Gringoes is a website which provides a space for foreigners to comment on life in Brazil. Whilst many go there with honest intentions – certainly more so on the Facebook page – I think it’s fair to say that the site has developed somewhat of a reputation for providing foreigners with a forum in which to projectile-vomit expat bile.
Hyperbole perhaps? Maybe, although I suggest you view a forum posting from February in which someone catalogued 66 reasons why they hate living in Brazil. Fair enough, it was posted in the section called ‘Vent your frustrations’. However, its ferocity (and banality) prompted many impassioned responses (both for and against) and the thread currently stands at a length of 44 pages.
Mark Hillary, a British writer and blogger based in Brazil, responded by writing an article for the Huffington Post (and a few months later self-published a book with the same theme), in which he provided a more-balanced account of what it’s like to be a foreigner in Brazil. In it he also pondered why expats, particularly those who espouse a ‘hatred bordering on obsession’, continue to put themselves through the apparent misery of living abroad.
From afar it would seem that Theresa May’s plans to impose tougher visa controls on Brazilians have largely been met with dismay in the UK – even, it would seem, from within the coalition itself.
I say afar, because I write this as a British national who is married to a Brazilian and who currently resides in São Paulo, Brazil.
Interestingly, almost no attention was paid to the story here. I could find only two online articles mentioning the story in Portuguese, and then even one of those was from the BBC Brasil website
In part, this may be because Brazilians have become accustomed to negativity emanating their way from the UK, particularly from the media whom they feel have been overly harsh about their preparations for the World Cup and Olympics. However, what’s more likely is that the plans are so ridiculous they don’t warrant Brazilian column inches anyway.
This is my first post for Migrant Voice and you can read the rest of it here.
Two things happened on Tuesday (18th) that made me think a bit about my status here in Brazil. Firstly, it was International Migrants Day, a UN ‘celebration’ which member states and NGOs are encouraged to observe through:
…the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and through the sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure their protection.
Secondly, with a grand total of four votes (including one each from my wife and sister-in-law), my blog was deemed worthy of an “honourable mention” on an expat blog website.
What interests me are the different connotations the words ‘(im)migrant’ and ‘expat’ have in terms of immigration. This has been something that has bothered me for a while, not only because I’m living outside the UK, but also because the issue of migration has dominated most of my adult life – both professionally and personally. For example, apart from seeing my wife be subjected to ridiculously strict immigration controls in the UK, you may also be aware that prior to moving to Brazil I worked with asylum-seekers and refugees as a social worker. Continue Reading