Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

JoaoFerreira250June 18, 2013

Meet João Ferreira who is currently living in Brazil. Read the following interview in which João 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 João. I was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. I lived in Boston, MA later for several years after college, relocated by the company I worked for back then. I work with soil stabilization slurries which had me travelling for over a decade around the world as a consultant in many different major foundation projects. So, moving to another country wasn&rsquot;t a new experience to me. Later I started my own business with an improved technology.

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

I regard my arrival in Brazil as having two different stages. I first came over in 2008 to oversee a project in north-eastern Brazil, Cear and stayed for almost 9 months in a beautiful location, Cumbuco, about 25km from Fortaleza, CE. This was when and where I met the woman I married and my main reason for returning.

She left with me and we got married in Lisbon. We moved back in early 2011, primarily because she claimed not to have adjusted to Europe. Secondly the business opportunities in my line of work which at the time I considered and turned out to be a good investment opportunity.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Disorganized, too laid back, dirty…

4. What do you miss most about home?

That would have to be my family and the food…

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

My divorce and the totally unexpected circumstances that led to it.

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

We did this vacation in Fernando de Noronha. I love everything about the ocean, scuba diving, etc. To mention one memorable incident that would have to be swimming in the ocean with wild dolphins nearby.

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

In general, the great weather where I live.

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

That would be the Mucuripe club in Fortaleza. There are some nice restaurants, but I find the food in most parts of Brazil to be dull.

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

This one time at the hotel we were staying a huge iguana entered the pool and started swimming around. There were women screaming, grabbing the children… rushing to get out. The minute they all got out everybody grabbed their cameras to take pictures and when it got out of the pool people just followed it taking pictures as if it was an alien of some sort. We were having lunch by the pool at the time and this was quite entertaining.

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

The absurd 20th century bureaucracy. Sometimes it makes me feel like the early 80&rsquot;s are back. Don&rsquot;t get me wrong, but certain things do take time and patience to get used to. The other thing I find illogical is the feeling of Brazil somehow having way too many unnecessary laws and as many ways to go around them, but only inconsequential things are actually verified by the proper authorities.

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?

If I had to compare it, the best way to put it would be as if an Englishman would move to Texas. I mean, I spoke the language all my life… but then again, it isn&rsquot;t exactly the same language. It took time for people to understand me as the accents are too different and there are some words that are exactly alike but mean different things. We have words that in Portugal are normal that can be extremely offensive in Brazil and the same happens the other way around. Other from that, I do tend to confuse native words that do not have a Portuguese background.

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

Be aware that most times there will be more than one answer to your question or problem, especially related to documents concerning legalizing your resident status; the same question can be asked to five different people with five different answers.

Watch out for lawyers who are friends of friends wanting to help you and suddenly charging absurd amounts of money for services rendered to do things that in most cases you can do yourself.

Always match information given to you with existing information through proper official channels. As in most countries and cities around the world, learn about where you are; learn what to do and how to perform in an emergency situation before you actually need it.

Be careful and learn where you can go and cannot especially at night.

Most of all, be patient or learn to be. Persevere. Otherwise you&rsquot;re in for an awful experience. Stay safe.

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

I don&rsquot;t know São Paulo well enough to express an accurate opinion, but in general when visiting a foreign country, one&rsquot;s ability to adjust greatly depends on how fast you understand local culture. There are many museums and historical landmarks, great places to visit. This information is easy to find at most hotels which sometimes even organize free visits.

Depending where you are… it is a big country!!

Enjoy the beaches, the food, the atmosphere, music and the people. Brazilians in general treat visitors well and are nice and easy people to get along with.

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.

Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

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&rsquot;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&rsquot;t much that I find myself missing.

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

There hasn&rsquot;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&rsquot;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&rsquot;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:

Priya Ferreira – UK
Ryan Griffin – USA
Rami Alhames – Syria
Maya Bell – New Zealand
Melanie Mitrano – USA
Rob McDonell – Australia
Jennifer Souza – USA
Scott Hudson – Australia
Bill Holloway – USA
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Rich Sallade – USA
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
Michael Smyth – UK
Danielle Carner – USA
Chris Caballero – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Meredith Noll – USA
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Mike Smith – UK
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Jeff Eddington – USA
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Rod Saunders – USA
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

Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

April 9, 2013

Meet Priya Ferreira who moved to Brazil recently. Read the following interview in which she tells us about some of her 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&rsquot;m from the UK and lived in London for 15 years before moving to Brazil. I used to work in international public relations in the healthcare sector, which was very hectic and high-pressured but also a wonderful experience and enabled me to travel the world in the name of work. I have two children with my Brazilian husband, Gabriela (3 years) and Rafael (10 months).

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

I arrived here in October 2012. I came because my husband is from here and we were both ready for a change from the pace of life in London, now that we have young children. I was also tired of the cold, never-ending winters, grey skies and fighting my way onto commuter trains!

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

I first came as a tourist a few years before I met my husband. I was bowled over by the natural beauty of the country, the diversity of the different regions in terms of culture, geography, cuisines and the mix of ethnicities. I am of mixed heritage, so I felt comfortable here. I never imagined I&rsquot;d end up living here.

4. What do you miss most about home?

It has to be the obvious ones like very dear family members and friends. That and also not being able to walk everywhere due to the oppressive heat in my town and everything being very geared towards driving. People think I&rsquot;m a bit eccentric trying to walk places all the time.

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

There have been lots, to be honest. The biggest one is probably the ongoing bureaucratic nightmare of trying to sort out our residency documents. We have days when we go round in circles to about 5 different local government offices getting told wrong information, the machine is broken etc. Our original birth and marriage certificates have been on a journey of their own to various governmental offices around Brazil and even back to the Brazilian Consulate in London. Now a local cartorio has decided to keep them forever because it&rsquot;s the law.

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

I was on holiday in the Pantanal with my husband and parents, staying in a beautiful and remote lodge. We had one of those unforgettable nights where someone built a large campfire and a mix of local Brazilians and people from all over the world sat around drinking caipirinhas and passing around a guitar, all taking turns to sing songs from their own countries and join in with a few familiar ones like the Beatles and La Bamba. It was a special night that went on into the early hours.

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

Really friendly, warm, helpful and spontaneous people. Never feeling cold. Fresh produce, especially all the tropical fruits and vegetables.

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

I don&rsquot;t get to eat out much due to having little ones, but a few of my in-laws are farmers and the best meals I&rsquot;ve had are on the farm with real &rsquot;caipira&rsquot; cooking, done on the wood burning stoves. The produce is very fresh and organic, plucked straight from the fields and the cow/chicken/pig slaughtered right in front of us!

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

My mum had been visiting and on the way back from Goiania airport, we got stuck in some major police/gang incident on the motorway, complete with police hanging out of helicopters with their machine guns. My 3 year old waves to the nearest helicopter and pipes up from the back of the car bye grandma, have a lovely flight!”.

That and managing to reverse the &rsquot;camionete&rsquot; into the garage door at 6:30am last week. The neighbours all came running to help. They thought a &rsquot;ladrao&rsquot; had been trying to get in!

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

I think people are much more spontaneous here than back home. In London, it was much more about checking diaries and booking to meet friends weeks or even months in advance, by email or text, only to sometimes have the person cancel by text on the day. Here, people seem to avoid all that by rarely planning and just turning up. I find them really helpful here too – they join in with whatever you are doing – hanging up washing, cooking, bathing children etc.

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?

Conversationally its fine, but I really need to learn the grammar properly. I was alone quite a bit in the early months so had to very quickly start doing a lot of stuff on my own such as taking the children to the doctors, hospitals, register my daughter at school, &rsquot;fofocas&rsquot; with the neighbours, mother-in-law, that sort of thing.

Things I just can&rsquot;t pronounce:
– The difference between grandmother and grandfather (avó and av)
– the difference between coconut and poo (cco and coc)
– my daughter&rsquot;s school sent a confusing note the other day about checking for &rsquot;piolhos&rsquot; (headlice) and donating any old &rsquot;pilhas&rsquot; (batteries). I got it all mixed up with the word for contraception and told the teacher I&rsquot;d put some &rsquot;pilulas&rsquot; in my 3 year-old&rsquot;s school bag.

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

Come with an open mind and an open heart. Don&rsquot;t expect things to be the same and function as they do back home.

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

Hire a car and do a road trip, stopping off wherever you feel like and avoid some of the obvious touristy places. I&rsquot;ve had some of my best trips in Brazil doing this. Last month we did a crazy road trip of over 2000 kms in two weeks, crossing Goias, Minas Gerais and Bahia with the little ones being complete angels jn the back of the car and it was absolutely brilliant

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
Rami Alhames – Syria
Maya Bell – New Zealand
Melanie Mitrano – USA
Rob McDonell – Australia
Jennifer Souza – USA
Scott Hudson – Australia
Bill Holloway – USA
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Rich Sallade – USA
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
Michael Smyth – UK
Danielle Carner – USA
Chris Caballero – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Meredith Noll – USA
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Mike Smith – UK
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Jeff Eddington – USA
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Rod Saunders – USA
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

Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

January 20, 2013

Meet Ryan Griffin who moved to Brazil recently. 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 am from originally the state of Maine in US. I am a Floral Designer/Instructor by profession.

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

I arrived October 1st last year. I got married in São Paulo two years ago and my spouse got a job down here.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

My first impressions were the warm natured and diverse people, and the variety of nature.

4. What do you miss most about home?

My family and friends and food.

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

The slowness of how everything operates here mostly red tape wise.

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

There has been many but we went to Peruibe recently in the mountains to see a waterfall – the scenery on the trip was inspiring!

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

The people are so warm and kind – no matter what they have a smile on their face.

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

I really like to walk around Villa Lobos park. Very calming and not crowded.

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

When we first moved here I was planting some plants under the carport in the condo we live in. There was a hedge-like fence behind me and I slipped and fell backwards into the neighbors yard with my feet stuck up in the hedge. Quite the scene!

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

The biggest differences I find are that people are more family oriented here than back home, and the pace of life is slower here.

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?

The language is a struggle, my brain is not a sponge anymore. I try every day to learn new words and phrases but it&rsquot;s a difficult language to learn. Especially gender references given to objects.

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

Adapt here, don&rsquot;t try to change the culture to your liking but fit in, you&rsquot;ll do great. Of course patience is key here.

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

Try to visit non-tourist places to see the real culture. It&rsquot;s a fun learning experience and one you&rsquot;ll enjoy.

You can contact Ryan via ryanalgriff@yahoo.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:

Rami Alhames – Syria
Maya Bell – New Zealand
Melanie Mitrano – USA
Rob McDonell – Australia
Jennifer Souza – USA
Scott Hudson – Australia
Bill Holloway – USA
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Rich Sallade – USA
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
Michael Smyth – UK
Danielle Carner – USA
Chris Caballero – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Meredith Noll – USA
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Mike Smith – UK
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Jeff Eddington – USA
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Rod Saunders – USA
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

Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

January 8, 2013

Meet Rami Alhames who moved to Brazil recently. 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&rsquot;m Syrian, 34 years old, father of 9 months old Gabriel. I work in Project and Production Management, 2000 class Mechanical Engineer from Damascus University, 2011 MBA University of Wales, with international experience in Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain and Brazil.

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

First time 2008 in São Paulo as a tourism trip when I knew my wife, Dec 2011 the last entrance escaping from Bahrain conflicts in Middle East with a pregnant wife.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

A new world to discover.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Family, Friends, culture and security.

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

Disrespecting time, promises and how people are used to bureaucratic daily life.

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

My first visit to Rio centro and downtown.

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

Nature and future.

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

Any bar/Restaurant in Pompeia Neighborhood and Vila Madalena where I live

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

Waiting to happen.

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

Security issues, international connections and everything is huge here (distances and market size).

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?

Fluent but still suffering with few Indian origin words and Portuguese grammar (male, female, -se, -lo, -la,… etc)

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

Learn Portuguese and know where to buy, negotiate, and finance control.

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

Don&rsquot;t go beyond your capacity, improve and move to the next level accordingly.

I have my own blog about the Syrian uprising and Brazilian economy. Author and translator at GlobalVoicesOnline, write and redirect articles in three languages Arabic, Portuguese and English.

Personal Blog: Syrian in Brazil
GV Portuguese translator profile: Rami Alhames
GV English author profile: Rami Alhames
GV Arabic author and translator profile: رامي الهامس

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:

Maya Bell – New Zealand
Melanie Mitrano – USA
Rob McDonell – Australia
Jennifer Souza – USA
Scott Hudson – Australia
Bill Holloway – USA
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Rich Sallade – USA
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
Michael Smyth – UK
Danielle Carner – USA
Chris Caballero – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Meredith Noll – USA
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Mike Smith – UK
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Jeff Eddington – USA
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Rod Saunders – USA
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

Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

July 11, 2012

Meet Maya Bell who moved to Brazil recently. Read the following interview in which she tells us about some of her 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’m a graduate with a Bachelor of Design degree majoring in pictorial, game and web design from New Zealand. At the moment I live in a small town in the Esprito Santo state working as an English teacher.

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

I arrived in Brazil in January 2012 and what brought me here was my partner who is studying to be a Forest Engineer and we had to be 6 months apart before I arrived here. Also, I wanted to experience a new culture and language as I love to travel, and saw this as an amazing opportunity. When I came here though I was jobless and a graduate so I had to bite the bullet and take huge risks to be here, but it’s been worth it.

3. What were your first impressions of Brazil?

HOT! And humid! I thought the people were very friendly and open and I still think this, and also Brazilians have great expression when they speak. I didn’t expect people to be so nice to me since I didn’t know any Portuguese when I came here but everyone was so lovely and warm, which changed my views of them and I’m glad it did!

4. What do you miss most about home?

I don’t really miss New Zealand so much, but I do miss my parents. I call them from Skype which has greatly reduced homesickness, but overall I love being here so much that I don’t think I’ll be back home for a long while.

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

Communication issues! Not so much to do with language, but things getting done on time. There have been many occasions that phone calls were put off for weeks and going through processes for anything takes forever! I’m not the only one that experiences this though, and even Brazilians complain about it.

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

I love the beaches here. Blue sky, warm water, it’s so perfect. The first time I went to a beach was for my birthday in February. The kiosks and the fish and beer they served was brilliant and picol and corn carts going across the sand! Nothing gets better than that.

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

The food! Aa, feijoada, the various fruits that can be found here… I knew the food was good here but it was way above my expectations. I also like the fact that family and friends here stay closely connected and everyone is your friend from the moment you say hi (or ol in this case!). And even though I was nearly dying from the heat here, once you get used to it you look back and think why you even complained in the first place. And it was a good change too, New Zealand is super cold compared to Brazil!

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

There’s a small place in my town that sells the greatest pastel and coxinha. The mayonnaise is also home-made and tastes divine. The food there is so good that I ordered one too many coxinha and my partner watched me with a cheeky grin as I struggled to swallow the last one.

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

This happened at the school that I’m working at. I was invited to go into an English class for children and I was there to answer their questions as I’m the only native speaker. The kids were so cute with their wide eyes and two boys fought over which soccer team I should choose to support! Also what the teacher told me afterwards was that a girl was shaking and another burst into tears before I even arrived because they were so nervous about a native coming into their classroom! They are such adorable kids. I hope to have an opportunity to teach kids too because at the moment I only teach adults.

10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?
My surroundings. Of course it’s very different, but seeing houses with people staring at others walking on the street (which is so common here), the vegetation, the many brightly coloured houses that cover the landscape… It truly is picturesque.

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 Portuguese… should be better than it is. Unfortunately I have a fear of speaking at times and although I use Portuguese at work I only speak English at home. I’m hoping to change this and achieve relative fluency by the end of 2012. One word I hate is Abril”. It’s like my tongue doesn’t know what to do in between the b and r and creates this weird “lll” sound.

12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?
Be open to everything and accept that people here do things differently. Also, try to visit as many places and talk to as many people as possible. It’s all about connecting with each other, and you will always come across some interesting information and even some exciting opportunities.

13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?
At least for the state of Esprito Santo, be sure to visit the capital Vitória. Beautiful city and great food, and outside of the capital are little towns and natural wonders like the waterfalls that are scattered throughout the state. Whether you’re a visitor or planning to spend some of your life here, your experiences in Brazil will never be boring.

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

Melanie Mitrano – USA
Rob McDonell – Australia
Jennifer Souza – USA
Scott Hudson – Australia
Bill Holloway – USA
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Rich Sallade – USA
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
Michael Smyth – UK
Danielle Carner – USA
Chris Caballero – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Meredith Noll – USA
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Mike Smith – UK
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Jeff Eddington – USA
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Rod Saunders – USA
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

Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

June 19, 2012

Meet Melanie Mitrano who visited Brazil very recently. Read the following interview in which she tells us about some of her 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&rsquot;m a singer/songwriter and music teacher. I live in New Jersey, just outside New York City. I started singing Brazilian Jazz some years ago, then started singing Portuguese Fado, also. I compose and perform my own songs in both English and Portuguese.

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

I visited Brazil for the first time this past April. My husband and I spent about 12 days, splitting our time between Rio and São Paulo. I have friends in both cities, and they were so kind and gracious, taking us places and doing lots of things with us.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Since my Portuguese is very proficient, I had no trouble speaking or understanding the language in Brazil. When the plane landed and the pilot said Seja bem-vindo ao Brasil,” I burst into tears like a baby! It had been my dream to be in Brazil for so long, I couldn&rsquot;t believe I was finally there. We landed in Rio, so my first impressions were sensory: the warmth, the humid air, the lush greenery, palm trees, the sound of the language I love being all around me.

4. What do you miss most about home?

I missed all my appliances working normally! I had a terrible time with all my electronic appliances. Even though I had converters with me, they didn&rsquot;t always work, and some of my things got “fried” from the high wattage used in Brazil.

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

My hair looked awful in Brazil! I have curly hair and I can easily keep it looking nice here at home, but in Brazil, nothing worked! I had forgotten to bring hair clips or even bobby pins with me, so I really ended up looking like a crazy woman sometimes!

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

The day I celebrated my two-year anniversary of studying Portuguese, we went to Cristo Redentor. It was April 15th, which I never forget because it&rsquot;s tax day here in the USA. I stood beneath that famous statue which had always been only a dream before, a place seen in photographs… I cannot describe the feeling I had. It was overwhelming.

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

The people! I love Brazilians! They are so warm, so kind, so generous. I loved being able to talk to just anybody on the street, and they were always surprised and very appreciative to find an American speaking Portuguese. One man even told me with tears in his eyes, that he had never felt so proud, seeing that an American would so love his country, his language, and his culture, as to learn Portuguese.

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

One night, we went to a bar in São Paulo called Bar do Alemão. My friend had arranged for me to sing with his cousin, who plays guitar regularly at the bar. I sang about 6 songs in Portuguese and 3 in English – I had the best time ever!

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

My husband was a good sport the whole time because he doesn&rsquot;t speak any Portuguese. We had this agreement to just let me do the talking when necessary. One night, strolling around São Paulo, we decided to get an ice cream cone. The lady explained to me that they didn&rsquot;t have cones and asked if I minded having the ice cream in a cup (“copo”). Well, my husband thought she said “coffee,” and started putting up a fuss, saying, “No! I wanted ice cream, not coffee!” It was so embarrassing and I had to tell him to be quiet!

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

The prices! Everything in Brazil costs about double what it would here in the USA. That goes even for food and basic necessities, to shoes and clothing, and definitely luxury items.

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&rsquot;m nearly fluent in Portuguese by now, but still have a lot to learn. Some of the accents in São Paulo were hard for me to understand, a problem I didn&rsquot;t have in Rio. No one took for me an American, although they could tell I was a foreigner, most people asked if I was Argentinean, so I took that as a compliment! Although I have to admit, I still have to think carefully about where to put the accent on the word “coco” (coconut) when ordering drinks or desserts. (First syllable, not the last, which alters the meaning of the word in a very bad way!)

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

Try to learn some basic Portuguese before you go. It will be so appreciated and you will definitely have a much better time in the country.

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

Go to the Museu da Lngua Portuguesa! It&rsquot;s now one of my favorite places in the world. If you speak some Portuguese, you will love it; if you don&rsquot;t, you will learn a lot – it is a language of unparalleled beauty.

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

Rob McDonell – Australia
Jennifer Souza – USA
Scott Hudson – Australia
Bill Holloway – USA
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Rich Sallade – USA
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
Michael Smyth – UK
Danielle Carner – USA
Chris Caballero – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Meredith Noll – USA
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Mike Smith – UK
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Jeff Eddington – USA
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Rod Saunders – USA
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

Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

April 17, 2012

Meet Rob McDonell who first visited Brazil 3 years and is now living here. 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.?

Hi, my name is Rob, I&rsquot;m Irish, from near Dublin. Right now I&rsquot;m doing a doctorate in USP, the University of São Paulo.

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

I first came here three years ago with my girlfriend, who is Brazilian and now my wife. This time I&rsquot;ve been here for a little over a year. The first time I came just to check it out, really. I&rsquot;d never been in South America before so I didn&rsquot;t need much of an excuse.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

The friendliness of the people, the incredible beauty of the landscape, the mind-boggling size of São Paulo (I reckon Zona Sul has more people than Ireland), the concentration of social activities that involve only the family, and the sharp divisions between haves and have-nots. And it&rsquot;s sunny!

4. What do you miss most about home?

I miss the pub culture in Ireland, and of course, family and friends. Brazilians tend to stick together in their own groups and not socialise so much outside family, friends and colleagues. Those great, rambling (and let&rsquot;s be honest, drunken!) conversations you can have in Ireland with complete strangers who suddenly become great friends over a few drinks don&rsquot;t seem to happen as much here. Maybe I&rsquot;m just not drinking enough though…

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

Bureaucracy. Easy. Nothing else comes close to the hellishness of a day wasted in the Polcia Federal, at the end of which they tell you that you need to come back another day. And you&rsquot;ll be back many times before it ends, oh yes you will.

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

My first time in Rio, going up Corcovado, seeing monkeys and then swimming at Ipanema… it was totally awesome! Having a caipirinha at the Copacabana as the sun went down… great.

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

Coming from Ireland, it&rsquot;s just got to be the weather. I know Brazilians say São Paulo is grey and cloudy but they don&rsquot;t know grey and cloudy! Having sun most days is still kind of a big treat for me.

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

I&rsquot;m not sure I have one specific place but Vila Madalena is great. Much pricier than it used to be, though. Other than that, we live in Alto da Boa Vista and there are some nice small bars there in that part of Zona Sul. Once you get used to the madness of São Paulo, it&rsquot;s actually a great city.

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

Haha! Yes… unfortunately. My very first time here, I was practicing my como via a senhora?” for my wife&rsquot;s mother. I left the bags to greet her and as I was blurting out my horribly mangled phrase, I heard the crash of whiskey bottles smashing on the floor behind me. Not the best introduction. To make matters worse I called her &rsquot;cenoura&rsquot; instead of &rsquot;senhora&rsquot; the next day. (That&rsquot;s &rsquot;carrot&rsquot; for those of who you might not know.) She liked me somehow though!

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

Not that we don&rsquot;t have rich and poor, but the difference here is shocking. Sadly, I&rsquot;m getting used to it. But probably the biggest difference is that somehow most people know each other in Ireland, or know someone who in turn knows someone that you know! Forget about that in São Paulo, it&rsquot;s hard enough to spot the same person twice!

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 Portuguese isn&rsquot;t too bad! It&rsquot;s necessary in USP so I get a lot of practice there but I&rsquot;m forever confusing all those words that start with &rsquot;des-&rsquot;. There&rsquot;s so many. And they all look the same! As for sounds, it took me a long time to get the &rsquot;ão/e&rsquot; nasal thing. I couldn&rsquot;t ever hear the difference at the start but now it&rsquot;s not too bad though.

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

Two things: learn the language and learn to deal with the fact that things tend to have their own rhythm here. Things&rsquot;ll be done, it just takes time! And once you learn the language, you get a much deeper understanding of the culture.

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

One thing I&rsquot;m constantly surprised by is just how many little museums and galleries São Paulo actually has. There are great little interesting places that you would never know existed. As for specific things, you can&rsquot;t beat the Litoral Norte for chilling out on some beautiful beaches. After the 4 hour traffic jam, of course!

You can contact Robert via mcdonnell.robert5@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:

Rob McDonell – Australia
Jennifer Souza – USA
Scott Hudson – Australia
Bill Holloway – USA
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Rich Sallade – USA
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
Michael Smyth – UK
Danielle Carner – USA
Chris Caballero – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Meredith Noll – USA
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Mike Smith – UK
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Jeff Eddington – USA
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Rod Saunders – USA
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

Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

March 28, 2012

Meet Jennifer Souza who moved to Brazil last year. 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 grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and went to University of Maryland. After college, I lived traveled all over the US, Caribbean, a little of Mexico and parts of Europe – teaching English along the way. I finally settled in Northern California and taught ESL in the evenings while working during the day in a variety of different non-profit organizations. I met the love of my life and got married in May 2010 and finished grad school in May 2011.

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

We moved to Rondonia in June 2011 – me and my Brazilian husband. We both wanted to live in Brazil. I get tired of the fast pace of life in the US and Carlos was in the US without a visa, so we made a plan to move to Brazil and carried it out.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

It’s hot!

4. What do you miss most about home?

Paved roads and sidewalks. And Target!

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

I’m frustrated with the pace I am learning Portuguese. It’s going well, but I’m impatient.

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

When I had only been here for 2 months our puppy, Bob, got really sick really fast. My husband was at out our farm, with no way for me to contact him. I did not know anyone who understood English, and my Portuguese was super basic. I had to go to the vet and mime vomiting and diarrhea! It turns out Bob had parvo, and they nursed him back to health. He’s big and healthy now and brings a lot of joy to my life, along with our other adoptee, Sacha. they’re great dogs.

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

The pace of life, the way people still go to church and still cook, and the fruit is amazing! Copau is my latest new pleasure. I also love banana pratas. I find Brazilians easy-going and kind in our little town.

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

Well, there’s not a lot of places to ‘hang out’ in Buritis, but we do have a bakery that is open 7 days a week. The owners are always very kind to me, helping me with my Portuguese, and their children became students at our language school.

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

Well, my most memorable was pretty funny.

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

The biggest difference I’ve noticed is consumer expectations. Americans complain about poor service, demand their rights and get better service as a result. Brazilians have a higher tolerance for not getting what they want or deserve in commercial and civic transactions.

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?

Av and Avó are difficult for me to distinguish. I also say ‘e’ when I should say ‘o’ at the end of words. Luckily people feel comfortable correcting me, and I appreciate the help.

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

Relax. Everything will take 2-5 times as long as you think it should. When you go to a government office, you won’t have everything you need, people will give you contrary information, and things will be confusing. It’s OK! It’s just the way it is.

If you can find a way to volunteer and give back to your community, start doing that as soon as possible. It will help you feel more a part of your surroundings, and you will feel good serving others.

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

If you’re visiting, I recommend you see more than just SP and Rio. Brazil is an enormous country with a wide variety of cultures and lifestyles. It isn’t all Carnaval, samba and capoeira.

You can contact Jennifer via jennifersouza8@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:

Scott Hudson – Australia
Bill Holloway – USA
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Rich Sallade – USA
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
Michael Smyth – UK
Danielle Carner – USA
Chris Caballero – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Meredith Noll – USA
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Mike Smith – UK
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Jeff Eddington – USA
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Rod Saunders – USA
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&rsquot;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

Brazil Through Foreign Eyes

February 28, 2012

Meet Scott Hudson who has visited Brazil, and is planning to move soon. 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.?

My name is Scott. I’m 38 from Perth, Australia. I will be moving to Brazil very soon to be with my fiance full time after visiting there a couple of times.

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

My first trip to Brazil was only in March 2011 to visit my then girlfriend’s homeland. I loved it and knew I had to go back again. So after the first 3 weeks there I went back in December 2011 for 2 months to spend the Christmas and New Year period there with her.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

First impressions? Amazing food, people and vibe. The vibe I felt was something I can’t explain.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Well I am not a ‘homesick’ person. But having dealt with some of the bureaucracy here, I’m sure it will be the ease of things at home. Oh and of course the family will be missed.

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

Definitely the bureaucracy and red tape. Frustration of tying to open a bank account. Getting my foreigners ID was a painful day, but seeing the Brazilians accepting certain things about the government that you would never see in Australia. I don’t mention it, but it’s definitely in your face everyday.

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

I would say it’s every moment I spend with my fiance. Hahahahaha! Visiting Rio and seeing the amazing views and sights from the Christ statue and Sugar Loaf mountain. Meeting and spending Christmas with my fiance’s family who don’t speak and English, and us meeting for the first time was certainly memorable!

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

I love the country and how warm and friendly the people are. the food is so good and how it teaches me to slow down and learn to wait. Hahahahahaha.

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

Well most of my experiences with going to a restaurant or place on a few occasions would be Panelinha in Goiania. They do traditional Brazilian food and being very close to where we stay we tend to go a bit. I’ve been to so many in Rio or Brasilia or São Paulo but only ever once during a trip there.

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

I have so many funny stories. From forgetting that the ‘OK’ gesture doesn’t mean the same thing there. I did it in a restaurant to the waiter. He was horrified! My fiance needed to quickly explain what I meant. The little differences and forgetting some things makes for some funny moments.

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

So many things! Language aside, things like the showers and kitchen sinks. I’m used to hot and cold taps. Hahahahhahaha. Glad wrap doesn’t come in the cardboard box with the cutting edge. Trivial things mainly. Of course what the government does for people in Australia compared to Brazil that is really noticeable. Red tape and bureaucracy is well know in Brazil.

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?

Well I’ve been lazy with my Portuguese. I know 100 words but I can’t construct sentences or pronounce some properly. When I move (May 2012), I’m going on a student visa to study Portuguese so hopefully in a year or two I can say I’m pretty good at it.

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

From what I’ve seen, and most other foreigners say is don’t expect it to be like home. Accept it for what it is. The good and the bad. The good outweighs the bad. Enjoy it and learn some of he language and try different foods. Experience as much of it as you can. Visit different places and see that Brazil has so much to offer.

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

I don’t know much about São Paulo but I do with Rio, Brasilia and Goiania. The three places I’ve spent most of my time in. We all know about the things in Rio to do. Christ statue is an amazing view of Rio. Of course Sugar Loaf mountain has some amazing views too. Go to the beaches and also Lapa on a Friday or Saturday night. The many restaurants there are on offer in Rio.

Brasilia has some good restaurants and sights to see. I prefer the smaller towns. Pirenopolis in Goias is a favorite of mine. Cobblestone roads, waterfalls everywhere. I find it a nice break from the bigger cities.

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:

Bill Holloway – USA
Elaine Vieira – South Africa
Pieter Kommerij – Netherlands
Rich Sallade – USA
Robyn and Willem Van Der Merwe – South Africa
Michael Smyth – UK
Danielle Carner – USA
Chris Caballero – USA
Jaya Green – USA
Wiliam Stewart – USA
Andrew Dreffen – Australia
Meredith Noll – USA
Marcus Lockwood – New Zealand
Mike Smith – UK
Jonathan Russell – USA
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Jeff Eddington – USA
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Rod Saunders – USA
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&rsquot;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