February 15, 2010

Meet Angus Graham who has lived in Brazil for almost 4 years, and works as an English teacher. 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.?

Originally from England, I now live in São Caetano do Sul, from where I am a Professor De Ingls. In the UK, I worked in Customer services. Perhaps the two are similar.

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

In December 2005, I came here for a month, to meet my then internet girlfriend and her family. Got engaged within the week, stayed for Christmas, returned to the UK. I finally came back to Brazil in April of 2006, got married in May of 2006 and stayed, I have no desire to return to England.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

São Paulo is colossal when one sees it from the air, coming in to Guaralhos. Difficult to determine where the city starts and ends (I came from the middle of the South Devon countryside). Most striking was the friendliness of the people. I went to a stranger’s home, and within half an hour I was made to feel like a part of the family. Brits tend to be a lot colder and more suspicious of strangers”. Using English money, Brazil felt very cheap.

4. What do you miss most about home?

The family, it has to be said. And more specifically, I have yet to find a store that sells Marmite or Tesco Honey Nut Cornflakes and proper English tea, also the fact that electronics over there are generally a lot cheaper. To be honest, after you are here for a while, you don’t miss anything very much.

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

Hehehehe. Policia Federal and having to wait for a year and a half for my RNE. After a while I gave up going to Lapa every 3 months! Impatient car drivers can be tiresome too.

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

Getting my RNE, eventually, and, more importantly, getting married. Working as a Customer Services person for a major international company in São Bernardo Do Campo, and later working as a teacher inside the same company. Waiting for my first baby in September 2010.

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

Weather, people, cost of living, the beach.

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

Ragazzo, in SCS, and Edificio Italia in SP.

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

Only in Brazil… can you see a half naked man skateboarding on the wrong side of the road, at eleven at night, with a police car going past, without any lights on it. Not even “parking lights”. When I first came here, I went to our local Ciretran and regularized my British driving licence, giving them a translation and getting a police stamp on the back of it. Works a treat when I get stopped in the odd blitz!

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

Bureaucracy and red tape here is tiring at times, but the biggest difference is how genuinely friendly the people are – both with each other and with foreigners (in general). Perhaps another striking difference is the weather. On the whole, sunny and hot the majority of the time.

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?

I learned Portuguese, just by living here – immersion, and watching television in Portuguese as well as listening to other Brazilians. Never took a course in Portuguese. I think that the most difficult might be the pronunciation of pão, and to this day I have a lot of difficulty with the differences between Vo, V, voar.

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

Brazilians are a “touchy, feely” race, it’s not at all uncommon for a complete stranger to give you a big hug. It takes a little getting used to at first, particularly if you are from England! It also helps if you have a smattering of Portuguese. The locals will love to try out their English on you, but knowing a few words in their language will be advantageous.

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

Enjoy this country and stay here for as long as you can. São Paulo is a huge city, but, with the help from a guide, you can get to see the best parts, particularly from the restaurant at the top of Edificio Italia. São Paulo has some excellent museums too. Oh, and the underground train network is gradually improving beyond belief.

You can contact Angus via professor.angus@gmail.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:

Anne Morddel – USA
Jessica Mullins – Switzerland
Evan Soroka – USA
Mary de Camargo – USA
Brendan Fryer – UK
Aaron Sundquist – USA
Jay Bauman – USA
Alan Williams – USA
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

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply