June 6, 2009

Meet Alan Williams who will move to Brazil in the next couple of years. Read the following interview in which he tells us about some of his most memorable experiences and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

Alan Williams, from Santa Monica, CA, I am a lighting designer. I was the editor and publisher of STEMS, the magazine of Creative Escapism. I have been in the Who’s Who of poetry 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. I have written articles for Brazzil.com, Soul Brasil, www.gringoes.com, Pro Light and Staging News, Sign Builder Illustrated, and Hotel Motel Engineering Society Magazine.

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

First time was 1999, and I got married to my wife Tania Arrais, in Hugo Napoleao, Piaui. I spent 3 weeks that time. Came back in 2002 for one month with my son Kyle, 14, and played the tourist – Fortaleza, Canoa Que Brada, Parnaiba, etc. 3rd time was in 2003-2004 for six weeks, where we spent a lot of time with our family there.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Humid, hot, friendly, way too many bugs, a lot of parties, very lovely women, great music.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Sleep. Warm water. Screen doors.

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

Exchanging money.

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

My wedding day, and the party on our family farm Campestre, which lasted 3 days, and had over 175 people, the day after Christmas in 1999.

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

My wife, her family, the foor, Antartica Beer, Forro, Batucada, Samba, Futebol.

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

In Fortaleza – Pichana Grill near downtown. Also Telefonica, in Rio for dancing. Wild.

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

One time, my father in law came in to the room where I was napping and laid down on the hammock. After 3 minutes, he started passing gas. I ran out of the room screaming Papai Padog!”. He came out right after me, waving his hand across his nose, going “pu”. The family snapped a photo right then. It was hilarious.

Another time was the Summer carnival in Teresina. We were in the Governors box, courtesy of my cousin Miguel Leao. We were so close to the bands. Ivete Sangalo blew me a kiss. Very cool.

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

Brazil is truly a free country. The USA has far too many rules and laws. We have lost too much of our liberty.

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?

Mais ou menos. There are too many words that I mess up. The key is immersion. That will come in 2 years, when my wife and I make the move to Piaui.

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

Meet the people, avoid tourists. Stay with a Brazilian family

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

I have only been to the airport in São Paulo, so cannot say. Go north, check out Cano que Brada, and other beaches in the Northeast. Next time, I’m heading south, myself.

Here is a poem I wrote:


A river runs through the field of dreams
The clouds hover over endless streams
Of friends and family gathered there
Near Hugo Napoleao, Piaui, Brazil
A secret reserve of endless warmth
A caress. a hug, a kiss, a touch
“All are welcome,” Iracilda would say
Gather round the fire today
Have a Brahma with picanha tonight
Dance to Foro’, and feel all right
Area Leao runs the place
Arrais and cohorts drink and pace
Campestre is Portuguese for Magic, you see
It changed my life
And allowed me to be free

You can contact Alan via broozequat@aol.com.

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:

Derek Booth – UK
Jim Shattuck – USA
Ruby Souza – Hawaii
Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago
Louis van der Wiele – Holland
Drew Glaser – USA
Barry Elliott – Canada
Joel Barsky – USA
David Drummond – Canada
Liam Porisse – France
Jim Kelley – USA
Max Ray – USA
Jeremy Clark – Canada
Don Fredrick – USA
Jase Ramsey – USA
Ben Pearce – UK
Nitai Panchmatia – India
Johnnie Kashat – USA
Jeni Bonorino – USA
Eric Jones – USA
Bill Martin – UK
Bernard Morris – USA
John Graves – USA
Deepak Sapra – India
Alison McGowan – UK
Brent Gregory – USA
R Dub – USA
Tara Bianca – USA
Jack Hurley – USA
James Woodward – Canada
Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland
Anna Belavina – Russia
Jim Kirby – USA
Linda Halverstadt – USA
Michelle Monteiro – USA
Chris Mensah – UK
David Sundin – USA
Stephanie Glennon – USA
Julien Porisse – France
Hans Keeling – USA
Jim Adams – USA
Richard Murison – USA
Will Periam – UK
Jan Sandbert – Sweden
Jim Jones – USA
Mike Stricklin – USA
Edward Gowing – Australia
Adrian Woods – USA
Kevin Raub – USA
Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy
Zachary Heilman – USA
David Johnson – Bermuda
Cipriana Leme – Argentina
Timothy Bell – USA
Patti Beckert – USA
Timothy Bell – USA
Paul James – USA
David McLoughlin – Ireland
Pat Moraes – USA
Richard Dougherty – USA
James Weeds – USA
Tom Sluberski – USA
Peter Kefalas – USA
Sylvie Campbell – UK
Kathleen Haynes – USA
Matt Bowlby – USA
Alan Longbottom – UK
Eric Karukin – USA
Eddie Soto – USA
Kieran Gartlan – Ireland
Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA
Emile Myburgh – South Africa
Bob Chapman – USA
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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