quinta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2011

O que eles sabem sobre o Brazil...

Hello again, sorry I haven’t been able to update the blog earlier but the past two weeks were a bit hectic. My daughter got chicken pox (catapora) and needed special attention and this week is school half-term, which means a short break for school kids and teachers (not me), so parents have the kids at home and with the British weather we need to think about loads of activities indoors to keep the young ones occupied and not bored.

Anyway, here I am just to say a quick hello. Yesterday I was talking to a Brazilian friend and she was asking me what the English people think about us Brazilians. Well my answer was “It varies a lot”. To be honest, the majority of people here don’t know much about us or our country. The stereotype and preconceived image of a hot country, full of beautiful semi-naked women enjoying constant carnival, men enjoying the best football in the world, sipping coffee or fighting sneaks and mosquito in the Amazon jungle is as far as some people can imagine. Many people I met didn’t even know that we speak Portuguese or were colonized by Portugal a while back. They cannot visualize our most modern shopping centre areas for example, but have at some point heard about the violence and poverty in the slums in Rio de Janeiro. On the other hand the well educated British person knows about our economy growth, our culture and life-style, language, etc. The well educated are well informed and with them I get questions like “are Brazilians happy with the new female President?”.

I guess they all like us, the majority is very friendly and treat us with respect, of course there are exceptions but this is a topic for another day. Bye for now…

terça-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2011

Quando filhos perdem aula...

Kids missing school...We all have been there, can you remember? Some days in Brazil were too hot or too cold to go to school, raining far too much or no rain at all and consequently no water in the school, or a public holiday on a Thursday and we decided to take the Friday off too and no school. Sometimes there was an important football match on the TV, and school would have to wait, or maybe a distant family member coming to our house and we would stay at home and miss school again, or even sometimes travel, out of the blue, and miss more school days.

Come on, let’s be honest, we all have done that at some stage in our lives in Brazil or seen somebody very close to us doing it. While in Brazil not big consequences come out of that, here in England the thing is different (and thanks God it is).

It is compulsory that children attend to school regularly from the age of 5 until 16. By regularly they mean ‘every school day’ with very little exception. Let me give you an example,  yesterday my daughter didn’t go to school because I needed to take her to the doctor. I suspected that she had just gotten chicken pox. I phoned school early in the morning to inform them that she might miss few days of school in case the diagnose was confirmed. Later the doctor said it is chicken pox and no school for few days. This early morning I got a call from the school checking if my daughter was any better and if she was or not attending school. Of course I just had to confirm what the doctor had said and it was all fine.

I’ve heard some Brazilians that live in England saying they were annoyed by so much care and control, I have to say I am not. The school is doing their job and the parents are required to do the same. If a child is not well, has a cold or something like that, the school has to be informed soon otherwise they will phone the parents to find out why the child is not at school, and if the parents can not give a good reason enough to justify that, the education authorities will be informed.

In England parents can be taken to court and in some cases get prison sentence if their kids don’t attend school, in some cases a fine of up to £2,500.00 (about R$7.000,00) for not making sure that the kids are receiving proper education. How does that sound to you that live in Brazil at the moment? I left Brazil more than 10 years ago, and I would love to say that things have now improved in that area but unfortunately that is not what I hear. I guess if you pay a fortune for your kid’s education in Brazil you might receive a better support and control, but I am talking here about the schools that are free of charge in England and are the great majority. Would you be annoyed or grateful with this type of call?

quinta-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2011

Final de semana em Londres...

I spent last weekend in London and took more photos to show you guys. Saturday morning we walked through the busy Picadilly, Oxford Circus and Regent Street.

Then towards the famous Trafalgar Square where the New Year’s Eve celebrations used to take place.
We head in the direction of the Downing Street, where our Prime Minister stays.

From there we headed to the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Beautiful attractions full of tourists clicking their cameras. I live in a different city now, gorgeous too, but from time to time I fee the need to go back and be part of all that. And what can be better than hop in a train and be in London and enjoy a nice cappuccino in front of Trafalgar Square?

At night we walked around China Town and Leicester Square, but I didn’t take any photos there. It was too busy with the celebrations of the Chinese New Year.

By the way, did you know that we can count sometimes about a dozen or more laptops and ipads just in one wagon of the train? We can use these things here everywhere and anytime without being worried about somebody shooting us trying to steal our belongings. Could you do that in a train in Sampa or Rio for example?

sexta-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2011

Na hora da fome...

It’s almost lunch time here and I haven’t had breakfast yet. I just thought how nice it would be to go to a Brazilian bakery and had a nice ‘pao na chapa’ with fresh squeezed orange juice. Something very difficult to get here. But we cannot complain either. Would you fancy a big slice of Brie cheese and another generous slice of smoked salmon on your toast for breakfast? Well here we can have it without having to pay a fortune for it.

How much is it?
For the salmon about £5 (R$13,00) for a tray with about 300gr. The Brie Cheese (really French) about £1 (R$2,80) for 250gr, a loaf of bread £1.15 (R$3,00). That is the average price charged by the local supermarkets, and I could make 10 sandwiches with the amount above. If I decide to eat the same sandwich in a Café, that would cost me about £5 and about £2.30 for a coffee.
Are you hungry now? I am.
Better go then. x

terça-feira, 1 de fevereiro de 2011


Soap operas...We all say we don't like it, but we all watch it from time to time. In Brazil they are very popular and people are glued to the TV every night. The curious thing is that while in Brazil each soap lasts four or five months in England they last decades.

In 1989 I remember watching the soap called ‘Neighbours’ for the first time. It was my first visit to England and I was studying here, and hours in front of the TV at night were common with the English family I lived with. Now imagine my surprise when in 2001 while I was in a hotel in London I notice the same soap starring on the TV, 12 years later. I thought it was a repeated version because some of the actors were different, but somebody from the hotel explained to me that actually that was the same soap from years ago, because in some countries they can go on for many years. This Australian soap in particular started in 1985 and is still going.
Another famous soap here and I guess the oldest one in history is Coronation Street, it started in 1960, and is still a big success. Eastenders is another big hit.

. EastEnders Who's Who

I have no idea how old my readers are but let’s agree about one soap and try to imagine it following the same British format. Let’s take a big hit like ‘O Rei do Gado’, imagine watching the same soap until nowadays, being able to see Antonio Fagundes playing the same role everyday of the week and getting old in the soap, watching his sons growing old too. Can you picture it? I don't thing it would be that good. Having said that, I wouldn't mind to have watched 'Friends'for another three of five years, would you?
By the way, I’d rather watch a Brazilian soap.