Posts Tagged With: homesickness

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!)

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 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

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