Oi! (Hi! in Portuguese)

Vanessa Larney, IE’s Client Services Manager, moved to the UK just over a year ago from São Paulo, Brazil. Over the last few weeks she has had many people asking her about what Brazil is really like and if watching the Olympics in Rio makes her miss home? Luckily, we have Vanessa on hand to share her inside knowledge!

The first thing to know about Brazil is that it is enormous! From the Northernmost point to the South it is 4,394km and West to East 4,319km with a coastline covering 7,491km. In fact, you could fit the UK into Brazil 35 times. Even for Vanessa to have driven from her home in São Paulo to Rio in the neighbouring state would be over 6 hours. So commenting on whether watching the Olympics makes her homesick Vanessa says “no, not homesick, but weathersick!” Obviously our British Summers do not compare, even to the Brazilian Winters.

With this great mass, comes great diversity. Vanessa rightly tells us that there is much more to Brazil than the bustling city streets of Rio – with rural farms in the South, the wild Amazonian rainforest to the North and São Paulo’s city centre being regarded as the 7th most populous city in the world. Culturally, many of the areas also vary due to the different colonisation – from German and Italian to Portuguese, French, Dutch and African. Brazil is also home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. The diversity of people, has led to a great diversity of culture, and food.

The one thing we have all learnt here in the office is that Brazilians love their food, and are especially known for their BBQs! Vanessa regales us with tales of BBQs in São Paulo starting at midday and lasting until midnight. Maybe it is the effect of the much more favourable weather, as we would be lucky to get a handful of good BBQ days in a British Summer. A day long BBQ makes for a great sociable atmosphere – and what we do know for sure is that socialising is one of the Brazilian favourite past times! Vanessa has said many times that a great part of her job at IE as Client Services Manager, is working with our clients who come from all over the world.

As for the food at the BBQs along with meat, favourite national foods include beans and rice and coxinha (chicken in dough). Popular drinks are coffee, which is basically the nations breakfast food, and Cachaça the native liquor, used in the cocktail Caipirinha. If you want to enjoy a glass, which has been described as ‘summer in a glass’, all you need is:

  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 ounces Cachaça
  • old-fashioned glass

 Slice the lime into 1/2-inch rounds, cube them, and muddle them in an Old-Fashioned glass or small tumbler with the sugar. Add a couple of ice cubes. Pour in the Cachaça. Serve with a stirring rod. Enjoy!

The nations’ most popular sports being football, volleyball and surfing are also part of the social side of Brazil. At the time of writing this Brazil’s men and women are at the semi-final stages of both the football and volleyball in Rio’s Olympics, so we will have to wait to see whether they can go all the way for a medal!

Hopefully, we have helped you learn a little bit about the culture of Brazil at this Olympic time. A few of the stereotypes you thought about Brazilians may be true, just don’t ever make assumptions about Brazilians speaking Spanish, if you don’t want to see the fierier side of a Brazilian!