So the day has come where this little sarcastic birdie has to jump nest and try to make it on her own. Yes, you heard it here second (actually third as I mentioned it both on my Facebook page and Twitter account), I have my own domain. It gives a girl a definite false sense of superiority. Think about it, I'm in charge of my own domain. Cue evil laughter: Bwahahahaha
Anyway, I have been debating this for a while. I have been resisting as I was afraid I'd lose followers, get way too confused with a new system (Mr. Rant is the evil computer genius in our house, not me), and was reluctant to make this big of a commitment. Amazingly this married Mother of 2 suffers from a bit of internet commitment phobia. That or it is an innate fear of failure. Sadly my BA in Psychology doesn't make me qualified enough to differentiate.
I'm going to start by saying that Mr. Rant is a very involved Father and Husband. He plays with the kids, helps with the kiddo responsibilities, and even does stuff around the house.
That being said, he is still very much a Latin Man.
What do I mean by that? Well, let me explain. You see, this weekend we took a Latin woman friend and her kids out to the country with us. At one point I was annoyed with Mr Rant, which is not uncommon while staying at his Mother's place, when my friend pointed out that I married a Latin Man.
Alright, I'm seeing that I didn't clear anything up there. My point, Latin men are incredibly spoiled by their female family members.
Take Mr. Rant at his Mother's house. The kind of lazy that takes him over is mind boggling. It is as if he forgets that he has children to take care of. Actually, it's more like his Mother expects him to relax and let her and I take care of them.
The problem here is that I am not a Latin woman. That is not going to fly in that if you don't get off your ass and remember that I am not the only one capable of serving juice to small ones your ass is going to go flying right out that window over there.
It is just amazing how time turns back and my husband and his brother become 15 upon crossing the threshold. Sure Mr Rant does play with the kids and, at this point in our marriage, is pretty good at remembering that he is married with children even though he is at his Mother's place. Although there is still a sense of entitlement towards pampering.
Take this weekend. Mr Rant sprained his ankle while snowboarding and thus couldn't go on the hike to the waterfall with the group. He stayed back home and napped with my friend's baby, and took care of the little guy when he woke up. I will say, Mr Rant knows his way around babies.
Anyway, upon our return and after eating lunch, Mr. Rant declared that he needed a nap... Let me rephrase that, another nap. I laughed. He had to be kidding. I had done everything at that point with our kids and he needed ANOTHER nap?! 15 minutes later I couldn't find him. Low and behold he was napping in his Mother's bed with Mommy.
While I get that we were at my MIL and he did have that life threatening sprained ankle, enough is really enough. I am calling for equal opportunity spoiling! Momma needs a nap!
Every single person who has watched the big Rio de Janeiro Carnaval parade has wondered about how the tapa-sexos (Cache-sexo in English) stay on.
Know what a tapa-sexo is? It's this:
Yeah, not much to that bad boy. And see those muscular legs? This woman is about to samba for 90 minutes (or more) and make that little piece of tapa-sexo hold on for dear life to whatever landing strip fits under a costume like that.
So how do they stay on? This is the question of the day! Mr. Rant said he saw some forward that explained it all. We found the picture:
Yes, this is exactly what you think. Apparently someone is trying to convince the world that the tapa-sexos have a thumb that sticks up the vagina and holds that bad boy on. This only shows how little men knows about the vagina. I'm sorry guys, not even Wonder Woman's Vag would be able to clench onto this little guy for an hour and a half of samba. Hell, I doubt she's make on a 2 block walk to the grocery store.
Seeing that the dildo inspired tapa-sexo only exists in this shell version, I'm thinking it's one man's dream to see an image of his thumb somewhere where no one will allow it.
I find it much easier to believe that they are glued on, only to be painfully ripped off later. Kind of like this:
Now I realize that there is a version that is made out of metal that is made to size and squeezed on for dear life:
But if you would please refer to the first photo of this post and look at the butt. There is nothing back there. That would have to be one skinny and uncomfortable metal stick suffocating between those cheeks.
So what is it? Thumb, glue, suffocating, or none of the above?
This little lady is taking a couple of days off! Per our own little Carnaval tradition, we are escaping the madness and heading out to the in-law's home in the countryside.
It all started with kiddo number 1 and the increasing size of blocos. Plus since there are so many pre-Carnaval parties, we are able to get our family Carnaval on and then take advantage of the official holiday and leave.
So I don't know if I will be getting back to the good old blog until Wednesday. Not like I'd have much to talk about except for Brazilian bbqs, hitting the pool, checking out the waterfall, drinking beer, and laughing my ass off with a group of good people.
No, Not bragging, just excited!
Have a great Carnaval to those in Brazil and a great weekend through Wednesday for the rest of the world.
Last night I went to the scene of my very first bloco of my very first Carnaval during my very first visit to Rio de Janeiro. That was in 2003 and the same bloco is still going on in 2012. It has changed a bit. The 50 friends have multiplied into one hell of a scene.
None the less, it still has the family feel and I really enjoyed travelling down memory lane last night. Here are some videos for you to see for yourself.
Today's Hot Brazilians for your Friday is heavily in the favor of woman lovers. What can I do, we woman are just more aesthetically beautiful and Carnaval has no problem using that to its advantage. And let's be honest, I'm usually much more favorable to the man loving side. Time to even things out.
So this is a bit of a public service announcement. The newspaper Globo was kind enough to take away any shred of doubt I had about the cleanliness of the showers at the beach.
You see, one of my absolute favorite things about the beaches here is that they have showers at the top of the sand where you can cool off, hose off, and let your kids play. Given that the ocean is said to be beyond polluted here, it is a lovely alternative.
Of course I have had more than one friend inform me that the shower water isn't "sweat water" as Cariocas call it. Since they were not making these claims with a research paper in their hand it was easy enough to ignore. Ignorance is bliss and I really like those damn showers.
This morning I read this article in Globo stating that the showers on the beaches in Zona Sul contained not one but many contaminants and were proven to not be coming from the city's clean water source. Awesome.
This says that they found fecal coliform in 7 collection points, which are developed in human feces. This means there is a possibility of infection by viruses such as hepatitis A, rotavirus and salmonella, which can cause diarrhea, gastroenteritis and typhoid.
So yes, you are showing in water that was once, and maybe still is, swimming with poop.
And before you say that you live in a "rich" neighborhood in Zona Sul (ie. Ipanema and Leblon) so you should be ok, Baixo Bebe in Leblon had the highest levels.
So rich or poor, those showering on the beach in Zona Sul are surrounded by the same shit. Oh the irony.
I took my youngest in to get a booster shot at the pediatrician today. Yes, I vaccinate my children. I also happen to live in a country that has a Meningitis season.
Anyway, my pediatrician had just gotten back from the states and had a gripe to share with me.
Apparently he got a $165 ticket. He was horrified. Him and his family were driving around Orlando and he didn't realize that his turn was coming. Being the Carioca he is, he went ahead and turned right while in the second lane because otherwise he would have missed it.
He was actually surprised that the police officer wouldn't let him explain. "I was lost. I tried to tell him that but he didn't seem to care. He didn't even give me a chance!"
I almost felt sorry for him at that point. I told him that in my country rules are rules. The police officer really didn't care why you did it. You were supposed to have taken the next right and double back.
You should have seen the eyebrow raise on that one. What? Double back? I think most Cariocas would rather wait until things are all clear and drive half a block in the wrong direction down a small one-way street just because it was a tad quicker.
Then I told him that I miss that driving in Rio. You know, rules and organization. By the look on his face I think he just may think I'm insane.
He then informed me that he had almost bought a GPS but decided against it because it was $150 and he wouldn't need it in Rio. I just laughed. To think, he could have saved himself $15 and walked away with something.
Yes, that is Carnaval, one big make out party. The actual tradition for singles, and many taken folks alike, is to make out with numerous different people while partying at the famous street parties or blocos as Brazilians call them.
Of course that is not the heart of Carnaval. No, there is much more to it but can you really blame people for making out? If you haven't been just imagine the scene:
Half naked sweaty and slightly drunk people rotating and twisting their hips and gyrating their legs to the rhythm of samba. Of course that is if there is space enough to move as you are not following the music car and thus are not smooshed up so close to numerous people that you might as well be in the middle of a colorful orgy anyway. Can you really blame them? Hell, I'm getting a bit exciting just typing about it.
I will never forget my first Carnaval. I had just landed in Rio de Janeiro for the first time about 2 weeks before the actual holiday. That meant that there were already blocos happening. Actually, I was one of the first members of one of the bigger Laranjeiras blocos, and I know the founders. I am so Rio de Janeiro royalty (totally being sarcastic here although I do personally know one of the nominated muses of Rio's Carnaval blocos this year).
Anyway, when the official Carnaval started and we headed off to the blocos, Mr. Rant gave me one rule. That rule was to NOT turn around if someone tugged on my hair. Say what?!
It seems that it is one of the subtle make out signals at blocos. A tug at the hair, the girl turns, and a big old kiss she receives. Seems innocent enough. I will say that I was complimented by the number of tugs, and the persistence of some of them.
And while I didn't follow the rule of all goes per making out in Carnaval, I still had a damn good time.
How about you? Would you turn to the tug and take the kiss? Have you? And was your significant other making out with someone next to you?
For all you not reading the required obsessive literature on how to raise your children correctly, and simultaneously making yourself feel inadequate, you may not realize the current hip method is comparing yourself to the French.
I found this brilliant article: Why American Kids Are Brats by Judith Warner and it really hit home. The theory is that French children more polite, follow instructions, and generally treat other people with greater respect.
I find that learning that the world does not revolve around you is something that most of us Americans have difficulties with post High School. That trip to "find ourselves" by living out of a backpack and getting drunk on foreign alcohol or informing our parents that we need the "college experience" and thus they have to pay upwards of $20,000 a year for us to live in a dorm room. There is a sense of entitlement that our own parents are guilty of giving us.
Brazil is different. While all classes are heavily guilty of doting on their children, it is mainly with snacks and a lack of boundaries. But there is a beauty behind the method of madness here. Brazilian children are raised to be flexible. They will go with the flow at an adult party, finding something to play with. Except for in the upper classes, you will not see a Mother pull an ipad out of her purse, many times they don't even bring toys. The children are expected to find a way to amuse themselves. Normally they end up playing with other children in the same situation.
It makes me wonder. Is my preparedness for my childrens' needs actually continuing this expectation that their whims should and must be met first? Unlike French parents, I almost always carry water just in case my boys get thirsty on the street. I usually have a small back up toy available in my purse for both. And I rarely push them to go to something that they openly don't want to.
Then I think, does it really matter anyway? Honestly, is my son going to become an ass when he grows up because his Mother could produce water upon request while at the park? Doubtful. It is also doubtful that he'll feel more loved. Basically he'll just not be thirsty at that given moment.
Regardless, I do find that, while obviously different from France, Brazilian children are also taught some social graces. While I doubt they compare to the politeness of a little Parisian lad, Brazilian children are more casually comfortable socializing with adults.
In Brazil children kiss all members of the family on the cheek and give a personal hello and goodbye. That means that at a family lunch my children, even the 3 yr old, will go around and give each of the 20 some odd people their a kiss and say hello. This is a cultural habit that I have personally enforced because I liked the idea of my boys giving that direct attention and learning that one must jump through some social hoops to make others happy.
This is something you would never see stateside. As a child I would walk into the home of a friend and maybe give a little wave but that was all. The expectation of a personal hello and having a casual chat with the grown ups is fabulous. Between this and the required sharing of all toys at the parks and beaches, I find that Brazilian children interact better with each other and adults than their American counterparts.
All in all, I can not say that I would ever be capable of parenting as the French. I just really don't see the big deal in sitting in my childrens' room for 10 minutes as they go to sleep. I really really don't see how forcing them to sit and clean their plate does any sort of good. Of course that comes from a person who as a child that didn't eat onions nor tomatoes until she was in her 20s. Proud to say that I now LOVE both of them.
Anyway, I do feel though that raising my children in Brazil has pushed me off the normal track of American parenting. Although it may have been towards the opposite side of the spectrum from the French, it's still getting the job done. I believe that we can all learn from how people in other places raise their children.
What about you? How do you raise your children? What rules are a must? And would you change your parenting style based on a book?
Today's hot Brazilian for your Friday is a little different. I stumbled upon a fabulously hot ad campaign for Colcci staring none other than Gisele Bundchen and Rodrigo Hilbert. It was all kinds of sweaty tasty that I could resist.
Today's blog post is part of a language learning moms blog carnival. These posts are written by moms, for moms and are intended to be a great resource of encouragement, advice, tips and ideas for language learning moms. If you're a mom or if you know a mom who is a language learner or who would like to be a language learner, please enjoy this post, share it with others and visit the other participating bloggers via the links at the bottom of this post.
Learning a new language as an adult can be a bitch, add in kids and there is a whole new level holy crap. When do you have the time? I have a *fill in the blank language* house because my children need to speak it too. I only speak in *blank* with my husband because that is how we met. And so on and so forth.
Here are my tips for learning a new language and surviving the process. I am no expert, I have merely gone through it myself.
1. Accept Small Victories. The mini-celebration I had when I managed to order my first pizza over the phone, all by myself I may add, was ridiculous. It was a Monday. I called everyone I knew. Some even came over to eat the pizza with me. The fact that it was such a simple day to day thing is what made it a huge deal. What do we normally use our language skills for anyway? I hardly discuss that Pulitzer prize I should have won by now for my fabulous blog. Nope, I order pizza over the phone. Practical win.
2. Be patient with yourself. Beating yourself up will only make you more emotionally unattractive, it will not make you learn a language faster. Breath.
3. Carry a small notebook and pen with you. Sure you look like a dork writing down that new phrase the newsstand man said but you will now be able to memorize it. My first year here I carried a small pad of paper and wrote down verbs, phrases, words, and the correct pronunciation of things I was saying incorrectly. People will correct you or say something in passing that isn't anything to them but is an entirely new sentence to you.
4. Go out on your own. I know it can be scary at times but do it. Bring the kids! Kids are a great opener for meeting other Moms and initiating friendships with local Mommies. If you are constantly with another person who speaks your native language or that and the language you are trying to learn, you will never be forced to use what you know and/or learn new stuff. It's like at the gym. The only way you improve is by pushing yourself.
5. Get comfortable inside your head. You will be put in many "local" situations where that is the only place you can retreat into when all the language learning gets to be too much. Make it a nice place to visit and enjoy that time.
6. Find local friends that don't speak your native language. This one will take time but is well worth it. They will have the patience to let you stumble through it and you will gain a new friend with a fresh perspective.
7. Don't worry if you can't seem to quite be yourself yet in your second language. 6 years of being here and I am only just now starting to be able to joke like Rachel in Portuguese. Certain things like humor don't literally translate. You essentially have to find your identity in the other language and it will be one that parallels perfectly with yours in your language. Go with it.
8. Don't be scared, disappointed, or too frustrated. Give it time, it'll happen.
9. When in doubt, smile.
10. When all else fails remember that one day you will speak the language well enough to use your foreigner ignorance label for evil instead of good. Take the situation in which my couch was delivered past the allowed time of our condominium. When confronted by the doorman I claimed foreigner ignorance. I'm American we don't have these rule. Is there any way they could let it slide just this once since I really didn't know? They did. It is always nice to have a secret get out of jail free card. By the way, before you feel guilty about using it, you will have earned it by the time you get there!
Thanks for reading and be sure and stop by these other great posts:
I did the US vs Brazil yesterday and here is where Brazil stands against the US.
1. Coconut water. Sure it's all hip to drink coconut water now in the states but that little box does not compare to a freshly opened chilled real coconut.
2. The beach. I thought I knew the beach before Brazil but I was so wrong. Brazilians do the beach the way it was meant to be done! I can't explain it because it is not a technique, it is an experience.
3. Flakiness. While I hate flakes and flaking, it is really nice to be able to flake when you really want to and not be judged. You will get a little shit initially but since everyone flakes on everyone every once in a while there is a certain flexibility to it. I can not go to a friends party and only get shit about it while on the phone with them. Buy them a beer the next time you meet and all is forgotten.
4. Big lunches. It took me a while to get used to having my main meal in the middle of the day but I have now been converted. Sure I still have a sandwich every once in a while but my body much prefers digesting during waking hours instead of trying to do it while I sleep.
5. Flip flops. Sorry folks but Havaianas are the only acceptable brand and yes you should own a variety of styles and colors.
6. Bathing suits. The bikinis may be small but you don't get a saggy butt and you look better all around (not to mention the fact that they really last!) The speedos the men use are flattering and not creepy like the Italians (no offense). That and why on Earth should men be forced to wear long baggie uncomfortable sand catching shorts? So not fair.
7. Brazilian earrings. I love them all, the expensive ones and the ones sold on the street. Sure you may have to sift through some tacky ones but you will still better your collection by far (and usually it's much easier on the wallet).
8. Delivery. You can get everything delivered! Stuck home with a sick kid? Call the pharmacy and have the medicine delivered. Call your favorite neighborhood restaurant and have lunch brought to you. Hell, go to the grocery store and then leave all your goods behind for the store to bring them over by bike. This is a big plus, especially if you cruise around with 2 little ones like I do.
9. Homemade food. Sure I miss food from home but my eating habits have improved greatly. I hardly ever use my microwave and the only frozen food I eat is previously made homemade food frozen so I can use it at a later date. That being said, I am 10 pounds lighter in Brazil without trying. Coincidence? I think not.
10. The people. No offense to my country but people here are friendlier. You can talk to a stranger's kid without being called a pedophile. Actually, if you didn't pat that random kid's head who stepped on your foot you'd more likely be called an ass. Brazilians love company, friends and family. There is always a lunch or event or random meet up. There are no "private space" issues. You kiss on the cheek hello, goodbye, and constantly use endearing terms with everyone. Brazilians just give out love and it is something the rest of the world should try.
Slacklining can be looked at as some poser sport people do on the beach. On the other hand, it can be a f*cking cool extreme sport. I thought I'd share a video of some Brazilian slackliners slacklinging at Pedra da Gavea. Not only are they shirtless and the scenery amazing, it's also crazy what they are doing!
I found this awesome post idea from a cool expat blog called A Suitcase and Stilettos. I thought I would take a go at the list.
Things I Like Better in the USA:
1. Mexican food. Mexican food in Rio de Janeiro is usually crap and overpriced. It's such a sad Mexican food situation down here that I get excited over wannabe store bought tortillas and Old El Paso spice packets I receive in the mail.
2. The parking spots. I can hardly park a small car in a large American spot, I am totally useless here. Parallel parking skills are so good in this country that Brazilians should be allowed to list it on their resume. "Brazilian Parallel Parker"
3. Couches. You all saw what I went through for my couch. I do love it and it is really comfortable but I have to say it can not beat American couches. In the US we have fabulous soft, fluffy, comfy and sleep inducing couch options you just can't really find here. Of course it may be because it is cold there, we sit on our asses much more than Brazilians, and that we need softer couches that will allow for the spread of our ever growing ass. Whatever it is, they are far more comfortable up there.
4. Candy. Seriously candy isles are a freaking a joke down here. The tiny little "normal" sized candy bar is the size newborn American babies eat. Give me a break and get this girl a real candy bar!
5. Moisturizers. I chalk this up to personal preference due to growing up there. I just find that the body and face moisturizers are nicer in the US. That and they are less expensive.
6. The toy selection. Toys for my kids are SOOOO much cheaper at home. Hell, anything for my kids is cheaper at home. I end up using the vast majority of my suitcase space for kids stuff like future bday presents, clothes to grow into, and shoes.
7. Milk. I do have a brand I like in Brazil now (leitisimo or something like that) but it still isn't the same. I go on a milk binge everytime I visit. Maybe it's all the chemicals pumped into our cows like water. Maybe it's the fact that our milk isn't made to hold for a year on a ridiculously hot shelf in a Brazilian kitchen. I don't know what it is but I have no problem killing a gallon of American milk in the 5 days before it spoils in the fridge.
8. Floss. This is a weird one and I totally blame Mr Rant. He got me into this thin wax floss stuff from Colgate or something. I have to say, it is now my favorite and you can not find it here.
9. Selection. The one good thing about being a somewhat heartless consumer country is the selection. There is a seriously large selection of anything and everything in the US. Hell, look at #8's floss preference. That kind of preference comes from a selection spoiled person. I mean, it's freaking floss, how different can it be?... but it sooo is.
10. The bacon. The bacon here is a little too fatty, too few per package, and too expensive for my bacon taste. I miss the neatly sliced rows of American bacon with the perfect proportion of fat to fat meat and all at a fair American price.
What about you? What do you like better in your Native country?
This weekend 96 people committing the unforgivable act of urinating in the streets of this great city were arrested. 13 were women.
While I would LOVE to be able to say "Thank goodness they arrested those uncivilized folk," I have been to far too many blocos to say it with a straight face. Hell, there is a damn good possibility that I urinated in the street 96 times my first Rio de Janeiro Carnaval. In my defense, that was before the city was kind enough to place 1 port-o-potty per 50 people at the site of a bloco. Actually, when I started the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval bloco scene the city didn't even get involved unless it was one of the ridiculously large traditional ones.
Also, if you haven't ever walked by a bloco and seen the urinals don't worry, I'm sure if you concentrated you can smell them from where you are. Let's not forget the fabulous bloco urinal pictured above. It's all about class. FYI, don't step in the puddle circling the base...
And while it is essentially wrong to pee in the street, disgusting even, imagine how it is for the bloco attendee. Let me look back and retrieve a memory from my wild Carnaval days. Take the big downtown blocos that start at something like 8am. You get there and you start drinking beer. By your 3rd beer you really have to pee, plus your already finding questionable people attractive. You just may be buzzed. Are you going to go search for a public bathroom when it's impossible to find one between 9 to 5 on a normal business day. No, you are going to squat behind a car and just go with the urine flow. Is it right? Not really. Is it a fact of Carnaval life? Very much so.
As for the 13 women arrest, WTF?! Do you know how much of a bitch it is for us to squat and pee in the street with hundreds of strangers around us? For a woman you either have to pee like a Rhino or you are seriously drunk. Either way, it is an emergency situation. That goes double if your friend found a vendor who would sell you 2 beers for R$5.
Regardless of all of this, if the city of Rio de Janeiro isn't going to arrest people for pissing in the streets everyday why the hell are they bothering during Carnaval?
Carnaval season has arrived in Rio de Janeiro. While this used to be a fun event, I feel that it is a little out of control. Yesterday, 2 weeks or so before the actual start of Carnaval, there were 21 blocos (street parties). 21! And with the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, these blocos are not the small-ish neighborhood parties they used to be.
We are talking full on parties. Traffic stopped, loud music, government installed port-o-potties. It starts the calendar checking phase. During the weekends (and Thursdays and Fridays) I will be checking the Globo bloco calender. I will be checking where and when blocos are happening so that the boys and I don't end up getting stuck somewhere in the city.
This kind of thing used to be fun. Mr Rant and I would randomly run into a bloco while out and join in. That or, since we were normally on foot or mass transit, work our way around it. Now with two kids in car seats waiting in a hot car, it sucks. Not only that, it's quite freaky to get stuck on foot in a bloco while trying to walk home from the grocery store. You don't understand, these blocos stop time wherever they are happening.
And while I know it is all in good fun, it's sometimes too much. When living on Rua das Laranjeiras we had blocos every weekend preceding Carnaval and every day during Carnaval.
Thankfully Mr. Rant will be returning from his snowboarding trip before the real festivities begin and we will be able to escape to the countryside. Until then, I will be spending these husbandless weekends first checking to make sure we can get out of the house and back without having to samba our way home.
This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
I heard about Yemanjá one of my first visits to the beach here in Rio de Janeiro. I was wearing some new earrings and my Mother-in-law suggested that I be careful when I entered the water. It wasn't because she feared that I would drown. Instead she informed me that Yemanjá loves jewelry, as any woman does, and has no qualms about taking ours off as an unofficial offering.
A couple weeks later a foreigner friend of mine joined the family and I at the beach. She went into the water and came out shocked. She was surprised that she had lost her bracelet. She never took it off and it had never come off anywhere before. My Mother-in-law smiled and said "Yemanjá must have liked it too."
It was a curious introduction to the goddess and one that sparked a discussion. Why would she be able to do this here and not in other oceans? Why does she have such a presence here and not elsewhere?
My Mother-in-law broke it down into something simple for us foreigners. She has power where people believe in her. Brazilians believe in her.
I have to say that I have never been one to give much credit to this kind of thing. That being said, you feel a different energy here and, if eyes are open enough, see things differently.
While I don't necessarily believe that there is a goddess of the ocean, I do respect the feeling behind it. She is a source of feminine strength in a machismo country. She controls the very thing many Brazilians adore, the ocean.
Have you had any personal experiences with the story of Yemanjá or with her personally?
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.