i know my part one to this list was actually titled “Is that a thing?”, but i realized “Isn’t that weird?” works WAY better. In fact, i don’t mean “Isn’t that weird?” in a literal sense, more like a Garth from Wayne’s World sense. If you’ve never seen Wayne’s World, you gotta change that. We’ll start by introducing the character Garth, Wayne’s best friend, who is quite eccentric, and often says aloud, “Isn’t that weird?” in response to things that actually aren’t weird.
You see? So when i have a list of characteristics that are “weird” in a Garth from Wayne’s World kind of way, I don’t actually mean weird, more like, different, aka i’m gringa and i’m not from around these parts. So, enjoy the list. We’re at number 25 and it goes to number 43. Oh and of course, there’ll be a part three.
One thing to note: when i have a word in italics, it’s in portuguese; the word in parentheses immediately following is the English translation. my foreign language immersion has lead me to always include portuguese even if i’m speaking with non-portuguese speakers. Besides, this blog calls for some flare brasileiro.
Quirk #25: Buzina (honking). SO MUCH HONKING/AGGRESSIVE DRIVING. Pedestrians watch out because cars will not stop and most likely hit you. That’s what the honking means: GET OUT OF MY WAY ‘CUZ I WILL HIT YOU.
Quirk #26: Full Grocery Carts. This may not seem unusual, but there are many Brazilians that have at least two carts FULL TO THE BRIM with food. Not to mention some carts are separated according to product like one cart is reserved for just meat and cheese, and the other produce.
Quirk #27: Festa (party). During our tour of FALE (my school where I have classes) our tour guide told us that there will be many a festa here in the college even though the university doesn’t allow it…
Quirk #28: Milk Boxes. Yup. If you want milk, it is in a box that is not refrigerated (when you purchase it). Because i was born and raised in the Wisco my whole life, i feel like the milk is sketch. Obviously it’s not because everyone drinks it, and they all turn out fine, but it takes some getting used to. Did i mention, that i recently met a brasileiro who knows of UW Madison because of its dairy and agriculture program??? #proudtobeabadger
Quirk #29: Folhas Agressivas (aggressive leaves). Perhaps not all Brazilian tree leaves are aggressive, but one day I was “j’ chillin” (just chillin’) on a concrete bench outside of FALE (the name of my college), and suddenly a giant leaf from across the way hit me. I was like, whhhhaaaat? When these leaves fall, they fall.
Quirk #30: Bolinho (cake). Cake is so scrumptious here and very heavy. You may enjoy some bolo for breakfast, bolo for dessert after lunch, bolo with afternoon coffee, bolo bolo bolo yummy yummy yummy.
Quirk #31: Cachorro Quente (hot dogs). I had my first Brazilian hot dog the other day, when i actually wanted to order an enrolado de salsisha assada (hot dog in croissant type thing), However, I was grateful for the linguistic barrier because it was gostoso (delicious). They’re served with some kind of warm non spicy corn salsa and potato sticks, scrumptious! Shout out to my roomie from 704, Cati, for exposing me to the potato stick hot dog prior to trying a cachorro quente brasileiro.
Quirk #32: Informal Economy. Here in Brasil, it would not be uncommon if a vendor comes up to you and sells food while you are stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on a freeway. This will also happen on public transportation, and even at restaurants when eating outside. In fact, vendors will even give you samples of nuts while you’re at sitting outside at these restaurantes. Basically, if you’re ever thirsty or have a sweet tooth, chances are, there’s a vendor to take care of that.
Quirk #33: Electric Shower Heads. Each shower head has three tabs: inverno, desligar, and verão. Depending on your shower head, the tab for “winter” (which is more like your Wisconsin summer) may or may not deliver hot water.
Quirk #34: Céu de fruta (fruit heaven). I already mentioned this in my last blog, “Cidade Maravilhosa”, but it truly is a wonderful perk of Brasil. There is so much fruit and veggies at the ready. Not to mention it’s mostly very cheap. Fun fact: Brasil has many types of bananas. Who knew there were more types than just the regular banana and plantain?
Quirk #35: Singers/Hummers/Whistlers. American men can learn a thing or two from Brasileiros. Often i see men singing, humming, or whistling aloud when walking to and fro. This actually happens to be a quirk of mine as well, so it’s great to know that it is socially acceptable to hum and sing to myself here.
Quirk #36: Frentistas (gas station attendants). These workers kindly refuel your car while you j’ chill. I think this has to do with hospitalidade brasileira. Even at gas stations you can relax and ficar a vontade (make yourself at home).
Quirk #37: Formigas (ants), or bugs in general for that matter. Formigas are everywhere, on the table, in the cabinets, in the shower. When you are in Brasil, you basically live in harmony with insects. It’s a little difficult not to considering few windows have screens.
Quirk #38: Bate de mão (clapping) at Mass. The one thing I love about being Catholic is that the Mass is always the same, no matter where you are. However, there are still some differences. For example, often, brasileiros will clap and even do some choreography to songs during Mass. I gotta say, it definitely adds some zest to the service.
Quirk #39: Café (coffee). Where do I begin? Coffee is my favorite word and drink. It’s actually a vice of mine #ClassicGringa, or in this case should i say, #ClassicBrasileira? Brazilieros drink their café strong, so leite (milk) is a must. Also, coffee and lanche (snack) time is around four or five in the afternoon, which i really appreciate, but shouldn’t partake because if i have coffee past two, i can’t sleep until two in the morning. Another beautiful custom about coffee is that warm milk is always available..
Quirk #40: Funky music. Funky music is a Brazilian version of American Dubstep. Every song has the following beat: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkKoMU6JiJo&noredirect=1, which is usually incorporated with rapping or singing. It all sounds the same to me, and for some reason the main beat reminds me of galinhas (chickens).
Quirk #41: Crema de açaí [‘kre-ma-de-a-sa-’i], so you can pronounce açaí correctly. Yum There’s nothing like a crema de açaí in the afternoon mixed with some granola and banana.
Quirk #42: Minerés (Portuguese particular to Minas Gerais state). Being a linguistics fanatic, minerés isn’t a correct nor an incorrect way of speaking portuguese, it’s just different. Mineiros (those from Minas Gerais) really enjoy shortening words. For example instead of saying Posso por o pó? (May I add the powder [referring to coffee of course]), a Mineiro would say, Po po pó?, and you would respond, Po po (yes, add it). Shout out to my fellow GOU peeps who taught me that!
Quirk #43 Hospitalidade (Hospitality). Brasileiros are so hospitable it’s out of this world. One minute you’re in someone’s home, and the next they’re offering you juice, a coffee, or a lanche. Not to mention being hospitable towards foreigners in general. So often a brasileiro or brasileira will say Seja Bem-vinda (Welcome!) the instant they know you are a foreigner. I think it also helps that i’m a gringa because most brasileiros have a positive view of ‘Murica.
This is my list so far, i hope you enjoyed it. Again, this is from a gringa’s perspective, and just a way i like to express my appreciation for Brazilian culture. Até mais.