Brazilian women and the American suburbs
I have heard many stories about Brazilian women who marry American men (either they meet in Brazil or in the US) and then go live in a suburban house-many times far from neighbors and shops or downtown areas. Many of these stories have similar endings: the woman falls into deep depression. Some go back to Brazil. Some beg their husbands to move to a more urban area. I hope this serves as a warning to any American man reading this blog, as well as Brazilian women who are planning to move to the US and live with a new husband in a more isolated area.
Why does this happen? Simple: Brazilian cities were built around a downtown area. People live mostly in high rises to be close to downtown, shops and restaurants. People walk everywhere or take public transportation. Living in an isolated suburban house in America is like living in a farm for Brazilians. A typical Brazilian leaves their house and meets people they know everywhere in their neighborhood, even in large cities. They usually have family, relatives and long time friends around, as well as maids to talk to. When they move to an American suburb, they don’t imagine how quiet it can be. Many people are at work. Few people know their neighbors. Everything is far away. You can’t walk to the nearest bakery like in Brazil to buy freshly baked French bread. You have to take your car for everything you need, many times without seeing a human being. You drive in highways. In the winter, the days are short and there is little sunlight, adding to depression.
What can be done? There needs to be a conversation between the couple as to what they want in terms of living arrangements. An American needs to understand the Brazilian need to be around people and communicate. A Brazilian woman can make her life more bearable by trying to make friends and joining groups, especially if she is at home raising small kids. The depression among Brazilian women in isolated American suburbs is real. While I am sure many women adjust just fine, there are many stories that shouldn’t be ignored. International couples need to be aware of that.
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