Experiences of a Dutchman, living in Brazil since December 2004, from month to month.
May 2007, part 3: shortly after the return from Florianópolis, a hippie party was organized at the school where I was teaching English.
My short, four-day trip to Florianópolis, capital of the state of Santa Catarina, was over. I was hardly recovered from the 24-hour-long bus travel, when I had to participated in the preparations for a school party. My colleague Thiago and his wife had a bright idea to organize a party for the students of our English school. The party was about to be held at the public school, at a short distance from our school. Theme of this party would be ‘hippie’, with the emphasis on the peaceful aspects of the hippie movement.
Much had to be done to have this party organized. Already weeks before, we made the announcement for our students, that a ‘Festa Hippie’ was to be organized, and that all students were very welcome. According to the Brazilian law, there must be security at school, to guarantee the safety of the students. We had to arrange snacks, healthy snacks. Like ‘cachorro quente’. the Brazilian hotdog. And a large fruit bowl. We also had to buy a lot of soda, it was not permitted to have alcoholics at the party. We had to decorate the empty and colorless school yard with garlands and hundreds of balloons. We also used large cloths with colorful prints for a more hippie-like environment. I was responsible for the music. I made a selection of many songs from the Seventies, with a number of musics that are not very known in Brazil. But I also added many songs from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, among others.
Yellow and pink pants
Our students were very enthusiastic with our idea of a hippie party. Thiago made them more motivated when he told them that he was about to wear yellow and pink pants. You can imagine that the students wanted to see him wearing those. The students were requested a little contribution for the spending of the snacks and soda. One week prior to the party, we had special classes in which students were trying to translate some hippie songs. Without doubt, some students struggled with the translations, which created some hilarious moments in the classroom.
Little more than one day after my return from Floripa, on Saturday afternoon, the party was about to start. In the morning we had a lot to do with the decorations, and from 2 pm, the first students already entered the school yard. It was a pleasant surprise for me and Thiago, that many students wore colorful hippie-like clothes. Bright-colored shirts, colorful pants, hats, caps, sunglasses, and the girls wore many hair clips, necklaces and braces. I wore a checkered blue shirt loosely over a yellow T-shirt, while Thiago wore a more colorful combination of clothes. To the disappointment of many, he did not wear the yellow and pink pants, as he had promised.
I had connected my laptop to two large speakers, and the sound was bright enough to hear it in the entire schoolyard. No one dared to come close to my laptop. There was an enjoyable and spontaneous atmosphere. All students smiled, chatted, sang, joyed, laughed about the jokes told. Some older students, who had experienced their teenage years in the Seventies or Eighties, spontaneously danced with the swinging hippie music. One of them danced all the, like he was feeling a teenager again. I walked around and took many pictures of the students, made pictures of many couples and groups, with all of them with a broad smile. Some of them invented funny poses or compositions, and they also made the famous V-sign. Some other students liked to have a picture with me, and it was Thiago who took those pictures.
One by one, the students in hippie clothes were asked by Thiago to parade on a round catwalk. The other students applauded an cheered for hem. The most applauded and cheered students were awarded with a small present. The party ended at 7 pm. A large number of students stayed a little longer and helped us to clear and clean the space. The days and even weeks after this party, many students couldn’t stop talking about the party. For us, it was a clear sign that the hippie party had been very successful. And even years after the party, some former students still chat with me about their unforgettable moments during that party.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom © 2007