I love Thanksgiving. I love looking on facebook and instagram and seeing everyone get mushy about those they love, and taking a solid timeout from the angry-elfness that seems to be infecting the interwebs lately. I love the family photos and the crafty decorations and people dressing up their turkeys in bacon blankets and all of America is just like “ELASTIC WAISTBANDS LETS GO LETS DO THIS WE ARE EATING ANYTHING THAT DOESNT MOVE TODAY.”
When you live abroad, there is a strangeness that comes with country-specific holidays. You realize how much weather matters – to not be in boots and scarves and sweaters at this time of year makes Thanksgiving feel a little unreal. I spent last Christmas on the beach and it was 110 degrees and that was WEIRD.
The actual day I had to work, of course, but our kitchen staff served turkey and mashed potatoes and wee apple pies and I was so happy. I facetimed some family and friends that night – I’m six hours ahead of California at the moment, so it’s hard to keep much in touch, but we manage. Bless and curse you, group text messages.
I’ve spent Thanksgiving in an Irish pub in Virginia, cooking for 50 people in a hostel in Panama, and this was my second one in Brazil. We threw a massive party yesterday, and a ton of our Brazilian peeps came for their first Thanksgiving for a ton of food and a great time. I aggressively took pictures of people holding up signs and posing with props. And then my dreams came true when we plugged in my karaoke machine and sang for FIVE HOURS!!!! When we started, people were, as always when you bust out karaoke, a little ambivalent.
Thirty minutes later and the grown-ups are having to pry the mics from the hands of the tweens and vice-versa. Roomie and I did a killer rendition of “Like a Prayer,” “Single Ladies” was a crowd-pleaser, and then all the adults kept cringing as the children would start singing a song and we’d get excited for the titles and then one chorus in, we’d all realize just how suggestive or outright sexual most pop songs are and have to lunge for the “skip” button.
For one reason or another, about half of the crowd left before karaoke and the group photo. But it’s fine. We see a lot of each other – we work together, we play together, we love each other many days of the week. It’s real living in community, for better or for worse. I am very very hashtag blessed and grateful for the people in my life and my job. You teach for the students, but they will drive you crazy and their parents are in their passenger seat. And only the people you work with are able to understand and hug you (way too often and for far too long, you silly Brazilians) and make you laugh through it.
This week was eventful. I had my “graduation ceremony” slash party from the Portuguese class I was in that basically stopped meeting last May. But we got certificates and there was applause. Afterwards, the company sponsored – wait, wait, I need to say that we had chicken fingers that tasted like I was in like a Chili’s and I was so happy – they sponsored 1.5 hours of bowling! In this really fancy bowling place! We had beers and were pretend competitive and it was the most American thing I’ve done in a while. It was hilarious.
I also went to my first bar in Brazil (dance clubs don’t count). It was a friend’s birthday and we even met like a D-list celebrity – someone from Brazilian Idol? He touched my back so I’m now like an E-list celeb. It was a super fun night out. Brazilians love taking pictures, so it is well documented.
I went to the beach and got a sunburn today. The sunburn is on my armpit blobs – the chunky bits that wobble about and you find your eyes drawn to in every photo. I’ve always been super self-conscious about my armpits. What a ridiculous thing to think about, right? But we all have our insecurities. Anyway I could easily have an hour-long conversation with you about my armpit woes if you need a pick-me-up one day. Keep that in your back pocket.
On actual Thanksgiving day, my boss emailed me my teaching contract and official offer to extend. I have to decide Tuesday if I am a yes/no/maybe for another year in Brazil. After such a glorious week here, how could I possibly say no? And yet, my mom has started an instagram account for the dog. (and it’s amazing) I’m genuinely worried for the woman. She really needs a grandchild. Who am I to deny her this by continuing to frolic untethered with my delicate unprotected armpits on South American beaches?
But I also think God is big enough to find me a husband and a financially viable future and a desire to be responsible and settle down and make an appointment to see a dentist no matter what landscape I run to next. If that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. Who knows. It’s hard to focus on your future when your armpit blobs and also your back are sunburned because you’re too single to get sunscreen there. Womp womp. So single much upset.
Ha I’m just kidding. I mean, I am sunburned, but how can I be mad about falling asleep by myself with my ipod blaring Amy Grant on a beach in Brazil when it’s 95 degrees out in pre-Christmas month? It was glorious, I tell you. GLORIOUS.
Happy Thanksgiving. Happy every moment before and after Christmas and in between.
And if you need to hear it and you haven’t yet today…I’d duet to “Turn Around Bright Eyes” with you so hard.
Here’s my video of the day: