The other day I stumbled on an interesting website (see blogroll) with audio files about various aspects of living in Brazil. One thing the speaker said really stuck in my mind:
“Foreigners come to Brazil and hang out with people they would rarely speak to in their home country.”
This statement is the key to a happy life in Brazil. And I speak from experience, although indirect, and watching too many poor gringoes getting stripped of everything they have built here, including their dignity.
Call it racism, prejudice, classicism, whatever, the bottom line is:
Stick to people you are accustomed to dealing with!!!!!
Many foreigners come to Brazil with fantasies of dating those lovely brown-skinned beauties they see in Rio Carnival videos. They always forget that those curvy morenas have the following innate characteristics:
1. they are poor
2. they like morenos
3. they know you are fantasizing
4. they aren´t
Pale, Jesus-creaper-laden gringoes are simply seen as an easy and fast road out of poverty. The sad thing is that they usually are. Without going into the gruesome details of murdered gringoes in Brazil, I will illustrate this fact with true stories.
A German gentleman I met in Bahia was having trouble finding an honest lawyer to defend him against his ex-wife, a Brazilian morena who had stripped him of his ENTIRE patrimony acquired in Brazil, and also wanted his furniture. He had since re-married, with “total separaçaõ de bens” (prenup agreement) and didn´t give his new wife a dime, ever.
An Italian gentleman I met in Bahia (maybe it´s just in Bahia…) was on his way back to Italy after his ex-wife had acquired 50% of his entire patrimony and the house he had built for them in Brazil. All the neighbours were well-aware that she had never stopped dating her previous boyfriend, a poor “moreno” like herself, who now lives in the house with her.
I highlight the “moreno” aspect of the story because it is this fantasy that gets them every time. I am “morena” myself, so racism is out of the question, but the trap is infallible nevertheless.
Smart gringoes date people of a lesser financial advantage (is that good enough?), but never marry or have children. I know of one man who accompanies his girlfriend to the pharmacy every month and pays for her contraceptive injection. She gets so mad, she sometimes faints, but he is firm and insists the injection is a requirement for dating him. She never leaves him, no matter how much she wants children.
Children, for many poor Brazilian women, are not a planned, happy affair. They are a guarantee and are sometimes abandoned when a new, better man appears, only to have more.
I know of a woman who actually asked for my opinion as to who she should leave her children to. She had two sons and a daughter. She said she would keep the girl because she did the housework, but the boys would have to go. She has since “reversed” her tubal ligation to have a child with her current husband. Her sons? No idea.
Some gringoes take the “morena” with them and return home. This doesn´t work either. Brazilian women in general are very attached to their families. If you have ever read anything about Brazilian people you should know that family is the most important aspect of their lives, whether they like their families or not. It´s the only environment they feel comfortable in. She will eventually come back, with the kids, and you will have a custody case on your hands, which you will lose if your children are Brazilian.
Being poor in Brazil is serious business and some people are ruthless, really, really ruthless. So my advice to you is, make friends, date and hey, even marry, the same “type” of person you would marry back home. Forget fantasies, they can be dangerous. If you take this simple advice, believe me you can be very, very happy, as is the case of many other gringoes I have met who have figured this out for themselves.