1. You’ll never forget the 7×1.
It’s one of those things you never forget. “Hey, where were you when Brazil lost to Germany?”, we shall always say. Most of us lost part of our hearts that day. I know I did. I shall never enjoy soccer as long as the yellow shirt is maculated with the CBF logo.
2. You started drinking coffee at an early age.
Of course, coffee is not endemic to Brazil, almost every country in the world consumes it. But it is one of the biggest exports of Brazil’s economy and a regular in Brazilian kitchens, botecos, and restaurants. Espresso is widely available in every big city, but the coado is king at home for both adults and kids.
3. You’re not too proud of your history.
There where people here before, but Brazil was born when European ships appeared on the shores to “conquer” — meaning, of course, to kill almost everyone, take whatever’s available, and impose slavery on the poor surviving souls. Our history is one of invasion, genocide, injustice, exploration and poor administration.
4. You’re not really from here.
Still, Brazil grew up to become one of the friendliest countries in the world for whoever may be in need of starting again. From Germans to Nigerians, from Japanese to Turkish, everyone and their moms ended up here. The fact that we’re all mixed may explain our singular (some say legendary!) physical beauty.
5. It’s not that you don’t trust politicians, it’s more that you don’t know their names.
Yeah, politicians suck. Some say we inherited the corruption problem from our South European “conquerors”. Some say it’s because our democracy is too new. Some say it’s because people have to, but don’t know how to vote. But the fact is: we don’t know who we elect. Of course, most people know the President’s, local Governor’s and Mayor’s names, but who controls the country? The Senates and Câmaras, elected trough a shady system. Nowadays, while the country faces deeply serious political crisis, they are quite busy building an shopping mall, praying inside the Senado, and approving their salary raises. But we don’t know who they are, or how they got there, so we just ignore them. Why care, when it’s easier to blame the President for everything, from traffic jams to the price of beer?
6. You learned about Bandeirantes at school.
Yeah, those heroic guys fighting savages, entering jungle to bring progress to the countryside. Or were they? Nowadays the Bandeirante figure is seen more as a bunch of bounty hunters, bringers of disaster, and promoters of genocide. Not exactly the kind of guys you’d want around your family or tribe.
7. Soccer is your first and foremost religion.
Brazilians take soccer very, very seriously, even when the national team faces its darkest period ever. Soccer is by far the chosen sport for everyone, everywhere. A small village may not have a school or a hospital, but will have three things: a church, a boteco, and a soccer field.
8. Novelas are part of your life.
It doesn’t matter where you live. It doesn’t matter if you love or hate then. And doesn’t even matter if you never watch TV. Novelas are a big part of your life. They set trends, influence opinions and promote cultural changes. From time to time comes a novela to unite teh whole country in front of the TV, regardless of age, region, or social status. Like major hit Avenida Brazil in 2012.
9. You strongly believe that everything’s better with farofa!
Like novelas, farofa is one of the few things that you can find all over Brazil. You eat farofa with meat, rice, beans, fish, soup, etc. Even the popular snack tapioca is no more than a farofa pancake with sweet or savoury filling.
10. The idea of crossing the country scares you.
It’s not impossible, but going from one point to the other is not an easy task. Brazil is more of a continent than a country and regions are very different from one another. There’s the Amazon covering almost 60% of the area. There’s the huge coastline. There’s the cerrado, the pampas, the Mata Atlântica and several smaller, local climates. There are colonial towns and one of the biggest cities in the world. And there are, of course, monstrous soy fields and cattle farms. Scary stuff.
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