09 October 2011

An Expat in Brazil

Right now I'm gazing at this very view. It's always the same, yet it's always different. It's beautiful when the blues are blue and the greens are green, it's beautiful in a tropical downpour, it's beautiful in the oppressively muggy summer, it's beautiful in the chilly wind of winter, at night it sparkles with the lights across the bay. There's something new to look at every minute: fishing boats come and go, wind surfers glide by, kite surfers fly overhead, we watch graceful seagulls and scary, mean-looking vultures. Birds I can't even begin to name fly in and out of our house (and sometimes commit bird harikari against our windows). The tide ebbs and flows, as tides do.

My husband, Mark, and I have now lived in this house, in Búzios, Brazil for nine years. We are often asked why. It's an honest question, but we have never come up with a pat answer, or a clever sound bite. I figure as I muse about our life here, and blather on in this blog, the answer will develop on its own. I will say that Mark had the intention of (and is currently working on) writing a book about Brazil, one with a more scholarly approach than, say, the Peter Mayle Provence books. But it had been my intention to write one of those, and I have quite a collection of these expat adventures, played out in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Greece and Mexico. But I have no clever or funny anecdotes about plumbers or maids or walls falling down (the Peter Mayle experience just hasn't been our experience) so I let it slide, and the years went by.

I decided to try this more modern approach of a blog. I hope to make it interesting, informative, challenging and even funny (but not in the plumbers-that-don't-show-up-on-time way). And I think there are things to be said about living abroad in your 60s that the AARP magazine hasn't begun to explore. If all goes as planned, I'll be posting Mondays and Thursdays.

A word to my Brazilian friends: those of you who read and speak English will be able to follow my musings. Mas peço desculpas aos meus amigos brasileiros que não falam, nem lêem, inglês. Saibam que não vou dizer nada ruim! Todos vocês já sabem do que a gente tem!

This is what we looked like in New York:

This is what we look like now:


  1. As I'm seeing, you and Mark are both prettier now than when you lived in NY. But I know why; now you live in paradise (your home)

  2. well done Babs I look forward to subsequent installments. We have given up searching for celery seed, we now bring it from the US, also horseradish, Mexican spices and almonds.

  3. Fabulous cousin !!!!!!! I love it !!!!!!!!!
    Well done. Beijosss xxx

  4. What a delightful read! It's been the "must read" of the week.

  5. Karenne jo bloomgardenOctober 21, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    I think you guys look better now-age can do wonders!!!Ha, I understand the life outside the US, it really is challenging, and wonderful. Just returned from 2 weeks in US, and back to my beautiful country of South Africa.
    stay well, love your blog.

  6. Oh, I could't resist. I thought I would read this blog backwards, but I ended up coming to see what the first post was like. It started in October. Just like my life!

    I thought the first post would be about your arrival in Brazil. But you had already been living here for 9 years when you started blogging...

    Knowing Brazil and my Brazilian fellows a bit, I would suspect that you guys are famous around Buzios? The couple from the US?

    Your husband is planning to write a book on Brazil? How is that going???

    You've been an expat in all those places? Oh my! So jealous.

    Have you found similarities between Brazil and Portugal?

    I've been an expat in the US and in the UK. If I am lucky, I will be one again in Netherlands and in Canada one day.

    1. Hi Renan, You do know your fellow Brazilians! Yes, we are known as "that American couple," even sometimes "that nice American couple!" I've only been an expat here, the "collection of adventures" I mentioned are real books on the shelf, ou seja, other peoples' adventures! And let's see . . . my husband's book? One more chapter to go . . .