Celebrating the World Cup in Brazil has been a great experience so far. I’ve really got a chance to see how crazy for soccer Brazilians are and I feel that it has given me a greater understanding of Brazilian culture. My husband, son and I spent the opening game of the World Cup at our neighbors house across the street. It was a typical middle class get together of Brazilians. There was churrasqueira (barbecue), ceveja (beer), and a lot of noise makers. I’ve never in my life been to a sports party where I’ve seen so much enthusiasm and again noise. When Brazil scored a goal the volume of noise in that house was close to breaking the sound barrier. What I love most about the World Cup is that it brings together everyone in the culture, from the young to the very old everyone watches the World Cup. I bet even the small amount of people protesting in the streets are secretly at home watching the World Cup because it is impossible for them to not watch it, it is imprinted on their genes.
I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet but because there is no Thanksgiving Holiday in Brazil, Christmas is in full swing. Here are just a couple of examples of the Christmas displays in malls in Sao Paulo. If we visit anymore I will be sure to take more pics!
For the past two years my husband and I have managed to celebrate Thanksgiving successfully in Brazil. Two years ago when my husband was living in Rio de Janeiro we went to Thanksgiving dinner at Gringo Cafe which is a cool cafe that serves American style food. Last year we attended Thanksgiving dinner at our church (Calvary International Church) but this year it is not an option because the dinner is for adults only (and we now have a baby).
So this year I find myself struggling to figure out Thanksgiving dinner when for the past two years it has just worked itself out. I’m not saying we don’t have options because we do, but none of them seem the right fit.
One option is The American Society of Sao Paulo’s Thanksgiving service. The problem with this one is that it’s a church we don’t attend (Fellowship church) and it is not a Thanksgiving dinner but instead turkey sandwiches and accompaniments. Not too appealing. The second option also put on by The American Society is at BOS BBQ in Sao Paulo, it is the whole nine yards: turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing and desserts but the problem is that it is R$120 or $50 dollars each. In the past we always paid half that. The third option is at the Renaissance Hotel in Sao Paulo, it again has a turkey main course and accompaniments but is still R$100 per person for American Society members which is a little expensive for us.
Finally while doing some research for this post, I came across last years advertisement for PJ Clarks Thanksgiving dinner, it is the traditional dinner and the price is right at R$50.00 per person. I think this is a viable option for us.
The only other choice I have is to do like every other American in the United States and make my own Thanksgiving dinner (which I am considering). The only issue I have with this is that there is only three of us (my son included) and it is a lot of work. If I can wrangle up some extra guests I think this may be my choice for this years Thanksgiving dinner.
If you live in Sao Paulo and haven’t noticed by now, there are quite a few places celebrating Halloween this year. I’ve seen decorations in the windows of several stores and places of business. Halloween is not an official holiday in Brazil but more and more Brazilians are beginning to embrace this new tradition. My husband says that he doesn’t see the problem with Brazilians celebrating Halloween because it is such a cool holiday.
Now that I have a son I feel it twice as important to celebrate American holidays here in Sao Paulo; I want him to get the same exposure as Brazilian holidays. So this year I set out to find him a place to trick or treat. This proved to be a bit limiting because even though more Brazilians are celebrating Halloween, it is mainly in the form of adults at clubs and bars. However, I was able to find a kids party at the American Society of Sao Paulo.
Last weekend we went to the Halloween party at the American Society and my son had a blast. They had games and treats for the older kids, a pumpkin patch, and trick or treating for younger kids as well as the older kids and a haunted house (which we did not attend). The cost was R$50 which I think was decent for all they provided.
Next year I think I am going to go around to our neighbors in our building in advance and let them know that my son will be by on Halloween night to Trick or Treat. I got the idea from an article about Halloween in Brazil on the Gringos.com website http://www.gringoes.com/articles.asp?ID_Noticia=384. The article also said that some parents send their kids out without warning to neighbors and they come back with some interesting items…bag of beans?
It has been a long week! I have been painting our guest room all week, plus we bought a new dining room table, chairs, and dishwasher which were all delivered today. Not to mention the fact we are leaving for Curitiba tomorrow for Easter and our car broke down and we had to spend R$1300 to fix it. And to top it all off we have a guest coming this weekend to stay with us and so I had to hurry up and finish the guest room. So it is good to get out-of-town for a break! But before I do I wanted to comment on Brazilian Easter (Páscoa). One of the interesting things about Páscoa here is that the main gift to one another is a chocolate egg. In the US we give chocolate bunny’s which they also have here, but there are far more eggs. Its gets really elaborate; some eggs are filled with additional chocolates. There are also upscale eggs like Lindt chocolate eggs or Ferroro Rhocher eggs. Even Starbucks jumped on the band wagon and have their own chocolate eggs. I’ve posted some pics so you get the idea. I will write more when I get back from Curitiba, hope you have a great Easter!