Category Archives: Brazil

Christmas in Brazil

We arrived to Bauru the night before Christmas Eve, pretty late, and ended up crashing at Kay’s cousin’s house before heading to Pirajuí the next day.

Brazilian family is pretty much the best thing ever. They are extremely friendly, generous, and love to please. The whole family just wanted to feed and entertain us the whole time! We had such a blast enjoying time with the family, even me with my almost-no-Portuguese-skills. Also, since it was my first time coming back as a celiac, the family had prepared ahead of time, all of them, and every single house we went to, someone had gone out of their way to buy or prepare gluten free food for me. It was really, so sweet.

In addition to the food, they knew I couldn’t drink beer, but that I like caipirinhas, so I started getting the nickname “Caipirinha Kaitsch” which is how they pronounce Katie. It sounds really funny and basically one of the cousins would yell, “Caipirinha Kaytsche!!” at 10am and by 11am, someone was putting a drink in my hand.

I couldn’t complain. 🙂We had lots of family dinners, enjoying Christmas Eve and meeting tons new people that I hadn’t met or didn’t remember from my 2010 visit as Kay’s girlfriend. I also loved when I was handed random, cute babies to hold. 🙂
Brazilians are loud, talkative, and jovial. It’s always a good time! And hilarious even if you only understand half of what is being said.Kay’s little second cousins were funny too. I’d last seen the girl in the polka dot dress when she was just a baby, but Kay has been to visit both her and her plaid shirt brother several times since then. He is the one who knows how to speak Portuguese and all, but for whatever reason, they thought I was hilarious and at the end of the trip, they were hugging me goodbye and giving Kay the cold shoulder. 😀

I think they just liked me because I couldn’t tell them off for making trouble. 😉We got to celebrate Manu’s birthday and I was marveling at finally seeing the house I’d seen pictures of on Facebook for years and years.I got to try brigadeiros!Also, how much does Kay’s cousin below on the right look like him?? 🙂 It was really cute to see him and Kay together again. They look like brothers more than Kay’s own brother does! 🙂
So many sweets!Also, the weather made me just want to pack and move to Brazil and have my own patio and pool with hot weather. Ahhhh.Pão de queijo from Kay’s aunt. 🙂Below was the little playhouse that Kay’s uncle built his grandkids. He was so crafty, he showed us all the things he builds around the house and it was incredibly impressive. The family was also sweet enough to set us up to participate in a small exchange on Christmas eve. They thought of everything!On Christmas itself, we headed to the farm where Kay’s mother was born and raised. It was an emotional experience, because I had always imagined Helo showing me the farm herself. Originally, we were planning to spend a Christmas holiday in Brazil together, and I’m really sad that that never happened.The land where she grew up was beautiful, and Kay was also filled with emotions as we walked through her history without her.Some of Kay’s other uncles were also interesting, funny guys, like Tio Oswaldo.He likes fixing up old cars and had a VW on the property he was taking care of as well. He took us around for a little tour.Tio Oswaldo also told us a story about an anaconda snake that was living in this lake. It’s illegal to kill anacondas (good Lord, why??) but the snake would go around and eat dogs and animals and things, so the farmers got together and something may have happened to the snake. I still didn’t want to swim in the lake anymore…. :O
Driving through Pirajuí on Christmas day, we headed to the first celebration of the day.What is more perfect on Christmas Day than a churrasco get together??
When we weren’t gorging ourselves, there was always the pool.And back at home, the family was so nice to even have gluten free pasta for me!And jello! Which is kind of a Brazilian thing… we’ve had Brazilian jello waiting at home to be made for ages, but Kay is not a fan, so I haven’t made it yet.More photos with the family. I could see where Kay’s mother got the photo taking from. Brazilians love family photos… and for once, Kay was happy to take them! Christmas night!
All the love!Ahhh I love this little cousin baby… so cute! I wanted to take him home. 🙂 It was such a big, happy family moment. Kay and I were both so happy to be there.On Boxing Day we headed somewhere else for a family reunion from another side of the family with a party with like 150 people. It was nuts! They were even roasting whole pigs!It was a little hard for me at the reunion without Kay, if he would leave to go to the bathroom, I didn’t know almost anyone there and the people I did know, I couldn’t communicate with, but I managed to get through the night without too much social awkwardness. Here’s a photo of “some” of us!Soon it was time for us to leave, which meant leaving drinks.I had been nick-named “Caipirinha Kaytsche” by now, after all.We decided to go wild and try the different flavors of caipiroskas as well, like kiwi and passionfruit. I still like normal caipirinhas the best!
We headed out to Rio de Janeiro more stuffed than ever before, and I left feeling like I had finally started to get to know Kay’s Brazilian family a little. It makes me look forward to all the moments I’ll see them in the future!

A visitor from faraway

A couple weeks ago, Kay got wind that one of his Brazilian friends of the family was going to be in Switzerland for the weekend and might stop by on Saturday morning.

We were planning to go to Liechtenstein for a short overnight trip that Saturday and never heard if they would come or not, but Saturday morning at 9:30am, Kay heard his phone ring and told me to get up because apparently they were almost here!!

Whoops… I quickly washed my face, brushed my teeth, and threw a bra on while thinking “Thank God I cleaned all the pantry items out of the living room the night before!” despite Kay telling me to just leave it after a lazy fondue evening.Luciano, next to me, is an old friend of the family and he is currently studying English for one month in London. My BIL’s friend on the far right picked him up from the airport in Basel on Friday evening and spent the weekend showing him around.

It was a little sad that we did not have more notice, because we probably would have done our night in Liechtenstein another weekend, but it was still really great to finally meet Luciano. I have been Facebook friends with him for around four years since Kay and I got married, but I haven’t been back to Brazil since.He is such a sweet, friendly guy. My Portuguese is still terrible and he was over here to learn English anyway, so we mostly spoke English and he told me some funny jokes that only make sense if you have some understanding of Portuguese and English and the mistakes that can happen.

I hope we can meet him again sooner!

Oi, Brasil! Learning Portuguese.

Never in a million years did I think I would be learning not one, but two languages, but the time has finally come to start learning Brazilian Portuguese.

Knowing how lazy I am, I really needed to book an actual course and go to school to start learning. I need the pressure and I need the vocal help from teachers, so I booked a course with Migros Klubschule.Portuguese courses are limited in Switzerland, but offer the Brazilian variant more often than Portugal, simply because we have so many Brazilians and Swiss-Brazilians here. Still, they are only offered in 6 month chunks, and at over 1000CHF a pop, it’s quite an investment.

With our trip to Brazil coming up in December, it will be my second time visiting Kay’s family and I hope this time traveling as his wife instead of girlfriend, that I will be able to say at least some small things to his family. They are really sweet and loving and we communicate a fair amount via Facebook translating, but it’s always different in person.

Here’s to getting my tongue around the pronunciation hurdles!!

Tough Life of Holiday Planning

Kay and I have some extreme first world problems: it’s almost impossible to plan our five weeks holiday this year due to his school, army, and work schedule.

Yep. Just let that sink in and then feel free to smack me silly for complaining, but bear with me.

Since it is our last 5 months together, I really want to maximize our holiday and time together traveling. I also really wanted to cross something big off of our “must see” list before we are broke from school and later broke from kids.

All that in mind, once we finally found out about his school, we realized looking at our calendar that our Christmas holiday to Brazil will be cut a week short due to INSEAD’s pre-course in December, which Kay is not missing, and classes starting in January. Then he has the army in September for three weeks and any time we were looking to fit a two or even just one week holiday in, the week was ruined with mandatory work days for Kay. Booo.

And all of the other weeks that are semi-free during the week, we already have non-canceable plans on the weekend, making it hard to maximize a week of holiday when we can only leave on Sunday instead of Friday evening. Womp womp. None of you are feeling sorry for me, are you? 🙂

All of this meant that suddenly we needed to plan a cramped week holiday with non-flexible dates in three weeks time in August, high season in Europe. That limits our options quite a bit. Where are we going for the rest of the year, besides our Porto weekend trip?


(Image from Trish Hartmann on Flickr)

I tried to convince Kay that we should use our one week holiday to go on a safari, but without two weekends book-ending our trip, it would be a little short for that. I also tried to convince him to go to Egypt for diving, but aside from tickets being really expensive, they just had another bombing in Cairo and Kay doesn’t want to risk it.

Montenegro was not anywhere on my list of places to go, but it was one of the only places we found tickets under 300 for when we were searching in high season. Three weeks is a very short time to plan during tourist season and some of the flats I was looking at got booked up as I was searching. I’m still not sure how the holiday will go, but I’m looking forward to a week off soon and seeing if the diving is at all worthwhile around here.

 Machu Picchu:

(Image from Ken Bosma on Flickr)

Since our week holiday is kind of a cop out and not really marking anything off our “list” and we will go to Brazil at Christmas, I really wanted to go somewhere that we’ve always talked about. Machu Picchu has been on my travel list for years now, probably at least a decade, and we are finally doing it. I wanted to go last year at Christmas, but we chose Australia instead when we learned that autumn is a better time to go to Peru.

I hope we don’t push the rainy season too much, but we’ve got two weeks. Again, planning was tricky because we are in Paris the weekend we leave for Kay’s welcome weekend at school (spouses welcome!) so we actually have to fly out of Paris and then back to Zurich. We still aren’t sure if we are going to bring our business casual attire with us to Peru or not… TBC.

Rio de Janeiro:

(Image from Higor de Padua Vieira Neto on Flickr)

Brazil, Brazil. It’s been five years since I’ve been, and while Kay has been on work trips and had the luck to visit his family, we’ve talked about going for Christmas for a long time. In fact, we wanted to go this year with my MIL and FIL together, but they booked a cruise instead! We were just asking ourselves if we should still go before Kay’s school or try and do another year later when my MIL was retired, but once she passed away, Kay felt a very strong urge to be with his mother’s family at Christmas and show me the family farm before it is too late.

Last time we went to Brazil, we visited Curitiba, Iguassu Falls, São Luís, Barreirinhas, Caburé, Manaus, and the Amazon. I complained to Kay that we didn’t even get to Rio or a proper Brazilian beach, so several months ago he booked a hotel for NYE in Rio on the beach. Let’s hope the booking went through because it can be very expensive to have such a hotel!

Planning tickets to Brazil is also pretty tricky because Kay’s pre-course starts in December and then classes are in January right after new year. Somewhere in there, he needs time to move to France, so I convinced him that it is a better idea to move to France for his pre-course already and then fly out of France.

The question is whether we will manage to fly together, because I will still be working in Switzerland while he starts school. This makes for a lot of complicated plane ticket purchasing!

So…. his MBA is already complicating things quite a bit, but so has his recent job where he has several days a month required to be in the office. Those random chunks of military time don’t help either. 😉

If you had five weeks holiday, how would you break it up and where would you go?