Friday, November 27, 2009

Boas Festas!

Thanksgiving dinner outdoors is not something I ever expected to experience. However, the spring night with temperatures in the 80s turned out to be a perfect setting for a feast. Perhaps it was just my imagination, but the fact that I was sweating off all the liquid I consumed made me feel like I had more room for solid food, and the light summer dress I wore certainly rid me of the need to loosen my belt or unbutton my pants. 

I wasn't expecting much from this Thanksgiving, but the fact that it didn't actually feel like it should be Thanksgiving helped me forget that I was missing out. There were hints of it, though. When I Skyped with my family I noticed that they were all wearing sweaters and that there were no leaves left on the trees -- it actually did feel like Thanksgiving in that part of the world. When I made the green beans I was bringing to yesterday's potluck, I remembered how at home the job somehow always falls to me to cut off the ends, though I usually get away with doing it in front of the parade or football game. So maybe it felt like Thanksgiving, if only a little bit, since my green beans were about three times the size they are at home. They didn't even fit on the cutting board.

In any case, my green beans and my Thanksgiving turned out wonderfully, though like no other Thanksgiving I had experienced with my family, where we always have the necessities and only the necessities (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, pumpkin pie, apple pie) and where my brother and I get quizzed on Thanksgiving history. This feast included quesadillas with avocado, two different kinds of rice, lentils, a├žai sauce, and Korean BBQ-ed beef. However, there was stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, and apple crisp, among many other delicious dishes, and we all said what we were thankful for before digging in, and there was even a hand-turkey drawing contest, so it was about as Thanksgiving-y as we could manage. I left stuffed, after seconds of both dinner and dessert, and that's really what Thanksgiving is all about, right?

When I finally waddled back into my apartment building last night, I noticed that there was a small, lit-up Christmas tree in the lobby that I could swear wasn't there when I left that evening. I would say that this signified the beginning of the Christmas season and the arrival of my holiday spirit if I hadn't already been bombarded by Christmas decorations for a month now. Whoever complains that Americans start advertising for holidays too early has never been to Brazil. With no Halloween or Thanksgiving to pace them (though we have had plenty of other days off, for holidays that no one seems to celebrate), Brazilians just leap right into Christmas in October.

I love Christmas. I love Christmas songs, and Christmas movies, and Christmas lights, and Christmas trees, and Christmas-themed hot drinks, and everything to do with Christmas. So I should love that stores were proclaiming that "Christmas has already arrived" as early as last month, right? Well, no. It just doesn't feel like Christmas when it's the sunscreen advertisement in a store window that is decked out in Christmas paraphernalia.

Or when the Celsius temperature could just as easily be in Fahrenheit near a similar display of Santa and snow back at home. (There are kids building a snowman farther down on the display. Many people here have never seen snow before and probably would have no idea how to go about building a snowman.)

Oh, and that was taken just after I had been discussing with my friends how it was a cool day. A cool, 86 degree F spring day.

I haven't listened to any of the Christmas songs in my iTunes library yet, nor do I have any desire to, and it hasn't even crossed my mind to watch Love Actually. All that will be saved for as soon as I step out of the airplane in Portland on December 17 and feel like my plane has been rerouted to the North Pole. I will pack the following week as full of Christmas spirit as I can, since I certainly am not feeling any here. Although I won't be able to go to the beach on Christmas at home, at least it will feel like Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. I heard dining hall workers speaking portuguese today and thought of you.