Saturday, January 05, 2008

5 lessons about life I learned over Christmas and New Year...

1. When you are 90, you can be late for your own party. Just before Christmas Nelson's great great Grandma celebrated her 90th birthday. On the big day the family had booked a function room. After lunch people were beginning to scratch their head - everyone was around, but where was the lady herself, Bemvinda. When somebody went round to her house to pick her up she allegedly wasn't there, rumoured to be at the hairdresser. Eventually, the AWOL matriach was located and she turned up in time for a special church service in her honour. It was a great occasion, click here for some excellent pictures taken by a relative of Rachel's which give an idea of the day.

2. The great thing about being a Dad to a little boy is I can enjoy his presents. Nelson has been totally in love with the Disney Pixar film "Cars" after his Grandmum bought him the DVD a couple of months ago. Christmas presents this year featured matchbox versions of the films characters much to Nelson's (and his Dad's) delight. We have a way to go to collect the whole set but we're on the way. I bought Nelson two yesterday and he practically arm-wrestled the shop assistant in the Toy Shop for the packages before they were paid for. Secretly, I was as excited as him. Nelson also got a remote control car for Christmas (yeeessss!!!!) and a model garage with ramps (hoorraayyy!!!!!).

3. Anglicans do Christmas very well. I probably knew this already, but when in Recife we attended the Anglican church in Piedade we had gone to when we first arrived in Brazil. Rach and I loved it and felt transported briefly into the pews of St.Mikes once more.

4. Children don't respect a lie-in on New Years day. After watching Recife's fireworks from the roof of Rachel's apartment block, I made it to bed quasi-comotose at 1am. Nels was up like a spark at 5.30am wanting to play with his new toys and run around with the two miniature schnauzers. As I said at the time, "Nelson, you have the crazed look of a boy who hasn't had enough sleep and has had too many presents". Between the hours of 5.30am and 8.30am I baby-sat the lad while the whole world slept. Nelson zonked out for a nap at the end of that time and I took the opportunity to catch some shut-eye too.

5. T-shirts are the standard Christmas gift in Brazil. Whereas it may be wooly socks or ties in England, a T-shirt is the covers-all-bases present for Brazilians. As the gringo of the family who people are still unsure of what to buy, I got a host of most excellent cotton T-shirts.

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