Eu Aceito: The Brazilian Nuptials

The week after the Ohio wedding came a second wedding for the couple in Brazil.  Since D is from Brazil, there was a blessing/ceremony of the marriage for her family members that couldn’t make the trip to the US.

Eight of us, not including the bride and groom, made it to the Brazil ceremony.   Beyond a few Greek weddings, this is the first multi-cultural wedding I have attended, so I thought I would share a few customs we noticed:

1 – Contrary to the USA where people are supposed to arrive a half hour prior to the wedding time to be seated, in Brazil, it is completely normal for the bride to be late.  Guests arrive late in anticipation of it, typically a half hour.  In fact, this wedding started over an hour after the time on the invitation.

The groom waiting for his bride.  Good thing they were already married in the US or he might be sweating it 🙂

2 – Instead of a traditional wedding party where everyone dresses the same, the important people in the couple’s lives are paired up, in duos called padrinhos.  This can be siblings, cousins, or important friends.   They don’t dress in the same bridesmaids dress, or suit, just in what they have chosen.   They stand at the altar, but seats are provided to sit in during the ceremony.

The lovely couple: the brides’s sister Miss L and cousin D. Image courtesy of Miss L’s camera.

3 – While USA flower girls are tiny, flower girls can have more of an age range in Brazil.

The lovely flower girl.  Image courtesy of Miss L’s camera.

4– The parents share a prayer at the beginning of the service.

5 – The weddings are more formal than the normal US wedding.  I actually wasn’t aware of this and had a little confusion thinking we were wearing the same dress as Ohio and didn’t bring anything suitable.  I passed in one of my dresses packed for Rio.     However, 99% of guests were dressed in their best suit and ball gown.

6 – After the ceremony, the samba music starts rocking. They are very talented and their rhythms inspire instantaneous dancing.

The bride’s sister had hired this band as a present.

So instant, in fact, that everyone dances during the appetizers and before the dinner.  And their feet can move!!!  We were so impressed, especially by Awesome Son’s fast footwork.

Bride, rocking to samba.

7 – Similar to throwing the bridal bouquet, in Brazil, the bride throws a cluster of Santo Antonio dolls at the eligible girls.  This Saint, Antonio, is whom you pray to when you want to get married.

Image courtesy of

D  threw one of these in Ohio.  As soon as it is launched, all the individual saints fly off into the crowd, at least four or five of them.   We Americans thought that it was a pretty neat trick for appeasement of many women who want to be married.  But the little girls got more sad they didn’t ‘win’ the game because they were dolls!

In fact, I had to console one little granddaughter of Aunt Foxy Floridian, letting her know that it was okay….she shouldn’t want a husband quite yet, they are a lot of work!  (just kidding, my love)

8Caipirinhas, the national drink of Brazil, are served in addition to beer and non-alcholic beverages.

Image courtesy of wikipedia

Awesome Son has a caipirina in his hand!

9 – Guests are given sweet cakes called casadinhos, or “marry well” cookies.  They are sweet cookies melded together with a sweet sticky center.  It is said that whomever eats one shares in the same luck as the bride and the groom.  D’s aunts & Mama I brought these to Ohio for everyone to partake.  And they were delicious!!

10 – Things get crazy after dinner at Brazilian weddings.   Dinner was served a little after midnight, and shortly after eating, the sisters handed out fun dress up items for us to “get crazy”.  It was like New Years Eve!

Me and my garb

The groom with his faux tie and hat

Aunt Sensuous Siren

Aunt Foxy Floridian

Everyone convened to a little glass room where a late night DJ was stationed to continue partying until the early morning.  Confetti cannons started booming and everyone danced the night away.

The little glass room was rockin’

It is said that Brazilian festivities don’t stop until all the food and booze run out.  We only stayed until 2:30am  so I can’t personally vouch for this, but I think the rest of the crew got in around 5:00am.

And tradition # 11  didn’t happen. Gabe had read the below custom on this site, so he was disappointed his brother didn’t ride the donkey.

“Very interesting wedding tradition in Brazil is that the groom has to subdue an unruly donkey. In such way he should to prove his worth as a responsible husband. The Brazilians called this custom as Bumba-Meu-Boi. This custom appears only in some parts of Brazil.”

The blog post is named Eu Aceito as these are the vows one would say (like “I do”) in the Portuguese language.  B, the groom, realized a few minutes before the ceremony that this information would be helpful.  He found D’s father who gave his son-in-law a quick lesson on when and what to say during the ceremony!!


An Impromptu 4th of July Picnic at Genève Plage

Today is the 4th of July.   As I have mentioned, sometimes it can be quite strange living somewhere that doesn’t celebrate your typical holidays.   Gabe is also out of town on business.  Since he doesn’t get US holidays (only Swiss), he had a work trip starting Monday and landing at midnight tonight.

I didn’t want to let the day escape without celebrating.   Luckily, some of the other ladies were up for getting together to recognize Independence Day.

M had suggested Genève Plage (Plage = Beach in French).  She and some of her mom group friends had gotten season passes as it provided a good kid-friendly meet up place, just about a mile outside of Geneva.  I had never been before, so I was excited to try it out and purchased a single entry at 7 CHF.

A view of Genève Plage from the water

So, we found a nice shady spot to spend the afternoon.

Our 4th of July Headquarters

Everyone dressed in fun 4th of July clothes.  The moms of us had to get their kid’s clothing on trips to the US long before the actual 4th of July.   Something that you take for granted!

All the little ones were dressed so cute

Miss Yoga is from Japan, but we were so glad she joined us for our Independence Day celebration.  Check out the yummy food she made, blending Japanese tradition with USA flair.

4th of July bento sushi – white rice, orange crab, black seaweed and little stars!!  Cute and yummy!

Caprese bites and deviled eggs with fish eggs

K made cherry pie pockets, so that they’d be easier to serve.  She pitted the cherries and made them from scratch since ‘pie filling’ doesn’t exist.  They were incredible!  I scored an extra to bring home for Gabe when he got home at midnight.

Cherry pie pockets

I made Red, White & Blue cupcakes.  Mama Mia had brought us some Red Velvet Duncan Hines cake mix in April, and I imported some cream cheese frosting from the States my last trip.  Since they didn’t have blue icing at the store, I just used blueberries.

Red velvet cupcakes for red, white and blue

P having some fun with the cupcake

We also had lots of fresh fruit, snack mix, and nuts to complement the red, white and blue.

After eating, a few of us went swimming.   The beaches in the Mediteranean can be quite different to some who have never seen stone beaches.  I remember when we went to Greece, it was Gabe’s first time seeing one.

Swiss lake beaches are quite similar.   When his family came in March and we went to Hermance, it was also a surprise.  Geneva also has stone beaches, as that is what is natural vs. the sand.  The pro is that you don’t get sandy.  The con is that sometimes it hurts to walk on.  Also, ‘rock’ castles don’t turn out so well.

Stone beach of Genève Plage

Genève Plage has a pool and a waterslide.  It was really busy that day, so I opted to get my thrills jumping off the high dive into the lake.

I did the middle section…the top one was closed.

The water wasn’t actually that cold this year.  Must have been the warm weather we had last week?

As for now, its 8pm Geneva time and I am listening to the rain pour down outside.  I’m glad we got our little celebration in before the storm.   Hopefully everyone back in the US is enjoying their Independence Day.  And a huge shout out of thanks goes out to all our servicemen for all you do to protect our freedom!

Related Posts:  

The Swiss Watch Blog:     Canadienne Buffet: USA Style

The Swiss Watch Blog:     A fantastic 4th of July with Henry Birmingham

Swiss Wife Style:  Party Recap

The Swiss Watch Blog:     Happy Swiss National Day

The Swiss Watch Blog:     Valentine’s Day and Other Non-Events


Sugar Bowl : How the times have changed

Post by Lauren

My Hokies played in the Sugar Bowl against Michigan last night. The last time we played in the Sugar Bowl, in 2005, I made it down to New Orleans for the game with a group of friends. That city is definitely the best bowl game destination possible. We had so much fun I think I actually got walking pneumonia from the trip.

This year, a trip wasn’t possible. Also, to make matters worse, the 8:30pm kick-off meant it would be 2:30am for us in Geneva. I decided the best approach was to go to bed early so that I could get up at 4:30am to see the end of the game. Or so I thought I was going to see the end. Our Slingbox that was working perfectly last night was on the fritz this a.m. It was too late to call our Slingbox hosts for a re-boot so I tried to watch on watch live. Unfortunately, that didn’t work either so Drive Chart had to do for getting the play-by-play.

I was glued to the posts and Tweets to see how the game changed back and forth to go into overtime. It was actually surprising how suspenseful watching a game on a laptop screen can be!

In the end, Michigan scored a FG in OT and we did not. Since I couldn’t see the game, I couldn’t sum up how it went overall. According to Facebook*, about half of my Hokie friends say it was a bad call and half say it was bad coaching.

From Bourbon street to the laptop. Funny how times can change in seven years.

*Thank you Facebook for all your minute by minute sidelines chatter….it helped me understand what was happening! However, my favorite part of Facebook on Game Day is seeing all of my friend’s kids dressed up for the game. 

Virtually watching the Sugar bowl

Our stockings are filled…

Post by Lauren

We must have been very good this year because Santa filled our stockings with airline flights to Southeast Asia. He was very smart since the stockings were made out of paper this is a great gift that would actually fit into them!!


We are going for ten days and hitting three places. I figured I would make you a map in case you aren’t familiar with these locations.

Thank you, Thailand & Cambodia Santa!

P.S. – Thanks to those who sent us such lovely Christmas cards. As you can tell, they really brightened up our Swiss mantel since every other Christmas decoration of ours is handmade out of construction paper!

A Tree like Rockefeller

Post by Gabe
That’s right….Gabe

Hello all and Merry Christmas. I am breaking my silence this week to give you a glimpse into our first Christmas tree as a married couple. This tree sets the tone for all future trees so I have been laying the ground work with Lauren for quite a while. It would be 6 to 8 feet tall, very very full, symmetrical from all angles and have an intoxicating pine aroma. Regardless of the time required to find this magical gem it wouldn’t matter. Hours, days, weeks, whatever it takes….the time couldn’t be used more wisely. Had I not done this ground work…Lauren would have picked up the cheapest thing should could find. We probably would have ended up with a fake fern from Ikea. And that obviously wouldn’t cut it for our first tree.

As usual, I may have missed one small, very tiny, detail during my tree brain storming.

…we don’t live in the US.

In the US I would have proposed we buy a permit and head into the mountains to fell our own Christmas tree. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in Geneva. At least not that we are aware of. So instead, we did what every other Genevese (person in Geneva) does. We headed to the local grocery store to pick one up. And these babies are carry out….literally.

Take a look at our beautiful 3 feet 6 inch tree in its full grandure.

As usual, everything in Geneva is expensive so we opted for the smaller set of lights. Unfortunately that strand was so short they only made it around the tree twice. We had one ornament in Geneva to add to the tree thanks to Lauren’s Aunt J but we obviously needed more than that. So we spent two Saturdays ago making our own ornaments also. It may not be 6-8 feet tall, very very full, symmetrical from all angles and a bouquet of pine but I think it is a beauty. I am very proud of our first tree and think it is the perfect start to the many tree’s to come.

(check out the ornament Lauren made…I think it is cool)

Happy Holidays to you all!

Gratitute Friday: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Post by Lauren

This post is dedicated to my uncle who wanted to know how they decorate for Christmas in Switzerland.

The presence of Christmas decorations is also our gratitude post because we aren’t coming home for Christmas. For Gabe & I, this is the first time we won’t see our families during the Christmas season. Bless their hearts, both our Moms decorated their homes for Thanksgiving in Christmas also in order to help infuse us with Christmas spirit.

In fact, it is because there is a lot of this spirit here in Geneva, that we made the selection to come home for Thanksgiving. We figured we’d miss not being home for Thanksgiving more than Christmas since we knew a little Christmas would be in the air in Geneva. Thanksgiving isn’t at all celebrated. And, boy, Christmas has been in the air:


Joyeux Noël & Bon week-end!


Montreux Christmas Market

Post by Lauren

Yesterday, we had a girls outing to one of the many Christmas markets in the region. We’d picked Montreux because it was supposed to be either sunny or snowy. Well, was wrong and we had chilly rain, but the company and hot beverages kept our spirits warm. Here are a few photos:

The market was broken up into little stalls selling things. Their little chalets were festive in themselves.Goods ranged from handcrafted items, to teas, and food. Also there were some Christmas items like nativity scenes – creches.

Vin chaud, hot cider, and Christmas tea were sold in various forms of cauldrons.
It kept us warm and toasty as we navigated the market.

This little fire chalet was also a hit.

Not to mention the French Onion soup. Even little HB, our newest Girls Club member, wanted a piece of the action.

Joyeux Noël, everyone!


Maybe we got Halloween all wrong

Post by Lauren

This weekend is a big weekend in Geneva history, L’Escalade. I knew there would be historical celebrations in store. What I didn’t count on was hundreds of teenagers, in costume, throwing eggs and flour at each other in downtown Geneva. In fact, I was almost caught in the cross fire coming home from Globo Gym Friday.

No one seemed alarmed at all. See all the passerbyers just checking their blackberries, smoking their cigarettes, in all black, of course. I consulted wikipedia, and yes, it quotes, “Teenagers tend to throw eggs and flour at each other as part of the celebration”.

Good that we cleared that up. Here are a few photos from this mornings wait for the bus:

Glad I made it safely home instead of being made into a cake.

Gratitude Friday: An Amazing US Trip

Post by Lauren

This post was easy. We are very grateful for an amazing three weeks in the USA. We were able to fit so much in, and in all, I think we saw easily over 100 friends and family members. Below is a pictorial recap:

We stayed the night with great friends after landing at Dulles at 4pm. Conveniently they live 5 minutes away from the airport and a Mexican restaurant. Two amazing things when you are jet-lagged. We enjoyed an evening with them and had a 7am flight to:


I was able to participate in our annual Casserole Christmas. This holiday was born when there was a group of us Southern gals working together who discovered that Isabella usually didn’t have casseroles for Thanksgiving and Christmas, mainly fresher Californian type foods. We wanted to showcase our heart-heavy casseroles for her, so this event was born with about 6 or 7 of us. As you can see, there are a few Casserole-lovers in the making. One is a 2nd child, one a 3rd and another a 4th child – can you believe it?

I was able to participate in our annual Casserole Christmas. This holiday was born when there was a group of us Southern gals working together who discovered that Isabella usually didn’t have casseroles for Thanksgiving and Christmas, mainly fresher Californian type foods. We wanted to showcase our heart-heavy casseroles for her, so this event was born with about 6 or 7 of us. As you can see, there are a few Casserole-lovers in the making. One is a 2nd child, one a 3rd and another a 4th child - can you believe it?

We also hosted Pizza Night. Since we had limited time in Charlotte, we thought it was the only way we could see such a volume of friends with most working. We just ordered some food into our empty house in Charlotte. We wish we could have spent more time talking to everyone but are thankful that those who were able to joined us, did!

We also hosted Pizza Night. Since we had limited time in Charlotte, we thought it was the only way we could see such a volume of friends with most working. We just ordered some food into our empty house in Charlotte. We wish we could have spent more time talking to everyone but are thankful that those who were able to joined us, did!


We were so fortunate C & J were in town (for the previous Thursday night Hokie Game) with their new little bundle of joy. They brought her over after we arrived for playtime and Mom, Annette and I fought over who played with her.


We had the pleasure of visiting with all but one of my aunts/uncles in Appomattox (don’t worry, we got to see them later!). Mom had also arranged to have my stepsisters and their families join us for a Thankgiving brunch. What a full time of fun!



We continued onto Cincinnati. We stayed with Andres for a night in his cozy Victorian. We went out for sushi and then onto The Lackman, a really cool bar in downtown Cinci. I am sad I didn’t take a photo except for this one of Gabe and Maude on the sofa. But, I made up for it in Columbus where we got some shots of N & L’s adorable girls. We learned that a 2 year old can operate an iPad better than I can. It helps that she is above the curve, but still….I have some catching up to do.



In Gabe’s hometown, we had 3 Thanksgivings, a birthday, and an engagement to celebrate. We had absolutely beautiful Ohio weather. We were excited to have my Mom & Buster join us for the final Thanksgiving.



Gabe worked in Atlanta but during the evenings we were able to visit friends and family. We were able to meet Baby S finally. I also got to meet Baby CA as I didn’t get to see her before we departed for Switzerland. We celebrated my cousins wife’s birthday with them at their home. Also, I got to have an all day date with a dear friend for some catch up time and as a bonus, we picked up her cute twins at daycare.


Next, we separated. Gabe went to Philly and NYC to visit friends and for his annual guys trip.  I returned to Charlotte to celebrate a birthday and VT game.

Whew, what a great time! We are thankful that everything went smoothly. All the flights were relatively on time and we lost no bags (checking 4 each time!). We are also very thankful we got to see so many people and we didn’t get sick. I was a little paranoid about getting some sort of cold when I had a full schedule of meeting infants.

We are truly blessed.

We are going to rest this weekend to catch up from all the fun! Bon weekend, everyone!

Gratitude Friday: A taste of Thanksgiving

Post by Lauren

This Friday, I am grateful for the chance to have a little taste of Thanksgiving in Geneva. The cooking group that I am in organized a potluck at A.L.’s beautiful home.

It was lovely to share a Thanksgiving meal with women of many different cultures, including Holland, Canada, Switzerland, Rwanda, Germany, Qatar, Japan, Australia and the US.

Our gracious host brought back Thanksgiving plates, napkins and other goodies from her last trip to the US, so everyone could appropriately experience the typical decoration.

We had such a beautiful assortment of everyone’s favorite treats to share with the group, both savory and sweet.



Since there are many reasons why Thanksgiving is difficult here in Geneva, I was just so grateful for a nice day spent sharing our American tradition with wonderful women.

Top Reasons why celebrating Thanksgiving is more difficult in Switzerland:
1-They don’t celebrate the holiday at all here, making it impossible to get supplies. At least for Halloween, some factions of the French participate in this holiday, so they do sell limited costumes at a few stores for the ex-pats and French
2-It is nearly impossible to find a whole turkey. They do sell “dinde” here (turkey in French), but it is only in parts….a tenderloin, legs, little chops. So, you have to find a place to custom order it. And if you find one:
3- It’s guaranteed he’ll already be without skin, making it difficult to seal in the flavor
4-You will pay at least $180-200 USD for a small turkey. He is guaranteed to be free- range, organic, etc. since the other types of birds don’t exist here, but a big ouch to the wallet!
5-A whole turkey will likely not fit in your oven. Remember, all Swiss appliances are tiny. It’s like living in a dollhouse. Luckily, our host measured and determined that the whole one wouldn’t fit in her oven, so she just got an assortment of tenderloins and legs to cook so we could have a taste of turkey.
6-On the same note of our oven being the size of a US microwave, so you have a hard time getting side dishes cooked and re-heated at once.
7-No power settings or defrost settings on a microwave. So my typical way of softening butter is out the window!
8-No shortcuts like boxed stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc. And no fried onions in a can for green bean casserole. Everything must be from absolute scratch.
9-You can find canned pumpkin here at the American store, but its 8 dollars a can. Whoa!
10-Luckily our host had a beautiful spacious apartment. But this is atypical here, so a US sized Thanksgiving might have a difficult time fitting into a traditional Geneva flat.

Bon weekend, everyone!