With one of the most racially diverse populations on the planet, so pretty much anyone can look “Brazilian.” In the Northeast, the people are usually mixed race, “brown” skin and black or brown hair. In Bahia, black skin is more common, and in the south you find more white people. However, you can find people of any skin color living in any given region on Brazil.
On many occasions I have been told that I definitely don’t look “Brazilian” or that I definitely look “Brazilian”. I have also been called French, Canadian, Italian, Mexican, American, English, and most recently either Chilean or Bolivian. I even had an interesting encounter with some supermarket workers that went something like this:
Worker 1: Are you a gaucha?
Me: I don’t understand.
Worker 2: Gaucha? Are you from the south? Like Rio Grande do Sul (Brazilian state in the south).
Me: Oh haha, no, I am an exchange student.
Worker 2: From England?
Me: No, the United States.
Worker 2: Oh man, I don’t even know 2 words in English, and you know a lot of Portuguese. All I can say is “my friend”
Me: Haha, “my friend” that’s very good!
Worker 1: How long have you been here?
Me: 3 months
Worker 1: Did you speak Portuguese before you got here?
Me: No, I learned it all here.
Worker 1: WOW! Your Portuguese is so good!
Me: Haha, thank you I am still working on it. Well tchau!
Worker 1: Bye-bye!
Worker 2: No man, it’s “Good-ie bye!”
Based on that interaction I believe that I can’t possibly stick out that much as a foreigner, at least I don’t scream “AMERICAN” when I walk down the streets. Although to some people, I’m sure I still do look completely American. But then again, the United States is a country full of racial diversity where anyone could look “American.” Maybe I’m thinking about appearances too much.
Just some thoughts from my final days here.
And I’m also trying to avoid writing my ISP paper.