Friday, September 9, 2011

Immigrants Are Coming Home

Word on the street is that many Brazilian expats are returning to their homeland. Contrary to the 1st world countries out there, Brazil's economy is doing well. 

While I only know a small handful of people who have returned to Rio de Janeiro from abroad, I can say that I have seen an attitude change in the Brazilians here.

When my husband and I first visited in 2003, the general consensus was that we should live in the US. Of course that does not include my Mother-in-Law. She is a believer in working to live not living to work and is also very Brazilian in that "ahhhh, everything will work out here. It always does."

Mr. Rant's and my motives were still questioned when we officially moved here in 2006. Even though Mr. Rant had a good job upon arrival, people still questioned our decision. Since he was legal there, why move back? Weren't opportunities better in the US? You can buy everything there! Isn't it also safer? 

Those questions always led into some story about someone's cousin or best friend's brother who was making it big American style. As if Guilherme's (or whomever) story would just push me over the edge and make me pack my bags. 

Regardless of other personal issues bringing us back to Brazil, Mr. Rant also wanted to be a part of changing his country. We had a whole conversation about it before our move. Just like this article, Mr. Rant said that all the young educated workers have left or our leaving his country and that they needed to return in order for Brazil to become great. 

Fast forward to around 2009 and people stopped asking about why we chose Brazil over the US. This was big being that a foreigner's living status here the #1 conversation starter for all people you cross paths with. Even taxi drivers would turn to me and say that I did good choosing Brazil and that life here is better.

While I know part of this new way of thinking are the new developments in business down here, I'm  thinking there's more to it. There is something about the US economic crisis that hit home for Brazilians. They are no stranger to this kind of thing. Actually, in comparison to what Brazilians have dealt with in the past, what the US is going trough is is merely a kick to the balls. You recover eventually from that.  

Brazilians have a way of taking these things in stride, relatively speaking. I remember watching a documentary where they showed where the happiest people lived. No, it was not Iceland or anything Utopian like that. It was Brazil who was named the country with the happiest people as no matter what is going on around them, they find time to enjoy life. There were clips from bbqs in extremely poor neighborhoods, people having beers on the street when the market was apparently going down, and of course they showed people watching soccer games. 

That, my friends, is the difference in the quality of life down here. People don't let money problems rain on their parades 24/7. If you lose a job you have a support group in family and friends to emotionally, and some times financially, help you out until you get on your feet. And let's be honest, the country is pretty damn beautiful too. 

I figure that Brazilians are thinking that if the US isn't going to be stable, they might as well come home. Not only is the country doing well, the lifestyle is a simpler and happier one. 

What is your take on this? 


  1. The economic situation in the US was definitely a factor in the decision my wife and I made when we concluded that we should start out here in Rio.

  2. I think life is good wherever you are happy being!

    I think some people are more opportunistic, jumping on the bandwagon that is best at the moment, others listen to the voice that calls them to a place because it is the right place to be for their psyche to be at a comfort level.

  3. Obama has deported more people than the previous 4 presidents combined. Brazilian coyotes surged forth with illegals during the USA's surge in Iraq. As they were caught entering Brazilians were offered citizenship in exchange for military service. If they declined to enter the military they were released and given court dates 3 months-1 year out. They didn't go to court and did what they came there to do- work, pay the coyote, and save money. But once the Real ID Act took effect, getting or renewing a license became very difficult, and with the economy tanking, many just went home.

  4. yeah the world is changing. The BRICS are shifting good jobs to their countries.

    Many people working for renowned companies are coming back to top jobs in Brazil.

    Large international companies are opening branches there and also Brazilian businessmen are investing / creating great new technological companies w great paycheck.

  5. My bf is also worried about missing out on the boom in brazilian economy and the good job opportunities.. however the cost of living would be higher in Rio than here in Germany and wages I am not sure.. Friends who plan to go back and are looking for jobs from abroad are kind of frustrated because although demand exists, however the jobs are not to find easily on the internet.. all about connections I guess.

  6. These happiness studies are BS. Show me some video of dirt poor brazilians being happy watching a soccer game and I will show you a video of black kids in the NYC ghetto having a blast in the streets when the fire hydrants are opened up.

  7. I miss the States a lot, I do. Especially family and friends of course. But I feel like I'm better off working here and for sure I'm a lot less stressed that I was in the States! I have fewer bills and less responsibilities (though I realize that my employer helps us out a lot).
    I also believe it's better to have children here than in the States (at least when it comes to maternity leave and such).

    I'm not going back any time soon.

  8. I will agree with you Rachel for sure on one thing. Americans are the most uptight, materialistic, bunch of whining spoiled workaholics I've ever met. And I can say that because I'm an American born and bred. I never saw this until I started traveling. While my experiences have only been in Brazil and Mexico which just happen to be what are the "third world" by most of the rest of the world. I have seen people who barely had anything but a loaf of bread for dinner but were happy as could be regardless. And not only were they happy about that bread, they would share it with you and the entire neighborhool without question.

    You are so right about the support system there and people don't realize how important this is. Here in the U.S., people don't support, they JUDGE. How often do you ever hear of multiple families living together because one family lost their home to forclosure, etc. And if it does happen, that said family who is sharing their home are sure to be trying to get them on their feet as fast as possible so they can get out! People here love their space, after all, where are they gonna park thier Cadilac Escalade and other two cars if yours is taking up space in their triple car garage?

    I live a very simple life in a very simple house (1225 sq ft) with a family of three with a 1999 GMC Yukon (yes, it's 12 years old and paid for) and I'm proud to say that my kids know the value of a dollar because I make sure they do. I think it's good for kids to go without some things so they can see that the world doesn't revolve around them. I've never purchased a playstation, nintendo and my kids don't have tv's in their rooms. I don't want them to grow up thinking material things make you happy.

    I was never so happy as when I was visiting Rio and Cancun, Mexico and just living by enjoying nature and the friendship of the people. I didn't need anything else to make me happy. Okay..I will say that I did miss my Diet Coke in's not the same there. :D

    If I could move to Rio or Cancun, I would do it in a heartbeat! I feel like I am in quicksand and slowly sinking here.

    Brazilians are happy because they know what is important - life, love and family.

  9. I have a good Brazilian friend who after 9 years in Canada (and becoming a Canadian citizen) has moved back to Brazil. He says that he missed Brazil too much (although he will continue to go back and forth). It is definitely one of the countries of the future!

  10. I found the text very cool, I'm glad that things are going well here in Brazil .. After 500 years, it's time for all work well.

    Shay, very beautiful your words, I think it really is true what you said about "life, love and family"


  11. I think what has been described as a positive attitude in post and comments (taking things in stride), can also be detrimental.

    This because many times people are not taking things in stride in Brazil, they are actually not dealing with an issue which they may be able to blow off in the present but will eventually come back to haunt them. Rachel´s post was fortunate to touch on Brazil´s past economic chaos because it exemplifies this clearly. The infaltionary, messed up, completely closed to competition, tacky Brazil from not over 16 years ago was always eager to blame others for it´s own shortcomings and take things in stride by posing as a victim to evil and unbeatable external forces to then resign itself passively to it´s calamitous reality. Brazilians in general blamed the IMF, The United States, Bankers ( usually with a bit of an anti-semetic touch when using this scapegoat) for everything that went wrong. Brazil only started to improve when it finally got rid of most of the politicaly runned state banks, useles and unefficient state giants and got it´s finances together with the Real plan and the Fiscal Responsability Act ( Lei da Responsabilidade Fiscal) which sustained the then new currency and was the backbone that prevented crap politicans from spending what we do not have and leaving the debt behind after their terms ended. This usually was dealt with by printing money and hence went the inflationary spiral.
    To accomplish all this many vested interests were confronted and beaten. This was Brazil at it´s best: acting like an adult and taking responsibility and SOLVING it´s problems. This is the kind of attitude that should be used when dealing with Education, Security and Sanitation which I think are Brazil´s final obstacles to finally becoming a developed, Grittypoetworth nation.

    There is a difference between using emotional inteligence to your advantage when dealing with something and using the same old escape artist attitute to momentarily eleviate yet not solve the problem in the long run. I guess the key is to indetify what is futile and what is not.

  12. 'The Gritty Poet' his vision is very realistic and dry, I like your point of view.

  13. I'm Brazilian, and reading the post and the comments, the same things that Gritty Poet said was running through my mind. I agree with him 100%.

  14. I think Gritty has pretty much hit the nail on the head.

  15. While I miss many people in the US, I'd be happy to never live there again. We love Hong Kong, but it has currency tied to the US dollar so we're now considering a move to the land of my hubby- Australia. The Australian economy is kicking ass and lifestyle is pretty laid back.

    It sounds like you've made yourself an excellent life in a most excellent place.

    Janet |

  16. I wish my husband and I could live in Brazil, but it isn't an option for us. He is not professionally prepared he does manual labor and even though the economy is terrible here, for him making a living in Brazil would be far more difficult. This is one segment of the population that will still consider living and working in the U.S above working in Brazil.

    I work professionally as an applications specialist (training hospitals how to use our healthcare software). I don't think my skills would translate into a comparable job, even if I could get a job in Brazil. That is after learning Portuguese:-D