It was my first Christmas… Ive never really celebrated Christmas in India…. We were invited by Luiza Calandra and her family in Sao Paulo to spend Christmas with them… and it was so special…
If I start writing about the people I met and the food I ate and the laughs I shared, there won’t be enough space. I am just going to share some things I remember and love about the Calandras….
– Luiza, with her beautiful smile.. her eagerness to share.. her enthusiasm to shop.. her love for food.. her mischievous way in which she would joke about everything.. her passion for travel.. her warm hug.. Christmas to me will always be Luiza.
– Avo (Amelia, Luiza’s Grandma)… her hug every morning before wishing me Bom Dia.. her wonderful coffee that she brewed and kept ready in the flask knowing that I cant start my day without coffee.. her tolerating me speaking broken Potuguese and using sign language to communicate with her..
– Zuelikha… Luiza’s mom… my Amiga Secreta (secret friend is the game you play in christmas exchanging gifts)… someone with business in her blood.. could see that in the passionate way in which she spoke about her travel business.. (oooooh.. do i envy her)… a typical mom too.. could see the mom daughter chats and that made me miss my mom so much..
– Ricardo…. Luiza’s dad…. if there is a man who could cook that well in India, I would have married him for sure.
– Henrique… Luiza’s brother…. the crazy boy who loved to eat Luiza’s hair for some wierd reason.. who cracked jokes at every opportunity.. who did not need to crack jokes to be funny… who was a Foosball champion of the day (Luiza was upset that the sisters lost).. who asked me to write his name in Hindi for him…
– Maria…. Luiza’s sister…. the one who has a smile like Cameron Diaz.. I swear…. you need to see her to believe it.
– Selma.. Luiza’s cousin… one of the warmest people I have met in this trip… we spoke about India… about Brazil… about life.. about Christmas.. about random things… and laughed a lot… Selma has a beautiful heart… you can feel it right from the moment you hang out with her…
– Isadora… selma’s boyfriends neice… How did i manage to find this little angel in the party.. well.. the little angel found me.. she had never met a indian girl before … so, Neesha and I gifted her a packet of Bindis.. and Isa loved it so much she would hold my hand and walk around… just hug me randomly…. her smile melted my heart… the Brazilian kid with the Bindi.. Ill never forget her
– Juli…. Luiza’s neice.. her cousin Patricia’s daughter… Juli is 8 I think.. but she has the maturity of a 28 year old.. she taught me portuguese… my professor… there was something so proper about her… she gathered herself so well and walked around I seriously could not believe she was 8…
– Patricia… Juli’s mom… this woman cant be the mother of a 8 year old.. you see her and you’ll think she got out of a college 2 years ago. Unbelievable truly.
– Rafael… Luiza’s cousin.. when I met him first, it was his smile that struck me… something about his smile…. makes you want to go up and talk to that person…. well, he also turned out to be a Foosball champion…. runs in the Calandra blood I think..
Ofcourse, I met many others… all her aunts and uncles…(her mom has 5 sisters and 3 brothers).. many more cousins.. neices.. nephews… phew ! Christmas has never been grander for me.. the food was incredible… Rodrigo’s bachalau… lebanese dishes… Avo’s salad…enough to feed an army… the pink bubbly drink which was some wine mixed with some cherries was amazing… the maracuja pudding… neesha’s chocolate mousse… was a food nite to remember. Actually, I think I ate Christmas food from 24th till 27th. Also enjoyed decorating Luiza’s living room before the party with cushions and candles.. cleaning dishes after the party with Lau and Neesha… It was a complete experience.
Thanks Luiza for most incredible Natal of my life. To me, Christmas will always be Luiza.