The expat quiz

I moved from the United States to Brazil around 15 years ago. What initially motivated me to do this was a movie I’d seen thirty years previously, if you can believe that! I knew nothing about Brazilian culture at that time, but when I saw the film “Black Orpheus” back in 1960, I immediately felt that it was “my” culture. How is this possible?

1) What makes a person leave their country of birth and live in another country?

2) People sometimes even leave family behind to start a new life in another country. Is it possible to love a place more than a person?

3) Lots of people like to travel and visit other places. What’s different about a person who never wants to go home?

4) How can a person not feel “at home” in the country where they were born?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “The expat quiz

  1. Rhonda Key Youngblood

    Wow! Answering those questions, for everyone who gives it a shot can be most eye-opening, and most healing. I think it is so fabulous to realize how free we really are to make our “moves” in life, no matter what they are. Detachment can be a lot of work for people. Sounds like you have the “gift.” Bon voyage forever! Enjoy the journey!

  2. Muriel Vasconcellos

    I’m loving your blog, Amy! Like you, it was “Black Orpheus” that got me hooked on Brazil. I became a “brasilófila,” married a Brazilian, and the rest is history. I can totally understand why you feel at home there.

    • I had a feeling you’d “get” it, Muriel! :o)

      • Muriel Vasconcellos

        It’s interesting: it took a Portuguese woman to put Brazilian music on the map in the 1940s, and a Frenchman, in the 1960s. I think I’m onto something here. My husband thought that both Carmen Miranda and “Black Orpheus” exaggerated the Brazilian culture, but it took that piece of foreign exaggeration to “sell” Brazil outside the country. BTW, I thought “Rio” was sweet. I have the DVD, and I’ve played it more times than I care to admit.

      • Hi Muriel,
        Couldn’t find a “reply” button to your comment below, so my reply ended up here.
        Anyway, I agree with your husband about both Carmen Miranda and “Black Orpheus,” more the former than the latter (at least the film had some genuine members from the samba school Portela in it, even though much of the music had nothing to do with Carnival), and I’m sure this exaggeration is partly what attracted me to the film. Nevertheless, when I finally got to parade in the Carnival myself, it was even more amazing than “Black Orpheus!” I haven’t seen “Rio” yet — I really must.

  3. Amy, on the other side, I was born in Brazil…my father was Ukrainian, my mother Brazilian, both French speakers and I was raised having Portuguese as my second language. What a mix! I don’t feel like I am passionate about the country or its society. Its kinda nice place despite all but I still don’t fit (although it’s convenient for me to live here at the present time)…having kinda “yellow passport” syndrome. Maybe we all have our own place, different from our birthplace , but just few go after it. As for me, tango has got me, being it just a matter of time!

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