Thursday, May 15, 2014

Has moving abroad made you more patriotic?

I debated whether or not to post this, because I don't want it to be taken the wrong way.  But I think I need to get it off my chest.  Living in Brazil has been very difficult.  I've spoken with many other expats who have validated my thoughts and feelings.  Don't get me wrong, Rio is a beautiful city.  I love the city of Rio.  The beach, the mountains, the historic center - all beautiful and gorgeous places to visit.  And yet I don't think I want to live here and raise a family here.  I have spoken with several expats here who have mentioned that moving to Brazil has made them more patriotic.  And I think the same goes for me, too.  For me it's more than just general homesickness or culture shock.

Maybe it's the fact that the Brazilian government is so incredibly corrupt.

Maybe it's the fact that the Brazilian government does not seem to care one tiny bit about their citizens.

Maybe it's the fact that at least 40% of my husband's salary has gone to this corrupt government.

Maybe it's the fact that the country seems to be falling apart and the people just want to ignore it.

Maybe it's the fact that I've met a lot of foreigners (whether Brazilian or from some other country) who have some incredibly misinformed opinions and beliefs about U.S. politics and try to tell me what our country needs to do to be "better."  Thank you, incredibly biased media.

Maybe it's the fact that there is such a huge distinction between upper and lower class here, with almost no middle class.

Maybe it's the fact that houses don't have yards, they have tall walls armed with barbed wire, electric fences, and glass shards.

Maybe it's the fact that normal, dollar-store quality items, are incredibly expensive.

Maybe it's the fact that I haven't purchased anything for myself (be it a new shirt or a new lipstick) in the year that we've been here because everything is so ridiculously expensive.

Maybe it's the fact that they came to repair a leaking pipe in our bathroom, worked on it for a whole month, and then realized that they "fixed" the wrong pipe.  "Oh well that's the pipe that was leaking in all the other apartments, so we just assumed it was the same one." They didn't even check to make sure they were fixing the correct one before they threw my apartment into disarray for a month.

Maybe it's the fact that we spent an exhausting 6 months trying to figure out how the heck to get my visa?

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Everything in Brazil is so much more complicated.  I understand that the U.S. has its problems.  I understand that the U.S. government is getting more and more corrupt, that the middle class is shrinking, and that our rights are slowly being chipped away.  But overall I am proud to be an American.  I am proud to (patiently) explain to my friends how the U.S. government actually works (no, the president doesn't have all the power, even though it seems like our current one does sometimes).  I am proud to (patiently) explain to my Brazilian friends why they have to pay for a visa to enter the U.S. (hint: it has to do with the fact that Brazil is technically considered an "enemy" of the U.S. because they are allies with some major communist countries).  I am proud of the fact that I attended public schools and had the opportunity to play music and sports in school (not available in public schools here).  I am proud of the fact that our country was founded on the basis of freedom.

Yes, the U.S. has problems.  But Brazil has even bigger ones.  And I think that every U.S. citizen who is fed-up or annoyed at our country should come live here for awhile.  You might leave with a greater appreciation of your country, its history, and the principles it was founded upon.

So tell me, has living abroad made you more patriotic?



Disclaimer: Brazil is not a horrible place.  We've had some lovely experiences here.  But sometimes the negative outweighs the positive, which is why we are leaving in June.

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