Thursday, December 25, 2008

Addendum: My crazy Natal, Part 2

Most of the photos I snapped at the wonderful Leitão family party, which began at 9pm, were awful. I attribute this to the waiters that kept topping up my champagne glass at every turn. Hopefully I’ll round up some better group shots later. But this fuzzy and festive tree, situated in the middle of the lush courtyard, gives you a hint of my hazy Christmas celebration.

One of the highlights of the evening was Nikito’s show and tell of the macaw hatchery. He breeds the giant and gorgeous parrots, and graciously gave us a tour of the incubator room. Did you know that the gestation period for these birds is 26 days? Neither did I! With the aid of a flashlight, I got to see the development process in various stages (from 5 days to “birthday”), and it was very cool. And look, sometime around 1am, one of the araras was hatching.

(psst, hit play.)

Sometime around 3am I was dancing along to classic Martinho da Vila—part of DJ Augusto’s entertainment. Fifi and I left the party at 4:30am with Nikito, Paula, and Patricia with tickets to a dance party for, what else?, more champagne.

It was an unusual, but hilarious and wonderful, holiday! A million thanks to Victoria and Bruno, Ana and Totô, Carmen and Tunico, and all the Leitão’s for making Fifi and I feel so delightfully welcome.

And now, I'm off to Floripa! Wheeeee!

for what it's worth

it's almost 6am. i just got home from my first Brazilian Xmas. it is only with great effort that i type these words after uncountable glasses of champagne (is that right? i can't even remember how to spell it.)... i can see that the sun is about to rise. after the family party, somehow i (we) ended up at a rave-like party. i had fun. cheers! i need to sleep.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the longest day of the year, for a change

The last week has been a treat. I went on bar outings with friends (many of whom are traveling great distances for the holidays), met some other “internationals” living in Porto Alegre, and enjoyed a massage. Clair and I managed a movie night, as did Fifi and I—before we wined and dined at Restaurante Copacabana, a local institution: a family-run joint that’s been serving up spaghetti since 1939, because it's just...that...good. I was treated to a proper date (and by that I mean dinner with a cavalheiro that opened doors, pulled out my chair, and paid!) by André, which provided three hours of stimulating conversation in 100% Portuguese (yay me). Moreover, with my decreasing class load, I had some extra time to wander and reflect—something this year has provided richly.

The holidays are fast approaching and I have been thinking about the year. I had “2008, 2008, 2008” tumbling around in my head for so long during the planning stages, that now it seems strange to re-record that tape for 2009. With the advantage of hindsight, it turns out I had a pretty good idea of how this year would unfold (with a few exceptions), but 2009 is a big and empty canvas. I have wishes and ideas, but my plans are almost entirely up in the air. What’s more, I am happy and thankful for it. This, I feel, is a great achievement.

I might post again before my next big adventure, but in case I don’t, I’ll be spending Christmas Eve poolside with Fifi before we intrude on Aninha and Toto's / Victoria and Bruno's family party. After sleeping off the champagne, on Christmas Day, weather permitting, I'll head to the pool before skipping town at midnight to meet Stacee in Forianópolis. I will spend the next week, purposefully, sans internet, for a refreshing change.

I love that Brazilians have a tradition of dressing in white on December 31st (except for the skivvies, which are color-coded according to one's desires for the new year). I have an unworn white top and skirt, and a brand new pair of roupas intimas, and at midnight I will be jumping seven waves on the shore of the Atlantic, casting a wish with each.

As you embark, by car or by plane, on your holiday travels, I wish you a warm and happy season with your loved ones.

Boas festas e muitas felicidades no ano que vem,

Loquinha Gauchinha