Sunday, December 30, 2007

Brasilian Culture 101

Well, Brasilian Christmas 2007 was a great success. I successfully ate a lot and successfully spent Christmas Day in the pool, successfully getting a mean tan. Really, just success all around. What I predicted would happen happened, and I rationally attempted to become emotional and instead got distracted by the fact that was spending the holiday in a tropical paradise. I arrived home from four days in Genipabu to two Christmas packages waiting for me, with lots of American goodies inside. I hastily unwrapped the presents, and then remembered that I had wanted to take a picture of the presents under my tree. Woops. So I re-wrapped them, put them under the tree, and here is my Christmas cheer:

You may be thinking "Wow, Cris. Sure sounds like you're getting to play a whole lot. Where are your readers?" Well, let me answer that question for you. My readers are living their lives to the fullest, fully taking advantage of this vacation season, and leaving little room for practicing their English. "Do you want to continue your classes during December and January, or wait until after Carnaval?" I ask. "Oh, I want to continue my classes!! I want to practice my English!" they say. So we schedule a time, they confirm it, and one of us shows up. I bet you can guess which one. :)

I am learning a big lesson living here in Brasil, and it is what the definition of the word "vacation" truly means. In the States you get your standard two weeks, and often those two weeks are broken up into a day here, a day there, adding up to a full 10 days by the end of the year. Well not here, my friends. Here the country begins to slow down in December, and from what I'm told (and am beginning to see) the country really just stops functioning as a whole in January. Not only are students out of school, but businesses close early or all together, people go on extended trips to the beach, and they really just take full advantage of the summertime. They are not lazy, they are passionate, so priorities are shifted and English gets shoved to the bottom of the list.

So how do I deal with the unanticipated change of pace? I embrace it. I have spent more time with my friends from the church this month than I have been able to since I arrived in September.

We have fondue parties...
We have birthday parties:We go to the beach:
We take zipline rides into little lakes:
So, don't worry, I'm staying busy. Tomorrow we leave again to spend New Year's Eve in Genipabu. The group will be much bigger this time around, so that means an earlier bedtime for Cris (big groups of Brasilians make sleepy...really. They've all come to accept it...) but lots of laughter and fun. I have three reading sessions scheduled at the end of the week, so I'll be sure and check back with you and give you a much-anticipated update on how many sessions I spend practicing English with myself :).

Have a safe and happy new year!!

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Alles Gute im neuen Jahr! -- So, since I am slow in reading your blogs lately, I am having to send you a New Years greeting instead of a Christmas one; although you were thought of at our house. Glad to hear that you had a nice Christmas with your new family! Kind of envy the warm sunshine though! :-) Have a wonderful 2008!
Love, Deborah