October 11, 2007

Meet Jan Sandberg, from Sweden, who recently visited 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.?

My name is Jan Sandberg, I’m am 54 years old, and I am living in a city, rebro, in Sweden. I am working as a scanning operator on a local newspaper in the city.

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

My first visit to Brazil was in June 2006. I came to São Paulo to visit my girlfriend Andi. We had met on the Internet, and we had decided to meet in São Paulo where she was living and working.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Well the first thing I saw of Brazil was São Paulo in the middle of the night. When the plane was about to land, I saw a never-ending area of lights on the ground. I couldn&rsquot;t believe São Paulo was that big. And the first days in São Paulo I was almost paralyzed by the size of the city, and the number of people and cars.

4. What do you miss most about home?

When I am in Brazil, of course I miss my family and friends, and that I can not speak any Swedish. But there are so many nice things in Brazil, so I dont really miss many things.

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

It&rsquot;s the language. Portuguese is a really beautiful language, and I have been taking some lessons. I will be really happy the day I can have a nice communication with people I meet. I think it&rsquot;s also very difficult to know how to relate to the poor people you meet.

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

My most memorable experience is of course the first time I met my girlfriend eye to eye. It was really a lovely moment.

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

I say like many people say – the people of Brazil. They are really friendly and I like the mix of all kinds of people. And then I like the variety of food you can get in São Paulo. It&rsquot;s amazing.

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

I havent been to many restaurants yet, but my favourite place so far is Cantina Gigio in Bras district. They serve the best lasagne you can get. Lovely!

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

(Not answered)

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

I think people are more relaxed in Brazil, even if I know people in São Paulo are working people. Then of course the climate is very different. As I dont like the winter in my country, Brazil is paradise for me. Winter in São Paulo is like spring for me. I really like that. Like i mentioned before – the social situation is much different in Brazil than in my home country.

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?

My progress in Portuguese is SLOW. I have been taking some lessons, and I am trying to learn more. My girlfriend helps me, and she is really patient with me. The irregular verbs are like one nightmare. Terrible.

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

Have an open mind, and dont compare things with what you are used to. If you are open and curious, you will have many nice times in Brazil. And if you know a little Portuguese – try to speak because people will like it, and you will have good contact.

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

Visit Parque Ibirapuera. There you can go to Museo Artes Modern and The Afro-Brazil Museum. Old downtown is nice to visit. There are many stores for shopping. And of course you must visit Avenida Paulista for shopping too. In the weekend you can go to Parque Aqua Branca and have a nice breakfast at the market where they sell organic food.

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:

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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