Hey guys! Welcome to our ENGLISH BITES – The simplest, easiest and best way to practice your listening – the only one that is 100% created, executed and delivered from me to you – This is Erika Belmonte speaking and I’ll be more than pleased to be here with you guys three times a week and I’m pretty sure we’ll have a great time together – because more than learning and improving your English, I also want you to have some fun through a very exclusive content.
Oh…. One more thing, in case you need the transcription of this English Bite, please go to www.clubedoingles.com/englishbites and look for episode 04.
December 10th. That’s the day Tuca and I arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil. My parents picked us up at the airport and we headed to my in-law’s. First meal: TOASTED BREAD, DONE ON A GRILL AND ALSO A COXINHA. Guys, specific Brazilian food we don’t translate ok? Its just like names. John is John and not Joao. We can explain what it is made of, but there isn’t any word for COXINHA in English haha – that’s the same case as for FAROFA, GUARANÁ, FEIJOADA…
After 11 eleven months in the US, we really needed to taste something special. We needed some comfort food. Comfort food is the food that gives emotional comfort when we are eating it, like something from our childhood, or linked to a place or a person which the food had a positive and unforgettable association.
I don’t know if you know that, but I live in a tiny city in Iowa called North Liberty. Quiet, deserted and peaceful. Lots of space for just 15k people. I got so used to this silent place, birds singing, squirrels cracking nuts, sunrise, sunset, the wind blowing… I do have some neighbors but I never see them. My landlord lives in front of my house and I hardly ever see him.
I lived in big cities for so many years of my life: Santo Andre and after getting married, Sao Paulo. Millions of people coming and going, cars, motorcycles, dogs barking, horns blowing… We all know it is a city that never sleeps. I spent most of my life in a crowded, busy and noisy city and it never bothered me to be really honest. Actually, I kind of liked it and I never imagined myself living in a quiet place…. but 11 months were more than enough to reprogram my mind, body and soul in a way that I feel a complete stranger here. That’s really curious.
I’m not here to compare or say which one is better because yeah, it’s much safer where I live but I do love where I was born. We’ll always have positive and negative aspects everywhere we go, no matter how perfect the place might seem to be.
Well, I thought it would be interesting to share with you something I found very positive and something very negative ever since I arrived in Brazil.
I’ll start with the negative aspect:
TRAFFIC! And I’m not talking about the huge number of cars, trucks and motorcycles going to the same direction at the same time causing an abnormal traffic jam. What shocked me is something behavioral: the lack of respect and patience, smartasses, stressful people driving so carelessly… it has not only shocked me but also scared me.
In small cities in the US like North Liberty, people STOP at the STOP SIGN, I mean… they literally stop the car, count to three and then, if it’s their turn, they go. There’s no “smartass rule”. The traffic signs, lights and lanes and are respected. Handicapped spots in the parking lot are respected. No one goes over the speed limit to pass a police officer car. It’s beautiful to see how these things work perfectly and in harmony.
And what’s super positive for me?
I’m not gonna mention MY FAMILY because it’s gonna be too obvious so I’ll say: OUR FOOD! Guys, believe me! We have the best food in the world. And besides having a huge variety of fruits and vegetables we have REAL FOOD in the restaurants, less processed, more natural, made with real ingredients, from scratch… We have yummy freshly squeezed juice, we can customize our dish, lighter options in the menu, greater variety of food, and the tip is just 10% (and not 20% as in the US).
Again, I live in Iowa so I have no idea how these things are in a big city like New York or California but what I usually see and find the most is the opposite: lots of seasoning, oily stuff, food that seemed to be thaw and heated in the microwave. Tuca my husband calls it “plastic food” – And unfortunately, they are really yummy, flavorful and…. So unhealthy. We avoid eating out mainly because of that. No wonder most Americans are unfortunately obese. It’s a sad reality that so many people are unaware.
I wish I could have an awesome bakery like the traditional ones we have here in Brazil… or some simple and homemade restaurants with rice, beans, steamed vegetables, soup… or better yet, our “pay what you weigh” service instead of the “all you can eat” one.
And being more specific: CAN ANYONE EXPORT MANDIOQUINHA TO THE USA PLEASE? Mandioquinha or Batata Baroa if you prefer. I’m crazy about it and I can’t find anything similar to it… I don’t even know how to call it in English because they have no idea what it is – at the most we have yucca root which is a little different, but works.
OH… one more thing: OUR CANDIES AND DESSERTS. The most common and famous ones in the USA are cupcakes, donuts, cookies and cheesecakes, right? What about our handmade Brazilian chocolate truffle, or BRIGADEIRO if you prefer to call it. Or our condensed milk pudding… what else? Hum… dulce de leche? Carrot cake (that by the way has nothing to do with their carrot cake)?? Or even our “pavê” yummy yummy yummy.
Well guys, of course that are other positive and negative aspects when we move or visit a country – that’s natural! Have you ever had any experience like mine? How did you feel? I want you to think about it. And if you haven’t, think about the things you like the most where you live. What would you miss if you moved to another country?
So that’s it for today. I really hope you have enjoyed today’s episode and if you did, I’ll come and share a little bit more of my daily routine, experience and thoughts. I’m making the most of my stay here in Brazil – 37 days seems to be a lot, but when you realize all the things you have to do, people you want to see and places you wanna eat – that’s nothing and time goes faster than we can possibly imagine.
And yeah, I’m saving some time for you ! I wanna meet you here in Sao Paulo before I go back to the US but I’ll keep you posted alright?
THANK YOU SO MUCH for your support and for listening to this English bite.
If there’s anyone you know that would like to receive our English Bites, please guide them to clubedoingles.com/whatsapp so they can subscribe and receive our English bites as well.
Take care of yourselves and I’ll see you on the next one. Bye