Apparently, asking what kind of animal you’d be (if you could be one) is typical in Brazilian interviews…or at least it resonates with Brazilians. I say this because I’ve seen the ‘animal’ question used more than once recently in Brazilian humor.
Today, Eyes On Brazil turns 5 years old (that’s 20 in blog years). This year it looks like I’ll hit one million views, pretty good for a blog I started from nothing.
While there are lots of posts that readers have favorited over the years, the one that has grown to receive the most attention is the long, detailed Brazilian Films list I created. It’s up to 180 films so far (and growing).
Going back in time, here are a few of my first posts on the blog:
I’d also like to take a minute to say thanks to Luciana from Street Smart Brazil who gave me an empurrãozinho (little push) late last year to start making my own ebooks (after having editing hers). My 103 Tricky Verbs in Brazilian Portuguese, which is selling well (and which I’ll have on Amazon, etc. in the coming weeks), is the first of several to come!
I’ll leave you with a suave Bossa song that just came on the radio ; )
“Al Greeze decided to produce Frustrated after reading a September 2006 Essence Magazine article (Blame it On Rio) written by Professor William Jelani Cobb, which stated that African men were travelling to Brazil for sex vacations with Brazilian prostitutes and the adulation of the Brazilian women Greeze wanted to either confirm or deny and reveal the answers from the men themselves and find out if it is for love and companionship or just sex. The effect may have been suspected but what is the cause?”
Given that the topic was supposed to be treated as a response to the Essence article, I don’t think the documentary did a great job of responding to that question. They just grazed the surface and the men in the documentary skirted the issue of really talking about the role of the Brazilian women in their trips to Brazil.
The only Brazilian women shown, towards the end, are not representative of Brazilian women and appear to be not much more than (glorified) call girls. If the men that come down don’t speak Portuguese, then it’s rather obvious that no kind of deeper connection can be made with these kinds of women (such women look like they need a deeper connection just about as much as the men interviewed looked like they need it, which is to say they don’t).
Danielle made some pretty good points over on her blog about blogging as an immigrant and about those who read and comment on said blogs. When aware of someone’s nationality, it’s easy to see them all as part of one group, rather than individuals with unique experiences and viewpoints. Also, anyone from any country that is currently living in a country that is not their own will have things to praise and things to ‘protest’ about. Some do more of one than the other and if we as readers don’t like it, it’s easy enough to stop reading.
I arrived yesterday back in San Francisco and maybe I’ve just done this too many times but everything feels quiet normal, even hearing English. I drove a car, for example, and it was as if I never stopped driving. Am I happy to be back? Yes. It was definitely time. But I’m also happy that I went after something I love, spent years getting to know it and living in it. I didn’t just sit in my cubicle working my 9-5 and daydreaming about living in a far-away land. Over 6 years, I went back and forth between here and there, living there for half the time.
As for the things that have stood out since I got back. Three things are the cold (it’s winter, of course, and currently around 10C), money and silence.
It’s so odd looking at dollar bills, using them, and rediscovering their worth. When buying something, I think about if I would have spent that much in Reals. For instance, a hot cocoa at Peets was US$2.50. In my dollar-using mind, that’s cheap. In my real-using mind, I would have likely said “no, thanks” to spending R$5 on it. Perhaps it’s a bad comparison since having hot cocoas in Brazil isn’t so usual seeing as how it’s hot and stuff.
The silence is the other thing that stands out. I’m finding places so silent here. I was never anywhere in Brazil where I didn’t hear nothing (if that makes sense). Perhaps what I’m saying is there’s no overt noise (like from camelos, for ex.). Forgive me for saying, but I feel like here it is a choice to make sound while in Brazil it ‘s just loud no matter what. If I find myself here in the middle of a mall or a bar on a Friday night, that’s an obvious choice. If I don’t like it, I can just leave. In Brazil, no matter where I lived, I couldn’t find a place absent sound.
I should also comment on my complaints, ie comparisons. While talking to my brother and hanging out with him yesterday, I found myself making some comparisons. It was then that I realized how useless they are. Why? I wasn’t considering my audience. He can hear me but he won’t really know what I’m talking about (without living in Brazil first). So what I realized, as valuable for me, is just the opposite. For every time that I made a comparison to a Brazilian friend who hadn’t been to the US, I was likely saying something that held no value for them. What they probably heard was an American complaining about something Brazilian. In other words, to me it was a comparison yet a veiled complaint. To them, it was a complaint yet a veiled comparison.
“If there is one film that should be used as an introduction for anyone wanting to visit Brazil it is this. Situated somewhere between an elaborate tourism advert and Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi this is a lush slow-burning voyage across Brazil’s earth and culture. Making full use of steady-cam when running along with kids on the beach or hovering over favelas and the jungle it paints a beautiful portrait of both the vastness of the country and the richness of its culture.” – Sounds and Colours Review
As most readers know by now, in February, I decided to shift gears a little and make my site home to my articles on Brazilian culture. There are few cases in which I will break ranks with this direction, such as with my ‘newspaper headlines’ idea and with anything in particular that strikes me as worthy of special mention.
Here is one of those exceptions, part of the Sangue Latino series done by Canal Brasil (sorry, it’s only in Spanish and Portuguese). Eduardo Galeano is an award-winning novelist from Uruguay…and someone I’d sure like to have a beer with.