Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Meet Kyron Gibbs, who has worked with dance and theatre in Los Angeles, and has travelled many times to different areas of Brazil. Read the following interview where he tells us about his most memorable experiences from Brazil and gives some useful advice to newcomers.
1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?
Hello I am a 28 year old black male from Los Angeles, California. I teach dance at an afterschool program. My students range from 7 years old to 11 years old. Theyre all girls.
I am also a working actor here in Los Angeles. I work for a interactive theatre company that tours local school and performs shows on sex, drugs, peer pressure and decision making
2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?
I arrived in Brazil for the first time in October of 2003, I was invited by two of my friends. I didnt know anything about Brazil. My two older friends are in their mid forties. since I havent gone outside of the united states I thought that this trip would be nice.
3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?
My first impression of brazil was that the people were very friendly and very helpful even though they did not know me personally. The culture was very diverse and I saw many people from various backgrounds, African, Japanese, and Indian. All of these cultures influencing Brazilian culture
4. What do you miss most about home?
I only missed the food from home. The pizza in Brazil is a little different. I also missed my family, but one day I would like to move to Brazil. Brazil was refreshing, new and exciting to visit.
5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?
The most frustrating experience was trying to differentiate spanish from portugese.
6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?
My most memorable experience was learning Forro and samba. My fiancee and her friends had dared me to go and ask an older woman to dance. I didnt know that she was a forro expert but as I walked up to her to ask her to dance she smiled. Although my dancing skills were not excellent she showed me mercy and showed me how to lead and when I made a mistake she was very helpful in showing me what to do.
7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?
I like that many people are laid back in Brazil and that everyone is always looking to help.
8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?
My favourite place to hang out is the mall, the beaches and the lanchonette.
9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?
10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?
The difference I see in Brazil and the USA is the economy and the access to opportunity. Many of the people I spoke to were poor.
11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly confuse?
Since 2003 I have gone to Brazil 6 times, visiting areas in Alagoas, Macio, Penedo, Aracaju. My Portugese is better. The funny part about my relationship with my fiancee is I met her in Rio in 2003 and that she doesnt speak English and for the first 9 months when I called her I prewrote questions to ask her in portugese. I always had a phrase book nearby. After the nine months I visited her in Penedo for 1 month. This experience was a crash course in Portuguese because I had no formal training and the only phrases I knew at the time were: voce e Linda, qual e o seu numero, obrigado, de onde voce e, and finally muito prazer. Now I know my numbers and all the basic phrases and I can hold a conversation about anything. Im still learning.
12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?
My advice I would tell anyone coming to Brazil is learn basic phrases and dont be afraid to try to explore and communicate with the natives. Communicate even if your pronunciation is wrong, as the majority of the Brazilians I met are very helpful and they will correct you
13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in Sao Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?
I would recommend any visitor to visit other regions of brazil. Rio and Sao Paulo are beautiful cities but there are other cities that are beautiful. Each city has its own personality and vibe. I only stayed in Sao Paulo one day. Ive spent the most of my time in Rio and the state of Alagoas.
As a result of my trip I have met and am now engaged to my fiancee that lives in Aracaju-Sergipe. I have met many beautiful people that were warm, helpful, and funny.
Are you a foreigner living in Brazil, or a Brazilian who has a lot of contact with foreigners and/or lived outside of Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to email@example.com
To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:
Stephanie Early - USA
Martin Raw - UK
Sean Coady - UK
Hugo Delgado - Mexico
Sean Terrillon - Canada
Jessie Simon - USA
Michael Meehan - USA
Thales Panagides - Cyprus
Tammy Montagna - USA
Samantha Tennant - England
Ron Finely - United States
Bob Duprez - United States
Peter Baines - England
Youssef Bouguerra - Tunisia
Van Wallach - USA
Lesley Cushing - England
Alexander von Brincken - Germany
Hank Avellar - USA
Ed Catchpole - England
Penny Freeland - England
Yasemin de Pinto - Turkey
Amy Williams Lima - USA
John Naumann - England
Marsye Schouella - Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser - USA
John Fitzpatrick - Scotland
Liam Gallagher - Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones - England
Adam Glensy - England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis - Japan
Aaron Day - Canada
Graham Debney - New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf - Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo - Canada
Frank de Meijer - Holland
Carl Emberson - Australia
Kim Buarque - Wales
Damiano Pak - South Korea
Jonas Helding - Denmark
Pari Seeber - Iran
John Milton - England
Ken Marshall - Australia