Abroad Blog of the Week: Born Again Brazilian

Although a little later that usual, I am proud to bring you the Abroad Blog of the Week! I found Born Again Brazilian about a month ago and since then have been fascinated with her project of becoming Brazilian. This American-born blogger moved to Sao Paolo from NYC about two years ago with her Brazilian husband and little girl. But on January 1st of this year, she took on a new challenge – do one Brazilian thing every day and blog about the venture. She is now +203 days into her journey and has even survived being Brazilian in Chicago (I’d say that’s is pretty global-from-home-worthy). On top of all that, Born Again Brazilian was so gracious to give me a last minute interview. THANK YOU!!! Here’s what she had to say:

Now that you are +203 days into your Brazilian Challenge, what is your favorite challenge so far?

While the travel experience and the food tasting challenges are the most fun, my favorites are the ones that are really kind of scary and challenge me in both the culture and language. So I’d have to say that my very favorite is “The Exams” when I spent the morning experiencing the Brazilian medical exam center system and learning all sort of new vocabulary.

You’ve been State-side for almost six weeks. How hard has it been to be Brazilian in Chicago?

Harder than I thought. Chicago doesn’t have a large Brazilian community like New York and Los Angeles, so I’ve been limited on food, art and entertainment venues. But it has forced me to test my Brazilian behavior skills, which gets me closer to the original goal of my blog – to become more Brazilian.

What do you prefer: Brazilian parenting styles or American parenting styles?

That’s difficult because parenting styles vary within both cultures. But I feel like American parents are much more involved in the details of their children’s lives. Brazilians tend to put less importance on day-to-day participation and feel it is acceptable to pass tasks, like bathing and feeding, off to others. My mothering mindset is more aligned with the American way, probably because of my American upbringing. But I have witnessed a few American expat mothers adapt into the Brazilian parenting style quite easily.

Who speaks better Portuguese, you or your daughter?

My daughter. Hands down.

What advice would you give someone trying to assimilate into another culture?

I just published “10 Tips for Surviving Sao Paulo,” on my blog. I think all ten pretty much apply to anyone assimilating into another culture. But the one main clue to adaptation is to know that you need help. Most larger cities have organizations for expats and I would highly recommend seeking out those groups for information and support.
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