Hello world! Said nobody ever. I see that I’m not your best blogger, leaving too many gaps between blog updates. Anyhow, I wanted to write something about this 34th country of mine and how it compares to my other experiences. And just to break paragraphs here and there, I will be pointing out some (funny) things I have observed, learned or come to the realisation about.
Some of you know I’ve travelled a lot, so I do have pretty good comparisons, as the visited countries span all continents except Antarctica (–> bucket list). Here’s a quick reference of the places I’ve terrorised (if you’re interested which countries, see footnote).
So how is Brazil? Actually, I can see many European traits here, which is why it hasn’t been all that hard to get accustomed to the life and people here. People are nice, they eat a lot of Italian and other food common in Europe, which suits me well. Unfortunately here in Viçosa, no Chinese food is served! Disclaimer: I still haven’t seen any other place than Rio de Janeiro, Juiz de Fora and Viçosa, so I will reserve the judgmental nonsense for later. But I will say this: Temperature changes can be pretty big between day and night, where during the day you tend to melt away and during the night you need extra blankets. Yes, it’s winter here right now, but this is one of the fewer places I’ve been where you can’t wear the same clothes during the day as in the evening. This is also one of the few places I’ve been where so many stray dogs stroll around, sleep anywhere, and I mean literally anywhere except where cars drive. Masses of people have to walk around dogs on the pavement, and sometimes you can’t get into shops without hopscotching. It’s nice to see that people are nice to the dogs, though! Just don’t be too nice, or they’ll start following you hoping to be fed. I also want to pet them, but refrain, since they probably aren’t the most hygienic here. The other place I can remember where dogs really were everywhere was in India.
This is also one of the most dangerous countries in the world with a high number of homicides, but all you people reading this need not fret! I’m not around such areas where I am right now. Next year, though, I will be much closer to Belo Horizonte, which apparently ranks pretty high on the danger scale, but I think I’m quite safe when drug-free and such. After all, I’ve been in Mexico, South African and India too, where people die a lot, so I should be fine! I think if anything is going to kill me here, it would be too much studies (i.e. my slight inability to do like everyone else and have a life). It is especially hard given that I still am learning a new language in parallel with my already difficult studies. But… it is impossible I think not. This is still the fastest time ever I’ve learned a language, not counting Swedish because I was too young to understand that it was supposed to be difficult.
For your information, pretty much everybody drives Volkswagen, Renault or Fiat, at least of the cars less than 20 years old! I did come across a few funny things regarding car brands:
I’ve also come across other signs of desire to be European, such as this company’s ad I had a good giggle about when I first saw it!
Perhaps you guys are also interested how my Portuguese is coming along. I can say with certainty that it’s becoming less difficult day-by-day, with reading actually going pretty smoothly. Some of the study material is entirely in Portuguese and some is also in English. Listening and understanding still depends on who talks, where, with some people, I can barely understand a word and with some others almost everything. So just when I’m thinking I’ve mastered the art of listening, along comes somebody who puts both my feet firmly back on the ground. I’m also considering writing one of my blog posts in Portuguese soon, to see how far I can get! Don’t expect miracles.
Speaking of trying to focus and listen carefully during class.. the other day I suddenly lost all ability to focus when a (love)bird found its way in, with its partner in tow upon attempting to get the first one out of the window. I wasn’t shat upon, though, so I’m glad to see that curse has been broken.
Brazil is cool, dogs are everywhere, cars have wrong names and Brazil too has
Note at the foot
Hong Kong | Australia ’92 | Singapore ’92 | Finland ’91, ’92-’01, ’06-’08 | Sweden ’93, etc. | Åland Islands ’94, ’97 | Denmark ’94,’01,’02,’03,’04,’05,’06,’07,’08,’13 | Israel ’95, ’12, ’13 | Jordan ’95 | Spain ’96, ’97, ’00 | Estonia ’96, ’11 | Tunisia ’98 | The Netherlands ’01-’06, ’08-’14 | Germany ’01,’02,’03,’04,’05,’06,’07,’08,’09,’10,’11,’12,’13 | USA ’03, ’14 | Bahamas ’03 | Belgium ’03, ’04, ’05, ’12 | France ’04, ’05, ’06 | Luxemburg ’04 | Schweiz ’04 | South Africa ’05 | Norway ’05 | Austria ’06 | Mexico ’06 | England ’07 | India ’08 | Poland ’09, ’11 | Thailand ’09, ’10, ’11 | Romania ’10 | Lithuania ’11 | Latvia ’11 | Greece ’12 | Turkey ’12 | Czech Republic ’13 | Brazil ’14-‘XX