My home

Brazil x England – (Ding Ding!)

It’s now been over two months since I arrived back in the UK from my holiday in Brazil. I’ve had enough time to analyse how the trip went, although when you go to see family and friends it’s bound to be good anyway. In fact, it seems like it happened ages ago and I miss he place and everyone already!

As you may/may not know, I live in the UK and all my family and childhood/teenage years friends live in Brazil, so every time I go I try to see as many people as I can to make sure that the bonds that are so important to me stay as they are: strong.

This time, there was a difference, though. I took the boyfriend with me. I was a little anxious as to what he would think of Brazil… but let the trip run its course without asking him a million times whether he was having a good time or not. I could actually see for myself that he was happy, but I didn’t want to keep on asking the question and annoying the hell out of him.

It turns out that he loves it, which is fantastic! It was funny to watch him around my family and friends. Lee is a naturally quiet person and he’ll only really let go when he has known the person for a little while (or if he is drunk, ha!). Even so, it seemed like he felt pretty comfortable being around everyone, which was a relief. At the end of the holiday, I left Brazil with my parents and friends telling me what a catch he is (and because he now knows what they think, I’ll have to look at his smug face forever!).

Anyway, this post is not about that, really, it’s about me thinking of Brazil and REALLY thinking about the reasons why I chose not to live there. I have written about this here before, mainly about not being able to explain why I chose to live in England over Brazil.

Now here’s the truth: these are two completely different countries in so many ways… age, politics, society, culture, economy, etc. Even so, I find that a few of my top reasons for not living in Brazil are quite shallow considering other issues that could well tip the balance in England’s or Brazil’s favour.

So here they are:

1. Hay fever

Who suffers from this sneezing-evil condition will know what I’m talking about. In Brazil, I am ALWAYS sneezing, my nose is always running and I find that this has a massive impact on my quality of life. In England, I only suffer from hay fever for a couple of months during spring, if that.

England 1 x Brazil 0

2. Security

In England, Lee and I go out at night and walk back home, no matter the distance or the time. I do not worry and I am not scared walking around in England. In Brazil, as everyone knows, the story is very different. Lately, it seems to have been getting  even worse.

England 1 x Brazil 0

3. Food

In England, a much smaller country than Brazil, there seems to be so much more food variety. And although the fruit and veg do taste a lot better in Brazil, England’s selections of cheese make up for it in one go.

England 1 x Brazil 0

4. Travel

In Brazil, the airports can be quite disorganised and the air fares are not always the most friendly on the pocket. In fact, it can be cheaper to travel abroad than it is travelling within the country! England, on the other hand, proves to be a fantastic connection to the world and the amazing places out there.

England 1 x Brazil 0

5. Salary

This was always a positive about England. Not anymore. 13 years ago, I remember working in a restaurant in London, paying for all my bills whilst renting a room in a house with other friends, going out and still being able to save to go travelling. Now, the same recession that seems to have impulsed growth in Brazil, hit England in a bad way. Having a job is a bonus and saving any money can be compared to performing a small miracle. Having said that, I recently read that the cost of living in Brazil has skyrocketed, leaving people with no choice but to swallow hard and carry on.

Brazil 1 x England 0

6. Organisation

For as long as I remember, getting any kind of document in Brazil is a very good reason for a headache. The queues are never-ending, the forms are not straight-forward and there are always obscure rules that no one knows about. In England, everything is so black and white it can even get embarrassing if you don’t understand how things work. They make it easy for everyone and usually things are done pretty quickly.

England 1 x Brazil 0

7. Politics

In Brazil, we all know how messy this scenario is. Year after year, the same corrupt politicians are still part of the government (how?) and most people still seem to sell their votes to the highest bidder. In England, the majority seems to take much more of an interest in politics. They recognise how it affects daily life and make sure they have their say.

England 1 x Brazil 0

8. The climate

Yes, ok, call me crazy, but I prefer to be in the cold than in the scalding hot weather of Brazil. It drives me absolutely mad to be sweating all day every day, to sleep unfomfortably and not be able to function properly if not in the mercy of an air con. I like the cold weather England has to offer which, funnily enough, is what the English try to run away from at any given opportunity. Yes, I like sunny days, but by the beach. For city living and a working life, I’m happy where I am, thank you.

England 1 x Brazil 0

So, if you have done the maths, England wins 7×1. But it’s not just about this list. There is something else. Still, unfortunately, it’s that something I can’t explain. There must be something in the air. Or I might have past connections with this place – yes, I do believe this is possible! I don’t know what it is. I love Brazil to bits and it will always be my favourite country where a lot of people I love are but, to me,  nowhere else says HOME as England does. For now. (ha!)

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Categories: Brazil, Home, Living away from home, London, My home, St Annes living, Winter | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Rules of engagement

I guess the main thing I had to comply with when I decided to move to England permanently was that in this country rules are usually followed. In Brazil, we have a theory that if rules are getting in the way, we may just overlook them and that’s it. I’m not talking about big things like politics, etc, because we all know that in that sector Brazil fails miserably. I’m talking about the little rules of our everyday life. The rules that make us make sense of living within a community.

When I just moved here, I was in the car with my then husband and we were approaching some crossroads. I saw the lights turn to red and, even so, decided I was still able to cross it, based on the “you still have 5 seconds after the lights turn to red” rule created by myself when I used to drive in Brazil. Oh my God! I unleashed a beast in the car! Then husband nearly had a heart attack as I went through the lights and I got a massive telling off including “Do you want to kill us?” and “Are you going crazy” comment type of reaction. That day, it became clear that I better watch myself in this country.

Another one: drink and drive. Never ever would you think of doing this in England, even when in Brazil, despite all the rules, fines and points you can get for it, nobody really obeys. It’s absolutely wrong to do it, and I’m amazed that people here follow this rule with no questions asked. And when I say no questions asked, I mean that they don’t even consider it. It’s amazing and SO right! (and at the same time, I’m SO not used to it! – but still follow it, of course).

Another one: using your indicators. In Brazil, nah… no such bother. Here, all I can hear in my car when driving (unless I’m on a very long straight road like a motorway, which really never happens) is the tic tac, tic tac of the indicators. Good girl, me.

But it’s not just in traffic that the ‘following the rules rule’ is followed with no complaints. People form queues, people say please and thank you, people let other people go first, people don’t say rude things to other people in the street. Is this what they call civilization? I like it, I like it a lot. And I think I really got used to it, because when I go back to Brazil, certain things leave me gobsmacked!

I’m not trying to say that one country is better than the other, not at all. I’m talking about differences and how certain nationalities behave differently. If I was to give any advice to anyone wanting to make England their home, I’d say: follow the rules and you will be fine, you will fit right in.

Now, if you wanted to move to Brazil, my advice would be quite another. Get yourself some good sunglasses because there, my friend, you have to get used to what the Brits can’t have and crave so much: a glorious sunshine.

Categories: Brazil, Living away from home, My home, Rules | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The wall

I’ve always been a creature of the night. I like being awake until the early hours and, when I was a teenager, my dad used to get extremely mad at me because I enjoyed my afternoon naps when the sun was out, so I could stay awake at night, reading, writing or watching movies. I’m not averse of daylight, in fact I really enjoy the sunshine, but my favourite part of the day is when the stars and the moon are out. I think I particularly enjoy that part of the day when it’s getting dark but it’s not entirely dark yet. Everything is washed by this magnificent blue, like a dark royal blue, and the whole world just looks so beautiful. You have to be careful to catch it, though, as this bit of the day usually goes quite fast.

I’ve been meaning to do something about our corridor wall for a while now. However, same as with writing, it takes time to find the inspiration to do stuff like that. I used to look at the wall every single day and imagine some possibilities for it, but never felt completely ready to actually do something. Until yesterday. Yesterday, starting at my favourite time of the day, I got all my pictures, bits of art in postcards and cuttings that I had and went for it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not an artist or anything like that, but I do enjoy putting things together. I like colours, I like compositions and I like the effect of some things when they are next to each other.

So last night I got all my frames, my pictures, scissors, paper and imagination and started my wall project. It took a while. I don’t normally do a composition on the floor, like maybe you should at first and then hang it all on the wall. I hammer the first picture up and then the rest kind of flows from there.I don’t know what the correct way of doing this is, but I’m not sure this matters, really.

I was very pleased in the end. It’s probably nothing too special, but it is a quite accurate translation of what was in my head, which is why it is already so special to me. I love it! Lee loves it too (thank God, since he had no input in this one!).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that creativity is something you can’t force. Sometimes it just comes to you and you feel so totally compelled to do something with it that things just happen in their own way. I could have tried to do this ages ago, but I’m sure that the result wouldn’t have been half as good as yesterday’s. I am pleased to look at it, especially because every single picture has a meaning to me. The wall is below. I hope you like it too.

 

Categories: Creativity, My home | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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