Tuesday, September 27, 2011

People People

They will talk to just about anyone...

Brazilians are people people. You talk to everyone, kiss far more cheeks than us North Americans are comfortable with, and wave to strangers. It's just the culture.

The other day I went out with the kids, who were in full costume of course. Being a Saturday in which Flamengo was playing, the bar next to our place was already full of Flamengistas drinking. Upon seeing two mini Captain Americans we were surrounded by the beer-ed up soccer fans.

The American in me would have screamed "STRANGERS" and ran. Ok, maybe not so dramatic but you get the point.

The Brazilian I have been molded into took it all in stride. My boys went around shaking hands and talked about their cool costumes. The men showered them with compliments of how cool they look and how good it is that Rio has superheros walking around keeping everyone safe. The smiles were contagious.

And that is just how it is here. Brazilians are ridiculously social and open people. Jim at Qualidade da Vida was talking about just that the other day. I have to say, I'm glad my kids are growing up that way.

You see, while not all things are created equal in this country (the understatement of the year), Cariocas have a way of treating just about all people like people. Seriously. I can't tell you how many times I've seen the Grandma caregivers stop and introduce their Grandkids to the neighorhood bum. It goes something like "This is so-and-so. He lives on our street. Make sure you say hello to him when you pass." Bum or not, he's a person too.

At the same time my kids are being taught, by me, to be careful with other people, to not wonder too far from Mom when out, and to general keep their eyes open. Rio de Janeiro is not an innocent place and there are bad people in the world. Kids do need to know that. Of course, they don't need to be afraid of people, life, or everyone new.

It's all about balance. Personally, I like my balance with a little more chit chats and smiles. 


  1. Awesome! It is one of the best qualities to have, I think.

    Its weird because I kind of wrote about the same thing today!

  2. Rachel,

    I love this about Cariocas. I think us Paulistas are a little bit more uptight! :)
    In our defense, we don't have the beautiful Ocean and lush green mountains to sooth the soul like you guys do. We stare at Trucks, Buses, Cars and Motorcycles zooming by back and forth in the middle of the concrete jungle :(
    I love Rio, you guys rock!


  3. As usual, you couldn't have found a better subject photo! You have an awesome talent querida.

  4. Great post, Rachel! More of us should talk to strangers!

  5. Great post. So good to hear that side of the story when parents in other countries are fearful about letting their children play in the front garden. As you say, it's all about balance; I feel that in some places a healthy caution has become unbalanced paranoia...

    Love the photo, btw!

    Kate @ Displaced Nation

  6. a stranger is just a pre-friend :)

  7. True dat! Teach them to be social within reasonable limits.

  8. Ray I have to disagree, as a Paulista. I have random folks come up and talk to me all the time, they practically follow me home. I had some lady grab my grocery bags from my hands, since we were walking and talking. They're still VERY friendly.. just maybe not as much as those Cariocas.