Well… I don’t think there are many “Dutchzillas” around. I am a 24-year-old designer, born in the Netherlands but raised in Brazil. Any questions about life down here? Politics? Traditions? Food? Hit me!
What made your family move from the Netherlands to Brazil?
Hi demian! I’m half-Dutch and used to live in Brazil. Man, I miss it…
Where in Brazil?
Why did your parents move there?
Are you in one of those real Dutch communities? I never went to one, I’m curious…
Are you fluent in Dutch and Portuguese?
Do you ever get Brazilians saying they wish Brazil had stayed/been a Dutch colony, instead of Portuguese? So many people said that to me, I think partially being nice, partially being naive and partially really not liking the Portuguese. It’s pretty odd, and I wonder if you’ve heard it too and what your take on it is.
Dad worked at a big Pharmaceutical company that bought another one in Brazil and they needed someone to take care of it. Curiously enough, my mum is Brazilian. They met in Rio, went to the Netherlands and came back to Brazil.
I live in São Paulo, which is an huge. Really, really, really big. It makes the “big cities” on the Netherlands look tiny.
I don’t live in one of those communities. We have, in fact, in south of Brazil some German communities (and we have a lot of blonde people with blue/green eyes there). On the other hand, there is a City called Holambra (Holland / Brazil), but I consider it a tourist trap. They sell “Dutch food” and flowers… and I am afraid there isn’t much else to do there.
I am fluent in Portuguese, English and my Dutch is just terrible. I lived there only for 4 years (and for 3 semesters for my university). When I go there I use English.
There are some people that yes, think that the Portuguese did a poor job here. This is mostly because of the fact that they used Brazil as a “Prison” land, where they sent people they didn’t like so much. Also, we had slaves for a long long time. In fact, slavery was abolished more because of “image” than anything else. We still have impacts of this today - most part of the poor population is Black/ Pardo (what we call those mixtures). This has become a really complex situation, because there are no black people on mass media, on high-profile jobs… Poor people in Brazil go to public schools, and they are not good at all. Teachers are underpaid and unprepared. The medium-class and upper-class people can afford the good schools, private health system and so on.
Thank you for your answers!
Do you think this sometimes also connects in people’s minds with the fact that there was never a war against the Portuguese? Brazilians often told me that too, and seemed upset by it, or perhaps ashamed in a way. The outcome is, for both things, the same: a free country and an end to slavery. Perhaps it’s just in my mind that they seem connected? It just seems as if… there is something in both histories about which people are unsatisfied. What do you think? (Sorry, this is a weird question…)
Oh man, I know. I worked in an children’s home for a few years . The school was terrible. It was soon after Lula’s reforms, and I think there just weren’t really enough qualified teachers. The teachers at the local school, sweet and well-meaning though they were, pretty much sucked. Still, I think Lula started some good stuff and it needs some time to get better and for all the kinks to be worked out.
Where in the Netherlands did you go to uni? Do you have any sense of the Netherlands as a homeland, or not?
What’s the latest development in Brazilian bikini technology?
Ps the “fio dental” poised for a big comeback?
How do you reconcile you Calvinist background with the local culture?
Bikinis are getting smaller… But topless is still a huge taboo. Go figure.
Or… Not. I am not religious at all. I live on a Jewish neighbourhood (gets pretty interesting on Saturday mornings…), but most people here are Catholic. There are quite a lot of evangelical people as well :mad:. Not good at all. They have priests that are quite conservative… and what is even worst, they are on the government as well. In fact, last year the human rights chamber was lead by Pastor Feliciano, who happens to be homophobic and racist. He said that africans got AIDS because they preached other gods. He even called HIV the gay cancer. AAAAND he is quite non-tolerant to afro-Brazilian religions (they are quite rich and beautiful). So there are quite a lot of people who are really conservative here. Which explains the lack of toplessness. (But still we have a half naked woman (she is wearing paint) dancing on tv at 1 PM).
Ooh, yeah, let’s do food. What are your favorite dishes? One of my best friends is Brazilian and I have big time love for the food. She has a huge distaste for spicy stuff, though, how about you?
Food here in Brazil… wow. There is a LOT of meat. Really. Brazilians love meat. Barbecues (churrasco), feijoada (black beans and random pork parts)… We also eat a lot of rice and beans. In fact, it could be that rice and beans is the base of 80% of the lunches here. Something interesting is that you get different kinds of bean depending on the region. It is not common to see black beans here in São Paulo, but you will have a hard time finding “regular” brown beans in Rio. That is not because of lands and farms, but mostly because of culture.
Food in north east of Brazil is indeed spicy. Our food is heavly influenced by African cultures (you know… slaves). Feijoada was a Slave food - they got beans and random pork parts (ears, tail, feet…). Now it is quite fancy (with better parts of the pork) and can be quite expansive. Some fancy places ask 50 dollars for a plate.
Another item that is common everywhere here is the “French Bread”. On the 1800s Rich people travelled to Europe. We didn’t had refined flour here in Brazil, if I am not mistaken. Those rich guys came back, fascinated by the bread they ate in europe - French Baguettes, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. They asked their employees (slaves) to do something similar. We got… this..
The french bread brings another food-related topic: Padarias. Bakeries, at least here in São Paulo are probably the most popular and common food establishment after “big” restaurants. Just near by where I live I can remember about 5 bakeries on walking distance. Besides the “french” bread they also sell coffee, snacks, drinks and sandwiches. They are a gathering place - you go with your friends to the Padaria to have a break at work, to have some coffee, to eat a sandwich - always made with the damm French Bread. I got to admit, though, that this bread cut in half, toasted to perfection on the hotplate (where they prepare most of the food) is DELICIOUS.
There is a lot of fruit here. Brazilians seem to like fruit. We have a lot of open markets on the street. Exotic fruits are quite pricey, though. They became a “luxury” item. A small package of fresh Raspberries might cost R$ 18 (around 9 dollars).
Restaurants are pretty international here. I write for a blog evaluating “food experiences” (cool places to go to eat that don’t only have good food). There are plenty of Japanese restaurants (some of them are really really good, some of them are dreadful. I got spoiled by the blog thing and now I can’t eat bad sushi any more), some Chinese ones, Korean, Indian… I really like to go to a small Taiwanese restaurant hidden on the Japanese/Chinese neighbourhood called Sweet Heart. They have a home-printed menu that is falling apart, but their food is AMAZINGLY GOOD. And it is cheap.
So… you can get a meal in Brazil for less than 5 dollars, but you can get 400-dollar meals as well.