May 30, 2010

Meet Don Fenstermaker who has lived in Brazil for 5 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.?

I was born in Toledo, Ohio, but spent most of my life working from Texas or Florida. I sold my business in 2002, purchased a motor home and toured the United States.

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

I arrived in early 2005 with my partner to visit his family, stayed with his friends in Cabo Frio, on the beach. Fell in love with the place. The apartment on the floor below us was for sale. Three bedrooms, two baths, furnished, less than 50,000 USD. We bought it, moved in later that year.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

That it was too good to be true. A beautiful country, fabulous beaches, total freedom and health care for all it’s citizens.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Home Depot, Publix Supermarket, their convenience, prices, quality and selection.

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

Getting a drivers license, the three hour written test in Portuguese was a challenge. I discovered the Brazilian way, Jeitinho.

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

Seeing Rio at night from the Sugar Loaf.

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

I feel free here. Over the years I felt our freedoms in the States were being taken away.

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

Anyplace along the beach in Cabo Frio.

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

Not really.

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

The overall attitude of the people, their friendly ways.

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 have most of the social basics down, and when on my own I can function, but would be surprised if I am ever come near to being fluent at my age. I am taking lessons, so who knows.

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

Don’t take things too seriously, stress can ruin a good day at the beach.

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

Get a guide good guide book like Lonely Planet.

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

Ken Van Zyl – South Africa
Angus Graham – UK
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

Can’t make this up