Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Merry Mishap of a Christmas

Christmas in Brasil is more technically celebrated on the 24th. Tiago and I are, in his words, "orphaned and abandoned" in the city, so we were going to celebrate together, something small and um, romantic. Since presents aren't supposed to be opened before the huge dinner feast at midnight on the 25th, we were going to have it at my home. A Mexican lunch, lasagne supper.

Everything went wrong.

First, the refrigerator freaked out in the heat. The freezer should more honestly be called a refrigerator and the refrigerator is so warm that it only works to keep the cockroaches out. This did not make me happy.

In the middle of the morning, I remembered I was supposed to check up on Puxa. You may remember her from previous posts, my coworker's crazy cat. They live about fifteen to twenty minutes away. It was close to 100 degrees outside and the streets were packed with people coming back from church and doing their last-minute Christmas shopping. After sweating and pushing my way through the crowds, I arrived at their house. And the portão was open. Which usually isn't good. But I didn't see any dog poop (the neighbor's dogs love the Nichols' landing), so I started walking. And stepped into a lake of orange dog pee. With flipflops on.

Shaking the pee out of my sandals as best as I could, I put the key into the lock. It didn't turn. I looked at the key, then the keychain, then the key again, then the possibilities of breaking in through the window. It wasn't the right key. Their key wasn't on my keychain. I don't know WHERE I've put the key to their home, but the probability is high that it's lost in some stack of moving stuff somewhere in my house.

At this point, I was livid. With myself, with the cat, with the pee, the heat and the lack of a spare key. I stomped home and looked, unsuccessfully for the key. And then, after spending close to three hours this morning prepping food for the week and for our dinner, I went to light the stove. The brand-new stove. And I couldn't get anything to work. There was no smell of gas. It didn't light with a match. It didn't light with the self lighter.

I cried.

Tiago called right about this point. I let him in, gave him my sob story, and left to take a cold shower and stop being so emotional. After all, "Christmas is about Jesus. It's not about traditions or lasagne. We can eat somewhere else. Let's focus on what we're celebrating here." So I tried.

Praise the Lord for Tiago. He read the instruction manual for the stove (what men actually do this???) and discovered that it is idiot-proof. I'm supposed to push the dials in before turning them in order to release the gas. So we have a working stove...yay! So what if I have to throw out all the contents of my freezer???

All in all, our Christmas was rather un-traditional. We ate lasagne and Mom's famous cinnamon rolls, read the Christmas story, went to night church, and watched a couple of Alias episodes. Christmas day we celebrated with the family of a friend of ours, who took us right in like we were long-lost third cousins, roping us into their crazy games and getting Tiago to be Santa Claus for the kids in a suit that was about two sizes too small!

And now I'm home, relaxing in front of the fan, typing out my Christmas 2006 memories...trying to dream of far-away places where homes don't feel like saunas and fireworks are only used on the Fourth of July...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Jenna, this is Hilary, I am working in the WMF Omaha office. I got your blog info from Daphne and I loved looking at your pictures and reading your posts!
A little piece of me wishes your Christmas story could be the one that is told before the fire dies down on Christmas Eve night.
My heart was breaking for you as you walked through the details of that day. But it was with each turn in the story and as the events of the day made themselves known that I pushed myself through the crowds of people, walked through the dog's mess, and cried in front of the cold stove. You have such a gift - I was able to be at your Christmas because of how beautifully you articulated that day! Thank you! I loved being a part of your untraditional and very eventful celebration!
How has the retreat been for you? Are you finding yourself being renewed? I hope that the time away is truly refreshing and just really good for you!
I look forward to hearing from you!