Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Babies need touch and holding

strollerAnother difference that comes to mind between the USA and Brazil is the way mothers and fathers transport their babies.  Brazilian mothers still carry their babies in their arms a lot. American mothers prefer strollers all the time. I could guess that that is a matter of economics: strollers are too expensive for the low income population in Brazil.

I remember when my kids were babies,  I carried them a lot. I also used the “front-pack”, where they could actually listen to my heartbeat and feel the warmth of my body.  Even though I could afford a stroller (and owned one), I loved carrying them in my arms. I felt that the touch they received from me was important. I also felt that the closeness made them feel safe. I never though I was spoiling them.  Dr. Spock theories about “spoiling” babies did not feel right to me. After hearing a lot about “training your baby by not picking it up when it is crying all the time”, I once let my older child cry herself to sleep in her crib, breaking my heart in the process. It felt terrible. I wish I did not make her more fearful and distrustful in the process.

American parents use the strolller all the time (strollers in busy malls and sidewalks are very annoying). Maybe  holding their babies more often could be better for their babies’s overall health. Touch, as it has been documented by various research, is fundamental to babies’ development and emotional well being.


July 27, 2009 Posted by | Being a mother, Difference between cultures | 3 Comments

Brazilians are passive about corruption-David Goldman case an example

care2I had some Brazilian visitors at my house and they know my disgust with the fact that David Goldman still does not have his son back in the United States. I asked them their position on David’s case and they are in favor of Sean being returned to his father (“obviously”, they pointed out). However, their attitude is of “defeatism” and “apologism”.

They gave me a very grim picture of Lula’s government and the ever existing corruption in the country. They said Lula is almost dictator-like and the poor population loves him due to popular actions like a “basic basket” of free monthly food items to those who have an income lower than a certain amount, the “school-scholarship” which is a certain amount of money given to parents who guarantee their kids go to school, etc.

Apparently Lula bailed out the Globo media group, which was struggling, and now they never badmouth him. Globo is the largest TV station in Brazil with the most viewership.

Meanwhile, corruption runs wild in a big scale, and most Brazilians feel helpless. Even though I lived in Brazil most of my life, it still shocks me to hear that the population accepts the corruption passively. They complain and complain, decade after decade, but they simply do not get together and act against it. They claim is has gotten better than in the past, but still has a long way to go.

I tried to argue that Brazil is an avid internet user and that widespread information is the best weapon to bring corruption to light and provoke enough ire that public opinion forces change. I gave as an example Twitter, extremely popular in Brazil, which has corruption stories availabe for all to see. My visitors said it doesn’t matter. The majority of the population just doesn’t care. All they want to watch or read about is SOCCER, Formula 1 and SOAP OPERAS. They skip the news on TV and watch the “novelas”, the soap operas that millions and millions of Brazilians watch every single night. If you try to discuss something more serious with many people, even the “educated” ones, they immediately lose interest. Girls are raised to try to be “models” and boys aspire to become soccer players.

They accept corruption with passiveness. They shrug their shoulders and say “fazer o quê, né?” (“do what, right?”). There is little sense of organization, community and activism. They say that it will take “100 years” to change the mentality, instead of trying to change things NOW. I blame only one thing for the state of affairs and corruption in Brazil: the Brazilian population. Finally, they did not try to find out more and showed no interest when my husband and I talked further about David’s case. I think they think this is small potatoes in the grand scheme of corruption. I believe that is the attitude of many educated middle class Brazilians now.


July 27, 2009 Posted by | Activism, Brazil | 3 Comments

Mid-Age and female friendships

scarlett1When girls become teenagers, they usually have a best friend at school or in their neighborhood. As they become adults, life changes such as new jobs, marriage, kids and relocation sometimes makes the best female friend fall into the backdrop of life. Some young women while vying for male attention become very competitive, and prefer to surround themselves with male friends instead of female ones. And many of us while married prioritize the relationship with our husbands, children and the new family unit we build for ourselves.

Something happens though after our forties: we need our female friends more than ever. Middle age can be a time of our lives where big changes happens: menopause, divorce, empty nest, cancer, loneliness, aging parents…life stresses that all of us can go through. That is when having a network of good female friends can be a buffer, a respite, a support. Women are less competitive when more mature. We know we do not have the power to seduce every man that walks by any longer, so we are not so focused on who looks better than who. We don’t see other women as competition.

Additionally, we see many of our “sisters” going through the same life changes that we do, and a bond is formed.  Finally, we have more common interests with these women from our generation than with the men in our lives.  Ah, and we all share our cheap reading glasses when we go out 🙂

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Being a woman | Leave a comment

Daily irritants

Everyone has those constant irritants that make our day worse.  Here are some of them:

1. Slow drivers. Those people who apparently love to spend time in traffic…

2. Products that need scissors to open.

3. Products with instructions in very fine print (the population is aging!).

4. Loud talk show audiences screaming: they drive me nuts.

5. Ads that are much louder than the show you are watching.

6) Auto-correct on the iPhone when you are typing in another language.

7. People that write to you in caps.

8. People who send you corny chain emails in PowerPoint.

9. People talking loudly in a foreign language in a public space (I have been guilty of this once or twice..).

10. Medical bills sent sometimes 6 months after an appointment and you simply don’t remember.

11. Drivers who don’t signal.

12. Needing reading glasses for everything, and no laser surgery for that yetreading_glass_1.

13. Parents who take all their young kids (and strollers) to the mall on a busy day

More to come..patience is not my strongest virtue 🙂

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Grievances | 2 Comments

Doces Cariocas will have a show for David Goldman

Pierre Aderne, the leader of the Brazilian musical group “Doces Cariocas”, will have a show at the end of August for the Bring Sean Home cause. I am happy that a Brazilian artist decided to publicly show his support to David. The group received the “Premio de Musica Brasileira 2009”, which is like our Grammy award! They will be recording their DVD in August at the Teatro Tom Jobim and will be playing in great venues in Rio and Sao Paulo such as Teatro Rival, Copacabana Palace, Cinematheque and Estudio SP. Congrats Pierre and all the members of the group!



Here is Doces Cariocas’ Myspace pages:

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Activism, Music | 3 Comments

Legião Urbana – Perfeição (clipe original)

This great song from my favorite 80’s Brazilian rock group questions the Brazilian government’s incompetence and corruption. Renato Russo had the most amazing tenor voice.  I met him when he was starting, he was in my school when we were teenagers. He died young, like many music geniuses, of drug abuse.

July 3, 2009 Posted by | Music, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cheating signs

In light of so many public figures taking risks by cheating on their spouses, many women are now worried about being able to read the signs before being always the last one to know. While some say cheating is a biological drive that many men (and women) cannot help, most people who have been through the ordeal know how much it hurts to be cheated on.

I found these warning signs to be interesting. Ignore the religious references if you are not religious like me.

It is awful to live in paranoia, but no one should be totally blind either:


July 2, 2009 Posted by | Relationships | Leave a comment

Politically incorrect Brazilians

The title of this post says everything: we Brazilians are not usually politically correct. Classism, xenofobia, racism, as well as comtempt for the handicapped, overweight, poor or ugly is more accepted than in the USA. 

When Brazilians are gathered in social situations, remarks that can be considered offensive fly left and right. At most, it raises an eyebrow or two, but frequently, it provokes laughter and camaraderie. We don’t have in Brazil acceptable  names to call certain minorities. It is common to hear white folks call a young black Brazilian “o pretinho” (the “blackie”) or a wheelchair -bound person “aleijadinho” (the “little crippled one” ). 

In a society which still has deep differences in class structure, the condescending and discriminatory tone used by many people is often seen as natural. When some people are perceived as “better” than others, this kind of speech is tolerated and even encouraged.  Despite all its recent economic success, Brazil still has a long way to go when it comes to respect to others who are different.

July 2, 2009 Posted by | Difference between cultures | Leave a comment