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Columnists > Rachel in Rio

Rachel in Rio

A Brazilian Christmas...Without The Trimmings!

  Posted Wednesday January 04, 2012 (20:18:59)   (3397 Reads)


Rachel in Rio

While Christmas in the States means chilly weather and warm beverages, it is something entirely different in Rio de Janeiro. There is no snow, no warm ciders, and definitely no bundling up!

Sure we have the decorations and Christmas lights. The stores here have been selling them since November. My personal favorites are the stuffed snowmen. How does a parent who hasn’t seen snow explain what it is to a child who also lacks experience with this ice cold goodness? I always imagined they’d have Christmas sand castles or something that is slightly more related to the location. Christmas holidays in this city are spent at the beach, not in the snow.

And while I love beach weather, there is something strange about busting out a bikini on Christmas day. Holiday meals are also odd as it’s difficult to motivate yourself to eat a ham while simultaneously baking like one. It makes me feel pity for the poor guys wearing Santa suits down here. That can’t be comfortable. Of course part of me also wonders if they aren’t slight sadomasochists having taken that job in the first place.

Even after many years it is slightly odd to order a cold beer and wipe away sweat while watching the lighting of the large metal Christmas tree that sits in the middle of the lagoon called Lagoa. It’s one of the few times where I get sentimental about home and actually miss it. There is just something so wrong about a tropical Christmas, kind of like the corn ice cream they are now selling down here. It’s not that it’s bad but there’s just something so off about the concept in general.


There just are certain things that one should not have to deal with around the holiday season. For starters, I do not want to get waxed. Obviously that is not an option during the Rio de Janeiro Christmas season as Brazilian bikinis do not leave much room for the imagination. That brings me to the second, I do not want to have to fit into a bikini! The local holiday food is not much different from our own, minus the occasional fresh pineapple or Brazilian French toast (called Rabanada). It means the same thing as at home: a lot of calories. It is just cruel to serve mouth-watering goodness and then throw 4 inches of material at a girl. How can they expect us to slide right into a bikini and then frolic on the beach after consuming 3000 grams of carbohydrates?

How about you? Do you find yourself more nostalgic during the holidays? Seems like an obvious question, but there are weird things that can push even the most stable expat over the edge. Take my first Christmas in Brazil. I handled the weird weather, Portuguese and the celebration being late at night on the 24th instead of the morning of the 25th just fine. Of course when the family threw on some traditional American Christmas music in my honor, I cried. I cried right in the middle of the family party because I just couldn’t emotionally handle the taste of home in the middle of whatever the hell they were calling Christmas.

Of course years pass and everyone adapts. My children have awoken a Christmas spirit that functions regardless of temperature or lack of proper Christmas trees. I find myself looking at garland and lights, attempting to figure out exactly how much I really need to Chrismas-tize my tiny Carioca apartment. I suppose you live, learn, and adapt. How much can a girl complain about 364 beach days anyway?


Rachel is a self-proclaimed Rio de Janeiro ranter and wannabe Carioca expert. American expat who has started and is continuing her adult life in a city that never sleeps, stops dancing, nor runs out of beer. Mommy to 2 lovely and sass filled half Brazilian half American boys who help her keep one foot in each country. You can follow her on her personal blog Rachel's Rantings in Rio and on her facebook page.


Rachel in Rio
Rachel is a self-proclaimed Rio de Janeiro ranter and wannabe Carioca expert; an American expat who has started and is continuing her adult life in a city that never sleeps, stops dancing, nor runs out of beer; a Mommy to 2 lovely and sass filled half Brazilian half American boys who help her keep one foot in each country. You can follow her on her personal blog Rachel's Rantings in Rio and on her Facebook page.
 
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