01 March 2012

Different Strokes . . .

I notice that I'm spending a lot of time focusing on the differences between Brazil and the United States, and not enough on the similarities. I think I'm annoying my Brazilian friends and, if so, I apologize. North America/South America . . . it's all one big America. That's quite possibly why I immediately felt so at home here. Some day I shall indeed comment on the similarities, but let's face it, the differences make for better copy. So here are a few more:

I consider the following the biggest divide between American and Brazilian women:

Good 'ole American "granny" panties
Brazilian "dental floss" panties

An American governor: Rod Blagojevich, former governor of the State of Illinois, currently serving 14 years in federal prison for corruption and misconduct in office, including a charge of lying to the FBI. A former attorney, he has been disbarred.

A Brazilian governor: Paulo Maluf, former governor of the State of São Paulo, currently serving as a Federal Deputy from São Paulo. Convicted of only one of the many charges of corruption against him, he served a few weeks in jail. Currently wanted for fraud, conspiracy and theft by Interpol. Helped coin a new verb in Portuguese, malufar, meaning "to steal public money."

See the word, "push"? A Brazilian will instinctively pull.

                                                         See the word, "puxe"? An American will instinctively push.  

Pfizer is agressively fighting to keep generics from the public, as The New York Times reported recently in an article entitled "Plan Would Delay Sales of Generic for Lipitor"

In Brazil, generics are readily available, including the generic of Lipitor.

I had a friend bring this box from the States so that I could cut off pieces of saran wrap. See that nice, sharp cutting blade along the edge of the box? 

The Brazilian method. Not very efficient, considering the alternatives available elsewhere. And this in a country that loves technology!

Senator Ed Muskie cried during the 1972 presidential primary, was thought to be a wimp, and lost. Not a good idea to cry in the States.


    Lula cried during his entire presidency and was beloved.
    In Brazil, crying is macho.

NOTE TO MY READERS: I'll be taking a little hiatus starting next week, will be back after the Ides of March. See you then!


  1. About the push/puxe thing: that is more serious than I thought. Living in England for 2 years never solved my problem. Sometimes I still pull when I am supposed to push. Maybe it is in the genes already.

    I like your comparison between our politicians. I once heard a joke that the difference between corruption in the US and in Brazil is that in the US, when a bridge is being constructed, 10% of the budget is stolen and the bridge gets done. In Brazil, 90% of the budget is stolen and in the end there is no bridge.

    You are not the first person from overseas that I come across that picks on our crying. That was not obvious to me until someone called my attention to it. Indeed we cry more freely and often. I wonder if we are seen as wimps all over?


    1. I'll tell you a secret. To this day, as my husband and I approach a door in Brazil, I say out loud, "Puxe means pull-y" so that by the time we reach the door we open it without looking like idiots!

      No, people don't think of Brazilians as wimps because they cry. It's just in the US that criers are wimps. But we did notice the crying, the tearing up, the constant dabbing of the eyes pretty much right away, and the difference with the US was striking.