Andrew: Creelman...does Brazil!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Brazil, etc.
My name is Andrew, I'm from the UK and I came to Brazil after visiting the country during carnival time.
Prior to living in Brazil I was located in Japan, where one night I was sat in a bar with my Japanese friend who told me that as he was soon to finish his University course. He told me that wanted to travel to Brazil for a few weeks before starting his new job. I'd always wanted to come to Brazil and we made drunken plans to travel together. I handed in my notice at work the next day and not long after, found myself here on vacation.
Not long after stepping off that plane I fell in love with the place and its people. It was just so different from Japan, and I knew I wanted to explore it some more. So after my vacation decided to relocate, and one year later I was back!
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I love to write, and my biggest regret about living in Japan was that I hadn't written a blog about it. I decided that I wanted to document everything I was experiencing after just a few months of being here. It acts as a bit of a diary for me, and I see it as a bonus that other people can appreciate it too!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I particularly enjoyed writing about my Carnival experiece during my trip to Rio in 2011. It was one of the most amazing weeks of my life, and in between all of the the drinking and partying, I learnt quite a lot about Rio too.
I also enjoyed writing about Brazilian attitudes to body shapes and sizes, not forgetting Brazilian guys wearing speedos! Brazilian attitudes here are so liberal compared to the British attitudes I am used to; so much so, that I sometimes feel prudish over here! Writing this blog seemed to strike a chord with those people who read it, and the feedback I got after publishing that blog was very encouraging!
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 spent six months living in England recently, and I found the buzz I got from living abroad was missing. I love surrounding myself with new challenges and meeting new people, which my role as a teacher has provided for about six years now. Even regular days over here are filled with the type of surprises I couldn't get at home!
Naturally I have experienced a fair bit of culture shock (especially as I came here from Japan!), but one thing I find just as interesting is the reverse culture shock I experience when returning home! For the first week or so of being back, I had to stop myself from hugging and kissing everyone I came into contact with!
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Brazil? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think as most expats will tell you, they regret not studying the language as much as they should have before arriving.
However other than this, I regret nothing about my decisions or preperations, because I wouldn't change anything about my experience here for anything!
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Two years ago I was at a New Year’s house party in Ubatuba. Myself and my housemates had left the beach to continue partying in our rented house, and someone plugged their ipod into thespeakers and pumped out some dance music. As I walked inside to get a beer, the music changed from the bubble gum pop we were listening to, to some Funk Carioca.
I doubt I will forget in a hurry what I saw next....as I walked outside, the group of about 8 women that I was sharing a house with (whom I had thought were lovely up until this point!) were dancing in a perfect line, obscenely! They had their asses a few inches off the ground, and were thrusting their crotches quite aggressively, in time to the music, like they were something out of a banned rap video/dogs on heat!
I stood there open mouthed, shocked! Sometimes, just when you think you've seen it all, something like this happens to remind you that you are not in Kansas anymore!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Brazil?
- Get your survival Portuguese learnt before coming out here, it will help you a lot!
- Come over here with an open mind!
- This is Brazil, they are so laid back over here it is untrue! And when in Rome....!
How is the expat community in Brazil? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
In Japan I was part of a big expat community, and I couldn't have imagined myself not needing to be a part of one over here. However in Sao Paulo I have a solid network of Brazilian friends. There are so many different, diverse groups of people over here that finding like minded people isn't going to be a problem.
Finding fellow expats is a little more challenging...but not impossible. Although I tend to find I hang out with people from work.
How would you summarize your expat life in Brazil in a single, catchy sentence?