I recently made a promise that my next post would be about something in Brazil that had made a positive impression on me. There are lots of thing to choose from, but one thing came straight to mind: the Brazilian people.
Besides some of the stunning scenery, in my opinion it is the people that make this country so special. The people here give Brazil that laid-back party vibe that it’s famous for. Brazilians are warm, welcoming and upbeat; sociable and extremely family-oriented. In London, most people do their very best to avoid even eye contact with strangers. The London Underground unwritten rules state that you must look away from other people at all times and, failing that, down at the floor. Here, strangers say hello, how are you, and strike up a conversation.
I have to be honest and say that this is taking me a while to get used to, having spent my whole life doing the opposite. Especially knowing that at my premature stage in Portuguese speaking, I’m not capable of having much of a conversation! However, little by little I am remembering to acknowledge people with a smile and a hello. I have even made friends with an old man from the building who I run into in the lift sometimes, although those “conversations” usually involve a lot of miming…
Brazilians love an excuse to get together for a big social with family and friends, sharing lots of food and perhaps a fair few drinks. The more the merrier seems to be the motto in terms of who is invited, which ties in well with the size of most Brazilian families. Nothing is too much trouble, everyone is welcomed with open arms and a big smile, and they sure know how to have a laugh. This same hospitality usually extends to restaurants and shops too – which is another big difference from the UK, where the notion of ‘customer services’ is an Indian call centre that you call to complain about the service!
Brazilians are immensely proud of their country, despite all of its problems, and that feeling is infectious. I am 100% sure that Brazilian hospitality is the reason why the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be a success. No matter what happens with the infrastructure and the facilities, those people who come to Brazil from all over the world will go home with a love for the Brazilian people and a longing to return.