Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Things Brazil has taught me

Here are a few things I’ve learned while living in Brazil and which I think my friends back in the States might be interested to see.

- Lunch hours at work last an hour and people leave the office to lunch with their friends.

- Cars, all cars, cars made by Ford and GM included, run on gas, alcohol or natural gas. SUVs can run on alcohol.

- When the DVD player or coffee maker breaks, chances are they can be repaired. No need to grow the land fills and buy anew.

- Simple but true: 2 liter soda bottles can be made with about half the plastic and still function just fine.

- Workers can take a month vacation (paid) and the company does not grind to a halt.

- Knowing your neighbors improves your sense of belonging in your neighborhood, and improves your security in unforeseen times.

- Chances are you can live on less. Less stress, less cash, less runaround, less stuff, less worry…

- When a village raises a child that child is well adjusted, responsible and safe.

- Gas prices that actually reflect the true cost of the fuel really do cause people to consider carefully before getting in the car, i.e. lower consumption.

- Government subsidized pharmaceuticals for chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes, AIDS) lower health care costs in the long run.

Moving to Brazil has been a learning experience, for sure. But it has not been all about what we left behind (good peanut butter, hot water on tap, actual customer service, etc.). Much of the difference has been enlightening.

Fellow expats – what have you learned?


Anonymous said...

I've visited here 5 times, and just moved here 6 weeks ago. I've learned that my sense of humor gets me through a lot! I've learned that knowing the language from a book, and understanding what the hell is going on are two different things. I've learned that not having a car is not only something to be endured, but can be enjoyed. I've learned to be happy that I have the things I have, and happy that they work. I've learned to be flexible and enjoy going with the flow. I've learned that Brazilians think Americans are "cold" and not friendly (even if they like me). I've learned that moving half way around the world to be with the one I love is totally worth it! I've learned that my teenagers are independent and have come through the divorce whole, and smart, and happy for me.

I live in Rio das Ostras half the year, and Houston, TX half the year. I love your blog, and I hope to meet you some time soon!


Paper plains said...

I hope to learn all of this! I cannot wait!! Thank you for your posts, you make moving a little less worrysome =)

Brynn said...

What I've learned:

Clothes dry naturally when left hanging and you do not need a machine for the job.

It's ok to be 10 minutes late to a meeting. You know, life sometimes happens.

My body can survive temperatures indoors both above and below 76 degrees.

I LOVE having open windows in my home.

The Reader said...

I've learned enough to know to come back and answer this when I am in a more content mood as regards living away from my family. So, if I revisit this in a week or month or something, you'll know why.

And, well, I've learned that these homesick funks come and go, and I know enough after 3 years here (Tues will be 3 yrs) to know that just as soon as we can get to a beach, things will be better again.

I guess that's my lesson - an afternoon sitting at a lanchonete or restaurante on a Brazilian beach is enough to cure even the deepest, darkest case of the blues and the blahs. The kids play in the waves and the sand, and life's troubles just melt away. If you can carry that with you when you leave, all is right again. Man, do I need a beach trip right about now.

Danielle said...

I liked this one. :) :)

Thanks to Brazil, I've learned...

1a. ...Portuguese!
1b. to cook!
2. ...That I have patience tucked away in places I didn't know existed
3. ...To think twice before buying something
4....To seek out the little things in life that can bring so much joy
5. ...that I don't need to micromanage and overplan everything and it will still usually work out okay
6. ...that there can be a balance of how much time/money you invest in your health and appearance (and before I wasn't investing enough)
7. ...that, unfortunately, you can't trust most people, especially when it comes to business. But I've learned (am learning) how to stick up for myself in the "workplace" (if my house today can be considered a workplace).


Stephanie said...

I like this one too!!

1. the amount of processed food i consumed before was unbelievable. eating healthy foods I noticed i lost weight, my skin is clearer, my hair and nails are healthier
2. You really can survive without all the "stuff"...flourish even
3. To share
4. Happiness really is a choice..some days it's a harder decision than others, nevertheless a choice.
5. I have learned so much about cooking and cleaning!
6. Appreciation- for the differences between here and there, for the people I love, the experiences gained, and the invaluable support I've received!

Jim said...

LOVE IT! So much to learn. Thanks for your comments everyone.

.polyana. said...

great post!! i'm a brazilian raised in the us and back in brazil - and everything you've said reminds me of how grateful i am for having moved back and almost exactly what i tell people here when they ask me, "você é louca?" for having left the US!

@stephanie - my skin's sooo much clearer!

@brynn - open windows = <3

@pegs - sense of humor is key :-)