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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Likes and Dislikes

After being here for 289 days (or 9 months, 16 days), I feel like I can give you a fair list of my likes and dislikes of Brazil.

LIKES:
*Amazing scenery everywhere!

*Learning Portuguese.

*Churrasco - Brazil's version of a BBQ...see my explanation here (towards the end of the post).

*The beach!

*Summer 8-9 months out of the year.

*Learning to cook new things! Sometimes Brazilian, sometimes not!

*Sunday. It really is the day of rest here...EVERYTHING is closed. Perfect time for get-togethers with family and friends.

*Feriados- (holidays) I swear there's some random holiday at least once every 2 weeks and everyone gets the day off.

*Futebol- No not the American kind (although I'm still a fan, don't worry dad!)... I'm talking about soccer. I really do enjoy watching the games. AND hearing the fireworks shot off in the neighborhood for every goal scored. AND seeing the reactions of the die-hard fans over their team's win/loss.
*Learning to live simply and be happy with what little you do have...learning from the Brazilians :)

*Arroz e Feijão - rice and bean deliciousness.




DISLIKES:
*Potholes - They're everywhere and they are huge.
Sometimes this really does seem to be the only solution!
*Stray cats and dogs all over the place. - Many of them are injured or have infections/open wounds. It makes me really sad and also concerned for the diseases they could be spreading.... Where's Bob Barker when you need him?? "Have your pets spayed or neutered!"

*Cockroaches -  It doesn't matter how clean you keep your house... there's always one hiding somewhere and they're HUGE.

*Novelas - I just can't seem to get into these Brazilian soap operas that take up 95% of the airtime. They are way too dramatic for me. That, and the story lines are just plain ridiculous sometimes! Just take Morde e Assopra for example: Man's wife dies or goes missing (I can't remember). Man happens to be a brilliant scientist. Man creates a robotic replica of said wife. Wife wasn't dead in the first place, returns home and discovers robo-wife. There was also something about dinosaurs thrown in there, but I never watched it enough to figure out what was going on... Okay, so American soap operas aren't much better. I think I remember aliens at some point on Days of Our Lives, but at least soap operas at home only air while everyone's at school/work.

*Lack of security - Don't worry mom! I'm totally fine. Just in comparison to home, there's definitely not that same feeling of security. Everybody has to live behind high walls and barred windows with a pitbull or german shepard out front.

*Corruption - Brazilians pay ridiculously high taxes on EVERYTHING but unfortunately don't receive much in return from their government due to all the money embezzled by corrupt officials.

*High standards for appearance 24/7 - We Americans certainly do deserve the label "lazy" we have been given by the rest of the world. But hey! I can't help it if I like to go to the grocery store in sweatpants and a sweatshirt on Saturday mornings when it's really cold and I have nothing important to do that day. That type of apparel is only acceptable inside your own home, here in Brazil. Once you step outside the door, be expected to have perfectly flat-ironed hair, manicured nails, flawless makeup, and a well thought out outfit with a nice pair of heels! Even if it is just to go to the bakery on the corner...
That is just too much for me! Don't get me started on gym apparel... since when is it okay to exercise in a hooker-looking, leopard print, spandex suit !?!

This is for real! These ladies are on their way to/from the gym.
How do you exercise in THAT without exposing yourself?!

All in all, there are more "likes" than "dislikes" (I counted!) so it seems the positives are outweighing the negatives. Adjusting to life in another country is never easy, but is always very rewarding! I find it really interesting to see how other people live their lives and to see all of the cultural differences. Sometimes it is overwhelming, and can even be frustrating trying to adapt, but little by little it gets easier and the craving for American culture/way of life subsides.

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