Monday, December 20, 2010
Christmas, from the other side.
I have to say, it can sometimes SUCK to be an expat during Christmas. The SU of the suck is double when you are an expat from a country with 2 to 4 seasons and you are living in Brazil.
You see, Brazil is like the inside of an easy bake oven during the Holiday Season. Hell hath no fury like Brazilian summer.
I remember my first summer in Brazil. I was all excited to experience my husband's version of Christmas. I was even a bit excited to be spending my first Christmas away from home. Oh, how grown up and worldly I had become.
Plus, it didn't even feel like Christmas. I was more golden than the turkey after all the beach time, probably just as crisp. And I don't care how many lights you put on building gates and palm trees, it ain't Christmas to me.
We got to the Grandma's house and it was all hustle and bustle, green and red, food everywhere, and people drinking. Of course, we were all melting too. Stupidly cold beers were being passed out to help with the heat, and we were all crammed on the veranda.
It was awesome. Of course I missed my family but with all the color, flavors, and sass of it all, it was easy to be distracted.
Then it happened. They put on Christmas music in English. I heard the start of Silent Night and the tears started to flow. My family isn't the circle around the fire and sing carols type of family but the music still struck a cord. The thing was that, it was a part of my Christmas. It reminded me of how weird it was for me to have swamp ass at a Christmas party. I should have been drinking red wine or egg nog, although I hate egg nog. And what the hell was with the french toast!? Good stuff but really, as a Christmas appetizer?
Don't worry, it all ended well. I was shuffled to the phone to call my family and matar saudade (kill the missings, for lack of a better term).
Now we combine traditions when we are in Brazil. We open family presents Christmas eve with the family and the kids open the presents from us on Christmas morning. Santa does stocking for my little half Americans in Brazil. And we have Christmas day lunch as well as a Christmas eve dinner.
On rare occasions like this year, we get to come stateside for the holidays. Times like these, we do it 110% with all the treats, all the drinks, all the presents, and damn good stockings.
How about you guys? How have you blended your holiday traditions? What do you miss most about Christmas at your other home?