I’m just going to put it out on the table and say I was a mail order bride. I decided that I needed to leave the difficulties of my middle-class American life and be saved by a Brazilian.
Ok, maybe that isn’t true but there is some truth to it. I do feel that moving to Brazil saved me in a way. It saved me from a lifestyle that didn’t suit me.
And I find that the more I adapt to living here, the less I’m asked by strangers as to why my husband and I chose his country over mine. Of course there are some obvious benefits living in North America, but in the words of Jim, what about the quality of life?
Everything is a compromise, right? So here’s what I compromised.
A good and inexpensive car for an ok car that gets us from here to there. While it would be nice to have something sporty, we don’t use ours that much in the first place. We walk and use mass transit. The car gets us to places on the weekends and Mr. Rant to meetings where mass transit would be a bit of a bitch.
Ready made and frozen food for homemade and fresh foods. I’ll be the first to say that this took some getting used to. I never thought I’d press this much freaking garlic in my life! Hell, dried beans used to scare me and now we buy and eat them regularly. Canned food? What’s that? And you know what, I can feel the difference in my energy level, my regularity, and my weight. It also makes me happy to I know my kids are eating well. Sure that may not mean veggies daily but whatever they eat doesn’t contain more preservatives than actual food.
Convenience stores/Target for Lojas Americanas. I really spend a hell of a lot less money in Brazil. There’s little to no spontaneous shopping going on as it would cost a pretty penny. I mean, do we really need more crap? As much as I love a good Target run, no we don’t. Living here has lowered, slightly, the consumerism that is so a part of my blood.
Bottled drinks and snack packs for vendors. I love the cute little snack packs and juice boxes in the US. They are so practical. But you know what, I don’t need them because I have vendor dudes selling anything from fresh coconut water to corn on the cob to popcorn anywhere I go. I can even get Popsicles!
Public Bathrooms for Brazilian Public bathrooms. Ok, this one is just sad. I still miss a good Starbucks bathroom on every corner. Here we have public bathrooms in the form of a moldy and urinated on, single man prison like boxes with toilets.
Good playground equipment for something from the 50s. Sure, I used get scared of my boys getting splinters in their little asses from the wooden slides, but it never happened. And there are some good parks, you just have to find them. Some of the slides and stuff look like a death sentence but no one seems to be dying. Hey, you work with what you got. Of course, I’m the first to bitch about this but my boys have only slightly noticed. They know that the playgrounds in Grandma’s town are cooler but a playground is a playground. It’s never stopped them from enjoying the ones here.
Disherwasher and dryer for at home help. I have to hand wash all dishes and hang my freaking laundry to dry almost every single day. Of course I have a wonderful woman who comes into my home twice a week and cleans the absolute crap out of it. I doubt you could find one dead skin cell when she’s done! I have never lived in this standard of cleanliness and I now know that every Brazilian living abroad thinks we are DIRTY! Dirty dirty nasty little people.
And there’s a lot more stuff but I let me say, there’s nothing a good day at the beach can’t cure! A very true Carioca saying! Even when I’m in a huge funk of I just want to hate Rio today, I go to the beach and think “holy crap, I live here!” The view, the blue skies, the green of nature, the wonderful people, and the even better food. I really can’t complain too much!