Música popular brasileira or MPB is the Brazilian pop music. It is a trend of bossa nova, samba and other Brazilian regional music, combining also with foreign influences. MPB was in the mid-1960s an intellectual movement made for student population, which made MPB later be known as "university music”. By that time, music was used to criticize injustice and government repression, especially military dictatorship and imperialism. A variation of MPB was the influential artistic movement “Tropicália”. Some famous artists of MPB are Elis Regina, Caetano Veloso, Vinicius de Moraes, Chico Buarque, Jorge Ben, Novos Bainos, Dominguinhos and others. One of my favorites is Jorge Ben <3 and the song País Tropical is a Brazilian “anthem” which talks about Brazil, the tropical country. J
Saturday, April 26, 2014
The colors of the Brazilian flag are green, yellow, blue and white. Green represents the nature, yellow the gold, blue the sky and each white star represents one of the states and the Federal District. The inscription “Ordem e Progresso” comes from a positive French team “"L'amour pour principe et l'ordre pour base; le progrès pour but". It means Love in the beginning, order as a foundation and progress in the end.
Another tourist spot in Brazil is the international known, Rio de Janeiro. I confess that I have never been there before. But I’ll have my first visit soon J. There we can visit the Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer, Leblon and Copacabana Beach, the Maracanã Stadium, the Carnival and the Pão de Açúcar trolley. I can’t wait!! <3
I just noticed that I have been miswriting the name of my country! But wait.. Am I? In Brazil, we write with an “S”, outside the country everybody writes with “Z”. I have searched the reason why but I couldn’t find any explanation. The obvious answer for me is that in Portuguese the “S” sounds like “Z”, and in English for example, it doesn’t. So to not mispronounce Brazil is written with a “Z” when is not in “Brasil”. Well I hope I am right ;)
I was born in São Bernardo do Campo, which is a city of the state of São Paulo. This state is a huge industrial complex, it has the largest population and it is the richest state in Brazil. It was early populated by Native Americans, Africans and Europeans, including Italians, Portuguese and Spanish. Now days the state is also the largest Japanese community outside of Japan itself. The state has a really diverse culture, a lot of important museums, architectural projects, a huge night life, movies, theaters, green parks, nature and beaches. São Paulo is for sure a state to be visit while visiting Brazil.
Going to the doctor is never fun, but obviously necessary once in a while. When you are in a different country, it can be even more complicated, especially when the health system is so different. First at all, it is complicated depending on how fluent a person is in a language, to fill out a lot of forms with technician terms about your health. The doctor’s terms are complicated in our own language, imagine in a different one! However, I didn’t have a hard time filling out the forms, I might also confess that my inseparable best friend follows me wherever I go: Google translate app…haha.
Some other thing that is very different is the health system by its own. In America to be able to go to the doctor, you have to pay no matter what. Even if you have a health insurance, besides the monthly payment, you have also to pay co-pays –or the full price depending on what kind you have- when you go to the doctor, when you do exams or when you go to the hospital.
In Brazil, we have private health insurances and public health. In the private one, you usually have a monthly payment and that’s it. You don’t have to pay anything else when you visit the doctor or do whatever other procedure. Imagine how I felt when I realized that here I would have to pay for everything! In the public health you don’t pay anything, in our taxes that’s a part that is destined to health. It includes everything: maternity, exams, doctor’s visit, and even surgery. However, nothing is as good as it seems to be. There are some cities where the hospitals are too crowded, and there is a lack of doctors, medications and the wait to an appointment can take six months.
Even with all the problems, the population have an option when they can’t really afford to pay a private one. The public health insurance is not as efficient as it should be, but at least it is there if you need it, and it’s comforting to know that. And I’m sure it could be so much better if all the money destined to health would really used to that, instead of being diverted. But this is the subject for another topic…
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
After 1 year and 9 months I am going to Brazil on May!! J It has been a long time that I don’t see my family and friends, and my lovely city! I am in the same proportion excited and nervous (I am freaking out). There are so much emotions involved in this travel that is hard to be just happy and enjoy it. I feel like I forgot how my mom’s and dad’s hug feels like, their expressions while they are talking, the way they do simple things like eat or laugh. Nowadays it is almost impossible for anyone don’t have means to use internet, and we do talk on skype a lot. I can see and heard them, but something in my mind is missing. The face-to-face contact has been kind of erased from my mind, which is really sad. And really awesome and happy because I will see them soon, right? However, I am so anxious that I don’t even like to think about it, but I do every day and every night – I dream that I am arriving there every night - . I might be crazy J but I feel like Brazil is a virtual place haha let me explain.. I talk to my families and friends every day through Whatssapp, Skype and Imessage. I know they are there and I know they are real lol. But since I left home, I never came back there, this is going to be the first time. It is as if I have left everything behind, it is another reality, and another life that I used to have and I just abandoned. However, I am coming back to this reality – for some days - that is not mine anymore. It is not a bad reality there, not at all, I have so many loving people that I care and appreciate so much. But for almost 2 years, they have been the people that I love, that I just talk through the internet and don’t see. All these feelings and thoughts are insane, but this is how I feel. Now, not considering all this…– how? right? Haha – I am sure my husband and I will have a lot of fun there. We will stay with my parents at the beach in Sao Paulo, we will all visit Rio for a day, we will cook our famous Brazilian barbecue – so yummy - , and go out, dance and enjoy. I can’t wait, I really can’t! <3
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
I have been so tired of this cold weather in Virginia, but finally, spring has arrived!! J – however yesterday was still snowing L, but let’s ignore that! - . In Brazil, the seasons are completely opposite from North America. When it is winter here is summer there, and when it is fall here is spring there. When I first arrived, everything got a little bit confusing for me. I had just left home in august and it was really cold, we were in the middle of the winter, and as soon as I got here, it was super-hot, sunny and beautiful. It wasn’t a bad confusion, right? I got out of the airplane with a big coat and jeans, and I soon realized everybody around me was using summer outfits, and planning their trip to the pool. It is interesting how you are freezing one day and the next one you are miserable hot! Speaking on freezing, in Brazil doesn’t snow. My first winter here (2012) was the first time I had ever seen snow, it was so exciting, beautiful and magic!! A unique experience for me! Since then, I’ve seen a lot of snow, and now it isn’t that exciting anymore! Haha. Happy Spring!!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Spring break is next week, and I am very excited! Not that I am traveling, I will work all week normally. The reason is because I will be off from school and this will be my first Spring Break! In Brazil the school year is different from America. It usually starts on February and goes until November, with two break seasons. The first one is in July, and the second one is in December and January, which comprehend the whole month(s) in both cases. The reason being for these dates, is because July is winter in Brazil and the population is not used or prepared for staying much outside in the cold weather. While in December and January, is Christmas and New Year’s season, besides being summer time.
In America, the school year starts in September and finishes in July, also with two breaks. The first one is Spring break, which students stay home for a week. The second one is the summer vacation, which starts in July and ends in August. On Spring break –as the name says by itself- spring starts, and students have a break to enjoy the warmer weather. While in July and August, they enjoy themselves during all the summer season. Spring break will be enjoyable to have some fun, finish belated works, study or just relax. And the most important: Celebrate the end of cold winter season!
Saturday, March 1, 2014
There are some words which can’t be translated for another languages. Portuguese –which is the language spoken in Brazil- has a word that has no translation in other language, and it is one of my favorite words: Saudades. Saudades is an adjective which describes the felling of missing someone or something. If someone has “saudades”, the person is on an emotional state of nostalgic, remembering moments that are not there in the present anymore. Saudades brings together, good feelings and bad ones. Good feelings about those great moments that you once lived and might not come back. It brings the felling of the presence of someone you love and is not around you anymore.
However it also brings pain, anguish and the reality that you don’t have what you used to have anymore. You can have “saudades” of someone who has died and will never come back, or also of someone who is far away and you can’t see as much as you wish. When you have “saudadezinhas” –which is the diminutive of the word saudades- you have a “small” saudades. I fell a small one every day when my husband and I go to work and don’t see each other during the day. But I have a huge saudades of my parents, my country and my friends in Brazil. Sometimes it is really painful and hard to live with this felling. But then I remember who lucky I am for being able to see them all again, even that it takes a little while J.
Living abroad adds a lot in someone’s culture, personal life and in the way you see the world. You get to know new and different kind of people, with a different baggage and life experience from yours. You learn a new language, new habits, and you learn how to see the world in a different perspective. When I first arrived in the Usa the culture shock was huge. The differences were at the way people behave, the way the city is organized and also the food.
I used to get lost all the time because for me, all the streets looked like the same one. In Brazil the way the cities are planned is different. Here -at least in Virginia- there is a neighborhood just for houses, another one just for stores, and another one for factories and companies for example. In Brazil everything is kind of together. There is a house, next to a store, which it might be next to a company. Let’s blame the way cities are planned in America, and not the fact that I get lost no matter where.
Another aspect of my culture shock was how beautiful and clean the streets are. Unfortunately in Brazil we can notice a lot of dirty, and even more holes in the streets that we can find here. People throw trash everywhere, the walls have a lot of drawings –not always beautiful ones-, and there is a lot of abandoned dogs walking around (really sad). Besides in America –at least Viriginia- is a safety place to live, and you don’t have to be always worried about being robbed. These last ones were a really good part of the culture shock that I had. Culture shock is not only a bad thing, the shock can be for better or worse. I can say that mine was balanced, and I could find a lot of good surprises in my first moments in America.
Each region or country, has its own style and way of living, which impacts in the way people act. Americans are so much more discrete and less agitated than Brazilians. People in Brazil are always agitated, talking a lot, making noise, dancing. In Brazil a reason to party and celebrate doesn’t need to exist, and still there will be a party. Every weekend or a holiday is a reason to make a barbecue which we call “churrasco”, and invite friends and family over, and put some music, play cards or play –or wacth- soccer.
Speaking on soccer, twice a week there is a big soccer game on tv. Soccer is another reason that people has to get together in someone’s house or at a bar and watch the game, drink and make a small party. In Brazil nothing –and everything- is a reason to get together and celebrate. Brazilians are noisier than Americans. We are always singing, dancing, making fun of everything. And sometimes we get people a little upset because we make so much fun of everything and everybody. But it is not to be mean or anything, it is just the way people are. Americans are more prudent in making direct jokes with people.
Brazilian people are really cheerful, and love to welcome everybody who is from outside. Outside the state or outside the country, especially outside the country. We call “gringo” everybody that is outside the country. It is not racist or mean, it is just a term used to mention someone that is not Brazilian. “Gringos” are treated very well and have a lot of attention. People will do their best to learn at least a couple words from the language the “gringo” speaks, and make him feel welcome and beloved. Such Brazilians as Americans know how to welcome very well all foreign. The difference is only in how loudly they welcome the person..haha
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Writing consists in communicating, learning, expressing thoughts and feelings, and –for some people- having fun. When writing, a person learn more about himself and about the topic in evidence. Despite all the benefits, writing in another language can be scary. For most of the people, just the fact of express themselves, is something really challenging and not always successful. When it comes to do all this process in another language, things can get even more complicated. Second language writers, usually think in their first language, and then try to express their thoughts in another one. But it depends on how fluent the person is, or how long he has been “dealing” with the new language. Most of the times I think in English -or I try to- while writing a text. But when the idea which I am trying to express gets too complex or complicated, automatically my brain changes to Portuguese. After this “changing”, not always I can express my thoughts as well, or as clear as I would like to. Other times, I think I can express myself very well, but then I notice misunderstood by the readers. Despite how to express yourself in writing, vocabulary counts a lot. It is impossible for a person get to know all the words in one language. Even because new words, slangs and adaptations, come out occasionally, and “old” vocabulary gets unused. But the limitation that a writer in a new language has in vocabulary, can be very helpful to learn new words. I can barely think about times when I didn’t learn a new word, while writing an essay or a paragraph. When I have specific words that I need to find the translation, I will not be done until I find it, which is a very good way to learn. Writing in another language is challenging and complicated, but I have never heard about development and improvement, without a little bit of trouble and obstacles.