Thursday, October 28, 2010

Free Hug

I've talked a decent amount about Brazilian families and their part in marriages, your roles within them, and how they work.

Well, I've had a different view of the Brazilian family these past couple of days.  It's a family I've always known but have never had the need to experience.

It's your extended Brazilian family.  Aka. Everyone you interact with on a daily basis.

So we are the gossip of the neighborhood because our youngest is in the hospital. Everyone knows via talk from everyone else.  But it's not just gossip, it's real concern.

The first morning after my little one was hospitalized, I got a call from his school.  They wanted to know how they could help. The school psychologist called and she said "We are not doctors. I know we can't help that way but we want to say that we are here if you need anything. Anything at all.  And we want to know how he is doing? blah blah our conversation blah Please keep us updated!"  They have checked in daily.

I have spoken with our building manager and our doorman.  My Mother-in-law has spoken with the doorman at our kid's school, the teachers, the coordinator, and the head of the pre-school area. 

My pediatrician has called me daily, if not twice daily, to ask me how I think he's doing and what the doctors told me.  He then tells me everything they told him as he called them first so that he could clarify anything I didn't understand.

Mr. Rant's Mother, Brother, and Brother's wife have picked my oldest up from school the past couple of days, taking him out, and treating him so this time would be one of excess as opposed to lacking.

I've had visits from friends and family.  And hospital even lets my son is visit, even though he's under 5.

And my Mother-in-law has been at my beck and call regardless of the fact that she has been dealing with everything going on with her mother.  Her mother, who we now fear may be brain-dead.  And with all that, she is picking up my son, playing his silly 4 year old games, and asking me how she can help me.

On top of it all, my husband is only working part time because he is taking care of our oldest when he's not in school.  This is the husband who comes home from a long stressful meeting and deals with a phone call from a crying wife who lays into him basically because her nerves are fried.  Listening to you kid, who is on a drip, scream in pain every time he pees will do that to you.  There was nothing I could do. Thankfully, after about 12 hrs, it passed and he's feeling much better.

Anyway, the husband who took that bad treatment and understood where it came from.  He came to alleviate me from the hospital with a smile on his face and a hug for me.  No need to discuss, no need for an apology.  And I gave him more shit for being late. Yeah, I suck ass.  And he had all the patience and understanding in the world.  He told me he couldn't have handled the first two nights there but now, because it's easier, he could give me a break.  Wow! A man who can handle the world and then admits when he can't.  The balance of the world, my world.  I must give good head or something.

The thing is, this culture can be judgmental, overly intrusive, and sometimes a bit in your face.  But when you need some compassion, real compassion, and a get out of jail free card when things are tough, they give it to you before you even ask.  It's as if they have the important parts of humanity down.

The world would be a much better place if they would just learn from the Brazilians.


  1. Dear Rachel,
    Hope things get well real soon, you sound like you have everything under control and you baby is in good hands.
    I have to say, you are experiencing a deep culture immersion, deeper than any expat I have ever heard of and you are making the best of it, taking advantage of the good and learning from the not so good.
    You are doing great, uniting the best from both worlds.

    Take care

  2. I hope things get better soon and I'm glad you can see these kind of behavier about us!
    You are great expat and everything will be ok!


  3. Glad things are steadily improving. You are so right about the extended family and friends and co-workers, and everyone else.

    In my experience back in the States we would be lucky to get help from my mother, and maybe a few emails from others... We would likely not even know the names of some of the others you've mentioned.

    Go Brazil!

  4. Thanks! I have to say that at first everyone tries to give me my space during things like this, because I'm American you know. I just love that thought is actually put into it. It's so, we want to talk to her or go over there but we'll wait and see if it's ok first. And was the ok is given out, it never stops :)

  5. Argh ! It is indeed overly intrusive. But you will never know total isolation or will be depressed for being lonely and forgotten.

  6. True, you will never be ignored but you may be harassed to death. I figure it's the lesser of two evils ;)

  7. Such a truthful post. Definitely the way it's been for us, as well. I'm glad you can see the good side of things, even at such a time as this.

  8. Youre awesome, Rachel. Glad youve got support.

  9. i think its fantastic that everybody cared about you and your boy!
    its comforting to know u are not alone and that people care!!