Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More on making friends in Rio


So, making friends in Brazil.  You've heard the rumours.  Brazilians are so so nice and so so friendly.  It should be a cinch to make friends then, right?  Not wrong, but not totally right.  In my experience with trying to make friends with Brazilians, I've sort of come up feeling shortchanged.  The conversations can be alright, especially if they speak a little English.  It usually turns into an amusing attempt at conversation with both sides making multiple errors and ultimately bonding over the fact that you are both making a fool of yourself in the other's language.

On the other hand, when you do speak Portuguese, and the person you're speaking with is relatively open-minded, they are pretty good to try and make you feel comfortable, translating occasional words into English (albeit you already know those words, but it's the thought, right?)

I had been getting a little bit tired of this though.  Friendships are never really truly developed.  Deep, meaningful conversations are never truly had.  There are too many pauses, stumbles, stutters... (for now at least). 

And another challenge for me has been the whole 'I live on the other side of the planet' thing.  I live in a neighborhood on the far west end of Rio.  I mean far.  You think Barra da Tijuca is far?  I live past Barra.... It really is the same experience that any of you living in a small town (or Niteroi) have.  You are surrounded by Brazilians who have lived there their whole lives.  Their families live there (both sides if they're married).  Their friends live there.  Cliques are made and although I've been invited out by my lovely SIL to join in, it never really evolves beyond that.

So I decided as of late that I need to get me some friends the good old fashioned way.  Just totally interrupting whatever they're doing and pushing my way in!

I probably should point out that I can only do this when I hear people speaking English and I can only find English people in Zona Sul.  On the subway, looking at a map on the street, in a bar...There's nothing that brings people together more than going up to someone speaking English in a bar full of Brazilians with your best 'Night at the Roxbury' opening... "you? me? you? me? you? me?"
Works every time.

I went to the only 'Irish Pub' in Rio last night (Shenanigans) looking for some friends.  The second I heard them (there were only 3) walk by me I practically ran out to the balcony after them. (Another 'keep in mind', I had arrived at 6 for happy hour, it was now 9:30 and I was already 3 1/2 pints in - Oh yes, I was alone in a bar. Big deal, wanna fight about it?)

At least you know you always have a good opening line when approaching other foreigners.  Especially when your goal truly is to make friends and not to pick up. (This makes it substantially harder, I might add!)
But it's like winning a game when you are well received by your chosen victims and they respond well to your methods, which are rather unconventional.  I sound like a goddamn vampire/molester.  English teacher by day, Vampire Molester by night.  That is, a vampire who molests people, I don't molest vampires.... what are you, sick?? 

Anyway, my friendship attack went pretty well - we exchanged emails and talked about meeting up again sometime.  It can definitely be tricky to make friends with the opposite sex.  I try to keep things reeeeeally casual and name drop my husband a lot.  Not in an annoying 'Just so you know I have a HUSBAND' way but in a protective 'Back off! Get your own sandwich!" kind of way...

See this Canadian commercial to know what I'm referencing here...

Friends are working their way into my life.  I would love to make good friends with some Brazilians here but I just have to keep working on the Portuguese bit by bit.  If I were to make this blog into a 'tip' blog, my #1 tip for people moving to Brazil (or any foreign country for that matter) is:

and my #2 tip is


  1. You go to bars by yourself?! I'm not judging, I'm jealous! You're brave. But I think I'd be more inclined to go, too, if I knew there'd be other English speakers there.

    Good luck!

  2. I'm there, buddy. I am at the point of going to the bar by myself to meet people!
    I did go to get some class prep done, which is a lot more socially acceptable than saying I went to wait until some potential friends came in.

  3. Linds, I love the way you write! YOU ROCK! You are gonna find some great friends...good energy attracts good energy and you got it, Sista!

  4. whoops...that was Luce...above

  5. I'm brazilian and we can be friends! Haha
    I laughed a lot with your words!
    Seriously, we can go out sometime. Me, you, your own sandwich and nice friends who speak english!

  6. Hi again!

    Hey, can I ask you some questions over email? I have a new student, and she's moving to Canada to work as a doctor. I'm so sorry to say that I know very little about your wonderful country. I have some activities about life in America, but I'd like your help in modifying them to be applicable to Canada. If you're not too busy, please email me at danielleingles AT gmail DOT com. Thankssss!


  7. Hey Lind?? What about me??? I 'm also alone in this city and, though we live far away from each other, you gotta say is closer than Canada-Brazil! Let's make an effort to get together, ok?! I'll pick you up at Botafogo!!! You got my number! Kisses! Paula

  8. You have MEEEEEEEEE now, LOL! Melissa

  9. That previous comment was me, Melissa. :D

  10. Ola!! Como esta? Oh gosh.. Portuguese is damn hard to learn. They speak so fast.. I thought I could understand the words through reading but when they speak.. I can't understand anything! Anws I'm from Singapore. Would love to visit brazil someday. Though I heard it's very unsafe over there. How did u survive alone babes?

  11. HAHAHAHAHAHA goddam u are brilliant you absolutely crack me up! lovin ur blog mate, cheers! :)


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