Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Driving each other crazy

Some things are just cultural.  They don’t translate.  For example:

Try putting a slice of avocado on your Brazilian friend’s hamburger.
Or – try putting ketchup on your American friend’s pizza.

Try giving your female Brazilian friend a pair of panties bought at Costco.
Or – try getting your female American friend to wear Brazilian-style women’s panties.

Try getting your Brazilian friend to show up at your party on time.
Or – try getting your American friend to relax while waiting for Brazilian guests to arrive.

Try convincing your male Brazilian friend to not pee on the street (when he feels the need to).
Or – try convincing your male American friend that it is OK to pee wherever he likes (at least your cultured male friend!)

Try feeding roasted vegetables or a cold pasta salad to your Brazilian friends.
Or – try feeding a delicious frango ao moliho pardo to your American friends (when they understand what it is).

Try getting your American friend to sing out loud at a friends’ gathering.
Or – try getting your Brazilian friend to NOT sing out loud at a friends’ gathering.

Try getting your American friend to prioritize family over friends.
Or – try getting your Brazilian friend to prioritize friends over family.

Try getting your American friend to drink sweet avocado juice for breakfast.
Or – try getting your Brazilian friend to eat a sausage, bacon, ham omelet with hash browns and toast for breakfast.

Try to get your Brazilian driver friend to wait for a pedestrian to cross the street.
Or- try to get your friend from Berkeley to even contemplate cutting off a pedestrian.

Can you think of something that drives you and your Brazilian friends crazy?


Rachel said...

Mommy Comment: Try to get your Brazilian friend to take the socks off their baby in 90 degree weather. Try to get your American friend to put socks on their baby in 70 degree weather.

Try to convince your American Grandmother it's ok to have beer with lunch. Try to convince the Brazilian Grandma to stop giving you so much beer with lunch

Jana @ Paper plains said...

SUch a wonderful post! I wish I had a contribution but i so enjoyed these =)

Greg said...

Another awesome post Jim!

Try to convince your American friend that its normal to share that can or bottle of beer with everyone in the group - that is what those tiny glasses are for. Try to convince your Brazilian friend that it is OK to drink beer out of the bottle.

Try to convince your American friend that all the shouting is not anger, it is the normal way in which Brazilians communicate. Try to convince your Brazilian friend that times of silence are often a welcome respite.

Gil and Ray said...

Try to convince your American friends that Microwaving Frozen food is NOT cooking from scratch!
Try convincing your Brazilian friends that it's not the end of the world to speed up dinner by using canned beans! ;)

Gil and Ray said...


Don't assume you can pee anywhere when you go to Sao Paulo, a friend of mine got in serious trouble for peeing on a parking lot after a college party...back in the early 90's.
There are laws against public urination and public exposure, it sounds like they don't enforce that in Rio, but it's not like that everywhere... :)

Gil and Ray said...

I side with your American friends about the "Chicken ao Molho Pardo", I gag just with the thought... :(
It is a very Minas Gerais dish, not popular at all in Sao Paulo...
The same way I can't stand the blood sausage the German/Brazilians make in Santa Catarina...I will pass! Thank you!

Jim said...

Ray - I am SOOOO glad about the increased enforcement of "no peeing in the street, thank you" laws in Rio (although it is still very spotty) and also the significant increase in the number or porta-potties found at public events. I have NEVER embraced this disgusting behavior.

Luiz and I were at the year 2000 NYE celebration on Copacabana beach, with about 3 million other people. There were practically no toilets! What a mess!

Jim said...

Greg - I met up with some American young guys once and they all stood around holding a 600 ml bottle of beer in their hand, drinking from the bottle. LOL!

Mallory Ferland Ramos said...

holy crap Jim this is perfect. Nailed it! cold pasta, family over friends, giving a shit about humans in the street...priceless :P

Try to convince your American friends to not wear pajamas and slippers to Denny's or the grocery store. Try to convince your Brazilian friends that heals and a clubbing outfit are not necessary for grocery shopping or for a snack at the pastelaria :P

.polyana. said...

american panties? neverrrr! hahahaha - GREAT POST!

try convincing your american friends not all brazilians are born playing soccer, and try convincing your brazilian friends not all american play american football and baseball.

try getting your brazilian friends to eat a hot dog with only ketchup & mustard on it and try getting your american friends to eat a hot dog with mashed potatoes, corn, tomato sauce, potato strings, carrots, 4 different types of cheese... from a cart in the middle of the street.

try getting your american friends to sit in the front seat of a cab and chatting it up with the driver in são paulo, and try getting your brazilian friend to sit in the back seat of a cab and understand what language the driver is speaking in NYC...

there are so many! haha

The Reader said...

Loving the lists, here and the comments. What can I add...? Try telling your Brazilian neighbors that your young child (4yrs) will not be scarred for life if you say no, he can't have coke to drink at 11:30 pm.

Try convincing an American friend that it really is best to give the baby coke at 11:30 pm rather than let the poor dear cry. No, really.

And, I ordered frango a molho pardo in Paraty once, by accident. We wanted something unique. Only after we ordered did we think to ask what it was. Oops. Good flavor, really terrible looking, and while I managed to eat mine, my dad wouldn't even taste his. Luckily we had also ordered plain for the kids.

Ah, well, everyone needs a sense of adventure!

As for peeing in the street, sure comes in handy on long car rides with very young bladders and lack of actual places to stop on the way. Grown men, though....yea, guys, learn to hold it!

SN said...

Great post! I actually laughed out loud at some of these!

GingerV said...


Lindsey said...


Try convincing your North American girlfriends that it's ok to just strip off all your clothes and have normal conversations totally naked.
Then try to convince your Brazilian girlfriends to please but on a bra and some underwear if they want to have a conversation!

I loved this one!

Danielle said...

Trying to convince your Brazilian friends to eat with their hands!

And trying to convince your American friends to just go with the floowwwww on vacation and plan it out as it goes along.

Fiona said...

that was a great read. thanks for the chuckle!!