I recently traveled back to the United States to visit family and friends, especially before I get too far along in my pregnancy and can’t travel anymore. What I realized while I was there is that there are several things from both the Brazilian culture and American culture that I love and things that I don’t like. Sometimes I wish there was a way to mixed these to cultures to create a perfect blend of their strengths.
For example, one of the things I really appreciate about the Brazilian culture is that they have preferential seating and lines for the elderly, disabled, pregnant women, and women with a lap child. This has been very beneficial to me now that I am pregnant. What people don’t understand is that standing in lines for long periods of time while carrying extra weight as well as fluid in your circulatory system is exhausting. I never realized what a benefit this was until I came back to the US. On my layover at O’Hare airport I had just enough time to take the train to another terminal to catch my flight. I was already exhausted when I got on the train and of course there were no seats. Except… there were two seats for the elderly and disabled which were occupied by two middle-aged, overweight men. So I stood there exhausted and realized there was an elderly man with a cane standing beside me. Come on Americans have a little respect.
Not to say that Brazil doesn’t have it’s problems. I think the hardest adjustment in living in Brazil has been the fact that everything takes twice as long to get done here! When I first arrived here I had lists of things to get done and my plan was to get them all done in one day like in America. I quickly realized that this was never going to happen because everything takes soooooo long. Now when I make a list, I plan to get everything done in one week! For example, going to the bank seems like it shouldn’t take that long, right? Well first you have to find parking which in São Paulo can be complicated and may require you to park several blocks away. The once you get inside the bank you have to lock your purse in a locker, go through security, and take a number depending on who at the bank you need to talk to, then you stand in line and wait for that number to be called, and finally you get to talk to the bank teller who may or may not be able to help you in the first place. Needless to say efficiency is not a part of the Brazilian culture.
My husband and I often joke about what our child will be like, we call him Californista or Paulifornian (Californian + Person from São
Paulo or Paulista). My hope is that he will be able to learn from both of these cultures and extrapolate the good from the both of them.