Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas from Brazil!

Another Christmas has come and gone, however being in Brazil changes the holiday experience for us a little bit.  The most obvious thing by far is the difference in weather between Nebraska and Brasilia on December 25th.  It was 85 and sunny for most of the day here, while in Nebraska around Christmas, you always have to wonder if you're going to have to dig yourself out of a couple feet of snow in sub-zero temperatures.  Sarah actually teared up a little bit on Christmas morning when the song "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" played, as it gave it a new meaning from our tropical climate.

Digging a little bit deeper, it was very different not to enjoy Christmas with our families.  It was very sad not to eat a big Christmas meal with them, or watch them all open presents.  At the same time, it was important for us to establish our own Christmas joy independent from them.  No one wants to sulk on Christmas, whatever the reason. :)  As difficult as it was to spend our first Christmas away from home, we actually had a really great long weekend. 

Friday night Sarah and I were invited to a large Italian dinner at Ted and Mona's apartment.  We have really, really enjoyed spending time with them and, along with some others, they have become our family away from home.  It is a tradition in Ted's family to cook massive amounts of home-made Italian food for a giant Christmas Eve dinner, and I've got to say we had a great time!  Sarah and I volunteered to help with the cooking, so we spent some time in the last week making homemade pasta and ravioli with them.  We also arrived at 1:00 on Friday to help some more, and spent most of the day in the kitchen learning how to cook delicious traditional Italian food.  It was a lot of fun!  I did, however make the mistake of wearing a white shirt which was splattered with oil and marinara sauce by the end of the night.  I was looking kind of rough... :)
Feliz Natal!

 Me stuffing the mushrooms

Ted working on the cod dish

Mona making cookies

Sarah taking pictures :)

 Table for 15


I will share the menu with you, because it was very impressive and fun to make:
Bruschetta (Sarah and I made this and brought it over)
Stuffed Mushrooms
Fried Shrimp
Baked cod with bell peppers, olives, and other veggies
Baked Loin
Homemade Ravioli (we actually made and pressed the noodles)
Stuffed Artichokes
Fresh baked cookies, rum balls, and biscotti
Creme Brulee
10 lbs. of homemade pasta (that never ended up being served)

There was a serious amount of food.  After dinner, we had a fun gift exchange, and somehow a few of us ended up on the balcony with some scotch and cigars.  Later, it turned into a youtube dance party, and we stayed out much too late! :)  It was really a fun Christmas Eve away from home, shared by other orphans just like us.

Left to Right:  Carl, Justin, Al, Yamille

 Surgeon General's Warning: Don't Be This Guy

 Grease Lighning! L-R: Buenas Aires, Elizabeth, Justin, Mona, Yamille

Christmas day, we woke up and had a nice relaxing morning of opening presents.  Highlights for Me: fine scotch, GPS, tennis accessories, video games, clothes, and an album that Sarah made documenting our road trip USA.  Sarah: commercial juicer, kitchen accessories, Julia Childs DVD & books and clothes.  Our family was great and sent us gifts so that we had plenty to open on Christmas morning.  Because of the shipping delay, I think the gifts will keep on coming for a couple of weeks too.  :)  A great way to keep up the Christmas cheer!

Charlie Brown tree stacked with gifts!

 Suiting Abby up for the family Christmas picture

After relaxing and playing a sufficient amount of video games, we were invited to a Puerto Rican Christmas dinner at another couple's house, Mayra and Iris.  The food was delicious!  I'd never had Puerto Rican food before, but it was lots of rice, beans, a chicken dish, delicious beef, fried plantains, and potato salad.  They also had a type of spiced egg nog that was delicious. 

 Delicious food!

Our Hungry Brazil Family

A view from Mayra & Iris' balcony

Also, great news!  One of the best Christmas gifts I got was from the embassy.  I got a job!!!  I'll be working as an Administrative Assistant in the Regional Security Office.  The job requires a security clearance, so I'll start as soon as I get it.  They estimated the middle of January if all goes well.

More GREAT news!  Sarah just called, and apparently the last of our things are arriving tomorrow!  The only thing we'll be waiting on then is our car, which is scheduled to arrive this week or next.  Things are looking up! 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and have a happy new year!

 Thanks Abby, my eyeball was getting a little dry.  :)  Go Big Red!

Feliz Natal!


  1. Brazil seems to agree with you guys, you all look very happy! Feliz ano novo! Cheers, Lace n Fenton

  2. Glad that you had some great people to spend the holidays with - I'm sure it was hard but at least it's a wonderful new experience as well. Congrats on the job Adam - that is such great news - So happy for you!!! Take care and hope you had a great New Years as well!

  3. give us your PS3 profile! haha