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March 19, 2009



And I keep thinking of new ones, like "You know you're a gringa in Brazil when a friend tells you on MSN that a concert was 'D++,' and you thought he meant it sucked."

Or, "You know you're a gringa in Brazil when a guy you met 10 minutes earlier at a club asks if you want to make out in the corner, and you're apparently the only one who thinks that's creepy and a little gross."


Just out of curiosity, what do you put on your hot dogs? LOL


"You think it's strange to put corn, mayonnaise or mashed potatoes on a hot dog."
What the...? You don't put mashed potatoes in hot dogs up there? How come? That's why I EAT hot dogs haha =D

Very nice blog,I read it everyday,
keep it up o/


For #3: And now imagine me, male, asking for "pau"...

For #6: The media portrays the Northeast as a violent, dry, poor land and Northeasters love to complain about it. Pernambucanos fight with Soteropolitanos over who has the best Carnaval. Torcidas (from the same futbol team) fight each other. Anyway, Brazilians love a good rivalry.

For #7: Only movie theaters have reliable clocks in Brazil.

For #9: I have received the name "galego", but that doesn't mean I'm a Spaniard from Galicia.

For #18: Nor will I understand ruining pizzas with condiments. Ridiculous. Learn to make good pizza instead of putting ketchup and mayo on it.

For #20: Brazilians tell I'm a foreigner from the accent, not from mistakes. Good observation.

Ernest Barteldes

The first thing that my Brazilian ex-wife complained about when she came to the US was the fact that they didn't have condiments on hot dogs like they do in Brazil... the only places where I found people putting potato flakes ("batata palha") or other weird toppings were in Newark's Ironbound district and in Miami Beach --- where I also found ketchup and mayo at pizza places...

On the ethnic nicknames: I was often called "Alemao" (German) because of my fair skin and light hair (though I am not blond). On a recent visit to Fortaleza, people were fascinated with my wife's eyes (she is from Poland, and
has bring blue-green eyes) --- they would often stop us at restaurants and bars
to comment on their color...


About #7, I saw an episode of The Big Bang Theory just the other day where they made this exact joke, so I don't think this is a particular brazilian thing.

Some others I think are funny because even tho I'm brazilian, I never quite got why people do that, like #12, #17 and #18.



"You know you're a gringa in Brazil when a guy you met 10 minutes earlier at a club asks if you want to make out in the corner, and you're apparently the only one who thinks that's creepy and a little gross."

Maybe you wouldn't find it creepy or gross if you were british. Many british girls are actually the ones asking the guys out. But I find that many brazilian girls are as prudish as the average girl from the US. The fact that the guys are ASKING doesn't mean that they're GETTING. :)

And Rachel, a question (and I do not mean to offend): why people from the States call themselves "americans" when there's several other american countries (Brazil included)? Isn't America supposed to be the continent? (and "north american" won't do either, i'm afraid, since there's Canada). We all know what you mean, but I find it a tad offensive to the other american citizens.


Thank you to tell me about this blog!! Very necessary to improve my english!!! hahaha
Nice post, as always!

Thaddeus Blanchette

Divino, I have a question to ask you, too (and I do not mean to offend)...

Why do Brazilians who are offended by the use of "American" to describe things from the U.S. then use "norte americano" for the same, committing the EXACT SAME sin they acuse the ianquis of?

"North America" is, of course, a continent and it includes the U.S., Canada and Mexico as well as (arguably) the Carribean nations.

I'm asking because this error seems well-nigh endemic among Brazilians and it seems to me that you could just simply cut out the middle man and ask why Brazilians insist on offending all of North America by assuming that it's one large country. If you find the answer to that problem, you'll probably have the answer to your original question as well.

Given that you're such a stickler for proper terminology, Divino, I do hope that you consistently use the proper Portuguese adjective to describe things and people from the United States: estadunidense. If you were a student of mine, I'd now require you to use that term for the rest of the semester and I'd take points off of your work every time you used "norte americano".

As for me (and I suspect most Brazilians and Americans) I use "American(o/a)" for three reasons:

1) It is the gramatically correct contraction of the proper term, "United States of American".
2) It is an emic term, used by the natives and anthropologists are supposed to respect these (which is why, for example, we call the Sioux the "Lakota" and feel self-righteous for doing so).
3) It's a hell of a lot easier to say than "United Statesian" or "estadunidense".


Of course there is another America in the South too . "America" and "American" simply became a term that refers to those from United States. It's not something 'imposed' . It doesn't mean americans are acting superior when they say that. People who don't like americans use this excuse. But they are just judging . Brazilians get annoyed for no reason when they hear the word american when referring to United States . We need to remember that not everybody is educated equally . Some people only learn from others , hear from others , and act like the others . And most of times they learn wrong from the others .


In Goiás and Brasilia they also serve hot dog with mashed potato , corn and peas . Just ask for 'cachorro quente completo' . LOL
People like the idea of having many things in only one hot dog .
Hot dog is cheap in Brazil . With all those toppings it can even replace a meal .

Mauricio Meireles

Americans are not trying to feel superior when they say they're "americans". Before Brazil becoming a republic, the country was named United States of Brazil, and the people here were called "brasileiros". USA has America in its name, so it isn't "imperialism" to call them americans.


And you're a gringa/o in Brazil when your American friends recoil when you put your hand on their knee while making a point in a conversation.


hey! there are too seatbelts in the back of brazilian cars! the newer ones (probably from around the year 2000) have 2 seatbelts just like the ones in the front, and the middle passenger has one just like the ones you find in airplanes.. (when I was a kid, all three of them were like this)... and the fanciest cars nowadays have all three in the back like the ones in the front! What happens a lot with the older cars is that the owner chooses to hide the backseat belts under the seats...

the national traffic code (codigo nacional de transito) made it a rule to buckle up a "long" time ago, i believe around 1998... before that there was no law that made even the driver and front passenger do that!
nowadays i believe that about 95% of drivers and front passengers buckle up...and strangely a lot of those 5% are young people, that grew up knowing all about the law!
in the back i believe that about 80% of brazilians buckle up if on trips (highways), but not in the city... that doesnt mean that if the police stops the car they wont fine the driver! (you might notice that when approaching the famous "blitz", all passengers speedly buckle up!) LOL... or, better yet... kkkkkkkkk]

other than that, pretty great your post! Finally the mood is lightening up around here!


I am Brazilian and I always called people from the USA Americanos. Don't see any problem with that.
Rachel, why do you guys feel gilty about having a maid? Didn't get it.


Lets not enter the "America" issue. There are many Wikipedia articles about it.

For Latin Americans, North and South america are SUBcontinents, and there is ONE continent named America. Continental division is relative to culture (REALLY), and in northern europe and US and Canada (as well as Asia) they DO NOT aknowledge a continent called América. They consider TWO continents: South and North America. When speaking about both, they say "Américas" not América.

It certainly sounds a bit offensive to latin americans, more than calling themselves americans, to call US as América. (specially considering that the first time the word América was used, it was written over the south american continent!)

But either way, thats not to blame the americans only, after all, many other europeans also used the word america to describe US alone.

When the word America stopped being used to describe the new world, but to describe US alone? Really dont know, probably is the root of the problem. Nothing worth discussing on a blog, as it usually only cause bitterness on both sides.


1 - X sounds more like shee´s, than just chee, I think

3 - its quite funny, since gaúchos call Pão Francês as CACETINHO (which means a short and thick wood... and obviously, the word cacete is also used for male genitals)

4 - huauhahuau is like "lol". We use sometimes haha, but hehe is more common.

6 - spot on about we gaúchos ;)

11 - sad but true, with exception of a few cities, usually smaller ones. Gramado for example. As for bigger cities, I can only think of Brasilia.

13 - seatbelts on the back of the car are required by law and all cars have them. Unless its an old car. Now, what usually happens is that the female part of the belt is usually stuck under the damn seat, by car cleaners!

14 - surely, we need to find a better word for it. Electrical shower sounds really bad for foreigners. Like a torture device... you can imagine electric rays burning people under it :)

18 - since gaúchos are not brazilian, we dont put smashed potato on our hotdogs :D ;) I agree that ketchup in pizza is disgusting (and actually, a capital crime in São Paulo). But I dont agree with the above poster about brazilian pizza being bad. Of course, some ARE BAD (specially rodizio, and those are also usually the ones which people put ketchup over)

19 - motels are not used only by young people. Its a great place to have sex in several occasions like: brazilian valentines day, wedding anniversary, to escape sexual routine, if you want to have sex without the other person knowing where you live (not all people that have sex with you actually deserve any more commitment than that!)


HAHAHA, love it!
First time commenting, not first time visiting. You have a very nice blog here. I'm a Brazilian "gringa" living in Boston for 13 years now.

Daniel J.

21- When you realise that most people in Brazil take two or even three showers a day
22 - When you notice that Brazilian people really enjoy going to places like McDonald’s, Subway or even shopping centers
23- When you’re surprised by the fact that everyone’s plate has rice and beans at lunchtime(sometimes even at dinner)
24 -Sport equals football(or soccer) in Brazil, and you feel embarrassed that everyone can play it well(’cause you can’t)


22 - When you notice that Brazilian people really enjoy going to places like McDonald’s, Subway or even shopping centers

You must be in SP, because that's definitely not the case in Rio.



Why would anyone feel guilty for having a maid?? Well, maybe because they don't make enough money to survive, and they're abused by families?? I don't think this one is hard to get.


Mashed potatoes?? Yuck! That's why i dont eat hot dogs in Sampa or Rio :P
I like hot dogs with chicken! haha.. go figure! But it's good! And I always "laughed" hahaha instead of rs, or kkk.. it sounds weird even in Portuguese.. I don't know why people use it.

Good one!! I'll think about one for Brazilians living abroad ;)


a) rsrsr comes from "risos" = laughs (rsrsr became an internet abreviation)
b) kkkkk is the sound of laughing . Commonly used in oral conversations when brazilian want to say somebody was laughing : The sound is "cá cá cá cá" . And "Cá" is also the pronounciation of letter 'K' (instead of 'KAY') - That's how kkkkkkk became an internet abreviation for laughing . Sometimes people also say "qua qua ra qua qua"- as remembered in the famous song sang by Elis Regina.
c) mashed potatos and toppings in the hot dog is optional. Usually the vendor asks if the person wants "complete" or "not complete" . Complete (completo) means all the toppings .
d) Americans are not used to having maids the way brazilians are . It's very expensive to hire someone in America . Usually americans have housekeepers every other week rather than everyday or live-in maids . And definetely the relationship Maid x Boss is more formal in America than in Brazil . In Brazil maids are almost part of the family. Maids can be underpaid in Brazil and be overloaded with work . In my opinion (I'm from Brazil too) , some brazilians are abusive to maids, given the salary they have. It's even embarassing some of things maids are asked to do. Some bosses think anything is part of their job regardless the salary . In general , many maids are thankful to have the chance to work as housekeeper since many of them have little or no education and need a place to live and a school to attend in the evening .


It's true shopping malls and fast food stores such as Mc Donald's attract many people in the whole country . It's their entertainment. Especially in small cities with little places to go.


A small point, but Henry Sobel is not Portuguese. Rather, he was born in Belgium. The accent might not be a total act.

Thaddeus Blanchette

Maids... Hmmm.

This is a real sticking point with Americans.

I think guilt is determined by how much you pay them. The woman who comes to work for us 2-3 times a week makes a pretty good wage: 250 R$, plus 13o plus 120 R$ vale transporte (which she rarely uses, seeing as how she's just down the street from us) for about 40 hours of work a month. She mostly cooks for us and occaisionally does the shopping.

Up until two years ago, I lived on a monthly wage of about 1000-2000 reais. Our maid makes that, given her work for us and for a few other people. I certainly don't feel guilty about the wage I pay or the way she's treated. Hell, our maid recently just bought her own appartment, which is something we can still only dream of!

But yeah, I do think Brazilians take these people for granted more often than not and a big topic of discussion in our household is always "how are we treating her? Is her pay adequate?"

"Quase da família" unfortunately too often means "all the responsabilities of the family but none of the rights, all the responsabilites of a worker but none of the rights." But I've also seen many cases where people really sacrifice themselves for their maids, so I wouldn't want to make a blanket opinion.

An interesting film for people to see which deals with this topic in a sensitive fashion is "Bendita fruta".

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