Alastair: Alastair’s Brazilian Blog
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Brazil, etc.
Yes, you guessed it! I am Scottish, and with a name like Alastair James Kinghorn, I find it hardly worth the bother of trying to blend in here so I don’t bother! I am a Tartan Gringo and I am proud of it! I moved here in 2007 from London where I lived most of my life. Having said that, I’ve moved around quite a lot since leaving school at the tender age of seventeen. First of all, I went to sea for seven years before deciding to become an architect. Lots of odd jobs and seven years of study later I went to the Scottish Highlands designing houses for five years before moving south to London where the jobs were easier to find. An offer of early retirement and a Brazilian wife left me in no doubt about moving to Brazil!
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
When I did an internet search for “Jureia” (which is where I live), and found no results in English!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Sometimes I use poetry to write about things that ordinary prose fails to describe adequately. This one is about the friendliness of Brazilians: You gave me your smile.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Brazil differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I have always lived as an outsider since my early days, so being a foreigner in Brazil wasn’t so different. When my wife moved with me to London, I asked her what was different about life there. She answered that, “Things work here”.
I suppose I have had to get used to the flip-side of that.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Brazil? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Nothing can fully prepare you for actually living, rather than taking holidays, in a foreign country. The things that everyone takes so much for granted are grounded deep within our culture. If I had to move over again I would have left more behind!
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Like the time that I referred to a famous beach in Rio as Coco de banana?
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Brazil?
- Ask yourself if you can afford to take the risk that you will not be able to adjust.
- Life isn’t all sunshine and beaches.
- Trust me on this one: you must be able to speak Portuguese!
How is the expat community in Brazil? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
It is very lively but concentrated in the big cities. I make up for that using internet sites like InterNations.
How would you summarize your expat life in Brazil in a single, catchy sentence?
A comedy of errors!