Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Opposite seasons

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

School vacation

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.

Culture shock

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.

Noisy Brazilians

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