A reader of mine, Marcio, asked two interesting questions in the comment section of my post I Love my Gyno. No, they are not questions about my vagina, gyno, nor anything else related.
1. When does an Expat start feeling Brazilian, does your Brazilians friends/family consider you a Brazilian?
I have been in Rio de Janeiro for 6 consecutive years now and I do not consider myself a Brazilian. I'm not. I'm American, born and raised. And that isn't a pride thing for my country but a stated fact. Of course I have picked up Brazilian traits. Hell, I even eat using a knife and a fork. I think Americans would string me up for that one.
There is always a need to compare how at home you are because Brazil is quite different. I do feel at home. I started feeling at home when I started understanding why and how things work here. A big part was being able to communicate with people and completing tasks without having to ask for help. When I went into small claims court and started the process of suing a company all by myself, well that made me feel pretty damn adapted! Keep in mind I also celebrated the first time I managed to order a pizza over the phone as well.
I find that Brazilians love to call foreigners Brazilians. My immediate reaction is to say "I'm a Carioca at heart." That is a true statement for me. I love a lot of the ways here. I feel at home in Rio. That being said, I still have days where I want to get on the next damn plane out of here. See, still a foreigner.
As for the family, they started considering me a Brazilian when I stopped being the quiet one at family lunches and actually became a part of them. That was the first sign. The other part that seems to amaze them is my raising my kids here. I don't know what aspect of it amazes them but they seem to be pretty pleased that I manage it.
2. I don't want to start a fight so if anti-americanism in Brazil is off-topic just ignore please. I think there is a little anti-americanism in Brazil most due to historical reason (search "brother sam operation" and you see what I mean) and bit of jealous mixed with back-slash but I always thought that brazilian would connect to you on a individual level - like bad mouth US government and politics for half an hour and them invite you for dinner with hi/her family...
I have dealt with my fair share of anti-americanism here. One evening I had to sit across from some ass at a bar wearing a shirt that said I (with two planes) and a picture of the World Trade Center on it (a horrible play on the I heart NY shirts). It was very difficult to not throw my glass at his head.
I generally avoid going into politics and such here as Americans are blamed for everything. We are blamed for the wars we start and at the same time the ones we refuse to get involved with. We started the Brazilian military dictatorship. Actually, we have appointed all dictators in South America.... Bad example as it is quite possible that the US did. Anyway, I have had people talk to me as if I have the power to make a call and end a war. Sorry, it doesn't quite work like that.
Of course these bad experiences have a tendency to overshadow the good. Generally I have been welcomed regardless of my nationality. Pretty much, even if criticizing, Brazilians have been like you suggested "bad mouth US government and politics for half an hour and them invite you for dinner with hi/her family".
At any rate it isn't that important. I am not overly sensitive with the hating the US thing.
How about you guys?