Friday, October 16, 2009

Party Girl

So as you all know, Sidnei's birthday has recently (and by recently I mean a week and a half ago) passed.

We all had a nice time. A very nice low key time. There was cake and soda. And family (which is more important than I am making it sound right now). Which is all well and good.

Us and the store bought cake...since my cake making ventures haven't exactly been successful here.

Israel LOVES when everyone sings Happy Birthday!

And trying to convince everyone to take a picture together is like pulling teeth. Hence why you don't see many in the photo.

Here is my question. Is it normal to be so low key for adult birthdays in Brasil? I am familiar with blowing it out on kids birthdays. Seriously if you haven't seen a little kid Brasilian birthday party, they make us look shameful. Our bowling parties where we get the pin everyone can sign is just down right pitiful next to theme banners, walls of balloons, theme decorated tables, millions of candies, big cakes,lots of food, and the list goes on.

So here I am thinking I need to blow it out big for Sidnei's birthday. And I want to. It's really the first thing we have been able to celebrate since we'd been separated. My problem: lack of funds. Sidnei has been working on a big construction job that we have been financing. Thankfully we finally got paid, two days AFTER his birthday. So the only thing I could do is cake and drinks. But his family hasn't celebrated with him in like 6 YEARS. The only person that even got him a present was his sister (which is a whole other post). Seriously Happy Birthday was barely even said.

Sidnei's Mom's birthday was the next day. We ordered pizza. One brother didn't even show up. We didn't sing Happy Birthday.

Here is my big problem. I am a big holiday person. I LOVE the commercialism of all holidays. I love that the minute Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is here, and Christmas is out the next day. I love seeing shamrocks the day after Valentine's Day. I love to decorate for holidays, parties, birthdays, etc. I LOVE IT. I love throwing big birthday parties. I love to celebrate. I like to make people feel special on their day.

I am assuming that if I want to celebrate, it will be up to me. And I am assuming my birthday will not be near what I am used to. I feel very American Princess saying this. So I am, so sue me. My party bubble is feeling busted.


Anonymous said...

Do you guys have Casa de Festas there? I think some of it may have to do with:
1. Your hubby's family (I mean, when I reflect on my own family's birthday "celebrations" since my childhood, mine have evolved from an occasional dinner to a card, quite different than my husband's family who celebrate everyone's birthday with the same level of intensity regardless of...)
2. The day of the week (was it a weekday?)
3. The cash flow situation. Perhaps if they have a Casa de Festas (or something similar) you & Sidnei can plan a joint party for the two of you. I just went to an adult friend's birthday party
and it was quite incredible. Everyone who came paid $30R but there was food and caipirinhas and beer, plus a DJ and stuff for the kids.
4. It may also have to do with where you are geographically because I definitely know they like to party here for everything (though rarely with alcohol, which is different than the U.S. parties I've been to).

Re: Gifts...
I think because of the amount of parties and the lack of disposable income, the parties and holidays are definitely less gift oriented. Just a thought...savor it...I personally remember feeling pressured more than excited about (or even missing) many special days of friends & family because rarely is a gift not expected/obligatory.

Hugs from Rio.
Did you find the racket? I saw a guy selling them in traffic the other day and thought of you.

Anonymous said...

PS...I don't know if your marido reads your blog, but tell him about your birthday wishes/concerns so he can plan now :)

LadyFi said...

I think it's going to be up to you to bring a little fiesta feeling to the family birthdays.. You can start creating your own traditions! yay!

We do very low-key birthdays here in Europe too. It's only a big bash if you're turning 40 or 50 or 60...

Megan said...

It does sound like you may have to be the one to plan things, but if that's something you enjoy jump in with both feet and plan the celebration that you desire. Everyone just might see how fun it is and quit being so "adult" about it all. lol

camila said...

I think it depends on the person/family (and I don't think it's a cultural thing). When I lived in Brazil I always had a cake for my birthday, always did something to celebrate, big or small. I've been living in the US for almost 6 years and NEVER had a cake on my birthday. I think that's mostly because my husband doesn't really care for celebrations. But I make sure I celebrate his, and always do what I think I'd enjoy, respecting his wishes, of course.

I agree with TLC, let Sidney know what is important to you, because you could get frustrated.
I used to love Christmas and New Years when I lived in BR, now, I dread it. I hate celebrating holidays here. It's just too commercial for me... But my husband knows how important it is for me, and he always tries to make it better. So let your hubby know how important those celebrations are for you. And my tip is, be proactive and plan most of it yourself. People will get used to the way you do things, and will enjoy it too!
Sorry for the long comment!

Vanessa Rogers said...

I love holidays and celebrations too! How strange that they don't really celebrate there. They did in Chile.

Amanda X said...

Steph. I love you. And you know I am the same. I love Birthdays and holidays and love to go all out. Scotty isn't the same. Before I came along his birthday was 'just another day' to him. I've addressed my concerns with him and I am always the planner. Holidays are growing on him now. He loves that I decorate and throw parties and he does an awesome job for me on my birthday and Christmas and such...but I did have to let him know how much those special days mean to me.

So just be upfront (which I know you are capable of).

I can't believe his family didn't do a little more though. Especially since he hasn't been there for a birthday in sooooo long. But whatever.

I love you! And hope things are going well. I miss you like crazy!

Lisa said...

Glad things are going well overall.

We are not big birthday party people, they are always low key. We just don't go all out.

You may have to teach them a little and give a little. It will work out.

Lisa Q

markuza said...

Hey now, don't give up on the party thing. I live in Bahia, which is notorious for its parties, and the Brazilians I know love to throw parties (especially my wife!) My wife also hates to go to birthday parties if she doesn't have something to give, and for birthday parties we've thrown for here there have always been lots of gifts- usually really inexpensive stuff, but still. Things may be more low-key in Minas (I heard they canceled Carnaval one year, unthinkable here) but I can't imagine it's 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

You are so right about the kid's parties- when our son was turning one, I became quite alarmed with how large the party was shaping up to be, until I discovered that it's a cultural thing. I still find the parties a bit too much for the little kids (I wrote a post about this back in April I believe) but hey we all like a party now and then right??

As for all the commercialization of holidays here, I don't think you'll be let down, at least not at the shoppings. I saw my first Christmas tree in front of a store on Monday (gasp!)

Stephanie said...

So I may or may not have been objective yesterday...

But many of you are right, it depends on family...different strokes for different folks. So I will be the official party person for all holidays, birthdays, and any other reason for celebration.

Amanda I need you here! Or me there. Something! I miss you like crazy too!

I promise to everyone that my objectivity ebbs and flows with my mood. So it will return...and then fly out the window. It's all good times.

Stephanie said...


seriously, parties that are costing 2500 reais for a one year old. Really? Is it necessary? When we have kids I have a feeling I will be a black sheep. I may even be outcasted. But they can have a party like that when they LOVE it. And when they can open their own gifts. Not only that, but Im all about tradition. I want to have my immeadiate family there. A cake for us and a cake for the one year old to dive into all by themselves. Good times. Good low key, one year old appropriate, birthday times.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

My ex's family was VERY low key about birthdays and holidays. ANd the holidays they DID do, well.. they did them wrong. LOL... I was miserable my first few holidays with them.

I agree - let Sydnei know that it's a big deal to you, but also be prepared to compromise!!! said...

I enjoyed reading TLC and the other gals who have a frame of reference for your challenge.

That sounds like quite an adjustment.

Happy belated b-day to your sweetie.

Here's hoping your man will make you feel like a princess on your special day!

Corinne said...


My experience is kids birthdays = big deal, adults not so much. Most adults I know usually just have cake and dinner out. That said, I like to have a party and have 2 colleagues with the same birthday, so we have had a couple of big joing churrasco-style parties.

My husband´s family did not really go all out for kid´s birthdays (mostly because of funds). They would still have the cake and theme and such, but try to do it homemade. That said, most kids parties will set so back around R$2.000. I am trying to get away with less than half that for Kevin´s 3rd. While I don´t want to spend a lot of money, I don´t want him to think his day is not as special as his friends.

As far as holidays, it depends on which ones and the family. I have been a bit disappointed by Christmas, but that seems to be just my husband´s family and not a general thing.

The most important thing I think is to make your own traditions. I celebrate 4th of July, Thanksgiving and make sure I do special things for Christmas (Christmas cookies). These help me make it special. I have an anti-holiday husband too, but he is coming around :)

That Girl said...

I think it must depend on the family. I went to TONS of adult birthday parties in Brazil that were themed just like a kid's - dancing, slideshows, presents, etc. They went all out. So maybe this isn't a culture thing so much as a family thing. Every family is different, and some just don't make a big deal out of birthdays. This is one of those things that newlyweds discover! In preparation for YOUR birthday, I suggest a big sit-down talk with your hubby. Talk about expectations and the way you were raised. You want to throw him a party, because that's what YOU would want. But maybe he wouldn't appreciate it at all!

markuza said...

yeah, not only able to open their own presents, but able to REMEMBER the birthday too ;)

Fabio Bossard said...

I am Brazilian and I've never been abroad, but I have always been pretty interested in other cultures. Since I have many foreign friends, it ended up shaping my view of things. I don't agree with the huge birthday party for kids that is a traditional here. When I have kids I will throw low key parties. As Markuza stated, what's the point if they won't remember.