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
During the build-up to the Olympics, I was intrigued to read various guides intended for people visiting the UK during the games, about London and the British. Typically, all of them included the usual stereotypes about British politeness and etiquette, particularly with regard to our propensity to queue and apologise profusely for no reason.
As I pondered the reality of these stereotypes I also started think about how my daily interactions with strangers in São Paulo compare with those in the UK. Are the British really as polite as we’re made out to be? And how do Paulistanos compare? Well, let’s have a look… Continue Reading
You may have noticed that I categorically failed to deliver the sequel to my last post – Six months in São Paulo – Part 1. Alas, travelling encroached upon my writing time and to finish it now would seem a little odd given that it’s almost nine months since I arrived in the big SP. As such, a review of what I’ve learnt might be best left until the biggy – my one year anniversary.
Besides, whilst I was appeasing my South American wanderlust (well, for a couple of months maybe), I discovered something infinitely more interesting about myself and which to share with you today.
And this great awakening is?
Well, whilst travelling I started to find myself becoming defensive of São Paulo. Yes dear reader, it seems that I may have subconsciously acquired an affection for the place, an affection that makes me defensive when other people are critical of it. Continue Reading