Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

Meet Bob Chapman, from the USA, who has travelled to and spent several months working in Brazil. Read the following interview where he tells us about some of 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.?

I live in South Beach, Florida (USA). I am a Government Relations Consultant in Washington, DC where I train non-profits on how to influence public policy.

2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?

I took a one year sabbatical to travel throughout South America. Brazil was my third country. I returned after Venezuela and remained here for 8 months only to return again 3 months later for a client.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Clearly the people stand out in more ways than one. The hospitality is over the top. The country is beautiful and the culture teaches you that life is not about the number of years in your life, but the life in your years.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Well… not much. Maybe the trust factor. In the USA there is the rule of law and the law of rules. Brazil can be everyone for themselves” at times.

5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?

Something as simple as making a phone call can be frustrating. I have a cell phone, an international card and a local calling card. Good luck if any of them work when you really need them to.

6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?

Sunrise on Ipanema beach is second to the sunset in the exact same place (with a caipirinha – sem aucar of course).

7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?

The people… they are the main ingredient that makes this soup delicious.

8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?

I love watching the sun rise in Praia Mole in Florianopolis.

9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?

OK, you had to ask. Going to a padaria and correctly asking for Pão de Quiejo. Doing this on the advice of local friends who know you will screw up the pronunciation can be an adventure when you see the clerks face.

10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?

Americans spend too much time figuring out how to make a living and forget how to live.

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?

Muito bom! I took 2 months of classes when I arrived and it was the best thing I did. I speak Spanish which can be a great help if you are reading Portuguese, but a problem if you are trying to speak it. I have overcome the problem of greeting people in Spanish.

12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?

Learn a little of the language and the culture before you come. Also, and most importantly, dont fall in love so quickly. All that glitters is not gold.

13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?

You have to appreciate the contrasts Brazil will offer. See as much as you can. Brazil is actually several different countries in one. Don&rsquot;t compare it to where you are from, it stands alone. Brazil has many advances that many other countries can learn from, the way the people appreciate life is one of them.

Are you a foreigner who has lived in, or is living or travelling in Brazil? Are you 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 for our interview series, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send a blank email to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Interview” in the subject. We will send you the interview questions by return email.

To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:

David Barnes – USA
John Milan – USA
Chris Coates – UK
Matthew Ward – UK
Allison Glick – USA
Drake Smith – USA
Jim Jones – USA
Philip Wigan – UK
Atlanta Foresyth – USA
Lee Gordon – USA
Carmen Naidoo – South Africa
Lee Safian – USA
Laurie Carneiro – USA
Dana De Lise – USA
Richard Gant – USA
Robin Hoffman – USA
Wayne Wright – UK
Walt Kirspel – USA
Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
Caitlin McQuilling – USA
Nicole Rombach – Holland
Steven Engler – Canada
Richard Conti – USA
Zak Burkons – USA
Ann White – USA
Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
Johnny Sweeney – USA
David Harty – Canada
Bill McCrossen – USA
Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
Ethan Munson – USA
Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
Sean McGown – USA
Condrad Downes – UK
Jennifer Silva – Australian
Justin Mounts – USA
Elliott Zussman – USA
Jonathan Abernathy – USA
Steve Koenig – USA
Kyron Gibbs – USA
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

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