Why I didn't throw My Daughter 1, 2 or 3 yr Old Birthday Parties

birthday1.png

Brazilians are famous for partying.  This stereotype is not unfounded, I for once love a good party. I love to dance, to chat and to have a drink with friends. I enjoy the whole vibe and energy from a party, everyone having fun and enjoying themselves, except... when it's a 1yr old party... or a 2yr old... To be honest I don't have anything against the party itself, why would I? My whole thinking is... if you're throwing me a party, I want to remember it (at least the start of it :o) ), but a 1 or 3-yr old, they'll never remember the party.  I can totally understand the mum wanting to celebrate the newborn phase being over, now I'm really going to have haters here, but seriously, joking aside, I don't remember anything from when I was younger than... 5? Maybe older? My daughter doesn't remember hardly anything from our time in England (we moved to the US when she had just turned 5).

The issue is... the parties in Brazil are not like...  let's get a cake at the supermarket and invite the grandparents, uncles and aunts kindda thing. They are more like, let's invite 150-200 people, spend R$10's of thousands and our adorable little princess/prince can fall asleep before we even cut the cake...

Picture taken from google - www.karaspartyideas.com -

So, I did throw her a party when Victoria turned 1, I bought a cake and I put it right in front of her, so she could get it with her bare hands and stuff all over her face, ha!

P1020899

The grandparents celebrating from the other side of the world

When Victoria turned 4, we threw her an actual party, it was a kid's party, we invited the kids in her classroom, she had the best time ever, played like crazy on the bouncy castle, came home and passed out until the day after. It was a party for her and her friends, not a party pretending to be for her, but, instead, for the adults. Now we have a rule to throw her a party  on every even birthday, 4-6-8...

03.12BirthdayParty97

I know different countries throw big parties as well, especially for the 1st birthday. It celebrates kids' surviving their 1st year, but hell, I should have had a party for myself, for surviving the 1st year. The kids.. they won't remember.

Someday I will write about kids' birthday parties in England and in the US.

Types of Visas in Brazil

I've never needed a visa to go to Brazil, but I did some research in case someone stumbles upon this cute blog of mine. A few notes taken straight from the Brazilian's consulate website:

  • Citizens of countries with which Brazil does not maintain diplomatic relations, applying for any type of visa, will receive a special travel document – “LAISSEZ-PASSER”- issued by the Consulate to each individual, with prior approval of the Brazilian Government. Approval of visas for citizens of countries with which Brazil does not maintain diplomatic relations usually takes from 2 to 4 weeks. After approval, the processing time is up to 5 (five) working days. Please plan accordingly! The Consulate General of Brazil in Los Angeles does not process same day visas (no rush fee!). The "Laissez-Passer" and the corresponding visa are good for multiples entries for the duration of the visa.  
  • Long-duration visas (valid for 5 or 10 years, for instance) are valid from the day they were issued. Short-duration visas (valid for 30 or 90 days, for example) are valid from the date of first entry into Brazil. All visa holders, regardless of nationality or visa validity date, may only stay in Brazil for up to 90 days a year, unless otherwise noted on the visa. An extension of the original 90 days may be granted by the Federal Police Department in Brazil, yet total stay cannot exceed 180 days a year, unless otherwise noted.

First check out this list provided from the consulate to see which type of visa you can get, then read below.

Entrance Visas to Brazil

There are 8 types of visas:

1) VRT - Temporary residency - For nationals of any of the MERCOSUL's countries - valid for 2 years, with option of being upgraded to a permanent visa.

2) VIPER - Permanent visas Anyone wanting to move to Brazil permanently.

3) VITEM - Temporary visas - Anyone going to Brazil to study or work temporarily. There are 6 types of the temporary visa - You must have a return ticket - Proof of financial capability and (but not limited to) FBI or local police dept. clearance.

4) VITRA - Transit visas - If you are travelling to a different country, but must enter in Brazil for a connection flight.

5) VITUR - Tourist visas - Any tourist looking to spend up to 90 days in Brazil.

6) VICOR - Courtesy visas - No idea what this is for, I couldn't find any information on the consulate's page.

7) VISOF - Official visas - Anyone taking part of an official (govt related) visit.

8) VIDIP - Diplomatic visas - Anyone in a diplomatic mission to Brazil.

All information was taken from Consulate-general of Brazil in Los Angeles and Itamaraty Portal Consular.

Christmas When I was Growing Up in Brazil

Growing up we mostly spent Christmas with my dad's family. Not for any reason in particular, but they lived in Rio, we lived in Sao Paulo and it was closer than travelling to the Central part of Brazil where my mum's brother and sister live.

Decoration

Building up to Christmas we decorated our home with a Christmas tree and a nativity set. My mum also had some other decorations she used to hang up on the walls, but nothing huge. I don't remember having wreaths at our house. Another thing we did , we used to drive around the city checking out Christmas lights, we loved it so much!

Our Christmas tree this year

O Natal comemora o nascimento do menino Jesus.

Rio, Christmas Eve 12.24

Mums would cook dinner, kids would spend the day at the beach or at the pool. We'd come home shower, change into our best clothes and hang out with all the cousins until later when we would eat dinner, adults would eat their supper around 10 or 11 pm.

The Meal

In Brazil, Christmas supper varies, not only by regions, but every family does it differently. Even the same family might not have the same meal every year.

Main Dish: Chester, cod fish, roasted pork leg, pork loin or turkey.

Side Dishes: Rice with champagne, rice with raisins and nuts, sweet potatoes, different salads, "farofa" with nuts and dry fruits, potato salad, roast potatoes.

The Presents

Before the kids headed to bed, Santa would come. Yes, all lights would turn off and "Papai Noel" would show up in a helicopter (which we'd never see landing) and come into the house to deliver presents. Santa was so quick that we'd hardly see him. We'd hear him, and we always try to catch him, but we couldn't. As we grew older we would wonder where such and such uncle was or your dad, but it was all forgotten about with the gifts left under the tree. But if I remember it correctly, we couldn't open the presents, we'd go to bed,then open the presents the next day.

Oh, yes, we used to leave a shoe outside a door or by our beds and the main present was left by our beds.

Rio, Christmas Day 12.25

We'd wake up and run for the tree, of course. Open presents,and go play. breakfast is very late, one very famous dish is "rabanada", which came from Portugal, it is a dish made with bread, it resembles french toast, but a little different. Lunch is also late, kids basically spend all day outside.

There, these were my Christmas traditions growing up. Now that I have Victoria I like to show her a little of my tradition, so we've been having 2 Christmas dinners, one on the 24th and one on the 25th. If she has any presents under the tree she opens them on the 24th, but the main day of presents is the 25th.

One tradition I want to start this year, is to do some good on the 24th, so I've planned to take a gingerbread house to a fire station near our home to show some gratitude for the ones working during Christmas.