Living in Brazil I am enjoying the culture, commenting on the differences, celebrating local expressions and inviting others to enjoy all Brazil has to offer.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Can I get a file folder please?
Who knew? No file folders. I’ve been to dozens (literally) of ‘papelarias’ (office and school supply stores) to no avail. Apparently file folders go by another reality here in Brazil. Actually, I know that offices use over-sized pieces of paper, typically of a different color, to separate a bunch of papers for one purpose from another bunch of papers for another purpose (or ‘hanging files’ – which I don’t want). But I have been secretly hoping that in the less-frequented corners of office supply stores I might find a box of stiff material manila file folders.
This is one culture-clash reality I have been reluctant to embrace. It is common to see people with plastic ‘pastas’ (folders) with elastic bands closing the bottom corners. Fewer people have card-stock folders with pockets at the bottom (rare to find – although cheaper). Some brave souls have binders (difficult to find without “Hello Kitty” or “Spiderman” themes printed on them) but it must be noted that the standard here is a FOUR-hole punch, not three. The 4-hole punch is SO expensive I have created a cardboard template with which I can use my single hole puncher to make the holes. (Living simply!)
I just want to create a file system for my ever-growing files for teaching English. No matter how skilled I get at filing on the computer, there remains a STACK of hard copy stuff that needs to live somewhere where I can find it. (I can’t waste the expensive paper or the stupid-expensive printing ink – livin’ local.)
If you will be visiting us soon, forget about any kitchen requests I’ve made – bring file folders! LOL!
The up side to all of this is that since these items are so expensive, people use and reuse them until they crumble into compost in their hands. Nothing extra, nothing wasted.
The down side – well, enough said. Let’s end on a positive note!
[Truth be told: lucky me that I can kvetch about things as insignificant as file folders. I realize my position of privilege and am grateful. Would that this be the reality for the vast majority of my fellow residents of Brasil.]
We arrived in Brazil in January, 2008 to start up a new chapter in our life together. Luiz has returned to his hometown and I've jumped into the deep end of the pool ready for anything. Let the fun begin!