A Mineiro Christmas.

By 08:42 , ,

As promised, my rendition of this year's A Christmas Carol, à la mineirinha.  

Since most of  my family is in Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais (GV, MG), 1.000 km away from São Paulo, SP - and that's where I trekked to for the holidays, my last few days of 2008 and beginning of 2009 were overwhelmed with family, family, and more family.  

Let me help you understand what I mean by a large dosage of familia. 

My mother has 5 siblings.  Three in Brazil - all in GV.  And, thankfully, my maternal grandmother is alive and active.  This also includes 5 cousins (3 cousins in the U.S.). 

My father has 11 siblings.  1 in São Paulo, 9 in GV (one just came back from the U.S. on New Year's Eve!).  My paternal grandmother is also more active than I'll ever be and in GV.  First cousins?  15 in GV (2 in SP, none in the U.S.).

So who were my holidays spent with? 

2 grandmothers, 12 aunts/uncles, and 20 cousins. 

ufá... It was strange spending my first Christmas away from my parents, but it was also fun to finally see what it feels like to have a huge family.  I've always known my family was enormous, but I'd never had a Christmas meal with 20 relatives in the same house.  It was always usually with my small family in the U.S. and friends of the family (who actually sort of became family with time).  And since I've always been very family oriented and since my family is everything wonderful, I immersed myself in my "new" family and spent as much time as possible with all of them.  A few nights with the  maternal side here and a few nights with the paternal side there.

And since this was my first holiday season spent here in Brazil since I was TWO, I was endlessly spoiled.  One grandmother trying to outdo the other satisfying my cravings for comidinha mineira (food from Minas - I'll post more about that next!), one uncle wanting to drive me here, another aunt wanting to have me come over, and hanging out with cousins... galore!  

My family is also very religious, and I've always been very content with my Catholic upbringing, especially since my parents, grandparents, and greater family, have shown me that it's possible to be Catholic and open minded at the same time, contrary to popular belief.  So a lot of my time in GV was spent praying and going to church.  And something I have missed here in São Paulo is people constantly saying things like, Se Deus Quiser (God Willing), Vai/Fica Com Deus (Go/Stay With God), Santa/o Rita, Expedito, Ave Maria, Nossa Senhora... and my grandmother's classic, Sangueee de Jesus when she hears something shocking.  Little things like that, and my little cousins' willingness to attend mass (even *shock* without there parents), make me kind of wish I was still living that sort of culture for more motivation and overall spirituality... especially since I've kind of shyed away from attending mass since being in SP.  But who knows? Maybe that's something I can work on in 2009!

So nothing SUPER eventful happened.  Like I said, a lot of my time was spent TLCing with the familia.  Oh, and staying away from the heat!! Imagine 90 degree fahrenheit weather with NO wind/breeze EVERYDAY... ouch, right?  But to not make this post too long, I promise I will write in my next post, however, about food from Minas and how I gained 5 lbs in the 12 days I was there :-)  And then I'll write more about good 'ol Governador Valadares (famous, really... more than you can imagine!) 


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