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Category Archives: Holidays

Dia Internacional da Mulher

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That was yesterday by the way… and I saw a few posts by people on Facebook about it, but you know what, it’s actually kind of celebrated here in Brasil!  Yeah, no random I need to post something on my status update holiday, it’s a real day here.  At my doc’s office they had little treats for all of the women when they came in (and they were yummy yum).

My nanny asked if I knew what March 8th was… of course I didn’t.  Turns out it’s like secretaries day kind of, everyone here knows about it.  She said at jobs all the women are treated special (you know like secretaries day), or women get flowers from their hubbies etc.  So yes, my dear spouse, if you happen to read this.. next year:

So now I’m asking myself… how is it that my husband knows all about dia dos namorados (which he insisted we celebrate this year instead of Valentines), but didn’t bother telling me about the day that I get celebrated for being a woman??  Yeah, he’s got some ‘splanin to do.

Where have all the babas gone?

Yesterday was a Holiday in Brasil, dia das Criancas.  All countries have a Children’s Day as part of the U.N.’s declaration on rights of a child.  In Hawaii, with a large Japanese population, we celebrate Children’s Day, which is a huge Japanese Holiday. As a kid, I’ve got to say, I didn’t like Children’s Day, I liked girls and boys day better. I hated having to share a day with boys! But that’s in May, so we get a little celebration of being a kid during the school year.  The rest of the US has a designated Children’s day that is in June on a Sunday -talk about lame right?!

Well, like all Holidays  (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) the retail establishment has made this about shopping, especially for toys!  Like Black Friday, Dia das Criancas is analyzed for sales, up or down from previous years etc.  Not to fail at celebrating his royal cuteness, I headed to Loja Americanas (and I was not the only mom pushing a stroller through the store) to buy a toy.  Ironically Alo Bebe was closed, what’s up with that?! How am I to spend money on my cute kid?

As we walked home I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of strollers and kids.  Now, I don’t have a car (WE have a car, but due to the nature of my husband’s work he needs it all day, and I can’t just drop him off) so I walk everywhere, and I can tell you it’s me and the working class out there.  I see lots of dog walkers, faxineiras, the old, and of course babas and strollers.  Middle/Upperclass parents with their kids in tow, never ever.  Ok I amend that, I see them all lined up dropping their kids off at the daycare up the street.  Which my son consistently tries to sneak into, how he knows it’s where all the kids go, is beyond me.

Yesterday was different though, and it was nice.  There were mom’s walking down the street with their little girls holding hands.  Parents walking together pushing their babies’ strollers.  It was a nice change from the day-to-day sights I normally see here, a bit more family bonding time.

Unfortunately, my husband’s job never ends, so he worked a half-day.  When we got back from the morning walk, my son saw his daddy’s work shoes at the front door, picked them up and started searching the house for his daddy (the bad news was as since it’s a Holiday my hubby had dressed down, so my poor kid was looking in vain).  The good news is, daddy came home earlier, and my son’s entire day was made.

Festa Junina- the Brazilian Summer Solstice… in the Fall

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So it’s technically Fall here in Brasil… not that it looks like Fall with beautiful orange and yellow leaves everywhere.  But it certainly FEELS like Fall in this house with no heating or insulation (yeah with all the wonders of technology, Brasil hasn’t picked up on this as standard operating procedure yet).  So as it’s Fall, it is Fall festival time.. or Festa Junina– June Festival, which is basically the Summer Solstice festival that would be celebrated in the other hemisphere.  Of course all things pagan are tied to religion along the way, so it’s also the celebration of St. John. As it’s Fall here, it’s much more of a harvest festival with lots of fallish food. Did I mention food and dance were a big part of this festival?? In fact when I asked Brasilians what the point of this party was, all they could say was .. food, dancing, plaid shirt and straw hats.

The mention of food got me interested.  Learning that I got to dress my kid up like a little goof ball sealed the deal. Yep, that’s right people dress up like good ‘ole farm boys, with straw hats, and plaid shirts, and freckles on the face and dance the quadrille.  They also play games, and like all parties for children here, there was also a bounce house and trampoline– seriously if kids are coming to an event there’s gonna be a bounce house.

Foodwise there are lots of peanut dishes.  Pe de Muleke .. I guess “rascal feet” or something like that. Basically just peanuts and brow sugar.  Lots of muled grapey cider, and corn bread which comes in two forms Fuba bolo and Milho Verde…which is the sweeter of the two.

I think my son liked dressing up as well, as he usually rips hats right off his head, but he let us totally doll him up.. and take like 100 photos while being a total goof ball.  He also crawled into the bounce house…which is where he stopped.. at the entrance but he did sit there and bounce up and down on all fours, until we pulled him out so the rest of the kids could enter.  I’m chalking that up as pretty smart since he’s a teeny kid, and that had to be the safest place in the bounce house.

And of course, since this is my first kid, I’m allowed to put together goofy montage videos of him making silly faces.  So here goes!

 

A day off in Sao Paulo

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Thursday and Friday are Brasilian Holidays due to the Easter weekend here in Brasil. Pretty sweet for my husband as he picked up something nasty last weekend and has needed them to recoup.  As such he didn’t want to go to the beach. Great for me, as I finally got to go to Embu.. the Art City.

So Embu… lots of rustic style furniture stores.  You could probably find it in any interior city, but this city is jammed full of them and only 30 minutes from Sao Paulo.  Can’t really blog about food, as I wasn’t really impressed by lunch.. pretty lack luster, so fail Embu.  However, there were lots of stores full of various items for decor.  Prices seemed similar to the Rustic store down from where I live, so I guess go for the diversity in products.

I kind of want to slowly collect items from various trips, versus buying everything in one location though.  We did however, toy with the idea of buying our son some homemade wood toys, as he seems to have an abundance of electronic plastic toys, and I think there is just something healthy for little kids having just the old fashion wooden toys.. call me a Montessori.

Needless to say we didn’t buy any art, furniture or toys as I guess we are not cultural people. We did buy a very yummy bottle of peppers (hot) and a large jar of creamed coconut and passion fruit.  They were $R10 each, so cheaper than the grocery store down the street.   Because we didn’t want to go home, and hubby seemed to finally be feeling better we decided to head to the Sao Paulo LDS temple in Morumbi for some “park” time.   See we could go to one of the many parks in Sao Paulo, but they are public and crowded.  But taking our son to the LDS temple, the grounds were clean, safe, and not crowded.  We had the cleanest, greenest, plushest grass I’ve seen since leaving the states, and it was peaceful and safe.  So yes, we sat on the LDS temple grounds and let our child crawl back and forth, and run rampant.

I’ve never seen him as excited as he was.  I truly think this was my son’s best day ever.  I guess he really needs more grass time (too bad we live in Sao Paulo a city of concrete).  He crawled from one end of the grass to the other.  He rolled down the slight inclines.  He screamed at the big fountain (daddy even let him dip his toes in it).  We wrestled in the grass, he would jump on me and make me roll over and over with him, while squealing.  Best day ever.

What we did for Carnival

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The hubby and son partying it up Brasil style for Carnival!!! wooooo hooooo!

What did you expect, we have a 10 month old. It wasn’t like we were going to party in the streets with the rest of Brasil. So we kept all of our clothing on, my husband did not don any female clothing, and my shoes do not smell of urine or alcohol, and headed into the country to visit the family of my husband’s long time friend, Hugo (the H is silence for all of you Americans) 🙂    Hugo’s family lives on a Sítio – a small farm or vacation home in the country. Most are for rent, but Hugo’s parents have retired here, and this is their quaint little farm, sans chickens.

The funny thing about the Brasilian countryside, is that the forests are filled with more than squirrels.. try monkeys and iguanas too. I forget these little things as it all seems so “country.”  I think this is the first time I’ve let my kid really play in grass, poor little city kid!  He would start at the bottom of this small hill to the well, and instead of playing on the flat, he would immediately take off up the hill.  Of course if we started him at the top, he wanted down!

Most of the time everyone relaxed in a hammock, ate food, or just chatted in Portuguese.  I got to hang with the wee ones playing Uno– they were surprised I understood the rules they explained to me in Portuguese. No worries, those little sharks still kicked my butt.  We and others, spent a ton of time swinging the monkey in the hammock, and we realized we really need to get ourselves one.  How are we living in Brasil and we not own one?

 

We also had phenomenal Brasilian cuisine the entire weekend, ala Hugo’s parents who used to own a restaurant.  Saturday night, I was forced into the kitchen by my husband got to shadow some cooking in the kitchen. The funny thing is, even  with all explanatory words being in Portuguese I could understand the recipe.  My husband is happy that I actually learned a few Brasilian recipes.  Lime Mousse, Pizza, and a really great recipe for hot chocolate (which I have included at the very end of this super long post).  I also finally had Farofa that tasted good. If you ask someone they would tell you it tastes somewhat like sawdust. If you asked me before this weekend, I would have said the same.  But Hugo’s mother’s Farofa was nutty and flavorful, with a bit of a sawdust like consistency… still yummy. A nice plate of my Brasilian BBQ meal.  The carrot salad was simple, yet refreshing and delicious.

Sunday’s BBQ brought a bunch of friends and neighbors over, and they stayed for a big pizza dinner.  My son’s got an eye for girls on him and immediately took to the cutest 11 year-old I’ve ever seen, Bruna.  She spent most of the day catering to his every little whim… he’s SOOO his father’s son.

As we have a fire burning pizza oven at our apartment (that it seems no one uses), we really were curious as to how to use it.

It was really interesting to watch Hugo’s family make it, of course the numbers man my husband is he spent the entire time talking about the actual cost of the pizza versus the price his family would charge.  I think he told him a simple Margherita pizza costs about R$4.  My husband hit the roof at this point, since pizzas here can be R$30 to R$40.  Maybe we will open a pizza restaurant!

The best Hot Chocolate EVER

  • 4  cups of Milk
  • 1 cup Baking Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch

Heat the milk on medium heat, add the cocoa powder, then make a roux with the cornstarch and a bit of milk, add the can of sweetened condensed milk.  Heat thouroughly and serve.

Tan lines and all

It is Carnival prep time.  Due to an unfortunately badly timed work trip, I must leave Brasil during Carnival.  My husband thinks this is fate, who needs a wife during Carnival 😉  I swear he’s more Brasilian than American.

Photo from South America Traveling.

With all of the prep for Carnival, we watched  Caldeirão do Huck as they auditioned their samba dancers for Musa Rio Carnival.  My husband will tell everyone we were taking in some Carnival culture as I will be out-of-town and not get to see it.  I am pretty sure he was taking in all of the naked Brasilian butt.  That’s the main feature of the samba dancer’s outfit… not the glitter, or the feathers.. or the jewels… or heavy makeup, no it’s the butt for sure.  The outfits were all different, from the standard “Carnival” outfit you think of, to a more elaborate glitter covered, bejewelled parrot looking thing.  My husband just leaned over to try to tell me that he thinks the reason they are all barely dressed is so that we can experience the true beauty of how difficult the dance is…. ahem, my eyes are rolling.

If you would like to watch some of the Musa Rio Carnival auditions you can see it here: http://caldeiraodohuck.globo.com/videos/v/musa-do-carnaval-assista-a-ultima-eliminatoria/1440300/#/Programas/20110219/page/1

This one isn’t the one we were watching, the one we were watching actually had a girl lose a little of her top.  Of course this is Brazil, so they just left it in the show.  In fact, during Carnival a totally bare chested woman is not unheard of, so there goes my prudish notions of what is and is not appropriate to see in public.

I also pointed out how one of the girls had very obvious bikini lines, and how it was silly that she didn’t try and get rid of her tan lines of if she was going to be a samba dancer.  Oh, nope, I was wrong again.  The husband again pointed out that it’s very sexy to see the tan lines.  I he really right? Are tan lines sexy?

Post Christmas

So we had our first Christmas, and sadly my husband missed being there in person for all of the action.  Thanks to Skype he was able to see all of the Christmas excitement via the Internet, but still I feel bad he wasn’t there to see our little monkey’s enjoyment of his first Christmas

As we are leaving shortly, our presents for the most part were small, useful and easily travelable.  Below is my list of items that would be good to give as gifts for people who are either out of the country or soon to be leaving the country.

  1. Unlocked Quadband Cell Phone (Ryan received the Samsung Vibrant)
  2. Flickr Pro to help them capture all of the memories
  3. International calling Card/Google Voice/Skype credit
  4. Proxy/VPN allowing recipient to surf the net with a US IP (so we can access Hulu, Pandora, etc.)
  5. If you get #4 you can get Hulu Plus or Netflix or Pandora
  6. Itunes gift cards
  7. Full US TV (I personally don’t watch that much TV so this is useless to me)
  8. Kindle e-books *even if they don’t have a Kindle, they can read the books on their phones, Blackberries, or even via the computer.
  9. Charity Donation in their name
  10. A WordPress upgrade 😉

And of course, let’s not forget Airline tickets!