Yes, I’ve been running on a holiday theme here. But since yesterday was Thanksgiving, I thought it might be helpful for those of you who are considering a move to Sao Paulo to know what you are in for from an American culture standpoint.
Thanksgiving has not evolved in Sao Paulo as well as Halloween, for obvious reasons. But there are activities that internationals can engage in so there is no depriving our stomachs of the yearly feast.
Many expats gather together to conduct the Thanksgiving ritual. But because the fourth Thursday of November is not recognized as an official holiday in this country, foreigners tend to move the event to a closer holiday – this year Tuesday of this week was a Sao Paulo holiday – or to the weekend. You can find all the traditional goods you need to pull off a decent Thanksgiving dinner in Sao Paulo – you just may need to visit some of the grocery stores that carry more imported goods like Casa Santa Lucia (be prepared to battle the crowds).
This year I had planned on pulling together a potluck Thanksgiving party with some friends on the actual day. However, I realized that we had a Brazilian-style birthday party of a good friend to attend. And, thanks to some slow movers and our own birthday party event, our new apartment is still not in a position to receive guests. So instead, we went to one of two places to get a turkey dinner last night – PJ Clarke’s.
Yes – if you are a New Yorker and have a fondness for this NYC institution, you’ll be happy to know they opened a branch in Sao Paulo. This is our second year eating their turkey dinner and I must say it has improved YOY. The plate of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce tasted much more traditional than last year. They also had pumpkin pie with whipped cream!
The Renaissance Hotel also offered a Thanksgiving dinner this year (last year it was at the Hyatt – though perhaps the Hyatt just became the Renaissance over the course of the year.) One of the American schools – Graded – also puts on something in the form of Thanksgiving, this year on Saturday.
We will also be executing our own Thanksgiving on Saturday with friends at a fazenda and I plan to fold some of my own traditions into feast. Appetizers. In our house, there was always a pre-Thanksgiving appetizer session of crab dip, water chestnuts wrapped in bacon with barbecue sauce and baked brie. Wish me luck on finding what I need to pull it off.
So if you are considering a move to Sao Paulo, you can scratch your Thanksgiving needs off the list of things you’ll have to miss.