After reflecting on comments from my last post, I have to say that I was wrong. I am not middle class in Brazil.
It's a strange phenomenon being an American in Brazil. While I do not have near the money of those I consider truly upper class, I have far more than the majority.
It's hard to imagine that there is still this much struggling to make ends meet in upper class.
That last statement was bait. I have honestly thought it but reason is a bitch. Struggling is relative and the fact is I am not really struggling. I suppose that this is a highly common and negative aspect to the American line of thinking. I feel entitled to certain comforts in life that are not at all essential. I am accustomed to a certain level of things and ease in buying them.
Brazil is different. Items that Americans would consider a household staple are usually expensive. The truth in that is that they are not actually staples but luxuries. While I spent years wishing I had a dryer, I actually survived just fine without one. Hell, my clothes are far better off!
Of course things are changing down here and it is much easier to purchase big ticket items. I just got my first washer/dryer combo, as you all know. Of course I will be paying for it over a period of months. Think of it as layaway but you get immediate custody.
And that is where I feel less than upper class. I don't have the cash flow to pay for things a vista (all at once). All our big ticket items are paid over 6 to 10 months, including our trip to the US every two years.
Again though, I get to fly home every two years. I consider a trip for a family of 4 a big ticket item. That is a bit of a understatement as it is ridiculously expensive but you get my point. I'm not separating the cost of a toaster over 2 or 3 times, I'm breaking up something quite expensive.
So I was wrong. I am not the 99% in this country nor am I the 1%. It really doesn't matter the percentage I am in or if I am upper or middle class. The truth of the matter is that living in Brazil has taught me to appreciate things more. It is as Jim says, Qualidade da Vida.
I get that the amount of labor put into supporting my family and the quality of life I have is something I should be thankful for. If I have ever implied otherwise I am sorry. But I have to say that this is something I may not have learned if I had stayed in my country. While I would have always been "thankful," it would have been expected. Mr. Rant and I are college graduates with work experience, why wouldn't we have a decent life. Brazil taught me that things are not so black and white. Even if they are, thank whomever you give credit to for life that yours is one where have time to sit and surf the web instead of otherwise.
On a side note, I still think the "expanding" middle class thing down here is bullshit. Just because some people are actually afford to buy things doesn't mean the work here is done. There needs to be better public education, smaller classroom sizes, and easier access to it.