Where We Are - 4 Weeks In

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Tuesday, August 14, 2012.

We returned to Canada on July 19, 2012 after having lived in Brazil for 2 years, 8 months and 4 days. 

Why did we return? 

Well, it's complicated and also not complicated at all.  Our plan was never to stay in Brazil forever.  It was to stay for a year.  That year turned into two, which (after struggling to find our amazing apartment which came with a 30 month lease) turned into three more potential years but then we decided to have a baby.

So we quit our jobs. Broke our lease. Sold all of our belongings. 
So now we're back in Canada.  Six months pregnant. Completely confused about our position in life.

I know we made the right decision for our future and our baby by coming back to Canada.  I didn't expect to miss Brazil as much as I do.  I didn't expect to have so much confusion at the beginning... running around trying to find work, trying to get our living arrangements in order, trying to re-adapt to Canadian culture, trying to re-adapt to living with family again.  

Who knew that hearing English everywhere again would feel so weird?

Those last weeks before leaving Brazil were very very emotional... saying goodbye to a period of my life which I struggled to find my place in, but eventually had, was very bittersweet.  Saying goodbye to my adopted family and my amazing job teaching English was especially difficult.

The biggest things I missed about Canada (aside from my friends and family) were bureaucratic...getting cell phones, opening bank accounts, renewing driver's licenses - I definitely am loving how easy it is to do all of those things here!

The things I didn't really expect to bother me so much are the things like consumerism in North America. The sheer amount of shit that people have, people want, people talk about wanting, people talk about buying, how much money things cost, how much money people make, how successful people are.... wow, my list could go on.  This is something that is bothering me HIGHLY. 


I loved learning to be more modest in Brazil. Learning and appreciating cooking more at home. Learning not to buy impulsively or buy things that weren't really necessary. Learning not to always start conversations with 'what do you do' 'where do you work' 'are you more or less successful than me?' (that last one is of course only in the back of everyone's mind...)

I'm also missing being pregnant in Brazil. To be honest, I had very high expectations in Brazil that weren't always fulfilled (I blame everyone for telling me I would be an automatic Queen!)  I had to ask someone (non-deserving) to move out of the preferential seat more than once.
BUT! But, but, but... people were just way more magnetic towards me!  They would come at me hands first, touching my belly, talking to me, asking questions... at first it was totally weird and took some getting used to. But I'm experiencing the opposite treatment here and it makes me totally miss the Brazilian "non-awareness of personal space" norms. People don't touch me (or at least they ask before giving a little pat), and they generally don't give me extra attention/special treatment. Priority lines/parking spaces/first pieces of cake for preggers?  What are those? And now that I've been spoiled in Brazil, I definitely definitely miss it. 

The other thing that I did expect to bother me (and is) is living in a suburb.  Everything is so damn far and requires a car. I miss living car-free and having everything I needed at my fingertips.  I have to keep remembering though, we only achieved this level of comfort at the end of our time in Brazil. 

Patience will be my mantra for the next little while.

At least they sell bus passes here. 

**Did you miss my first blog Gringa Goes to Brazil?**
gringagoestobrazil.blogspot.com


1 Response to Where We Are - 4 Weeks In

  1. Shayna (formerly Brasilicana)

    The things I didn't really expect to bother me so much are the things like consumerism in North America. The sheer amount of shit that people have, people want, people talk about wanting, people talk about buying, how much money things cost, how much money people make, how successful people are.... wow, my list could go on. This is something that is bothering me HIGHLY.

    I sooooo agree with this, and on a related note, one thing that never fails to amaze me is Brazilians vs. North Americans' conception of space and what is "enough space." My in-laws, three of my husband's siblings, and a baby live together in a space that is about the size of my American parents' living room + kitchen.

    The only reason so little space "works" fr them is because they literally just don't have that many possessions. Each of them owns clothes and some books, and they share the functional items (TV, basic kitchen equipment, etc). They're lower middle-class, I guess.

    But even when I've been to the homes of my well-to-do English students, they have nice but reasonably-sized houses - without the sheer amount of STUFF overflowing every single closet and storage space, like we tend to do in North America.

    Wishing you luck in your transition!

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