Posts Tagged With: Brazil

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

Winter time!

Having just arrived back from my sunny (and lovely!) holiday in Brazil, it’s no wonder that the icy, snowy and cold weather that welcomed me back to England proved to be a bit of a shock to the system. On my first few days back, I tried to not even leave the house… all I wanted to do was to stay in with all the radiators on full power (was I trying to get the Brazilian sunshine feel back into my life? Probably.).

The radiator trick didn’t last too long, so I just had to come to terms with the change and start embracing it. And when I finally let go off the lack of sunshine in my life, I actually realised that there are many things that I do like about winter.
Here’s my top 10.

1. Hot chocolate

Yum! Nice and hot, creamy and full of marshmallows… who doesn’t love it? But I don’t make mine with hot water only, I always use mainly milk and chocolate powder. This makes it scrummy and delicious!

2. Early crispy mornings

I have been going to the gym in the morning before work (talk about New Year’s resolutions!) and I find myself really enjoying the cold early mornings. They are very fresh and crispy and make me feel really empowered somehow.

3. Snuggling

Of course this one would be on the list. Who doesn’t love snuggling up to someone they love? It’s the perfect time of the year to watch movies in bed, holding each other and fighting over who will get out of bed to make the next round of hot chocolates.

4. Scarves

I’m a scarf-lover and I reckon it makes an outfit most of the time. What better time than winter to try all the ways in which you can wrap a scarf around your neck?

5. Snow

Yes, it’s a nightmare to drive in it, but nothing beats a snow-covered garden, street, park. It’s just so beautiful, calming, quiet… pure bliss!

6. PJs

I’m a PJ girl and by that I mean that if I’m at home, I’m usually wearing pyjamas. The good thing is that in winter at least I have an excuse for doing that and not feel like a lazy sod all the time.

7. Sunshine

There is something about the sunshine in winter. If you care to get up early in the morning when the sun is just coming up, the golden look it gives buildings and gardens is amazing.

8. Books

There is no better season to spend time reading than in winter. I usually do a lot more reading in winter than in summer. It just feels right to be lying down, under the blanket, lost in a good story.

9. Hot baths

Ahhhh, this is always a winner for me in the cold weather. Some candles, some nice bath oil and a good magazine. I say magazine because although I love baths, I’m not patient enough to stay in there too long. Still it’s one of my favourite things in winter.

10. Thinking time

Winter is a good time to think about life, choices and the future. We are usually not so busy and can just chill with the extra time in hand.

So there you go… I love all seasons, really, and I can’t deny I do like the cold weather. My body seems to like it too. I feel energised and ready to take on the world, even if lots of stops happen for a much needed brew along the way.

Categories: Winter | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Right turn, left turn

Today I got thinking about the choices we make in life. I was thinking about how my life turned out to be in England and not in Brazil. I have said it here before that when people ask me why I live here I don’t even have a plausible answer. I just kind of nod (‘Yep, I’m from Brazil!) and say a few sentences hoping that they will suffice. They never seem to do, though, and the reason for that is because I don’t think my answers are convincing enough. It’s hard to even convince myself sometimes. This got me thinking abot what my life would be like, right now, if I was living in Brazil.

I have discussed this with some fellow migrants before, and the majority of us agree that when we move away from home, we tend to do everything a bit later than everybody else. The process of finding our feet in a completely different country with its own rules and no family around to help takes a little time. So, basically, the time we’d be getting on with the ‘normal process’ of life in our native countries, we are finding out how to register with a doctor, apply for citizenship or how to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Now, I’m not assuming here that life has an order, all I’m saying is that people seem to follow patterns and the majority does things according to some kind of unspoken rule: the rule of ‘society’.

The word society, according to the Oxford English Dictonary, means “the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.” Ah, I see… society means that we have to live with a group of people and follow the same rules. I like that. Rules are necessary when we live in a group. And I like it because in no way, shape or form the statement says that we have to be the same. But how is it that, somehow, we seem to think that being the same is the best?

I seemed to have taken longer to find a job that I love, for example. I tried different things (like accountancy) and after hating one particular thing (accountancy), I decided to go back to what I learnt at uni: good and old marketing. And guess what? It was the right thing to do. Had I stayed in Brazil and lived there my whole life, would I have had many jobs? Would I be in my dream job now? Mmmm… I don’t really know the answer. But I can surely ask the question and spend some afternoons wondering what the answer would be.

I also seemed to have taken a little longer in finding the right person to spend my life with (did I, really?). And, again, I’m not even sure if this IS the right person whith whom I’ll be spending the rest of my life with (who knows, anyway?) but hey, for now it definitely is, so let’s go with that. I wonder if I was in Brazil I’d be married with (and here comes the third of my divagations)… KIDS! Now this is something I’ve talked about many a time before and if you read my blogs you may have already read about it (sorry, but here I go again!). The decision of having kids still doesn’t make much sense in my head. For some bizarre reason, I’m not really maternal and, believe it or not, I still feel like a teenager. I did play with dolls when I was a kid, but it was never to be cuddling them, it was to have some kind of control (now that’s a hard one to admit, give me some credit). I used to play that I was this busy mummy that worked a lot and had this busy life and had to juggle everything. I used to play that I was on my phone trying to organise people, places, ballet classes and christenings. Poor me, little weirdo.

Well, I grew up to be very far from what I maybe imagined I’d be by now. I am quite a placid person who hates confrontation. Yes, I say what I thinkmost of the time, but I’d rather never see you again than to have a full-blown argument. I just hate it. I am still the goofy person of always, though. I especially love making fun of myself. This really is my favourite. I still hate peas, but I no longer think I can live off my written word, as I once dreamt. I quickly realised how impossibly hard that would be.

As for organising everything and everyone, I think this may have been one route, but I see myself slowly moving the other way. I can kind of feel the weight of making all the decisions all the time, it’s exhausting. Let it be, for Christ’s sake! Let go of trying to have control of the controllable and the incontrollable.

I feel quite under pressure sometimes, to be doing what other people expect me to be doing. At my (tender) age of 33, maybe I was supposed to be doing this or that, but hey, I’m not (or maybe I am, who knows?). Still, though, I feel this pressure hanging around, but what annoys me the most is that I actually fall pray of this little machine called society and these unspoken ideas about what I should be doing with my own life. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish it didn’t affect me but hey, it does, somehow. And this is what drives me crazy. I wish I didn’t care one bit about what other people think and I wish I didn’t worry about turning right or left and the effects such turns can have in my life.I should go for it a bit more, perhaps, and just see what happens… I shouldn’t worry about pleasing everybody, this is never going to happen anyway.

Ok, rant over! And to end it well, here’s to a life with NO RULES!

PS: right, just for the record, nothing bad happened to me, I just got really carried away with thinking about rules, expectations, ageing and reality. And then I had to share my thoughts here with you, poor reader. 😉

 

Categories: Babies, Brazil, Dreams, Living away from home | 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

Hug day

This post is about mums. Today, Mother’s Day, is probably the day I wish I was in Brazil the most. It’s the day to hug your mum as tight as you can and let them know how much they mean to you.

Mums are special creatures. I mean, I have always been scared of trying for a baby myself, as one of my worries is that I won’t be able to cope. Imagine a human being depending on you for everything and you having to give up your own time to do everything for them. People tell me that it becomes a pleasure but, if I’m honest, I find it hard to believe. It’s scary! And this is probably why I admire mums so much. They give up a lot to look after their little ones with so much dedication and love.

I’m a very lucky daughter as well, because I have two mums. I have my mum mum and my step mum, which is my mum, really. Together, they give me all the support I need and are always there for me. They are so different as well, each of them with their special qualities that together make one super mum. So, in a nutshell, I have a super mum to thank today. A super mum made of two that help me live my life by helping me, enlightening me, laughing with me, crying with me and making me feel loved every step of the way.

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

The 3 things

So, here I am today… sat on my armchair in the lounge looking out the window, which has quickly become my favourite past time. This flat simply asks for it. There is so much going on downstairs. People are parking up their cars, getting the dogs out, kids are running around and climbing the sand dunes… I even saw a running competition going on at lunchtime. It’s all great, apart from the fact that, today, Mother’s Day, it all made me feel really homesick.

I can just imagine what I would be doing if I was in Brazil today… I’d probably wake up late as usual, get dressed, try and make my sister get up as she is hard work to get up in the morning, and then generally go through the mild chaos of getting ready when there are too many people involved. It would be a day to have lunch with the whole family, a big affair but very common in Brazil. It’d probably be at someone’s house, like my auntie Ana’s, and we would all take something to make up for a great big lunch. My uncle would take care of the barbecue and we would have scrumptious meat, sausage, chicken hearts (the English don’t get this one!), potato salad, garlic bread, a big salad with fruits in it made by my stepdad and a lovely and refreshing caipirinha going round to start the celebrations.

We would be celebrating being together, having our mums there with us, looking out for each other, giving advice to each other (even when not requested!), feeling protected somehow. Family can be hard work, we all know that, but nothing beats the warmness of hugging people you are very close to, people you trust and that love you unconditionally.

I was reading somewhere the other day that there are 3 things that we all need to survive… 3 basic human needs. They are: the need to feel capable, the need to feel free and the need to feel a link with others. This got me thinking and I concluded that I agree with what I read. We all need to feel worth of something, we need to feel we can achieve something regularly, be it in our jobs, be it with raising a family or even through personal projects. We also need to have enough freedom to exercise the necessary attempts to feel capable, so I guess all is linked somehow. Human beings don’t really like feeling like prisoners, we like to be able to make our own choices and make our own decisions. And then there is the link to others. No one can be happy alone, and this is simply a fact. Even if we live alone and don’t really interact much, we still end up finding ways to connect with others, even if it’s through the television which, obviously, is not ideal.

These three basic human needs interact with each other and make us feel alive, worthy and happy, I guess. Today, I feel like I could be interacting with others and these others are my family back home. If I close my eyes, I imagine being there, being in the company of them all, creating happy memories.

This is the hardest part of living away from home… the homesickness. It hits you when you least expect and then it brings you down for maybe  just a moment, but sometimes for hours or days. It’s hard not to think that I’m missing out on moments that I would treasure forever but, then again, I need to live by my choices. After all, I have the freedom to make them and I make them every day. I’m very happy here, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I wish Brazil was a little closer, so I could just jump on a plane, go home, get my “family fix” and come back.

The homesickness will go and I’ll be less nostalgic in a few hours, I know the process already. And when you know the process inside out, in a weird way you even start enjoying it. It’s almost like I treasure even more every single important person in my life and take nothing, absolutely nothing for granted. And this is probably a lesson in itself.

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

Hard to pinpoint

It’s funny how people just look at me with a massive question mark on their faces when they ask me where I’m from and I answer Brazil.  People say that my English is good (which makes me very proud, hehe), but obviously you can’t totally hide an accent, as much as you try.

This week, the break lights went on on my dashboard so I called the RAC to have a look, as Google told me that it was dangerous to drive like that as the breaks may fail! (nooo!). The guy from the RAC was really nice and found the problem, just an ABS sensor that needs replacing and it will cost a little, as everything does nowadays.

Then, in conversation whilst he was doing the paperwork, he asked me where I was from. I said I was from Brazil, and in that same instant, he dropped his pen, looked right into my eyes and asked: “And what the hell are you doing here?”. I gave him a smile and my usual answer to this usual question. This answer is: “I came to study and never left. I think I got used to the place and now I love it.” He kept on looking at me, as if I was going to carry on talking but, since I kept quiet (and smiling), he picked up his pen, and lowered his head but then looked up at me again and said: “That’s crazy!” before carrying on completing the form about my car’s fault.

This question bugs me. It’s nothing to do with people’s curiosity. It’s to do with my inability to answer it! I honestly cannot answer it satisfactorily so, over the years, I came to the answer above, which has now become my automatic reply to this question.

To be honest, I like the British weather. I know this may sound absolutely crazy, but I do like the cold and I love the fact that summer over here is not so humid and soooo hot you need an air con on all the time. I like the endless summer days, when it goes dark at 10 at night. I love the fact that people here cherish the sun so much, because it’s not always there. So there you go. Against all odds, the weather is one of my favourite things.

Then there is the organisation. People follow rules and I admire that, as it makes for a fairer society. If you need something done, you find information about it and you know what to do. People treat people fairly too, whether you are the president or the bin man.

I also like being near all the European countries and be able to travel. Yes, ok, I know that things in Brazil are going really well at the moment and maybe I’d be able to go places a lot even if I was living there, but there is some kind of magic about living near places you love. And I love some places here in Europe.

Then, of course, there is a man. I fell in love with a British guy, a lovely man who is so British it hurts, ha! And I suppose this makes me stay… and stay… and stay… to the point that I don’t even consider going back anymore.

So there you have it. I bet there will be more reasons for my being here popping into my head after I post this, but for now, this is why I live here. Oh, and the reason why I am where I am specifically (Lytham St Annes) is because it’s a BEACH … and I simply LOVE the beach.

 

 

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

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