this is me..!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Yes. I am working in São Paulo since May. I have been giving a couple of classes here and there, have to earn that extra cash. Who knew it would give some sort of a purpose here. When being a study abroad student, honestly you get a lot of free time. And I'm not used to some much free time, so the next thing I knew I was offering my English services to Directors of Groupo Pão de Azucar, Umbro and others. Yes name dropping only because this is sooo sureal to me, who gives english lessons to the the 3rd largest company in Brasil. WORD.

Anywho. Got that out of my system.
I am really enjoying giving lesons, even though the truth is I got bad grades in English class al through high school. SO... maybe its a little harder for me to explain why there needs to be a "to be" verb in front of a past participle to make the sentence correct. Blah.

I have learned a lot about the city too. Going on different bus routes and different places I wouldn't have othewise known if it was for these classes. Also time mangament. OMGoodness.! Traffic here is about the worst thing ever, some times I have to leave my house 2hr before to get there on time, needless to say I love hte city.

English is a must in the life of any business man or woman living in Brasil. Its very interesting how people learn as well because most of these people aren't young they are about 10-15 yrs. older than me and that makes it more the intesting. They often tell me in thier awesome accent, " TEACHER! I need to learn English quickley!" Then it makes me think, English has really dominate the last century just like French did in the last. Its funny because in the US people are so confortable with their language, and the world conforms.

In the US I rembember people would get mad or even tell me not to speak spanish when I was in school or in a public place. WTF? Yet the rest of the world comforms to the language norms.

But I really am happy with most of my students. Some are way older and some not so much older than I am, but wierdly enough they give a little bit of a purpose here in Brasil. My favorite part about giving classes is when they ask me, "why do you say like this." And I give two good anwsers.
1. "What do YOU think?"
2. "Because that is how it is and God let it be that way."

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Gay Parade.

Watching the gay parade last weekend for a least an hour in Sao Paulo, made me realize what hipocracy really is and isn't. Don't get this wrong, I strongly believe in sexual equality for all and the freedom of expression of that sexuality without prejudice. (remember we are all children of god, therefore i am no one to jugde right or wrong in these issues)

LGBT Pride association started in 1999, officially as an institution, the parade stared around the same time. There was a parade also called, the "March for Jesus" considering that it is Corpus Christi holiday in Brasil. A long time ago there was a debate on who should be the "official" parade leader/ owner for the day of AVE. Paulista (the biggest main avenue.) The Queers won, it brought in more money.

So getting back to hipocracy, people did warn me about the touching, the drinking, the madness and so forth. But me being the person I am, I decided to go on my own.
Bad idea, this definitely goes on one the tops of my lists.

Within say less than 20 min into wandering to the parade, I 'won' 6 kisses on both of my cheeks, 2 butt grabs and a nipple pinch. Talk about invasion of privacy, these were not by women mind you readers, these were by men, straight men there to get some ASS!

What more can I really say. Pride stared as a big political protest for equality in society, but it has really turned into a big gross orgy of people willing to do anything and everything. Needless to say, it was a gross flash back to carnival, Christ save us!

Gay Pride also attracts a different type of danger not seen in the US, Skinheads.
Skinheads, are like a modern version of neo-nazi mixed with the klu klux klan, very active and violent in Brasil.
A queer person was killed during the after festivities, after being beat up for several hours.

As my good friend Kalla posted on a friend's website said

"No, skinheads beating up anyone at any time is completely wrong and undeserved. However, that event does not promote openess, acceptance, gay rights, or equal treatment, and definitely gives plenty of fuel to homophobic arguments. And it's upsetting that the biggest gay event in the world has that level of triviality and that it's literally ... Read Moreprohibited to bring politics in. At least for me, one of the most powerful parts of our activism is the way we infuse politics into every public act or performance, and the way that we can have a party and keep a funny but biting line of political commentary going throughout. Yesterday was anything but."

So where does society really draw the line?
In a country that has the biggest pride parade in the world, that doesn't allow the political movement, who gave birth to the parade in the first place, participate in the "struggle towards equality", where does that leave reason?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Homeless or Hopeless?

So I was on the bus this morning after giving English lessons, and I saw a homeless person. There is nothing special about this common sight in the streets of São Paulo. That is when I thought,"have I really become immune to this in my every day life. No, is heartless and horrible! how?" I have never really been used to seeing a lot of real homeless people at home, I mean its Colorado, people would freeze, right?

I knew some people in Boulder once who did it for fun and some extra cash, but not real homeless people who live in a box in from of the McDonalds.

This really sat heavy on my heart. So I'm still on the bus during midday traffic and just then I see this man and I realized,"Wow, this guy is asking the suits walking around for money I wonder what they will do?"

Me being the tourist/weirdo filmed this.

When you see a homeless person, remember: You are three bad decisions and/or four unlucky days away from being him/her. Treat that person with dignity. :)


Monday, May 18, 2009

Affects and Effects/ Metro Stories

Effect: "consequence: a phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon" -wiki-

Affect: "feeling or emotion;to act on; produce an effect or change in"

For the longest time I didn't know the exact difference between the two words. Its one of those English word things that didn't quite get in Mrs. Binder's English class my first two years in high school. Then figured that I would learn the difference eventually in my life, and now that time has come.

The act of me deciding to come to Brasil for a year has had a deep effect on my way of thinking and how I see my "privileged" way of life at home, GWS/Boulder Colorado. It has affected me in the sense that almost every time I ride the metrô I see something beautiful and irritating.

Example 1: An older man commenting/complimenting on a friend's height. Then proceeding making a correlation between tall and intelligence, and therefore referring to shorter people as less intelligent people. WHAT?

Example 2: A middle aged black man sitting next to me on the metrô and holding Obama's book. Correction not "holding" but "caressing," before actually beginning to read his book again. (I only know this because he gently reopened the book to the bookmarked page). Yet before actually opening it he ever so kindly gazed at the cover with a sort of admiration for the man , with of course Obama's face on it. I could of sworn I almost saw a tear, maybe I am crazy but this was real to me.

So these examples are kind of annoyingly cheesy, yet true stories. With the Obama admirer I felt a kind rage and saw a beauty. This is weird to explain but I just got to thinking how much of an affect can people who live thousands of miles away can have an impact on one random person on the Red Line on the Metrô in São Paulo, Brasil. Come on now, I see a little anger in this because of the fact that there is sooooo much influence that comes out of the USA but not very many people realize it until they go abroad, and I see that as a sad thing as well because a lot of people do see this for granted. Beauty comes into play when I see how deeply this affected a person's life and how this could be a potentially positive impact on a life outside of the ordinary US citizen.

The negative effect reflected off of the older height complimenter got me thinking of random elitist that exist in a place were most of the population is: MALE- 169.0 cm (5' 6.5"); FEMALE: 158.0 cm (5' 2.2"). Is this supposed to be considered sexist as well? Either way it isn't something to be taken personal by any means (I'm 5'3.5").

The more and more I observe people here, yes I do enjoy my fair share of people watching, the more I see the little similarities and differences between culture; so I guess I am getting my money's worth. YES!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Random Knowledge For The Commons.

Four and a half months into the game, I am still trying to get a hold of somethings but none the less I am a trooper and have learn lots. I haven't written, not to lack of adventure or really cool stories but due to lack of discipline. WA.WA. I have learned a lot but I have yet to know a lot about this place and that is because I am reminded everyday that I am a foreigner and that I am different.

I have learned that..... (vamos lá)

1. Brazilians are really obsessed with asses, excuse me butts, hence the Brasilian Butt lift.
2. Brazilians are very informal about most things, talking so forth.
3. Portuguese
4. I hate hills especially in Perdizes, barrio where I live.
5. I do miss a lot of people, more often than I thought I would.
6. It does get cold, even in Brasil.
7. When Brazilians raise their voice, it doesn't always mean they are mad.
8. PUC-SP is like a miniature radical CUBoulder.
9. Kids my age are usually rebels without real causes, here and in Brasil.
10. Brasilians do it better. (hahhaha inside joke.)
11. Fresh fruit in the mornings is always a good thing.
12. There is a fundamental cultural and philosophical difference of "ser and ter" between the US of A and Brasil.
13. Being a US citizen can be a good thing or a bad thing here.
14. Being of latin decent is a plus when having a US passaport is a bad thing.
15. Bossa Nova is not Jazz Brasiliero.
16. Rio is really all that beautiful and more.
17. PUC kids don't study, or take adderol like most kids in the US of A.
20. Everyone's got a little gay in them, even if they don't show it or act on it.
21. Paulistas don't like people from Rio or people for Buenos Aires, what am I doing here?
22. Overweight women wear Brazilian bikinis too.

This is just some random knowledge I figured must be posted for the common good.
Till next time.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


This is probably really rude or mean, whatever, I think this is a great way to see how culture mix.

The Portuguese alphabet consists of 23 letters. It is derived from Latin as is the English alphabet. The letters K, W and Y are missing from Portuguese alphabet. This is because these letters only appear in foreign words. Y used to be used (although rarely) during the Renaissance but in 1911 The Portuguese spelling reform displaced the letter Y for ever - prefering to signify it’s sound by the letter ‘i’.

They call "Y" upsilon. Wierd!
Any who, here is a classic example of "W"

Monday, April 13, 2009


So I went to Rio again, not like it was huge imposition; the beaches the sun the views. ;) This second time was my official tourist visit:
Pão de Açúcar, Chisto Redentor/Crocovalo, Jorge Ben Jor concert, FLA vs FLU and of course the beautiful beaches!

Our hotel was a block away from Ipanema, Hotel Ipanema Inn. (one of the best beaches there) Everything was beautifully planed out. Thank you Council! (shout out) All in all the trip was awesome and culturally enriching, among other things.

I finally build up the courage to wear a Brazilian bikini. Thank goodness I didn't get burnt where the sun usually doesn't shine. (lol) On to serious matters, being a tourist definitely has its perks, but it can get old and irritating after a while. Let me explain.

SETTING: 11ish at night. Lapa- Rio de Jainero. 3 New York City blocks of people waiting to get in.

So this popin club, all the rage apparently. When we first got there we were like wow people really like this place. So we kept walking and then we realized the club was full and we were still walking to the end of the line. WTF?
Some people had been waiting, in heels non the less, for about an hour plus. WHAT? So is it worth it?

Our crafty Brazilian friend worked his magic. He ingeniously walked to the VIP line to talk with the security guards and spoke something along the lines of: "Hey I have a group of Americans, how can we get them in faster?" Seconds later he returned saying, "Speak English. Follow me." This sly dog I thought to myself. Wow, he got all the gringos in in less than 15 mins. The power of a tourist should never be underestimated in a "third world" country, please this is BRASIL! They love tourists.

The club was great, decorations were to par and there was a choice in music live Samba or Bossanova dance. Very Brazilian. Very fun.

SETTING: 1000S of people. Big flags. CHEERS CHEERS and more CHEERS. Palavrões.

The love for futebol transcends all types of good and bad boundaries, in Rio its called "Fla/Flu". This is a futeball (soccer) game between rivals FLAmengo and FLUminese Rio's most popular teams. The stereotype associated with Fla fans are people who live in the slums/favelas. Flu stereotypes are seen as the pompous rich kids. It is played in Maracanã Stadium, located near downtown Rio, in the city's Maracanã district.

These games are developing into a touristy spot. Experiencing the energy put out by these people who bleed for these teams is hard to put into words. It really is amazing sitting there in the middle of the cheers and sorrows of the game.

Before getting off our tourist bus a couple of blocks away from the stadium we were once again reminded to hide our tickets and not show them in public.
2. Did you remember to wear neutral colors?
3. Try not to speak any English while we walk there.
It felt like a warning ad before entering the city of Compton,CA. (lol)

The night before I had been told to do about the opposite. So there is something wrong with that right? The whole point of being here is to be part of the culture. Of course no one is forcing me to keep my ticket hidden or to wear neutral colors, but I still listen to them for safety issues. So why did this feel so uncomfortable? Perhaps I had just aided the stereotype my passport had to offer. Is it if fair to say I felt a little dirty, like cheering for both teams? (pun intended)

This is where it turns simple and real, I am a tourist in foreign country. I really don't know how to live here yet, but I'm learning slowly. I've always been an advocate of using what you've got to get you what you need (receptively and within your moral standards, of course silly). Perhaps I'm not "integrated" enough to fully understand the differences between irony and the clashing of cultures. I don't want to say that Brazilians are this way, but what I have witnessed is just the human side of the "jeito Brasileiro."

Thought of the Day

Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday school. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.

Ecology and politics and equality and sane living. Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm.

Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess. And it is true, no matter how old you are - when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

I found this on an old friend's Facebook page and thought that it really applied to a lot of things in life and Brazil.- Thanks Bianca.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A day adventure in the life of Amy.

I am a firm believer that everyday should be an adventure, whether small or large spending time doing something out of the ordinary can change someones life or your own; this happened yesterday.

I met up with some friends yesterday on Av. Paulista (the main ave. in Sao Paulo) and when I got there I came to find out that they had crashed their car. Well a bus had hit them from behind. Needless to say I got there before the ambulance did and I was riding a bus, only in Sao Paulo.(lol) But this is sad. Then after pointless wondering I decided to go on my way. Of course living by my philosophy I kept wondering the street.

I started to think that I am not really supposed to be a tourist on my stay here. Trying to assimilate is kind of absurd. So what is really left this awkward (there is no translation for "awkard" in Portuguese, by the way) middle spot? I'm a lover of awkward situations and the humor behind it, yet that I doing here? Really living my life here, is not a concept I actually analyzed before coming here. I know that sounds stupid, but I think that I purposely was reluctant to this fact, which does not set harmoniously with my "adventure" philosophy.

While sitting on street corner and contemplating the thought of going home, something caught my attention.

I have been missing my violin like crazy and there was a man on the other side of the avenida playing some Bach. Of course I had to photograph it, this was just a perfect setting. Too perfect.

So then I slowly crossed the street, almost getting run over ( I live on the When I got there I gave the man my change and sat next to him. I expected write an inspiring poem or write something for this blog, but no. The universe had something more interesting in mind.

About five minutes in, this beautiful little girl ran up to the violinist (Leo i later found out) and gave him a real.

I found it rather strange and peculiar that she didn't have shoes on. She laughed. Then sat next to me pickup a paper just sitting on the ground and started to chew on it.

What is going on here? Is this surreal?

"você é mulher de ele?" (are you his woman?)
"Eu moro na rua" (I live on the streets)
"por que?" (why?)
"não sei" ( I don't know)

That was the extent of our conversation.
But then she started again.
"I need to get 50 reais by the end of today or else my mom is going to hit me."
Then she showed me what her mother had done to her a couple of days ago. A horrible cut with badly sown stitches. She could of well been lying to get money out of me, but what if she wasn't? Just what if?

This broke my heart.

We sat in silence for a really long time. What do you ask a homeless girl on the street?

So I did what I always do, I pulled out my camera. Some might think this was a dumb act, but it was the best thing I had done that day. She instantaneously took it out of my hand and begged me to teach her how to photograph.

I wanted to adopt her right then and there. Yes, me, the hater of little children.
She took photographs of everything, little kids other homeless people, the violinist and old ladies and young ladies, the buildings and so forth. People who walked by looked at us with judging, curious and surprised expressions. I wouldn't blame them, I would of probably done the same. She tried playing the violin, then made me play the violin. Thank you Leo.

I hadn't done this adventure thing in a long time, but I knew it would find me.
In Sao Paulo there are a lot of homeless people, like in any other city. Honestly, recently it has been bothering me more and more. Part of the reason I came to South America was to be "uncomfortable" ("american life" was really starting to define me) and I think I found part of what I was looking for. But its not enough.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Tourist Life For ME!

Funny, when someone goes abroad people really want to fit in and not be the typical tourist, well I say " Why NOT!?" People out side of the US are actually really receptive to people from the US (at least in BRAZIL). The treatment received is very helpful and if anything, I think that trying to be like them is kind of insulting, if not insulting but just weird.

Any who, lets begin.

1. ASK where everything is and or located, even if you think you´re on the right way chances are you are not, so ask and ask again. Brazilians are tricky, especially "cariocas", people from RIO. While your at it pull out your dictionary and pronounce every word slowly back to them, then enjoy the expression on their face. Wave your map like its the old red, white and blue.

2. Be LOUD!. REALLY LOUD! Americans can be loud and proud, so do it; BE AMERICAN. Large arm and hand movements and boisterous behavior should be amplified. Blasting onto a foreign scene with your vitality and make the right impression.

3. BRAG and BE SHOWY. Pull out your money and things in public. You might as well yell “I have money and I’m ready to spend it, unless you want to take it from me against my will!”

4. DON'T MIND YOUR PERSONAL SPACE. Why have personal space when you can share with all the people you encounter. When you’re at a counter, for example, spread out your arms; when you’re sitting down on the bus or train, stretch out your legs in a way that might get in someone’s way. Best way to make friends!

5. WEAR YOUR CAMERA AROUND YOUR NECK. When traveling to a foreign country, you are bound to take pictures. Having a camera strap and wearing it around your neck for easy access is a sure way to look like a tourist.

6. ALWAYS ASK FOR KETCHUP. It is a sure giveaway that you are an American tourist. Use the typical condiments in your host country of course, and if you don’t like them or can’t bear to eat without your American condiments, bring your own! Take small packets with you to use.

7. DON'T EAT LOCAL FOOD. Find the nearest McDonald's, and if there isn't one near, your in the wrong country.

8. REQUEST DECAF. Enough said.

9. INSIST on drinking “Coke” with every meal.

10. WEAR ODD SOCKS AND BASEBALL CAPS. While your add it, fanny packs are rather stylish.

*these have been done in front of or have been seen in front of the writer*
**these comments do not accurately represent the writer's point of view, rather her horrible sarcastic humor.**

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bus Ride From Hell.

While enjoying São Paulo's traffic for two hours today I experienced the city in a different way. Through the small window my eyes saw into the outside of the oven on wheels, I call hell. After staring for a half an hour into the streets, I began to analyze my uncomfortableness with São Paulo and so it began.

I thought to myself in a rather disturbing, split-personality, sort of way: "People all have completely different ways of thinking and rationalizing different situation which happen to arise at their feet. Now it takes a remarkable individual to assess the situation and discriminate one bad thought from the other. A weaker less educated individual will follow their instinct on a certain act or thought. Yet the average non- caring paulista will rather not think of any situation that doesn't involve them personally. This is a matter of culture and survival mode perhaps a mix of ignorance."

With this rather complicated situational thought in mind, I really looked out the window.

While passing different stores, shops and vendors I realized something completely disturbing. Within a 3block radius I saw a meat store, fake Channel vendor, an herb stand and a Tiffany & CO. Perhaps a normal thing for the regular paulista, I mean this is their turf.

But why was this so disturbing, why did this bother me so much?
What is the common factor? Why are they all on the same street and really close to each other?

So a common factor that linked these "vendors" was the common thread to make money, the city of São Paulo, good location for selling, for the most part trying to make a living, selling goods and so forth. Other than these simple differences, what do they have in common? Tiffany vendor wouldn't be caught dead talking to herb vendor, would he/she? Why?

Class inequality is something that the rich, politicians and people in general have taken advantage of in Brazil. The rich to make money and stay rich, the politicians to 'win' votes and make the quota, and the average person to help or destroy their self esteem/confidence. This as a foreigner (that has been taught that everyone is the same no matter what kind of financial situation they are in) sickens me, yet I am merely a judgmental observer.

The vendors have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that one may not know the other exists. Or, one may not care that the other exists.

Based on these judgments, I defer to the conclusion that perhaps the original theory was incorrect, perhaps they are linked in more ways that I expected it to be. Doubt.

Is it fair to make these assumptions, after all assuming does make an ass of you and me. Similarities are sometimes seen as coincidences and I laugh, because I am believer that everything does happens for a reason. Perhaps meat shop man does frequent Tiffany's and maybe Channel vendor is best friends with herb vendor, dreadlocks or not.

Just perhaps.

After no more than 4hours of sleep, too much thinking doesn't to a body good. Random blabber isn't a adequate state of mind to be paralleling city observations to personal problems. São Paulo traffic is probably one of the worst in the world, at least South America. And once your stuck, you are stuck. Today was the first day that I was really stuck in REAL traffic. I didn't mind it, because I didn't really have anywhere specific to be. Thank you São Paulo traffic your the best.

By this time in my thought I looked down at my phone/watch and only a half hour had passed by. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dignity Does Not Exisit South of the Equator.

Carnaval is the crazy time before the lent that gives the excuse for people to party like its 1999 (will2k). My favorite memories are told through pictures.

Memories are endless and regrets are almost equal to zero. People from all over the world come to Brazil to experience not only the best MardiGras on earth but the most (non)memorable. For me I was part of the action in a different way, I "desfile" (marched in a parade)which includes but not limited to dancing, parading around in a costume, sweating your butt off, and having an intense tons of fun. This happened in the official Sambodromo with "fantasias" and the whole shebang.

After my ridiculously tiring night dancing in a huge parade, that doesn't have a real way to described it occured to me that Brasil has really commercialized Carnaval in a absurd way.

All in all the experience is one that I will never forget. The sound of the drums will forever be engraved in my musical memory..."el batuque faz la vila magdalenda..." Yes.

After dancing in my fat costume I preceded to hitch a ride to a little town called
São Luís do Paraitinga. The logo says "Destino Aventura," but the truth is the main adventure lies within the streets during Carnaval. Which is aided by different types of drinks. Need I say more?

Sao Luis has the traditional street Carnaval, not like in a Sambodoromo so all kinds of people mix. But a person can only take so much of a Carnaval.

Soon after, my bus (GOSTOSO & DELICIA de bus) headed to Rio. Yes Rio de Janeiro. Relaxation was in need after a mind/Carnaval whirlwind had raped my mind. There are no regrets just mainly new interesting ideas on what life is or could be in Brasil.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Confusion on different levels.. Feminity in Brazil.

I guess I was has really hit with a cultural shock when school started, a thought surfaced: image is everything, which ties into the elitist culture. Brazilian culture really revolves around the idea of how a person looks is who that person is, which by itself is complete true and legitimate statement for all cultures in the whole world.

Yet the interesting part is when people judge you negatively. For example, I have developed a very different style since those wonderful years at Campion Academy. I am a firm believer of self expression especially through clothing.

Any who I was attending school activities because that is what a good PUC student should do. Some of the things I attended include: the LGBT club/ comity Sapatone de Bush, the socialist debate, local maracatu and just all around socializing with the students in my broken Portuguese. It was definitely a great time to meet and see different types of people and realize my one of my main goals, make Brazilian friends and be “immersed” in the culture.

The goal was somewhat successfully met. Then I realized that most of the people which whom I had made friends with are gay. Then I was later questioned on my sexuality and informed I dressed as though I was gay by Brazilian standards of femininity. I heart gay people on all levels! Never a bad thing to have gay friends (I find that everyone needs a gay friend; to put things in a different perspective; different debate), yet it was slightly uncomfortable for me because I felt like I was being judged as though I was gay, which I am not. Just from the way I was dressed I had been judged and found guilty of being a sexuality I am not. There is an awkward feeling that arises when someone or ones think that you’re something you are not, as though I am a fake (something I strive not to be).

After sleeping on this thought, and figuring out how and why people judge each other I also thought of the differences between cultures. What entails for say an immigrant arriving in the US for the first time? Or for a Muslim arriving in the US or while you’re at it Brazil! Culture shocks are a scary thing for many people and I never really took account of it until now. Thank you Brazil. My father was right when he spoke the words of wisdom, “Ahora vas a ver y sentir como es ser un imigrante de verdad.” (Now you’re really going to know how it feels to be an immigrant) I don’t think he was necessarily talking about this specifically, yet it applies.

So, after being judged on my appearance and realizing that looking like your gay in Brazil means looking “hipster” in the US, I realized that I have a choice to make.

Should I be true to what I believe and express myself through the art of (what I think is) fashion?


Should I give in to the cultural norm, and betray myself and not be judged as being a sexuality that I am not?

(rhetorical questions)
As I was told by an older wise lesbian woman: “and welcome to one of the main culture complaints Americans have of Brazil…”

Monday, February 9, 2009

Funny cultural differences ...

Well in Brazil they love pop culture. I'm not trying to generalize but most people listen to the top forty type of music.

1. Not all people love soccer, as a matter of fact some loath it. (wierd)

2. Hot Dog is pronounced: "hotch dooggy"

3. Rock, like rock n' roll is: hockey, yes hockey.

4. Mac Donalds: "Macky Donal"

5. Pizza is completely different here. They put whole olives on it and sometimes they don't even put tomato sauce. WHAT?

6. They pretty much put and "ee" sound at the end of everything.

7. At school, PUC (pooky) they have in initiation about the same as a faternaty. The difference is that they bathe you in paint and make you begging for money for more beer.

8. Buses and metro are about the most annoying/only way to get around. Taxi drivers know that you are a foreigner and they take the long way home. (they hussle)

9. Feijoadas are on Saturdays, drinks a must. Massa on Sundays, drinks required. (pasta)

10. Brazilians are generally friendly but even more friendly if you have a cute skirt on. (sarcasm.) Due to the machista nature of the culture, guys think that they can "man-handle" you, if your a girl that is. If there is a man by that woman then they have the utmost respect for you.

11. People are not afraid to tell you their political view.

12. Brazilians are sensual not sexual!

13. As a whole (generalizing, not true for all) they will take advantage of any situation.

14. (Generalizing) They apply the law to strangers, yet they forget about the law when it comes to people that can benifit them or thier friends.

15. People are happy and they love the beach.

There are a lot of people who fit into the generalization numbers, yet pessoas são pessoas. (people are people)Brazilian culture is liberal and willing to try anything once, yet this is the case in what I have seen.

Monday, January 19, 2009


So how can i describe a samboromo?
It is hot just because it is Brazil.

Sweat (yours and other peoples) on your body. Which is alright until you really think about it, but by that time you don't care cus you just took a shower in your own sweat.

Joyful, doesn't matter who you are the people who work there are just there to have fun. Dancers, gays, tranis, old people, young people, kids not joke. If you wanna see all different types of people and dance from 8-10 straight this is the place for you.

Incessantly repetitive is two words that define an experience there. Basically Carnaval is huge competition and there are I think 6 main schools that compete. So before carnaval the schools need to practice. They open up their school to the public for a small fee in order to pay for the expenses of creative costumes.In the Sambodromo you dance until you can't dance anymore and then you dance some more.

FUN!Contrary to what Anthony Bordain might say, Samboromo is a key essence in the Brazilian culture.


for more pictures:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

HURRAY for comunity projects!

So most of Brazil is really poor, and many Paulistas (people from Sao Paulo)commute to the center of the city because most work there. So due to they daily migration into the city many kids go to school on either their way to work or from. Oh, people here start working at the age of 12ish. Due to schools being funded by the government they are really run down. So in one school people started a project with what they knew best! SAMBA!!!

This Project is a sort of therapy for the community. People of all classes attend this magic. It doesn't matter if you live in the favela or in Vila Magdalena it is for all types of people.

If you are visiting Sao Paulo and really wanna know how Paulistas get down, go there.
The name of the project is MARACATU. The mixture of African dance with a twist of Brazilianess and the beating of every drum is something that moves your soul or perhaps something deeper.

Every Saturday there is a must. The energy and joy that is felt is not justified by my horrible camera.



The others wont load. So check it on my facebook page.

Race. An issue in Brazil? (Nao, eu nao uma rasista.)

Brazil has a long list of problems which are discussed on a regular basis (Brazilians are very out spoken) such as: poverty, economy, changes in government, hatred towards the Bush administration and so forth. In my opinion the real issues are found in the problems that no one talks about, such as race.
Don’t get me wrong Brazilians are not racist as defined by historic American culture; it’s a different type of racism that this country faces. Equality is not found easily in this country due to its history with a dictatorship and its “machista” cultural decent. Brazil’s whole population has about 50-60% black and most of that population is below the poverty line. Why?

According to the first lecture given to me about race (second day)by a Wilson Honario da Silva a well known socialist professor at USP, taught me that being liberated from slave-hood didn’t necessarily mean that you had it made. (Brazil was forced to abolish slavery because of capitalism) Nothing was promised to these people and automatically they were without jobs, hence birth of favelas (shanty towns). It’s amazing, when driving from the airport to the hotel, the horrible conditions people live in. Some in boxes right off the side of the street.
Racism is shrugged off as, no it’s because they are poor attitude. Yet when one sees a black man walking down the street in the ‘Beverly Hills” of Sao Paulo he is looked at suspiciously; that is the racism that is seen here. If you ask the regular Paulista if racism exist he or she will look at you like your crazy! It is almost impossible to find a “black” man or woman/ family in the upper middle class of Sao Paulo. For every 100R$ that a white man makes a black woman makes 37.5R$, a significant amount.

This also ties in the question of identity. Who do you consider black? Prieto (mulato)? Or white? When someone calls themselves black it is not looked upon kindly. Why? Being black is associated with being bad, dishonest, dirty ect. And being white is considered the opposite. I’ll be the first one to say it; it is very sad and wrong.
You ask: what happened to civil rights movements? Consider the history, it is no secret that what the US does the world to certain extent follows. During 60’s and 70’s US had major civil rights movements, during this time Brazil was controlled by a dictatorship. They which recognized any organized protest a threat to national security. This entailed the treat of life, and of course the basic need for life is far more important the rights lost.
Sadly this is some of the problems not likely talked about by the majority of the people, other than the crazy socialist and communist of course.