I want to tell you about my first Christmas in Hawaii but first I have to explain why our Christmas tree looks like it went to a drive thru fast food joint and came back decorated. Baby Maria kind of stole Christmas this year with her destructive behavior. After putting the first red glass ornament up I started having visions of her not only breaking each and every red and gold glass ball but also trying to eat it. I put the box with my favorite Christmas decorations away and took the "other" box down. We're going for tacky but safe decorations this year.
And now Hawaii, where we'll hike up the mountains to find the perfect pine while looking down at the clear ocean, wearing shorts and a tank top because the weather is sure to be sticky and hot.
We're off to Hawaii today where we'll get to hang out with Christian's mom and 3 of his 5 siblings and their families. Baby Maria will get to play with her cousin baby Lilikoi who's a week and a half older than her and baby Bo who's 2 weeks older than her. Then there's Mikey and Minami, the older cousins who live in Hawaii and Gio and Zeke who are Lilikoi's older brothers and right around Enzo's age. We'll miss the Indiana Palmers with their two daughters and the NY Palmers with their 4 kids, including (hold your breath) a baby cousin who's also 2 weeks older than baby Maria.
I haven't spent Christmas in Brazil since 2003, the year I fell in love with a Yale student who spoke Portuguese, had wild curly blond hair, and grew up in Hawaii. I was 20 years old and it was the first year I would be away from my family and meeting another family whom I wanted to impress more than anything in the world. That Christmas I realized that getting one person to fall in love with you is hard enough, getting a whole family with 5 siblings, their spouses,and their kids to fall in love with you is impossible. If this is the year you're meeting your fiance's family for the first time I wish you luck. We can share stories when you come back.
It was a very hard first Christmas away from home.
Other than the fact that 99% of it was lovely, Hawaii is not the worst place to be, and I ate real cherries for the first time. Still, a lot of it was miserable.
The truth is that Christmas can be miserable. I've come to accept that if you're religious and you try very hard 40% of Christmas is remembering Christ the other 60% is feeling disappointed. If you're not religious, and frankly even if you are, it's more like 90% feeling disappointed and the other 10% gets spread out between, loving Christ, loving the food, and enjoying the family.
There's something safe about spending Christmas at home, even if it's disappointing. For instance, I know most of my uncles will be drunk, I know I'll either get no presents or one present from my family like the empty shoe box I got one year that had a note inside "we can't afford the shoes you want but when we can we'll get it for you." That Christmas was more like 110% disappointment with zero redeeming memories. On top of the junk present I broke my foot the first day of Christmas vacation and my parents weren't speaking to each other. They are now happily divorced.
Hawaii was the opposite of home. I got more presents that first Christmas in Hawaii than all the other Christmases combined. No one was drunk, amazingly. I was with the guy of my dreams who wanted to marry me and through a series of crazy circumstances one of my best friends from Brazil ended up spending the day with us and helped me feel more at home. Still, I missed my crazy dysfunctional family and my crazy dysfunctional Christmases with them.
Seven years later and we're off to spend Christmas in Hawaii again like we have done almost every year since 2003. Things are much easier now that I don't feel like I need to impress anyone. By now they either love me or at best tolerate me. Plus, now that I have two kids it's more about them anyway as it should be. I'll miss my family in Brazil and will call and skype a million times before Christmas even comes around. But, in all honesty there's no place I'd rather be than spending Christmas in Hawaii with Christian's family.
Hopefully Christian won't be disappointed with the waves and will get to surf lots. I mainly want to hang out with the kids and eat melona bars all day long and then have really good dinners at night. I've been so busy this quarter working full time and Enzo has been in school so much, I'm really looking forward to spending more time with him. I'm looking forward to picking Adam's brain with all my photography questions and spending more time with Christian's sisters and the 8 grand babies who will be running around the yard jumping on the trampoline and taking communal bucket baths outside after the beach. And since I can't find my cell phone it will be really convenient to be next door to Mariko, the only person who calls me every day on my cell phone.
I have some posts scheduled, mainly some DIY projects I want to share with you. In fact I have one for today about snacks for planes and travel food bags you might enjoy. I'll also be posting from Hawaii sending some warmth and sunshine your way when I get a chance. This is a busy time of the year. I won't be offended if you don't read my posts or leave comments. Please don't be offended if I'm on the quiet side as well. I'll just assume we're both having fun. Nothing like coming back from vacation and finding your google reader full of good reads.
If this is your first Christmas away from home I wish you a smooth and memorable Christmas.
For everyone else I wish you a wonderful Christmas with time to relax, play, and eat.