April 30, 2013

Meet Hunter Peak who moved to Brazil recently. Read the following interview in which Hunter 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.?

My name is Hunter Peak and I’m from North Carolina, USA. In the US I worked with transportation and logistics, here in Brazil I teach English. I lived in Belo Horizonte for 2 years and I have been living in a small mining town in Par for a bit over a year. I met my wife when she was visiting friends in the states about 10 years or so I guess.

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

I moved to Brazil in February 2010 with my wife. I first visited Brazil (specifically Belo Horizonte) in 2008. We originally came so that she could finish her last year in college. We fully intended on returning to the US after about a year or so, but once I realized how much I enjoyed life here we decided to make a go of it in BH.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Hmm… I was pretty much in awe of every difference between here and the US. From small things… those pesky wax napkins to big things like the architectural differences. My first few months in Belo Horizonte were spent walking around and exploring nearly everyday. I was taken aback by the differences here not only because of the language and cultural barriers, but also the size of Belo Horizonte compared to the smaller towns that I had lived in previously.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Besides family and friends the thing I miss most are the numerous food types available in the states. Tennessee football is pretty high up on the list as well. But all in all there isn’t much that I find myself missing.

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

There hasn’t been ONE single frustrating thing, more like death by a thousand cuts. Littering, loud funk music, people showing up late, long lines, etc. tend to get on my nerves. Sometimes I have my bad days where it really gets to me, but the majority of the time I try to stay positive.

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

My second day in Brazil I went to Cruzeiro vs Flamengo with my wife. One of her friends is an avid Cruzeiro supporter and he got us tickets to the game. When we got into the stadium he pulled me aside and took me to sit with him and his friends. They are members of an orginized fan group here called Torcida Fanati-Cruz. I sat next to the guys banging the drums, waving the flags and in the middle of a singing cheering mob. It was great! Since then I have traveled to SP, Rio, Sete Lagaos and Paraguay to watch Cruzeiro games.

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

I have been a huge soccer fan my entire life and I really love living in a soccer culture. In reality, living in a different culture in general has been amazing. That was one of the reasons we decided to move here in addition to my wife finishing her degree. To get to live in and learn about another culture has been a tremendous experience. I have really gotten to meet some amazing people as well.

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

In BH I really enjoy going to Casa Cheio at Mercado Central or a bar called Rima dos Sabores. In our current town in Par we don’t have too many options so we tend to cook a lot at home and invite friends over.

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

I was really on a misto quente and suco de abaxi kick when I first arrived. One day I ordered misto quente com abacaxi” without saying suco… my pineapple, ham, and cheese sandwich was as tasty as it was shocking!

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

HA! There are so many things… but the whole Brazilian way of showing up late for everything is the one that stands out at the moment.

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?

Now that I am living in jungle land far away from other gringos my Portuguese has improved quite a bit. My first two years in Brazil I spoke a lot of English, moving up here quickly put a stop to that! Getting the gender of things correct is always a struggle, and there was the time I asked for horse when I meant to say charcoal for one…

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

Come with an open mind. Don’t expect life to be the same as your in homeland. Be patient.

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

My only experience with SP was going to a game at Morumbi, but in BH I suggest going to Mercado Central, visiting the Sunday morning fair on Afonso Pena, and of course going to a Cruzeiro game.

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:

Ryan Griffin – USA
Maya Bell – New Zealand
Rob McDonell – Australia
Scott Hudson – Australia
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Rich Sallade – USA
Michael Smyth – UK
Chris Caballero – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Meredith Noll – USA
Mike Smith – UK
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Don Fenstermaker – USA
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

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