1. Lack of eye contact — Not a glance, not on the streets of New York, not upon entering a store, not in an elevator, nothing. Present yourself to an office receptionist and you have to wait until she slowly raises her eyes from her compelling desk work to acknowledge your presence while staring into the middle distance. I know, I know, I'm generalizing, maybe even exaggerating, and perhaps New Yorkers — well known for their aloofness — aren't the best test case for the whole of the U.S. But now that I've gotten used to the more intense, hands-on, eye-to-eye human contact of the Brazilians, I really feel the difference when I visit the States. There's a very studied way many Americans have adopted to look through you. Or over you. Or behind you. Not to mention the ones who talk to you while staring at their electronic devices. Want to know who still looks you straight in the eye in the U.S.? Airport immigration officers. I know it's their job, but I'm happy for any human connection and it makes me feel good.
|Comes early, and with a preprinted thank-you, too!|
|Generic Brazilian doctor's office. Amazing, huh?|