Becoming Brazilian

I never thought of my daughter as super American, but being born and raised there for the first two and a half years of her life, she picked up on subtleties that I didn’t realize until we were suddenly out of our normal environment.

We have only been in Rio for a couple months, but already I notice that she is becoming Brazilian in ways that she probably wouldn’t have picked up in the States.   It is a fun transformation to watch.

Here are the ways in which she is becoming more Brazilian:

1. Little Pants:  This is not a recent acquisition.    Everyone who knows L is aware of her obsession (NOT passed down from her mother) with stretch pants that she calls “little pants.”   While her and her jeggings might have been mocked in Chi-town, in Rio she fits right in as fashion forward.

2.  Pão de Queijo:  Brazilians in general are obsessed with the gooey goodness made of cheese and cassava flour.  When we got here L was a bit skeptical.  Now when the weekend hits, she suggests a coffee shop visit so she can have a hot chocolate and pão de quejo.

2. Açaí:  When we first arrived, we took L out for açaí and I was sure she was going to love it.  How can one not love a large bowl of sweetened, pureed berry pulp, topped with granola, nuts or fruit?   But the bright purple color put her off and truth be told, we didn’t choose the best açaí place.    But by the time our visitors arrived a couple of weeks ago, L not only loved the stuff but was running defense on our shared cup.   By the time she finished she was literally sporting a bright purple ring on her face where she had hoarded the glass to keep anyone else from finishing it off.

3. Beans and Rice: The Brazilian national diet consists of beans and rice and while Lhas always had an affinity for them, she now expects them on a daily basis.   The other day she looked at me and proceeded to instruct me how exactly I should mix them together, throwing in a bit of farofa (a toasted manioc flour mixture that most non-Brazilians think tastes a bit like sand).

4. Correcting my Portuguese:  My parents are coming in a month and my mom has been busy trying to learn some Portuguese.   When we Skype, L gives her pointers and corrects her pronunciation.  The other day she was telling my mom that she was eating pasta and then translating it to Portuguese.  When my mom didn’t hear her, I repeated what L said, but apparently mispronounced it.   I thought I had a couple of years before my daughter started speaking better than me, or at least correcting me, but I was wrong.   As soon as “macarrão” came out of my mouth, L chimed in that I didn’t actually say it correctly.  If that wasn’t bad enough, as soon as her papai got home, she had to reenact it all so he could have a good laugh too.

5. Bathroom Etiquette:  I can see developmentally L is working her way into following, or at least making rules.  So I suppose it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise this week when she reprimanded me for throwing toilet paper in the toilet and not the trash can.   “No, mamãe, that’s not the way we do it.  You have to put the paper in the trash, not in the toilet!”

What am I missing?  What will come next?   I suppose there are still ways that she is still very American as well.


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