Saturday, August 23, 2008

I’m reminded I’m living in Brazil when…

For all the warnings and feigned extensions of “good luck” (read: “be careful what you wish for”) offered by family and friends prior to our move, it has not been all that difficult an adjustment switching from living in the US to living here in Brazil. As I was quick to remind folks – we were moving to suburban Rio de Janeiro, not a small village in the sertão or somewhere lost in the jungle.

Still – we ain’t in San Francisco any more!

Here are a few observations, good and bad. I’m reminded I’m living in Brazil when:

- The beer is so deliciously cold it nearly turns to slush in my glass.
- Paper hand towels in the restroom turn to mulch instantly when touched by a wet hand.
- The first twenty minutes with the TV repair person are spent chatting about life and current events, then on to the problem with the TV.
- The washing machine has no hot water option.
- Convincing the cop to not issue you a ticket for driving without a license costs only R$30.

- The tin foil is just about as thin as the plastic film wrap.
- A perfect stranger on the bus (seated) will offer to hold your bag if you are standing.
- The line at the bank consumes nearly two hours of your time.
- Bikinis at the beach are not just for the young and super skinny. Get used to it!

- You have to make your own peanut butter because no such food is available (except a sickly sweet, oily, whipped product made for children.)
- Parties have no end time… no matter how late.
- Traffic jams are made more tolerable by the dozens of young vendors walking between the creeping vehicles selling snacks, candies and iced beverages (including beer.)
- Entering and exiting a room of friends includes kissing or hugging every person present, no matter how many.
- Looking out the bus window in downtown Niterói it's not out of the question to spot a huge black hog lying in the shade on the side of the road with 5 piglets suckling from its underside.

Life is definitely different. I’m not complaining.

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