Blogging world, meet Ingrid. Ingrid, meet my blogging world.
Ingrid is amazing. She is a social media manager for the Army and Air Force Exchange. Ingrid has the personality of Miss America, can talk a million miles a minute, and blesses the world with her smiles every minute of every day. When chewing gum, she can blow one bubble inside of another and if that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is. Oh, but wait, there’s more. Her first language is Portuguese and she gets to visit her homeland, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, every year. How cool is she?!
As a treat this week, you will briefly get to view life from Ingrid’s eyes. This, is her story…
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How to be a Carioca
How to be a what?
A Carioca. Say it with me—“Ca-rree-AW-kah”. It’s the word in Portuguese for a person from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
You may have never heard of this word before, but chances are you’re somewhat familiar with Rio and Brazil. You may have also heard that Brazilians are, well, a bit different than what we’re used to here in the States. If you have, you’ve heard right! Originally from Rio, I’ve lived in the States for quite some time and the cultural differences never cease to make me laugh.
Let’s fly to Brazil for a bit, and into the city known round-the-world for its beautiful beaches, carefree atmosphere, and of course, Carnaval!
Now boarding, Flight 840 to Rio de Janeiro…
Once you arrive in Rio, you’ll notice the Cariocas live their lives a bit differently, and the sight is definitely one to see!
Life is good. Cariocas love to laugh, are carefree, and adamantly believe life is too short not to enjoy it. I’ve always said they have three goals in life: “bater uma bolinha”, “ir pra praia”, and “namorar!” Translation? Play soccer, go the beach, and always have romance. Because of these three things, a life to a Carioca is always good! If you can do all three at the same time, that is, play soccer on the beach while your significant other admires your skills from the sidelines, what can be better? Life is good indeed!
Hurry up and wait. Cariocas are pretty much never on time…and no, they don’t stress about it either. Here’s what I mean: My brother and I were to be in our cousin Gabriel’s wedding in Rio. The week of the wedding, we call Gabriel to ask what time we need to be at the church. Gabriel yells in the background: “Grandma! What time’s my wedding?” She yells back “Eight!” His reply? “Ummm. About 7:55 or so. But don’t be too late!” But wait, it gets better—we were carpooling with two of our other cousins. Ten minutes before we had to leave, we call them to make sure they’re not running too late. Well, they were still at the gym and had to go home, shower, change, pick us up and then stop at their friend’s house… to ask to borrow a suit to wear! Not only was this normal to my cousin, but he wasn’t worried because, after all, life is good! My Americanized brother and I, on the other hand, hailed a taxi and showed up early to the ceremony (we never could adapt to the being late thing anymore).
Women dress up, men dress down. Carioca men almost never dress up, whether they’re going to the beach or going to church on Sunday morning. Why fuss over your wardrobe? Life is good. Carioca women think along the same lines, but not to that extent. They’ll wear little make-up and won’t style their hair, but they’ll be well-dressed, perfumed, and always have manicured nails. This difference makes for a funny phenomenon: You’ll often see a beautiful, dressed-up Brazilian woman having dinner at a restaurant with a man in swimming shorts, T-shirt, and Havaianas (beach flip-flops). This difference in dress is no problem because after all, life is good and they’re “namorando”.
Check both ways before crossing. Drivers in Rio won’t stop for pedestrians. Oh, and don’t assume they’ll stop at a red light either—if traffic isn’t bad, drivers will often slow down and honk to make sure no other cars are coming from opposite ways, and will speed up again out of sight. If they do stop, either traffic is bad or that light has a camera installed to catch red-light violators (which the driver will know, of course, because his buddies told him about it). This is such a big problem, that the Brazilian government is currently trying to sue Twitter for allowing tweets about which stop lights in Brazil are being monitored by the police, and which aren’t. P.S., Carioca surfers surf much like they drive—be careful when swimming in the ocean because they’ll ride right into you!
Da um jeitinho. This is a popular phrase in Rio, which means there’s always a way around something to get what you want or need. If you arrive at a clothing store that is closing, but you’d really like to try on that super cute top in the window, you simply walk up to the store associate and say “Da pra da um jeitinho…” and chances are, you can talk her into staying open a bit longer to let you try it on. Don’t let the store’s closing hour stop you–there’s always a way around things, and Cariocas are experts at finding them.
Read between the lines. “You should come over sometime” or “I’ll call you” or “let’s hang out” should not be taken literally—a Carioca who says any of these is simply being polite and friendly. No need to cause waves (this is the only time “waves” are bad to a Carioca—otherwise it’s good for the tan and surfing) if it can be avoided by being pleasant. If they truly mean any of the above phrases, they’ll repeat it a few times more instead of casually mentioning it once. Oh, and once you do set a time to get together, don’t forget to be late.
If you can remember these basics about being a Carioca, you’ll begin to understand the secret to Rio’s light, carefree and friendly personality. Enjoy your stay!
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I haven’t known Ingrid long enough to beg to highjack her trip to Rio, but don’t worry, I will soon. 😉 To see more writing from Ingrid, read her blog here. Hope you enjoyed!
And so it goes,