Are you considering moving
to Brazil? Have you thought about visiting Brazil? We are leaving after six
years and I am heart broken. Yes, Brazil has a high crime rate. Yes, the pollution
is terrible. Yes, there are children begging on the streets and people living
in shanties. All this is true and terrible, but one thing you will find in
Brazil and in very few other places is cornylove.
The people in Brazil are
naturally loving. It is commonplace for a Brazilian to walk up to a child
and smile and talk to them. They even ask to pick babies up. At restaurants,
stores and beauty salons, Brazilians fawn over children. They are not concerned
with social status. They are not afraid to approach people. You will find
Brazilians to be overly positive and interested in helping.
Brazilians take their
children everywhere. You will find children at restaurants late at night.
Adults are invited to children's birthday parties. I highly recommend having
children here if you can. Most people here have hired help, and the help becomes
part of the family. They truly love the children, and you can, too, since
you don't have to worry about getting dinner ready or making the beds. How
much time is spent arguing with a spouse over these things? Having help makes
everything run smoother, even your marriage.
Brazilians have a great
custom which is an instant ice breaker. They kiss everybody hello and good-bye.
Their kisses are not air kisses and they are not pretentious. In different
regions, the number of kisses changes. In Minas Gerais, people normally give
two kisses, unless you are not married. In that case, you get three "para
casar" (to get married). In Rio de Janeiro, everyone gets two. In
São Paulo, one is the norm, but since it is so mixed, people sometimes
give two, but more often than not, if you expect two, you'll be left stranded
with that last kiss. In the south, people kiss three times. Men even kiss
each other sometimes, but generally a big hug is in order in most states.
Another great tradition
is at the end of a phone call. Everyone gets a hug or a kiss at the end. Brazilians
may seem rude at the beginning, calling to ask you who you are, but they always
sign off with a hug or a kiss.
With so much love going
around, there is one thing I do not personally recommend. Honeymooning here.
I have seen too many American women perplexed by their surroundings at a beach
in Ipanema, for example. Did you see those women in the ads for Brazil or
for the Carnaval? They have perfect bodies and perfect tans and they really
exist. Unless you feel up to being their competition, stay away.
Did you come here and
fall in love with one of these ladies or gentlemen? Beware. Along with love
comes jealousy. Brazilian men and women are very territorial. Once you are
committed, you really are. They expect to be an integral part of your life.
They have big loving families. They are not independent. They do not go out
alone. They do not accept others getting too close to you, and they don't
understand "space," so make sure you are sure this is what you want
before moving into a relationship with a Brazilian.
This said, Brazilians
are very happy. They smile a lot. They want others to be happy, too. If they
work for you, they work hard and try their best. If you are coming to Brazil,
get ready for a love affairwith the Brazilian people!
Monica O'Day Trentini
was born in the US but raised in Brazil. She attended American Schools and
eventually went to The University of Virginia, where she graduated with
a Master's in Teaching. She married a Brazilian and moved to São
Paulo. She currently has her articles published at www.gringoes.com
and in The Flash, a printed newsletter for The International Newcomers'
Club in São Paulo. Monica's e-mail is email@example.com
and she welcomes your responses to her articles.