This is What Corruption Looks Like

You really couldn’t imagine anything more dastardly or shameful. This week, in the middle of the night, while all the press was looking towards Colombia, and the nation mourned the loss of a whole team of talented, young men, Brazil’s politicians gutted an anti-corruption bill. The President declared three days of national mourning and the…

Broken Hallelujah

Goddamn you, world. You just gotta kick a gal when she’s down. Leonard Cohen died this week, one of my favorite poets. This loss coming on the heels of Trump winning the election in the USA, and the Republicans taking both the House and Senate. Seriously, life just isn’t fair sometimes. People here in Brazil are shocked…

Stars in the Sky

My students were bickering over who had stars on the Awards Wall. One was proud of her achievements, but disgruntled that there were other students’ on her heels–soon to achieve the same thing she did. Negativity is not allowed in my English classes. I watched the dynamic for a minute, conjugated a few verbs in…

12 Things About Brazil the Guidebooks Never Tell You

Waiting in line is over-rated. Brazilians don’t really do lines. Unless otherwise directed, they tend to form a large, organic crowd and all push forward to the front. Why is this important? Banks, grocery stores, bus stations, they’ll probably have lines that people respect. But if you’re trying to get through a market or a concert…

Elevator Talk

They were all waiting for the elevator: a businessman, a young man and his stylish wife. Three in a row, all staring at their cell phones.  The young man sighed and reached out to impatiently tap the “Up” button again. The tall, thin Steve Buschemi look-alike in the business suit looked up. “It’s on strike,”…

Racial Panels and a Drop of Blood

I have this cringeworthy memory where I’m pretty sure I offended a whole roomful of people of color repeatedly. I mean, it’s one of those really bad memories where it flashes back and I mentally go: “LA-LA-LA-I-CAN’T-HEAR-YOU. LA-LA-LA-I’M-STILL-A-GOOD-PERSON-SO-GO-AWAY-LA-LA-LA-LAAAAA!!”  Sigh. It’s an “oops!” memory of Epic Proportions. All of us probably have them (well… everyone except maybe Donald Trump,…

Be Careful What You Ask For

When I first arrived, it seemed to me that those crazy Brazilians sure liked to chop things down a lot. “That’s a gorgeous, living being!” I gasped. “Hah. It will grow back,” they said. Nowhere was the debate strongest than around the base of the huge tree in our back yard. Towering and shady, it…

Time is Everything

Hey y’all—I just wanted to share something with you. I’m wicked excited. I started this great course (Happy Birthday to me! Thanks Dad!). Why? You might have noticed that there’s been a lull in the writing over here at Minhas Crônicas do Brasil. Part of that is life with a toddler and a full-time job. Part…

Daring-Do

“Heard of rainbow hair?” I said, “You wanted me to go more platinum blonde. Ok. Deal. And when I do, I want that.” I showed her a photo. She said, “You’re feeling radical?” I said, “I’ve always been radical, you just never asked.” But clearly this was beyond my hair stylist’s comfort zone so I…

Fotocrônica: Cattle Country

It was a Friday night and we were driving down Main Street. There was a COW ambling down the opposite lane. No one was behind her, no one trying to get her back into a corral, she was just on her way up the block. This gives you an idea of how rurally imbedded we…

The Oxymoron of American Pizza in Brazil

Brazilians have a funny idea of what is American. It’s a cross between what they see on TV and what they think is cool (which may or may not have anything to do with actual American customs. To point, behold the “American Pizza” we enjoyed last night: sausage (check), cheese (check), sauce (check), ham (check),…

Zika Madness

I get a lot of questions from people in the States about how people here in Brazil are dealing with all the Zika craziness. Americans are absolutely freaking out about the problem. And Brazilians? My answer always is: “They shrug.” It’s true. Ask any average Brazilian their opinion about Zika, and they’ll lift their shoulders…