Thanks to the work I do, I meet new people from all across the globe every day. Needless to say, this is an incredible privilege, and the exchange of knowledge and culture is absolutely beautiful.
Of course, in such an environment, it is important not to generalise and create stereotypes, positive or negative. While people may represent their country, above all they represent themselves. Indeed, many preconceptions I’ve had were shaken; it turns out not all Italians are great chefs, not all Colombians dance salsa, and not all Japanese are shy.
But there’s one group of people that have continuously been making such a great impression on me, they are slowly becoming my favourite people.
And I am going to shamelessly generalise them.
Over the course of my English-teaching career, my many Brazilian students and friends have given me the following impression:
1. Anyone can be from Brazil
Whatever I thought of as ‘looking Brazilian’ isn’t true.
I’ve had people walk into my classroom who looked more like what I’d associate with Swedish models – tall, white, blond and blue-eyed – and at the same time I’ve met gorgeous ladies looking like a Caribbean dream with chocolate skin, all of them from Brazil.
Most importantly, they don’t appear to be fazed by this mix; their response is always: “We’re all from Brazil,” which is such a heart-warming response.
Not surprisingly, whenever I’m mistaken for a Brazilian, I want to hug the whole world!
2. Brazilians love their BBQs
Sydney is full of beautiful beaches, and you know the party is about to start when the Brazilian flag is raised across the BBQ area.
With just really simple things – a bit of meat and a cold beer- the whole place somehow transforms into the coolest club you’ve ever been to. There are friendly people, great music, delicious flavours and, of course, football – heavenly!
And the best thing of all is that whether you’re Brazilian or not, you’re invited to join the party.
3. Brazilians are humble
Despite the 5 stars on their chest, and the positive international reputation of all things coming from Brazil, there is a universal sense of humility; I can’t recall an instance where I thought these people were arrogant.
I am not naive to the issues that exist in Brazil, and it is refreshing to see people who look at their country as a whole, with all its successes and failures, rather than being consumed by shallow pride.
4. Thanks to their great sense of humour, they won’t destroy your Brazilian dream
I have never been to Brazil, but I can’t wait to go.
I have dreams about what it will be like, I imagine going to Rio and seeing people play football on the beach while others play the famous drums and instruments you hear in the stadium.
This is followed by a spontaneously emerging beach party with Samba and Caipirinhas that goes well into the night, and where you finally meet the ultimate embodiment of male perfection who will call you Gostosa and make hot Brazilian love to you all night.
When I tell my Brazilian friends about this admittedly irrational idea, they just wink at each other with amusement and let me live in my fantasy land: “Yes, you’re absolutely right. This is exactly how it is in Brazil, every day!”
There is of course a chance that my impressions are wrong.
Perhaps it’s all just a big scam, perhaps I believe this because I have only met people from a certain social class, and I have not been exposed to the realities and consequences of poverty, crime and despair. Once I’m there, I might be disappointed.
But I sincerely hope I’m right, and until I go and am proven wrong, Brazil shall continue to occupy a special place in my heart.