Friday, November 28, 2008

Mark and Monica

So no ex-pat experience is complete, without a few other ex-pats to keep you company. In the lovely Estanconfor, I was lucky enough to be neighbors with Mark and Monica -- my cooler "older Bro and Sis" while in Brazil. Monica was the perfect Brazilian older sis. M's been living in the states ever since she got her Masters in Public Policy at James Madison 5 years ago. Monica hooked me up with EVERYTHING. She told me what was up in the office, in Sao Paulo, took me on an awesome hike and was always there, with an understanding ear and beautiful Brazilian smile when I was lost or confused.

Monica speaks English better than I do. This is due in part to her being incredibly smart. It may also have to do with her husband, Mark, who is American and she met while living in DC. Mark's the most American dude to hit Sampa since Bruce Springsteen came for his last concert. Mark just screams Gringo from miles away -- but he's great! While I was lucky enough to get to know Monica in carpool everyday, Mark we didnt know too well until Thanksgiving. That night Marite and I were both struggling with language and here was an American, telling stories and explaining problems to Johnata, with a strong American sotaque but fluent all the same. Impressionante!

Some of Mark's favorite questions were, "Hey, Liz, dont you like all the "-ade's" in Portuguese? Felicidade. Liberdade. Verdade. gee gee gee. Yep, Mark I sure do. Gente boa which became a theme for me in Brazil, and one which I suggested to him, "'Magina!". Love that. . .

Mark also taught us the Carioca face, which can be seen here in this picture with Monica.

Carioca was one of the first terms I learned in Portuguese class. It simply refers to anyone from Rio de Janeiro. And if you want to stump a Brazilian, just ask them where does "Carioca" come from and what relation it has to Rio. They will be speechless! The term is so tied to Brazilian culture and Rio, people never stop to think where it comes from (according to wiki it refers to an indiginous tribe from Rio.)

ANYWAY, the modern term carioca, conjures images of stuck up, lazy, but potentially beautiful people who are willing to take advantage of you when given the opportunity. Of course, this is just the stereotype. I only found a couple of people from Rio who matched it! BUT, Mark told me and Marite about the face Carioca dudes make when hitting on girls. He's making that face in the photo above. Pretty hilarious.

Valeu for the cultural lesson, Mark! Meu, vc e meu gringo irmao sempre, bruder!

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