After a couple of months living and studying here in Florianópolis, (Santa Catarina, Brazil) I thought it would be interesting to share with you both my observations so far, both positive and negative. As you’ll notice, there is also an ‘inbetween’ category, this is simply because many aspects of living here can be both so fantastic and so damn frustrating at the same time, so I just don’t know where to put them!
The photos below show the lagoon (Lagoa da Conceição) and the view from my window, plus one of the ridiculously large and tasty avocados that I recently bought from my local supermarket!
The stereotype really seems to be true! Almost all of the Brazilian people I have met so far have been happy, friendly, laid-back, and very easy to get along with. Not only are my classmates lovely, welcoming, and inviting, it’s also apparently completely normal to have conversations with random strangers here too! So I have chatted to new people almost every day, which isn’t just good because it’s free Portuguese practice; it’s also really interesting to get to know people from such a different part of the world, and it makes me feel really happy.
Sharing the House with Pests:
Brazil’s Toilet Paper Situation:
Now I don’t even understand how this is possible, but it seems in the whole of Brazil, someone has yet to invent or install a plumbing system that allows toilet paper to be flushed down the toilet. Instead, used paper has to be put into a little bin. For me it has proven very difficult to get out of the habit of flushing the toilet paper (I kept forgetting and accidentally blocked the toilet in my first house, oops!) and something about putting it into a bin with everyone else’s paper just feels so inherently wrong to me! I will never take toilets at home for granted again.
Kalzones, Empanadas, Pão de Queijo, and other wonderful baked goods:
Want to enter the country? go to university? travel on a bus? buy a sim-card? or even do something as simple as order a pizza? Well I’m afraid there’s always a specific form of identity you’ll need to apply for first … and to do that you need to fill out some paper work … and to do that you need to travel to this place … then you need to go there, get that, give this to them, get that from them, come back here, go back over there, fill out 10,000 more forms, pay this, pay that, a bit more paperwork, then do it all over again. Absolutely nothing is simple here, and there’s no one to help you with all of the complications, you are left to fend for yourself.
Although it can be terribly stressful, I can’t allow myself to put this bureaucracy purely into the ‘bad’ category, because it has it’s advantages. For a start, nothing is ever completed quickly, and locals know this. For this reason it seems to me that Brazilians have a lot more patience than we do at home; we are so used to being able to access everything immediately that we are easily frustrated when someone is late or incompetent. Whereas people here make me feel at ease, they know that these things always take time, so if I am struggling, and it has an effect on something that I was supposed to be doing, nobody really minds. I can just trundle along at my own pace, slowly ticking off all of the things on my long to-do list. Secondly, having to sort out such complicated processes all alone really felt like I’d been thrown in at the deep end, which means that I have come out the other side feeling more independent, grown up, and proud of myself. I now know that I managed to find creative ways to adapt to challenges and overcome complications, with no one but myself to rely on.
If you’ve enjoyed reading, have any advice, or anything else to add, please leave a comment, I love reading what you have to say! 🙂