Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Our Health: Prevention first!

One of the things that catch my attention in the USA, one of the largest and richest countries in the world, is how little health prevention is reinforced. We read articles about health but the focus seems to be in “miracle diets” and “how to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks” instead of how to eat healthy and exercise thus preventing several killers like heart disease and diabetes.

Add to that the cost of health insurance and the fact that many Americans don’t have any public type of health care, and you see why the hospitals are full of sick people. Many people wait until they are very sick to finally seek medical care. My daughter is a medical student and she sees it every day: people who are very unhealthy because they’ve destroyed themselves with bad foods, lack of exercise and smoking.

We do not see many government ads on TV about eating right and exercising. Public school cafeterias still sell garbage to the students. Many people get their food from convenience stores, which is filled with white flour, fat laden and sugary treats. There is little to none physical education in school. Kids now sit in front of the computer a lot and don’t play outside enough.  Parents are overworked and have long commutes, so dinner sometimes is pizza or take out from a fast food restaurant.

Except for some advocates such as Anderson Cooper on CNN, little is said about prevention in the national media. The big food corporations fill TV ads with candy, soda and chips ads on channels viewed by children.  I applaud Michelle Obama’s initiative when it comes to teaching children a more healthful lifestyle but I think it is not reaching enough people. The message is right but somehow it is not being effective. Fast food and processed foods are ingrained in the American lifestyle.

I have also not found one doctor in this country who told me I should eat right and exercise (see my post about the 5 minute doctors). There is no holistic approach and no interest in teaching people how to maintain their health. They are too hurried trying to see the most number of patients a day. There is actually a shortage of doctors in many areas in America.

The number of obese people, including children, in the USA is a shocker for the rest of the world.  Somehow the past administrations have not been able to reach these people. It is a national disaster. When being fat is considered acceptable, and feeding children bad foods is a norm, the future of the citizens is compromised.

November 13, 2010 Posted by | Health, Lifestyle | Leave a comment

Advice for Brazilian women dating American men

I had several requests for writing this post. I could just say: “read the post with advice to American men dating Brazilian women and reverse it”, but I decided to write it anyhow. The reason I write in English (as anyone can see English is not my native language)  is to make it more accessible to a greater number of readers. So even though I risk sliding into gender and ethnic generalizations, here are some pointers that Brazilian women (maybe all Latin women) should take into consideration before engaging in a relationship with an Anglo American (and possibly African Americans too):

1) The USA is a do-it-yourself country. Most men learned to be practical and fix the things around the house and in the yard. Many American men like to work in their cars, wash it, mow the lawn and do other housekeeping actitivities themselves. After all, labor in the USA is very expensive compared to other countries.

What does that mean to you, their girlfriend or wife? Hours of loneliness. Of course a guy who likes to fix things around the house is every woman’s dream, but some of them like to tinker with things even when they can afford to pay someone to do it. And some like to spend the whole weekend doing that, much to the chagrin of their Brazilian wife who would rather visit relatives or relax with her husband. The guy probably will not go stroll the malls with you. He probably will not go sightseeing with you on a beautiful Fall Sunday, or just rest by the pool in the summer. Now if your man is a metrossexual you won’t have that problem. Artistic and intellectual types often have more “feminine” interests.

2) The “Buddies” mentality. American men in a way never leave their teenage years. They have this “hanging out with the boys” mentality until they’re middle aged men. For some reason, American men seem to feel more comfortable with other guys instead of a mix of men and women.  Again, I am not talking about the intellectual types, or the more cosmopolitan type of man, but the average American Joe. Therefore, some men think it’s  cool to leave you alone at home while they do things with the “boys”: the boys meaning 30 something year old men! Whether it is sports or drinking beer or traveling, they seem to prefer and need the company of men instead of men AND women alike, which is more common in the Brazilian and European cultures. My advice: don’t be mad. When they say they are going to be hanging out with the boys, tell them: “Have fun!”. That will make them suspicous why you don’t care and what will YOU be doing-and might make them want to cut their manly thing short-and spend more leisure time with you.

Now, if they insist in going to strip joints and other places where there is heavy flirting or paid sex and that makes you uncomfortable, just say NO. Anything that makes us uncomfortable in relationships should not have to be tolerated. I am sure these same guys wouldn’t be too glad if you were the one leaving them alone at home to go stare at other men’s penises up close, while slipping them money 🙂

3) Many American men don’t have a sense of style. Their uniform usually consists of baggy khaki pants, jeans and a loose shirt. As a Brazilian with a sense of style, perhaps you can help them in that arena.

4) Anglo American men are not as affectionate as Brazilian men, and they don’t show their emotions as much. Again, there are exceptions, but I have heard that from many Brazilian women in relationships with American men. Once they have you, they get lazy. The romance stops. The sexual desire wanes and they prefer the computer to you.  Some even dare forget your wedding anniversary and even your birthday. Some are horrible gift givers. What can you do? Tell them exactly what you want. Tell them you need more physical affection such as more hugs and kisses and more romantic acts. Don’t be shy about expressing how you feel, or you will be very frustrated. And if they refuse to improve, it’s time to shake things up.  Unfortunately, I can’t say this is a trait of American men in particular. I suspect many married men around the world fall into the “take their wives for granted” mode. 

Men complain that women let themselves go after marriage (they gain wait, cut their hair short, stop wearing make up and cute clothes), and that is indeed very common. However, Brazilian women traditionally take more care of their appearance while married and well into their mature years.

5) Some American men (in particular white men) are not as adventurous in bed. It’s part of their historic puritanical upbringing. It’s hard to change it sometimes. See what you can live without. Hopefully you won’t compare your American man with your former “good-in-bed” Brazilian boyfriend..:)

6) Many American men were raised with working mothers and see women as complete equals. Brazilian men are more protective of women, since historically women have been the weaker link in Brazilian society. Most of the time, when Brazilians get a divorce, the woman keeps the main house. I have been surprised by seeing some men in America some men keeping the family home while their wives had to go live in a small apartment. Brazilian men don’t do that. The woman always come first.

Brazilian men also support their ex-wives when there are children involved, without complaining. In the US some men seem to resent women a lot. I hear and read a lot of bitterness against ex-wives and women in general, while statistics show that women have a loss of income and lifestyle after divorce, while men’s have an increase! It seems some men tend to forget that women have babies and raises them,  therefore sacrificing their career much more than they do.

7) In Brazil couples pool their resources together. It’s OUR money. They build together towards the future. American men, even the ones starting their lives, seem to prefer separate accounts and separate savings. I don’t see the point of being married and not building a future together. It is odd that one person in the couple may have money to do this or that and the other doesn’t. If you are going to be that selfish, why get married?

9) Brazilian men usually live with their parents until they get married. They are closer to their family, and they will be more of  a family man than an American will ever be (exceptions are Brazilians who like to cheat or drink). Some American men may put work and their hobbies before you. That can cause a lot of conflict with a Brazilian wife. Try to find a guy who has a lot of interests in common with you so you can prevent that from happening.

Lastly, these are just impressions from what I see and hear. It doesn’t apply to everyone, since men in America come in all shapes, forms, ethnicities, backgrounds and personalities 🙂

November 13, 2010 Posted by | Difference between cultures, Relationships | 32 Comments

The David Goldman case, almost a year later.

Next month it will be one year since Sean Goldman boarded a private jet with his father David and came back to his home in New Jersey. It was a 5 year struggle for David. I only heard about the case early in 2009 through a friend who sent me the Dateline NBC link. The case piqued my interest for obvious reasons: I am Brazilian born, I live in the USA, I was married to a foreigner and I have children. But in the first place, my heart went out to that father, and I was able to empathize with his pain.
I spent the best part of 2009 writing emails to politicians in Brazil as well as in the United States while making posts online about the story. Helping David was my priority in 2009, to the point that I left other things behind.
I am sure next month there will be many posts about the Goldman case and a lot of memories will be brought back. For me, it was seeing the wedding pictures of one of the volunteers on Facebook this week that made me realize how all the people who actively helped David through emails, posts and phone calls had this bond-the bond of having a good heart.
I met many wonderful people through the Bring Sean Home website. We formed a community. Almost one year later, I talk to these people as if they are good friends. I follow their lives. This particular bride lives in Portugal, one lives in Miami, another in Rio, another in Colorado, another in New Jersey..and the list goes on. We are united through our sense of empathy and our dislike of injustice. I hope we continue being friends and helping other parents in similar situation.

November 13, 2010 Posted by | Activism | 2 Comments