My two year anniversary of living in Brazil is slowly approaching! With living here for so long I think I have got a pretty good sense of what Brazilians are like. Here are 5 things about Brazilians in which make them different from other cultures, specifically North America.
1. If you’re not late, you’re not Brazilian!
Brazilians are always late. If your group of friends say to meet at 8, don’t show up at 8 because you will be the only one! Give yourself 30 minutes or 1 hour after the said time, then you aren’t having to sit around waiting for everyone. People are late for meetings, work, appointments etc and it is normal. I personally have adapted quite well to this relaxed custom and feel very Brazilian. People are never upset if you arrive late and don’t ask why. They are more like “whatever, not a big deal, let’s enjoy this time together.”
2. Personal bubbles do not exist
If you come from a country like Canada, where people do not touch each other and avoid physical contact at all costs, you are gonna have to get over it and get used to people hugging you. Brazilians love to show their affection for their family and friends, by hugging, kissing the cheek, holding your hand, putting their hand on your arm as they talk etc. It may seem weird in the beginning but you learn to love it. The other day I had an older woman stopped my husband and me to ask if there was a dog on the apartment balcony because she couldn’t see well (turned out to be a birdhouse). While she was talking with us she put her hand on my arm in a loving and caring way. It was just so sweet. I have grown accustomed to everyone touching you, whether it be a friend or a complete stranger.
3. Their mother’s really taught them to share
Be prepared to share everything! Brazilians love to share their drinks, food, clothes, cars, etc. They are the most sharing culture I have ever experienced. When they make a caipirinha they only make in one glass and pass it around. When someone is eating or drinking they will always ask if you want a bite or a sip. I always feel so bad now if I don’t ask my friends if they want some of my food or drink. With cars, they get passed around with no problem. For example Felipe, “oh I need to go to the grocery store” friend “here take my car” or Felipe “let’s go visit museums” cousin “here take my car I’m not using.” I still get so shocked with people having no problem lending their cars.
4. They love to be social
I have never been so social in my life until I came to Brazil. People are always doing barbecues, meeting for drinks, going to the beach, or just chilling. Brazilians like to get together for drinks and play music or play the guitar. There are always events in the city that have people gathered together with a band playing and everyone eating, drinking and enjoying the music. From Wednesday- Saturday you will always see the pubs and bars full at night. They aren’t there to get drunk, they are there to socialize (for like hours and hours hahaha).
5. Being kind and generous is second nature
Brazilians are the kindest people. Everyone, not just your friends but complete strangers will do whatever they can to help you. My friends have helped me with spreading the word about my private English classes, my art and even my blog. They aren’t kind because they have to be, they genuinely want to help. I think they love giving little gifts too, I have received so many little thoughtful things from the people I know here. Let me tell you a story which is the perfect example of strangers being selfless. Felipe fell off his bike two weeks ago and split his lip, broke his two front teeth and one of those teeth came completely out (thank goodness we found it). He had blood coming from his mouth and was not the prettiest sight. 5 people stopped to ask if we were ok and one of them (whom I saw randomly the next morning, so coincidental!) called the ambulance. 4 of them stayed and waited with us until the ambulance arrived. Felipe’s friend and I weren’t 100% sure where the hospital was and we needed to bike there. There was one guy on a bike, kind of like a hippie old man, and he offered to bike us all the way to the hospital. It was the most selfless thing I have ever seen. He biked with us all the way to the front door. Amazing! I love Brazilian people.