Danielle over at her blog recently posted on why she loves Brazil despite any particular reason an expat might find for eventually going back home. There’s a point she hits on that I think is the heart of the argument. Towards the end she says,
“…I’ve become a lot happier here after learning more and more about Brazilian history and laws and the reasons people have for doing things the way they do. It’s made me realize that I can only compare the countries to an extent, because the social and cultural context is just so, so different. This information also gave me the ability to realize which problems were true for all of Brazil, and which problems were specific to different places or social groups. Without that historical background or awareness, it’s easy to just blame every problem on Brazil in general.”
I think this is the real issue expats face and need to understand. Knowing why problems occur, what the reasons are behind it and just as important, how to approach such problems. Blindly going into a confusing situation, even the most basic one, will probably frustrate anyone, no matter where they are from. If you expect the problem, it is a little less stressful. If you understand the problem, again, you can see it for what it is and hopefully relax a bit more. All of that being said, neither of those solutions are complete. Something that sucks (ie, that even Brazilians complain about) will still suck if it can’t be fixed individually or as a group.
Brazil, when scaled-down to what the individual goes through on a daily basis , is still a country of certain basic processes that should never be complicated, yet they are. I refer to my ATM rant…I mean, observation for an example. Thinking back, I can safely say I expected lines at the ATM machine, though, I can’t say that I understood it as my understanding came in the solution (based on my experience in my own country, of course). It’s like, “well, I understand it’s a problem but I don’t understand why the way it’s done is on an infinite loop.” What I’m interested in is who will fix it and if it can only be fixed by an ‘important’ person, the type that would say, “do you realize who you are talking to?” (as some wealthy Brazilians are known to say to their less-well off fellow countrymen). In the meantime, I long for the day when the commoner in Brazil has power and can exercise it.