Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Married into the Mob

Apparently I've married into the Mafia. As it turns out "the family" has changed our weekend lunch from Sunday to Saturday. There was no notice. There was no checking of availability. We were told.

For once I actually had concrete plans on Saturday. We had another lunch with someone who is not in the same bloodline as Mr. Rant. Oh my, I just realized that I am writing had. We HAD another lunch. See, the transfer is complete. I am now a member of this mob family.

But it's the family. All other things must be put aside. And there's always an excuse. Mr. Rant pointed out that this was going to be our first time eating cozido together as a family since the Grandmother died in December.

I know I'm supposed to be all sentimental about it but we have eaten a lot of meals together since her death. What's next, this is the first time we've gotten together for grilled cheese and beer since... No deal people! No excuses! No manipulating me with your skillful doe eyes and fast Portuguese. This girl has plans! We have plans with my friends! Not only that, but those plans include a lunch that is going to be of the Mexican persuasion made by someone of the Mexican persuasion.

And when I mentioned that we have plans I got the most awesome Mafia response humanly possible. Translated it was:

"Oh well. Saturday is better for the family." 

In that one line it basically says this: 

You will be at the lunch and you will be happy about it. There will be considerable shit talk and hard feelings if you aren't. Your Mother will be upset! We are your elders and will be dying in the next 30 to 40 years. You must spend as much time with us as humanly possible. By the way, we own you. 

I have debated standing up to this. I am actually considering saying no (although it should be noted that I already asked my friend if we can switch days). But to say no would but such an overwhelming task. For starters, I have to take on Mr. Rant. That one isn't too hard except he gets quite territorial and moody when it comes to family stuff. Lots of egg shells.

2nd would be my Mother-in-law followed thirdly by the aunts. This also means that it will be mentioned at the following 2 lunches that we did not attend the cozido, that it was a shame, and how disappointed Vava was.

4th, there's Vava. She is the sister of the late Grandmother who is visiting Rio for a couple of weeks.

Bitterly I wonder if this is something I should even try to do. I mean, we're talking about 1 skinny white girl against an entire culture.  "The Family" would not be pleased.

What would you do? 


  1. I have pretty much weaned my MIL off weekly lunches on the weekend. At first she was offended and pouted a lot. Then she was sarcastic when I did actually show up for a lunch. Now she just sends food home with Luiz for me to eat another time. I definitely lost face, but I decided to hold my ground and cut the cord. Now it's just the new reality. No hard feelings.

  2. one more thing... just as she is allowed to value her behaviors as a Brazilian, I am allowed to value mine as an US American. I do not mean her offense, but only to have us meet half way (even if we are here in Brazil).

    I think Luiz actually gets the worst of it...

  3. I get what you are saying and I agree. I just spoke with the Mr. and he gets my point of view but at the same time feels that it's not a big deal to cancel with friends but is with family. And I think the Brazilian spouse usually gets the worse of it except Daniel does have great coping skills and a strong ability to ignore people and things if needed.

  4. Since Luiz is already taking the brunt for Jim's sinful unbrazilian like behavior why not blame him for your absence to this upcoming lunch with La Famiglia as well? You can say that he threw a tantrum when you canceled your rendezvous with him and psychologically manipulated you to keep it (mention that pouting was involved).
    La Famiglia will at first be offended to then ponder "This Luiz dude is a menace, but god what a master at the art".
    You see this is why I am sticking with my "only marry a Brazilian if she grew up in an orphanage" policy.

  5. Gritty- You just made my day!

  6. Oh dear glad my MIL doesn't live close.by.

  7. Rachel dear,
    you have all my suport here.I'm Brazilian born and raised here,and I'm from the Northeast,where this kind of family pressure and conventions are so much worse.I suffer a lot cos I'm not really into that kind of atmosphere,never been really,my whole family must talk a lot about be but I think that they're even used to my "cold" ways...but the real real problem is my boyfriend's family since we've been dating for 4 years and he's really connected to the family so is your Mr.Rant.I can't even count how many times I skipped parties and lunch so I could enjoy some scheduled time with my friends.My tip for you dear is.don't cross your lines!if you really don't think you you want to go,well enjoy yourself,Im sure you've already made many many concessions in situations like this.do what's best for you,at least once in a while,that doesn't make you a bitch.
    I wrote much more than I should,but I must say that I love your blog,read it every day and I love it,I think I have that crazy feeling that I'd love to meet you cos I already see you as a friend,funny hum? I was too shy to comment but I'll try to do it more often now.
    hope you'll be fine and manage things the best way you find.you're amazing ,your kids are the cutest things ever.keep blogging,you make me happy!

  8. Thanks for the support Manu! You are right, I have made many concessions when it comes to this kind of thing. And please comment! I love it! Glad I make you happy :)

  9. only marry a Brazilian if she grew up in an orphanage" policy.
    lol this is soooo funny I always tell my boyfriend almost the same.that I'd like him more if he was an orphan hahaha
    we're evil people.

  10. We were with you till #4. Now we're wavering! Old ladies visiting for short durations weild HUGE power!

  11. ok Rachel,I'll comment more!since you said it so gently!you'll get sick and tired of me! haha
    and definetely you and the cool people around here make me happy,always nice to know I'll read great things here.

  12. Ah family...can't live with 'em, can't kill 'em :)

    We're in our region of Germany isolated from the family...4 hours car ride and only my MIL & FIL travel up here to see us. The rest are a long 10 hour flight away...I don't know how well we'd acclimate to them living nearby after 10 years all by ourselves!

  13. Rachel,

    Bee and jay makes a good point!
    Will you have another chance to see the grand aunt?
    Jim makes a good point too, however, I don't think this is a US/Brazil cultural thing, if you were Brazilian you would be in the same predicament.
    I think if "the family" changed the event last minute sort of speak, you have a good "excuse" to keep your plans with the friends, principally if you had those plans previous to the family's change of plans.
    At the end of the day, you have to weight all the facts and decide what is best for you! :)
    By the way, Gil and I have these kinds of situations EVERYTIME we go to Brazil to visit family and friends, we know where you are coming from ;)


  14. We spent Mother's Day weekend with the Aunt. Of course, that's it so we really are due. She hasn't been in Rio this whole time though. Her and her niece went to a religious city for like 10 days or something.

    Yeah, so that makes it even more complicated. That and I really do adore these guys. I just don't get why they would randomly switch the day except for the fact that the one aunt likes to go out drinking with her friend on Sunday afternoons.

  15. Apparently I wasn't the only one who rebelled and the date was moved back to Sunday!