26 Dec 2016 Christmas… or the lack thereof.
I realise that I haven’t written a blog in what seems like forever! This is due to several reasons:
I have been busy with some awesome projects. Some new ones have started to line up, so I think I am gonna leave explaining them until I actually get them done.
This blog is more of a holiday one. New year, new blogs, though!
The weather is getting so hot and so bipolar that I am am currently a little sick so I feel a little limited/lazy. (Mainly, I am waiting until I get unlazy to do some awesome blogs about my life here so I don’t make it sound all boring, like my current health).
Overall, however, life here has gotten busier and busier, there is more that I am becoming capable of doing as my skills in Portuguese are improving and my ability to understand everyone is too.
Spending Christmas away from any family at all was definitely tough, I am not going to lie. If I am completely honest, I don’t think I liked it, which, in and of itself, I am coming to terms with. I am taking on the theory that being thankful and full on enjoying something, do not need to come hand in hand. This blog will hopefully make an attempt at unraveling this theory.
“Traditional” is a word I quite often find myself fighting with. I have been fighting with it since I was young and wanting to move out of the home early, I have been fighting with it as I grew up and developed and overall personality and identity, I have been fighting with it through my work here in Brazil, most notably in my work with the LGBTQ+ organisation. It came around to Christmas here in Brazil and for quite a while I wasn’t aware that the 24th of December was looming above me. The weather, the lack of Christmas markets, the lack of julefrokost (Danish Christmas lunches), the lack of chocolate-filled calendars, the lack of their collective presence made December seem like July; it might as well have been yet another month.
It was with this lack of awareness that I forgot what was going on at home. My parents and brother were preparing to spend a traditional Christmas with my family in the UK, which is the traditional Christmas, except this year they had been planning to go to Chile and suddenly cancelled their plans in order to stay around my increasingly poorly grandma in the UK.
It wasn’t until about the 23rd that I started to connect the dots between reality of being in Brazil and emotions of Christmas, and then I just started crying. For a moment, I had the feeling that I wish I had taken the easy route. I wish I hadn’t taken the route where I wasn’t going to see most of my extended family for yet another year. I wish I hadn’t taken the route that would mean constantly checking my bank account to be sure I had enough money, the route where I couldn’t work. For a moment, I wish I had just followed the tradition.
So the 24th came around, we had a gorgeous dinner with host-family and friends, we open some presents, we laughed, we danced salsa and samba and everything in between in the kitchen, but it wasn’t really Christmas. Cars beeped loudly down the main street, with a Santa in the pick-up truck, throwing candy onto the roads. We went to the pool on the 25th and sun-bathed. There was tradition, I was thankful to get to experience it and be accepted into it, but it was not my tradition, and in my mind, it could have been just another dinner. I enjoyed the night, but I didn’t enjoy it as Christmas.
That’s just how it is sometimes. You can’t always you can’t have it two, three or four ways. I finally realised what tradition meant to me, and it meant my one stable connection back to something I knew and loved. For all the days I knew I didn’t want to stay at home and do the obvious, I finally found one day that I did, and now I know.