In my last post here from Curitiba I elaborated a bit on the professional aspects of my stay here. Today, I would like to tell about how I perceived my first two month here (unbelievably, I’m already halfway my stay).
First of all, I would like to make one point: There is no ‘The Brazilian culture’. This is almost impossible geographically wise due to the sheer size of Brazil being roughly as big as Europe. Of course all Brazilians speak ‘kind of’ the same language but also here dialects (in Brazilian Portuguese called ‘Sotaque’) differ enormously among this continentally sized country. So when I talk about ‘Brazilians’ or ‘Brazilian culture’ keep in mind that I mean the Brazilians from the south or the Curitibanos (inhabitants of Curitiba).
Here, everybody likes to eat a lot, while sitting at the table for hours. People talk and are just having a good time together. They celebrate food with friends and family and enjoy eating as long as possible. Especially in the south of Brazil, the land of the gauchos (the south-American cowboy), beef is a very important dish and you can find chuasquerrias (Brazilian beef restaurants) almost everywhere. The quality of meat is just amazing here! These Brazilian BBQs are mostly celebrated on the weekends; a lot of houses even have a special indoor BBQ place. I was already invited to a few BBQs and every time it has been delicious!
Brazilians love Kilo restaurants. Here you pay your food per weight, which your get from the buffet yourself. Especially during lunchtime these restaurants also let you pay a certain price and the buffet turns into an unlimited one! For example, at my university that price is about €2,50 and you can stuff yourself with delicious Feijoada (Brazilian bean stew) and other very delicious dishes and of course a lot of meat.
Another big difference with the Netherlands is the punctuality of the Brazilians. You just never know when to expect your friends. Everything can happen between twenty minutes and two hours delay. But Brazilians are very nice with me, they consider that I am from Europe and try to be on time, most of the time!
In general, Brazilians have such a great and open personality! On the streets they will always help you when they see you struggling, will talk slower for you when they notice that you do not speak Portuguese very well. They are always open for a chat on the street and are extremely polite people with a big curiosity for other languages or cultures.
Of course by far not everything is going well here in Brazil, when you think of the corruption in the politics and economics, the huge gap between the rich and poor and the resulting violence and criminality in some parts of the city.
However, overall I can say I find this an amazing place to live and I have the feeling that I fit into this culture very well, I will enjoy the next half of my stay as much as much as the first.
Stay tuned and you will hear from me soon!