You know, I learned how to love the UK and specially London. How thankful I am for being able to study my MA here! Yet, this text came to my mind recently. I constantly read news in Brazilian media, and yesterday when I read about the water tests for the Rio Olympics, followed by the interruption of the suspended tube construction in Sao Paulo and the water shortage in my state, I was so upset. So many problems to solve in Brazil, so hard to solve corruption, so much bad news.
Still, I love Brazil. I am not the kind of person who went to live abroad because I reject my own country. So, I made this list of 5 things that are better in Brazil than in the United Kingdom.
1. People share. In my country, people are happy and friendly because… they just are. A simple example: when you take a bus to a place you’ve never been before and you aren’t sure about which stop you should get off, you ask the driver or the guy that sells the tickets. They will usually help you with a smile. Or even someone else in the bus will hear you talking and tell you beforehand where you need to stop. People are great. They invite you over with a friend, they want to show places for someone who is not from there. You share food and drinks when you go to a bar or restaurant — including beer, my fellow British friends. A pint? It’s more than 50 cl, we share a bottle and then we order another one afterwards. Caipirinha? We even share the same cup around the table. With the same straw. ❤
2. 1:1 services. I think it is somehow related to the above-mentioned topic. In Brazil, at any bar, from the most popular and common ‘boteco’ to the posh-hipster-trendy-ones, the waiters tend to serve you with a smile. They give you recommendation about the menu, about the beer, snacks… And they are not doing it for the tip — the 10% for the service is included in most of the bills, by default, and people do not tip based on the service. I think they do it because they want to be friendly. Or share their own recommendations. Maybe. I don’t know.
3. Fresh food. I hate how organic products and even some fresh vegetables are overpriced in the UK. Of course, it is an island and one can’t grow everything here. I feel the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables is higher in Brazil. Also, although this is a habit that is slowly and sadly changing in big city centres, people prefer cooking the traditional and nutritious rice and beans at home than eating fast food on the street. Even when you go for lunch in a work break, in a restaurant, it is not for fast over-processed dishes: kilo restaurants make the food in house, daily, and are the top choice for good food. Easy to find
4. Kilo restaurants. You have a buffet, you get what you want, you weight, you pay for what you get. That’s it, so simple, widespread in the country, the top choice of lunch for the majority of Brazilians according to a recent measurement of the accurate Gabriela’s Sense Institution of Brazilian Culture. Such a simple Brazilian good business
5. Physical contact. We hug and kiss. Friends. Friends of friends. People we are introduced to. We are not afraid of consented physical contact. We are used to that since we were young, and although it varies according to each one’s personality, of course (some Brazilians hate it). I love how we can just express feelings freely with no judgement: if you are friends and hug, it’s fine. If you are upset and cuddle, it’s fine. If you wanna lay your head on a friend’s shoulder, it’s fine – it isn’t something that happen only with the closest people in your life. We tend to look in the eyes of people when we talk, too, which is sort of ‘invasive’ for British standards, I would say, similarly to physical contact. I miss this daily.
BONUS: Weather. I don’t think I need to give details on this. 12ºC, rain and cloudy sky in Summer is not Summer, Britain. C’mon. Even though it can be pretty hot often, going outside feels like you’re going inside a pre-heated oven, if we make a list of good weather days in both countries and compare… flawless victory.
Those are based on my lifestyle and feelings,
of course. There is no perfect place in the world and I don’t mean
to offend anyone with this list.
(I know it sounds obvious, but I had to write it anyway)