/ / 19: Exploring Brazilian Culture

19: Exploring Brazilian Culture

Explore Brazilian culture with expat Mauro Verzini as he shares about the foods and music of Brazil.  We also discuss what makes Brazil wonderful and also what challenges there are within the country.

Podcast guest Mauro standing in front of a cityscape

In episode 19 we learn about Brazilian culture from Mauro, a classmate of my husband’s (Mitchell), who currently lives in the Netherlands.

Some fun facts about Mauro- growing up in Brazil, Mauro has played basketball for as long as he can remember, and he played the guitar in a band with some friends. Before attending school in the Netherlands, he worked as an analyst of investment opportunities. 

After listening to this episode, explore even more and take your family on this Brazilian culture virtual field trip.

What does Brazilian culture look and feel like to you?

The first things that come to Mauro’s mind are food and music.

Food

Different regions of Brazil can be easily identified by the types of dishes they serve there. For example, the South has churrasco (barbecued meat, especially beef). The North has acarajé, which are fried black-eyed peas or shrimp. Mauro misses prato freito, which is a standard dish in Brazil.

Music

While Mauro may not consider himself an expert on popular Brazilian music (called MPB), he still considers music an integral part of the culture. It combines features from indigenous, African, and European influences—an accurate reflection of Brazilian culture itself. 

Football (Soccer)

Mauro also finds football to be a uniquely unifying force. Even if he hasn’t talked or messaged with a friend for several months, he can message him after a football game to mock his friend for supporting the losing team. It unites society across social differences.

What do you love most about living in Brazil?

“I like how welcoming . . . the people [are in Brazil]. They are always ready to share a smile or talk to you.”

In Sao Paulo, people are individualistic. But people are still open and willing to chat, even if it’s while in an elevator or at the grocery store. There’s always a smile ready to be shared.

“ ‘Oh, you Brazilians are always smiling.’ You can easily smile too.”

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What is hard about living in Brazil?

Sadly, there is a lot of social disparity, which leads to violence. Mauro comes from a middle-class family, which gave him access to a good education and the freedom to pursue sports and music.

Unfortunately, a lot of middle-class people close their eyes to how fortunate they are and how less fortunate others are. 

What do you feel best defines Brazilian culture?

“It’s hard to define a culture when you have so many different influences.”

It’s difficult to define Brazil’s culture in just one word or phrase, Mauro says, but if he had to pick one word, it would be resilient. There are hundreds of regions, but everyone is so resilient. As mentioned earlier, Brazilians are quick to share a smile and a chat. 

“People are always trying to make fun and see brighter things.”

How has living abroad affected your views of home?

Before moving to the Netherlands, Mauro admits that he doesn’t think he would have talked so much about the food in Brazil. Seeing the different attitudes towards food, especially lunch, have helped him realize how important it is in Brazil’s culture. 

Do you have anything else that you’d like to share?

Brazil is definitely a nice country to visit. There are so many natural landmarks to see. To really understand the culture of Brazil, come visit. Even though Mauro mentioned the violence in Brazil, if tourists are safe and take care, then it shouldn’t be a deterrent from visiting such a beautiful country.

Thank you for joining me on this journey! Happy exploring!

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Listen to the episode

Guest bio: Born and raised in São Paulo, Mauro has been linked to sports since he was a kid, and to music since adolescence. In the last years, he has been working with the analysis of investment opportunities at some corporations in Brazil. His dream is to become a better drummer and to make a positive impact in society through his work.

Brazilian culture virtual field trip

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