My first visitor! I think a place truly starts to feel like “home” when you have someone visit and you get to play tour guide. I’m fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine to be one of those “Jungle Cruise” guides from Disneyland. The terrain is remarkably similar -lots of leaves, the air is humming with bugs you never see and don’t want to, random wildlife, and terrible puns (I would call them good puns).
We headed back to my house and immediately changed her into a sundress and drank some local beer – part of acclimating – and then I got to open Christmas! My family had sent her some gifts for me, and it kind of finally made it feel like Christmas happened. For Christmas Eve, I had gone to a candlelight service, sang the strangest version of
“O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and then had a fondue party before taking a dangerous walk home.
Christmas Day found us at a beach drinking caipirihnas and then slamming chips and salsa, falling asleep on the couch at 7pm. Leana had managed to hide See’s candy from me in the fridge for almost a month (quite an accomplishment) and a student gave me some soap, but other than that, no presents. Which I didn’t realize I missed until I opened the traditional family calendar from my aunt and yearly ornament from my grandparents. I also got a kindle from my mom that I can’t wait to take everywhere I go!
Today is New Year’s Eve, and a bunch of us are going to Copacabana. It’s legitimately the biggest NYE party in the world – 3 million something people bus in, they shut down all transport and the streets, and you party until you can’t anymore. There is a kind of voodoo-esque polytheistic religion here called
Macumba. Iemanjá, the Afro-Brazilian goddess of fertility and motherhood, is honored by placing offerings like flowers and candles into the ocean, and you wear all white. This symbolizes peace in the new year, and then you choose an accent color – Green means good health, Yellow for money, Red is to attract passion and romance, and purple for inspiration. I need all those so I will wear lots of jewelry.
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”– Neil Gaiman