Sunday, December 5, 2010

Things I would miss about Brazil

Well, I'm coming up on my one year anniversary in less than 2 weeks and, coincidently (or not), I'm also heading home for the holidays for the first time since we arrived.  All of this has got me really thinking about the things I'm now going to miss leaving Brazil in search for the things I was missing about Canada for the first, oh say, 11 months of being in Brazil.  (This last month those feelings have been dying out a little bit but that may have to do with the fact that I will soon be at home, eating me some curry and Thai food.)

So, some of the things I will and would miss about Brazil (it took me a little while to get to this place of appreciating things here enough to miss them):

1. Bakeries and fresh bread every single day.  Well, let's just stick to bakeries, plain and simple.  I love the bakery around the corner.  I can go have a nice little breakfast of suco da laranga and misto quente any time I want.  If I have a craving for a Twix, my little corner bakery has the fix!  (Rhyme not intentional but staying!)  If I want to have a beer, the bakery is near! (Now I'm having fun).  You can even do a little mini shopping at my little mini bakery.  Actually it's a giant bakery.

2. Drinking chopp.  Chopp is draught beer and it isn't draught beer at the same time.  It's its own special Brazilian version of draught beer.  So super cold and small enough that it stays that way until the end.  I don't think I can go back to pints. 

2b. Chopp anywhere, anytime. 
Yep.  No joke.  Favourites would be quiosques (kiosks) by the beach, the little hole-in-the-wall bars in zona sul, or, as mentioned above, the bakery!

3. Body comfortability.  Ok, this one's a bit of a contradiction.  Cariocas (The Brazilians from Rio for anyone who didn't know that yet...) are ridiculous about their bodies.  I'm serious.  These people are working out in the gym for inhuman lengths of time and at least 8 times per week. 

On the flip side, if you go to the beach, you gots your crazies but you ALSO have your OTHER crazies.  The crazies who are totally comfortable with their bodies, albeit some may say they 'shouldn't be wearing something so small'.  Y'know what? It's given me a HEALTHY view of body acceptance and I LOVE Rio for that.  I see that everyone just lets it all hang out (for some that means more than others) and it's so refreshing to see that people are comfortable with themselves, regardless of media-invented images of beauty.

Ladies and Gentlemen, how many of you out there have TRULY accepted your body the way it is?  How many can say they TRULY love themselves and their bodies??  Not even me, but I'm really working on it and Rio is helping.

4. Ice cream!!  Some of the best ice cream is here!  Sooo good on a hot-ass day.  I've actually never eaten so much ice cream in my entire life put together as I have in my first year in Brazil.

5. Speaking Portuguese.  Ironic?  I will really miss speaking Portuguese.  Jesus, I worked so hard to get my Portuguese down, I don't want to lose it!  Learning a language is hard folks!  If you already learned it once, don't screw yourself over by forcing yourself to learn it again.  So grateful for my Brazilian other half!  I's lucky.

6. The Beach.  Did I actually say that?  Ok, so it's no secret that I'm not a giant fan of going to sit in the sand for hours on end, but I do like running and biking by the beach, drinking coconut water at the beach, and sitting in a quiosque on a Saturday afternoon listening to the families come out to drink and shoot the shit.  Also, I love to watch these guys working on their tan.

7. People Selling Shit Everywhere.  Although I don't really buy stuff from the vendors very often, I'm not opposed and it's nice to know that if I needed something, it's right there.  I love the guys who jump on their bus selling "jujubes um real, amendoim um real, chiclete 3 por um real, paçoca um real" and I love how the bus drivers let them on for free until they get to their stop.  Nice camaraderie!  It's nice to see that there are jobs for many people, even if they aren't the most ideal or appealing. 

So, Brazil, at the end of one year, there are things I can truly say I am enjoying about you.  I've met some great people here, I've discovered my career, I've learnt a new language and I've spent a lot of time with myself reflecting (and now I know I need to see a psychologist regularly 'just to talk')... but all good!  Looking forward to the next year!  But first.... home time!!!


  1. It's been just one year?!? Parabens!

    Fresh bread, cold chopp and any body on the beach... count me in!!

    Enjoy your time back home. bjs -

  2. I agree with all of the above. Great job with the 1st year and have a great trip home! You deserve it!

  3. And Biscoito Globo ? I have been missing it during 10 years. It is made of wind, it is crunchy and tastes to nothing - still... a brilliant product. The same cook has been preparing it for 43 years !

  4. Haha, wellll Anita, I can't say I would miss Biscoito Globo. I think it's one of those things you have to grow up on to really appreciate. Otherwise it's just made of wind and tastes like nothing ;)

    People really do love it here though!

  5. AH, since I am not leaving for home and still adjusting to Brazil this post made me happy. Ditto on the Chopp, fresh bakeries, beaches and crazies....

  6. Chopp! Absolutely. Lupo underwear. Cocada. Pizza forno. Fresh fruit. Big smiles from strangers. Mandioca. Faroufa. Samba music sessions on the beach and in bars. Kids that are not so coddled as they are in North America. Granado coconut soap. Sunshine. The birds and the plants. I'll let you know what else... I'm leaving this place for 2 years, so I'm going to see if I feel the tug to come back when I'm gone.

  7. Hi Fiona...Some of what you mentioned I think probably has to do with location - big smiles from strangers is something I miss about home, not here, because I never ever get that here in Rio. In fact, I make a point to smile at people here and almost never get one in return. :( That's the beauty of small-town living.

    The other thing is about kids. If you've read any of Rachel's blog you know that (at least here in Rio) kids are coddled and treated like royalty (to a degree, for me, that I wouldn't want to raise my kids here). I mostly see kids on the street who are spoilt and bratty, and a population of people as a whole who enable this. But again, I think this must be a small-town/big-town diff?

    Haven't tried Lupo underwear so I'll def go check THAT out. :)

    Good luck with your next travels...

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  9. Great list! One thing I would add is fresh squeezed juices available everywhere!

  10. How about the bossa nova music? I absolutely fell in love with the music living in Brazil!


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