LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||04/JUN/2010 2:12 PM|
Sounds like a good book.
Be aware that "I hate you" is often heard among friends to express admiration. It can´t be taken literally. You tell a friend that you think Lisa is beautiful today. Your friend says, "She has such a nice figure. I hate her!" Your friend doesn´t really hate anyone; she´s expression admiration, a good form of envy.
In Brazil, I had to get used to "the Brazilian goodbye". I think Fran mentioned it recently. The goodbye begins about 15 minutes before anyone even thinks about approaching the door.
And there is the "Brazilian invitation". Unless the person inviting you gives you a map, describes the plants in front of his house, the color of the neighbor´s car, etc., he´s just being polite.
I lent money to one of my best friends, a guy who would come to my home with his wife, mother, and sister to eat at my table and sleep under my roof. I´ve never seen a cent of the money, of course.
The goodbyes and invitations are just cultural differences. Not repaying a debt is, in my opinion, just another form of theft.
I didn´t notice it in Brazil, but here in Costa Rica I have the feeling that people believe all foreigners are stupid until they have proof they are stupid. By this I mean, foreigners here are constantly underestimated. Costa Ricans love to blame all their problems on foreigners. If you would believe Costa Ricans, all crimes here are committed by Nicaraguans or Colombians. If the newspaper article identifies the thief as Costa Rican, they say that Nicaraguans and Colombians had taught him how to steal. This is nothing new; I remember hearing the same thing 25-30 years ago. Loud parties are common here. The difference in what freedom means to a North American and a Central American is something like that often found between non-smokers and smokers. The North American wants to be able to live without being bothered by the smoke of others, and the Central American wants to be able to smoke. It is not a question of who is wrong and who is right, merely a question of how freedom is defined.
We are talking about negative things, but there are lots of good things too. In Canela a neighbor discovered a thief breaking into my house. The neighbor fired a revolver into the air, and the thief went home to watch the novela. (I bought him a bottle of wine. He wanted to adopt me.) I´ve had Brazilians do very nice favors for me, a total stranger. There are a lot of good, positive things.
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