Back from Brazil, Rio Gringa Is Ready for Other Flights

Rio Gringa Readers who follow my  "Odds and Ends" on The Brasilians newspaper pages are aware that blogger Rachel Glickhouse  (AKA Rio Gringa) has returned to her native New York after two years in the Cidade Maravilhosa – a decision that came after she realized that there would be better conditions for her to blossom professionally in the US than in Brazil, among other things.

Glickhouse recently got married at City Hall in Lower Manhattan, and is currently searching for a permanent job for herself and her husband as she begins to settle into her new life in the United States.

We caught up with her over an interview at a Starbucks Coffee in New York City's Penn Station, when we talked about her life in Rio, her involvement with the Goldman case and also  about the blog, her decision to come back home and her future plans now that she is back home. This is an excerpt of our conversation:

So, what were the circumstances that led to your extended stay in Rio?

It was a couple of things – the first one was that I had been to Brazil briefly before I moved there, and I liked it, so I thought that would be a good place to go. The other thing was that my boyfriend was there, and I didn't really want to start a career after college – I wanted to explore a little bit, so these were the factors for that.

How did the blog begin, and how did you get the nickname Rio Gringa?

My mom wanted me to keep in touch with the family, and she bought me the Typead account, and she said, "update us on what you are doing, what you've been up to," and I said, "yeah, whatever," as I wasn't too excited about it and so I got there, I was thinking what would be an appropriate title, and then I made it up – "a gringa in Rio" was pretty straightforward but then I started writing about what I was doing and seeing, and that just grew from there.

Were you ever in touch with the expatriate community in Rio?

I found it much easier to make friends with expats  than with Carioca women, who can sometimes be a bit complicated.  Americans, Europeans.. yeah

You have been really active with the Goldman [note: the international custody case that has made headlines here and in Brazil – at press time, it was still unresolved] case recently – how did you get involved with it?

The way I found out about it was through a reader, because he sent me a link to a MSNBC story, when it first came out in October, and I was really upset about it – maybe because I could sympathize with him, being from the same country and being away from my family and things like that, and it really got to me . I started to research it and began to write about it, and then I got in touch with the organization ( which now has become a full-blown NGO), I kept in contact with them and things really began to heat up after the Dateline show in January, so I started sort of accidentally to became a go-between with the Brazilian media and the campaign. As a result of that, people who are supporting the family in Brazil got very upset, and started writing that I was getting involved in politics  – which is against the law there. That got me really upset, because I was merely writing about it.

How did you feel about the blog's popularity?

I felt very weird about it – Dateline featured it once, and I was on Globo – it was a catastrophe. But it's cool, because I feel like I have a lot to share, and it's nice to get the message out. . On the other side, it can be a little creepy sometimes. I'd sometimes go out  with people who read the blog, and I'd sit down with them for the first time, I'd try to make conversation with them and they'd already know what I was going to say because they had read the blog. And I had that experience with friends at home, where I'd see them and tell them what I had done the night before, and they'd say "I already read that in the blog."

The other bad aspect of it is that there are a lot of trolls. I don't know if you noticed, but I now have the comments moderated – there was this one guy that was so bad  – he was just mental. I managed to block him a few times, but he used different IP addresses – and there were more than quite a few cases like that.

After two years, you decided to return to the US – what made you come to this decision?

I had to make a living – the thing about Rio is that the whole job market there is really odd  – it's the whole country, really, except for São Paulo -  because people have a really hard time finding work. My boyfriend (note: now husband) ran a hostel for about a year, and he was getting resumes from people who had degrees, were bilingual and who'd worked good corporate jobs and who wanted to be receptionists. Even though things are horrible here right now – and I honestly did not expect it to be this bad -  I believe I am going to be better off here on the long run.

Ernest Barteldes is a freelance writer based on Staten Island, New York. He can be reached at This article appeared originally at The Brasilians.




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