Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Being Visited By The Ghost of Xmas Future

And now, to finish the holy trinity.

I look out the window: it's freaking cold out there - snowing, actually - and I dress in a thousand layers before I dare face the White Christmas outside my door. My first White Christmas.
No family around, so I doubt there'll be turkey. That's fine, there are more important things after alll, as amazing as that sounds, even to myself.
I mean, I'm in a completely strange place - nay, country - with new people around me, and I have no idea what I'm gonna do tonight. All I know is I'm gonna meet my new friends and see what's in store for us this Christmas night. As long as no one gets drunk and starts yelling "Holly Night", it's all good!

At least, that's how I envisage my next Christmas. Somewhere far, far away - let's see how 2011 goes. I don't know what the future brings, but I know it's gonna be great.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Being Visited By The Ghost of Xmas Present

And a Merry Christmas to you all!

It's past noon now here in Brazil, and we're about to feast upon the leftovers from last night. Don't know about you guys and your countries, but here people usually make TONS of food, and then spend the next 2 days trying to finish it.

And speaking of food... there was no turkey. That's right, you heard me. No turkey.
I'll give you a few seconds to let it sink in.

Am I the only one who sees it as a humongous tragedy?...
As I wrote on my last post, eating turkey is one of the things I look forward to the most, all year round. Turkey and French toast, our Christmas desert.
And then, on the 24th, I entered the kitchen, where my uncle (the chéf of the family) was cooking a thousand things at the same time. I looked, and I looked... then finally:
"Uncle F.... where's the turkey?"
"Oh, no turkey this year. Only chicken and codfish."
"No! That's... that's... a joke, right?"
"No kiddo, sorry, no turkey this year. The children don't like it, and your grandma eats very little anyway."
"I see..."

Later that day, at the supermarket:
"Grandma, will there be French toast tonight?"
''Oh. No, I forgot to buy the special bread to make it! Sorry!'
"Oh, I... I see... that's... that's okay..."
In my head, I was like "NOOOOOOOO!!!!"
I spent the rest of the day pretty much like that boy, David after the dentist: "Is this real life? Why is this happening to me?!"
In case you haven't noticed, food is a very serious deal with me. Wanna make me happy? Give me some food. As long as it's not seafood.
And in the place of my precious turkey ("my precioussss"), codfish. EEEWWW.

Where's our turkey? Give it to us!

I must say, I behaved extremely well. I did not complain or anything. And when they started thanking God for the food, I joined them in prayer. Hey, it doesn't hurt, and it's not like I'm gonna burst into sulfur-smelling flames or anything.

After dinner, presents time! I got lots of stuff! Then I spent the rest of the night telling my cousin all about the Anglo-Saxons, how they invaded England and how they lost it to the Normans. That's... that's what my Master's thesis is about... I can go on and on for HOURS... In my defense, my cousin seemed interested, and he kept asking me questions, and laughing at fun facts! I'm not boring, alright?!

But in the end of the night, my family promised me to have both turkey AND French toast for New Year's Eve. Yay!!!
Yes, Linus, I do know that's not what Christmas is all about. But I can get extremely grumpy when there's seafood around.
So now, looking forward to New Year's!!!

And in the words of Tiny Tim, the most annoying literary character to have ever been written: "God bless us everyone!"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Being Visited By The Ghost of Xmas Past

“Humbug!” I said. I’d never really believed in this “celebrating Christmas” thing. For starters, I’m an atheist – Jesus (and his birth) have no place whatsoever in my life. Besides, it’s always bothered me to no end this “be good to thy neighbor” vibe in the air. Such hypocrisy. No one seems to remember this in the other 11 months. Thus, I refuse to act like I care all of a sudden. So no, I shall not allow my employees to take the 24th off, nor shall I give them any kind of Christmas bonus. They get their wages, I have no other obligations towards them. So when my nephew knocked on my door shouting “Merry Christmas, aunt RML!”, that’s what I replied. Humbug.

I jest, of course, I love Christmas! Great food, lots of presents, my family and general merriment, what’s not to like?! But even though I’m actually very fond of Christmas, and do not go around humbuging, I couldn’t help being visited by Christmas Past.

My parents and I would always spend the holidays with my dad’s family in the capital (Rio de Janeiro); our family had this small silver tree, which I used to find very non-Christmas-y. (I still do, actually. Good thing they got rid of it.) But it didn’t really matter, because EVERYTHING else was VERY Christmas-y in the house! Everywhere you looked, there would be red and white flowers, and golden and green decorations; small Santas and snowmen, and reindeers and gingerbread men and candy canes. Even the napkins and glasses we used were Christmas-themed! Under the tree, piles and piles of beautifully gift-wrapped presents! And 80% of all those presents were for me: the only daughter, granddaughter, niece and godchild. And the youngest of both families. It was Heaven.
And The Food. The food we ONLY eat at Christmas. I mean, of course one can buy turkey any time of the year. But for some reason, people simply don’t do it, I don’t know why! There’s a certain “turkey is only for Christmas” mentality here in Brazil... So this is one of the things I look forward to the most: eating turkey.
I’d get all my presents around midnight, and I knew whom all of them were from. “From Grandma”, “From Mom and Dad”, “from Aunt L.”, etc. But every Christmas morning, I’d find “my special present” under the tree - the present from Santa, the one I’d “earned” for being a good girl. It was under the now empty tree, lonely, waiting for me, and it’d always be the toy I wanted the most.
So this has always been Christmas for me. A huge tree, presents all around, great food, my grandma’s place.

Worst Christmas Memory: 2005. I’d planned on visiting my family, and spending the holidays with them. I was looking forward to it, since they’d moved to another state – but I couldn’t buy the ticket in time. And I was having fight after fight with my then boyfriend. Hence, I ended up staying in the bedroom I rented at a boardinghouse, eating chocolate ice-cream and watching the new DVD I’d bought, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, the one with Johnny Depp. The very epitome of depressing, I’ll tell you that.

Best Christmas Memory: if I recall correctly, it was 98. Me and my parents decided to stay home for Christmas, for a change, and not go to my grandma’s. Me and my mom picked out a huge tree and lots of beautiful decoration. She was also a great cook, so the great food was a no-brainer. I thought I knew everything they’d bought for me, since they’d ASKED me what I wanted, but I was wrong: they got me my very first karate kimono. I’d spent the entire year asking them to enroll me at karate classes, and they’d said they’d think about it. I wasn’t at all sure whether they’d let me – but there it was. The kimono, the consent and a huge smile on their faces.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Answering 8 Questions: Episode II

I feel that naming this post "Episode II" is a bad omen. I mean, we're all aware that Star Wars: Episode II was epic. Epicly shitty.
So anyway, I tagged both Bella and Lupe, and I got tagged back. As I said, there are always different questions to be answered, so let's go! (But I shan't be tagging anyone this time.)

First, Bella's:

1. What movies would you recommend watching around Xmas?
An extremely old one: Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July. I must admit: it's not a good movie. It just... really reminds me of Xmas. I'd see it every year between 89 and 94... it tastes like Xmas. If you know what I mean.

2. Suggest me a good book....a comedy!
David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day - awesome! But I'm stating the obvious, it's David Sedaris.

3. What are your plans for Xmas & New Year?
Family. Which is a big deal, considering I don't see them all year long. And for 1 month, I get to lie down on the sofa with my feet up, and not do a single thing except read and wait for the meals. Boy, that's the life.

4. Resolutions for the coming year.
Travel, learn another language and start my doctorate.

5. What gifts are you giving your loved ones for this Xmas?
A book for my dad, sandals for my grandma, a blouse for my aunt, the last Harry Potter book in Portuguese for my 12-year-old cousin, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book in English for my 16-year-old cousin, same thing for one of my best friends, one of the Percy Jackson books for another friend, chocolate for another, and... can't say the last one, cause she reads the blog! =P

6. What's your wish list for Santa?
Books, books, books.

7. Which is your fav Christmas carol?
The only one I actually know: "Holly Night". I can even play it on the piano!

8. Post a pic of yours(if you don't mind!), or your Christmas tree, church, sweets...anything but it should be something related to your real life:) 

This one was taken in 2007, right after we'd finished decorating the tree, and goes to show just how much I love Christmas! =P (Kids, don't try this at home: hugging a Christmas tree looks better than it actually feels.)

And this was the very same Christmas, but during the party itself; I was at my then-bofriend's house - and  due to some weird coincidence, both of us AND his brother were wearing red. We couldn't have looked any more Christmas-y! (I think, btw, that this is the first time you guys can actually see my face.)

And now Lupe's questions!

1. Suggest me a good book..(kept this one b/c I am trying to find something new to read)

2. What is your favorite song right now?
"Tonight, tonight", by The Smashing Pumpkins. Epicly awesome.

3. How and Who do you usually spent Christmas with?
With family - see previous #3!

4. How big or small is your family? (siblings)
Oh, just me and my dad.

5. Apart from English, do you speak another language? (if not, what language would you like to learn?)
I also speak Japanese and a little German. I wanna continue studying German and learn French and Italian - possibly Russian as well.

6.  What is your favorite past-time?
Reading and writing.

7. Is there anything special you hope to get for Christmas?
Peace. That's all I want after such a tiring year.

8. What is your favorite Christmas Cartoon? (For instace, I like Charlie Brown).
Disney's Mickey's Christmas Carol. So cute! And it made me wanna read Dickens!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Answering 8 Questions

The lovely ssdawna tagged me last month, and though I've answered some tags like these in the past, it's always fun to do it again! First because the questions vary; second because, even if the questions were the same, it doesn't follow I'd answer them the exact same way I did, say, 6 months ago. After all, we're never the same person from yesterday, right? 

I quote Plato: You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.  
AND Pocahontas, of course: You can't step in the same river twice; the water is always changing, always flowing.
(I have the feeling that quoting Plato makes me sound way more intelligent than quoting Pocahontas. Oh well.)

Anyway, I digress. Point is: here are my answers.

1. What book would you recommend we read ASAP?
Oh gods, there are just so many... I'll list a few: To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger), 1984 (George Orwell), Demian (Hermann Hesse), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey), Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury). I recommend these because they make you think. I also recomment The Three Musketeers because it's my favorite book of all time! And I recommend any Jane Austen at any time of the day - I'm an incorrigible romantic - as well as any Charles Dickens.

2. When is your favorite time of day on a typical Wednesday?
Bed time. My Wednesdays are more tiring than any other day of the week.

3. How do you feel about getting/being married?
I think it must be awesome, provided you marry the right person. Looking forward to it (though I have nobody at the moment)!

4. Who knows more of your secrets than anyone else?
My friends Nicolas and Mariana.

5. Where do you go to unwind?
I go to my bedroom and grab a book. I'm nobody without a book. =P

6. Why do you get up every morning?
Sometimes I wake up simply because I've got work. Sometimes, because I'm tired of being in bed (that only happens on Sundays). Sometimes because I remember I have dreams, ambitions and passions, and I won't accomplish anything if I don't get up. But mostly, I get up every day in the hope that I'll find something worth getting up for out there.

7. What are your plans for Thanksgiving (or November 25th if you don't celebrate)?
(This question was obviously asked before Thanksgiving, and I answered it back then, though I'm only publishing it now. But it still stands.)
Well, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Brazil, so I guess it's gonna be a day just like any other. It's gonna be a Thursday, so I'll get up early, teach from 7 to 10am, go back home, have lunch, read and/or write, then go back to work at 5pm and teach till 9pm.
OK, that's boring.
(And that's EXACTLY what I did. The very definition of boring, huh?)

8. Whose face would you like to spit in tomorrow if you could without any bad consequences? :]
Hehe. Nice. Weeeeell... I'd spit on many people's faces! A co-worker of mine who's simply despicable and sneaky; another co-worker who's SO shallow and futile it makes me angry; my friend's Asian girlfriend - she's a bitch (pardon my French).
But then again, I usually just ignore those people's existence, so why would I spit on their faces anyway?...
Oh! I'd spit on all the drug dealers'faces. Bastards. Go wreak havoc in Hell.

And now I tag:

I tag some of them because I'd like to know more about them; others because I already know and like them, and would like to see their answers to my questions. Which are:

1. What movies would you recommend watching around Xmas? It's a nostalgic, sentimental time of the year, after all! 

2. And speaking of which, what are your plans for the holidays - both Xmas and New Year's Eve?

3.  How do you feel about Xmas? Are you actually celebrating the birth of Christ, or are you just in it for the food and presents? =P

4. Enough of Xmas. What do you think about right before sleeping, with your head lying on the pillow?

5. And what's your first thought when you wake up?

6. If you killed somebody, where would you bury the body? =P

7.What song do you avoid listening to, and why? (If I'm not prying, of course)

8. Is there any song that inspires you to be a better person? To dare, go places, do things? Go the distance? (Mine is "Go the Distance", from the Disney movie Hercules, LOL! I always feel like I can do ANYTHING when I listen to it!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bursting into song

"I hate it."
I looked at him, utterly shocked. "You... WHAT?"
"I hate movies where people burst into song, can't stand them."
"What's wrong with you?"
My friend M.H. is crazy, pft. I LOVE musicals. Can't get enough of them. And today, after I got back home from work, I decided to watch one of my fave movies ever: The Sound of Music.
It was the first musical I ever watched - well, not counting Disney classics. My parents loved to try and make me love the same movies they did - sometimes it worked, at other times not so much. But one fine night dad came home with The Sound of Music for me to watch, and I was immediately fascinated by all those people singing right and left. Not to mention the story's pretty enticing in itself, and they got some great dialogs, very witty. And I remember wanting to be like Liesl, Captain Von Trapp's eldest daughter, when I grew up.
Needless to say, I look NOTHING like a 16-year-old Austrian Girl from the 30's - with my being Brazilian and all, with native Brazilians as grandparents.
Point is: I love those singing Austrians, I really really do. And the speed at which the Von Trapp children learn how to sing never ceases to amaze me. I mean, seriously? They go up to Maria and say: "we don't know any songs, we don't even know how to sing"; then she sings the magic "Do-Re-Mi" song, and all of a sudden, they're a singing phenomenon?! Dude!!
And Rolfe, the telegram boy - could he be ANY gayer?! Nothing against it, far from it, but Liesl should've realized that guy was really not into it. The Nazi thing was just an excuse to get out of it. There's the girl, throwing herself at him, wanting to kiss him... and he pushes her aside and goes "Your life, little girl, is an empty stage...". C'mon Liesl, wake up and smell the flowers.
I love all the songs, even though the whole thing is extremely farfetched. Really: Maria and the Captain finally admit their love for each other, they kiss - it's most likely Maria's first kiss ever, and what does she do? Does she take the time to enjoy it? Nooooo, she bursts into song about her wicked childhood. I'm like "Sister, zip it! Really not the time!"
I caught myself wondering whether she sings in bed too. You know, while AT IT. I wouldn't be surprised! That must be such a turn off for the poor Cap.

But that's the thing about musicals: the burst-into-song thing rarely makes any kind of sense. I mean, no one in real life - at least no one I know - is capable of coming up with wonderful songs out of the blue, not even people who deal with music in some way or another for a living. And when the characters start DANCING together in a perfect coreography?! My eyes sparkle and all! I mean, take Grease for instance.
"What did you do over the summer?" Cue song about summer love - and in no time they're all dancing on the benches.
"Let's pimp this ride!" Cue song about the Grease Lightning, and John Travolta dancing around said car.
"I turned into a jock for you!" "And I turned into some kind of slut for you!" Cue "You're the one that I want", and they all start dancing to it.

I dare anyone to say Singing in the Rain is a bad movie. Whenever I'm really happy, I look up at the sky in the hope I'll see some drops of rain, so that I'll be able to sing and frolic in it! And whenever someones mentions anything about diction, I just wanna sing "Moses Supposes".

Do these things happen in real life? No, they do not! And that's the beauty of it! Wanna see reality? Tune to CNN then. Rio de Janeiro was all caught up in a kind of civil war last week, and things got real tense around here. We have our daily share of reality everyday - there's no harm in seeing people singing and dancing about, I don't know, getting someone else a glass of water! If everybody burst into song and danced more often, the world would be such a better place to live in. According to Fraulein Maria, all you gotta do is know the notes: "When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything!"