My brothers are always going to say I'm over-reacting.  Annoying, really. I could be bit by a rabid squirrel while being beat by the UPS guy and they'd still give me shit if I complained.

And the thing is, I love it. Yet again, call me a sadomasochist but it just melts my butter to be able to bicker and laugh with my family.  I enjoy gossiping with the 10 adults (usually on a one on one basis and about another one of the group), rolling around with the 4 kids, and celebrating the joint need for a drink because of all the "festivities".

Call me crazy, but it doesn't seem like Christmas if someone isn't getting smacked in the back of the head or mocking one or all of the siblings.  What kind of Christmas doesn't have people debating meal choices, spilling coffee or wine, and general chaos of all kinds.

I think Christmas with the family is like a good Broadway play.  It requires laughing, crying, drama, an obstacle, spontaneous song, and a happy ending.  And we'll have met all the requirements this first day, that is, once we get the Karaoke set up.

Merry Christmas!


  1. I hear you my brother lives in china (8 years now), I have been here for a year and a half, but I left my hometown where my family lives at 20 and just go back for visits. While I think the bickering is entertaining, my family kinda gets stressed that I joke and stay really laid back about it.

    My mom's family freaked out the whole time I was in college for majoring in Sociology and Gender Studies. They didn't think it was a good career path, hey unless your a CEO (or some niche )careers are next to dead in the U.S. anyways.

    My dad's family is pretty numb and they just all stare at the t.v. during christmas all the conversations are like scripts. My grandparents watch Fox news 24-7. Yup. Very white republican middle class. I feel so welcomed.

  2. Have a wonderful 2011 with lots of good luck!

  3. Sounds wonderful!
    I alos have a big family and can't wait to get to my family in Brazil.

    Merry Christmas Rachel!

  4. Happy Holidays Rachel! Enjoy the times of craziness and fun!