Hi everyone. I mentioned recently that I had taken on a new contributor and today is the day of her first contribution! I won’t give her a big introduction, I’ll just say that I met her almost 3 years ago and Reader, I married her.
I have never seen myself as the typical Brazilian. After Mr. Eat Rio and I got married, I joked several times that his friends would be very disappointed when they met me. I’m not tall, I’m not tanned and my samba skills are questionable. But in the same way that happiness only exists with sadness and beauty with ugliness, thinking of myself as a true Brazilian only made sense when I compared myself with my loved Englishman.
So over the last years, I’ve learned I’m very Brazilian indeed. I’m loud; I touch people I don’t know very well; I engage in deep conversation with people I don’t know at all; I snap my fingers to call waiters; I think it’s normal when my family discusses family members’ lives on Sunday lunch. But I think the major aspect that sets me apart from my husband’s nation is this: I interrupt.
I gather there are few things British people like less than being interrupted. I remember once we were in a store and, while I was looking through the racks of women’s clothes, Mr. Eat Rio was supposed to be paying for some trousers. After about 10 minutes, I went to check on him. He was standing in front of the counter looking at the cashier, who was talking on the phone. He was very upset.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m waiting to pay.”
“What are you waiting for? There’s no queue.”
“She’s on the phone.”
I turned to the girl behind the counter and said “Hey, we want to pay”. She looked up, put the phone down and took my husband’s credit card. While we left the store, let’s just say I learned a few bad words I didn’t know.
In Brazil we have a saying: “para bom entendedor, meia palavra basta” (meaning: to a good ‘understander’, half a word is enough). You should know that we don’t interrupt for lack of interest or attention. We interrupt because we think we’ve got it. If we didn’t get it, be kind enough to interrupt us and say that.
But, while being an Englishman in Rio may be very annoying at times, I have to say a fear a bit how it must be for a Brazilian in England. When I think about the possibility of going to the UK, I often have nightmares about the ways in which I may end up in prison or even dead. Here are some of them:
1) Offering to hold someone’s bag on the subway because I’m sitting down and they’re standing up and being confused with a robber.
2) Snapping my fingers to a waiter and being kicked out of a restaurant for poor manners.
3) Standing on the left side of the escalator, being pushed, falling, hitting my head and dying.
4) Describing an Asian person by pulling the sides of my eyes and being considered a racist.
5) Saying “Oi!” and being beaten up.