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