Sunday, December 05, 2010

Forever Young

This weekend we were supposed to go the beach. Instead Alex and I were invited to his boss' house with about 15 other people from the office so beach plans got canceled. The dinner was scheduled at 8pm and being american we showed up right at 8 so as not to be rude. We of course were the first ones there by at least 15 minutes. I am quickly learning that if something is arranged for 8pm that isn't when you show up its when you leave your house! By the time everyone had arrived it was almost 9pm. Then drinks and appetizers were served and social hour began. As everyone filed in and greeted each other I was so busy practicing how to say "nice to meet you," throwing out my hand and then remembering quickly to kiss instead, watching and listening to Alex go first ...that I introduced myself as Alex. Alex made sure to point that out to everyone and thus it became the joke of the evening. Its sometimes fun to be the butt of a joke, but when you can't understand what is being said, its even more fun!

By 10, the cook was out on the porch finishing up his beautiful Paella. It was the most amazing Paella I have ever smelled and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him carefully add each ingredient every few minutes till dinner was served around 1015. Then second helpings, and then more drinks. Now we were the only Americans, a few of the Brazilians spoke good english but they all chose to converse in Portuguese and I wouldn't have had it any other way. However, listening to a room full of people speaking a language you don't quite understand is literally like watching people speak classical music. It doesn't even sound like words, its just a blur of tunes and pitches. Jokes were made and I was the only one serious, people asked me questions and I didn't even notice, it was a bit stressful. By 1130 dessert was on the table. First came ice cream and fruit and 20 minutes later came creme brulee. Plates were cleared for more drinks and at midnight coffee was served. That was the que for one couple who brought their 14 month old. Usually in the US if you don't get a babysitter a young child will fall asleep in another room. Here, she danced into the night, babbling with all the guests and had finally made her announcement she was ready for bed. I had no idea what time it was but figured that meant the rest of us would start to head out as well. 

Nope, Coca Cola and Guarana soda was served and the boss got out his guitar. His wife brought over several books of brazilian songs and 20 minutes later 12 of us were in a state of kumbyya. The ice was finally broken when the hostess broke out lyrics in english, "we all get crazy, kiss in the mouth and screw on the floor," and everyone was chanting and clapping along. Over a deep guitar solo, I had one of those moments trying to imagine an american hosting a dinner for his associates and everyone sitting around a big table at 12:30am singing a song about screwing on the floor. By 1am we had calmed down into a nice "forever young" ballad and decided to finally call it a night. 

"Do you really want to live forever.... ?" Yes, yes here in Brasil I do!


Judi said...

Dear Alex :) - How fun and challenging. The food looks crazy amazing and the song lyrics even better. Learning the customs through trial and error will make for some great stories. Judi.

Jack said...

thanks for these stories Jana

Jim said...

Now THAT'S a paella! Amazing.

I love the 10 hour parties complete with live music and song.

Gil and Ray said...


Now you made me miss home really bad!


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