Taking in the Differences.

By 17:12 , , , , ,

"Please don't be worried if I don't talk or anything, I'm just taking it all in..." - Kyle.

I have mentioned briefly in previous posts that my friend from college, Kyle, was coming to visit me here in Brazil. He just arrived Thursday and is going to be here for about 6 weeks. Exploring São Paulo and travelling a little bit - immersing himself in Brazilian culture and doing all sorts of touristy things with me I haven't even done because I haven't had another tourist to do it with me! Long story short, I'm pretty frickin' excited to have him here. a. because i adore him, and b. because it's so much fun to show a friend of mine from "home" my new life in SP!

What's been interesting about having Kyle here for the past couple of days is that he's reminding me a little of when I first got to São Paulo, only on an even more intense level since he doesn't speak the language like me. So here's another list - this one I think I'll call, "First Impressions - São Paulo and/or Brazil." I'm sure there are many more Kyle has thought of or haven't thought of that he will soon see, but in any case, here's me reminiscing vicariously through Kyle:

1. "I can't get over how huge this city is..." - Riding the bus is the main form of public transportation here since the metro isn't so extensive. This also gives you an idea as to how never-ending the city is. We were on the bus today and realized that after being on it for about an hour, we were in "Zone Oeste," the west side of town for practically the whole time. Mind you, Zona Oeste is the smallest part...

2. "It's interesting how the houses are so close to each other, yet open, and neighbors can be in completely different socio-economic classes." - So true. Another thing I think is interesting is that all homes here have huge gates in front of them, or electric fences to the sides if not just super high fences or walls separating "properties." This is mostly for security reasons since home robberies are so frequent (unfortunately), but somehow it makes you feel closer to your neighbor to have your house practically if not fully attached.

3. "People here are so nice." This is something Kyle had already experienced when he'd first been to Brazil, and it's something I've always known, but people here are really exceptionally friendly. My friends who have met him already are already bff's with him and it made me realize how quickly I myself become bff's with so many people in such a short amount of time. I mean, some of my friends here know more things about me than some of my friends back home, and everyone's so hospitable! I swear, about 4 people called me on Thursday to see if Kyle had gotten in okay and to make plans for him and myself so we can show him a good time while he's here. I <3>

4. "Brazilians in São Paulo speak incredible English." I still can't get over this. They try their hardest to communicate with Americans in English, and a lot of my friends here who speak GREAT English have never taken any formal classes (except for a couple of years in high school type deal - but how many of you took French or Spanish for 6 years and still can't form a complete sentence? Point proven, right?) It's funny because everyone's so embarrased and always says, "Oh, my English is so bad." Kyle has decided to take his typical sarcastic approach and will say, "mmm.. yeahh... sorry, can't understand you.." haha - he doesn't mean it, but it is kind of annoying to hear these people speak completely understandable English and think they can't!

5. "Everything's so cheap." When I first got to Brazil, I told myself I wasn't going to compare anything to prices in the US. But it was SO hard until I started making money in Reais! haha. If you're to compare things literally to the USD and prices of things there, things here are super cheap. And since I've been on the Real system for a few months now, it's been funny to see Kyle make these sorts of comparisons. One thing I've been trying to tell him is that for me, now, it's harder to do that because of the salaries here. Like I said in a previous post, compared to salaries here, a lot of things are super expensive. But like I told Kyle - enjoy the fact that you have USD's to spend and enjoy the opportunity to spend very few USD's on lots of things in R$! As for me, I'll stay stingy with my R$'s...

:-) Hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was eventful and laid back with samba rock, cookouts, elections, movies, friends, and naps galore!


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