The Lives and Blogs of Expats in Brazil

The Brazilian flag on a white background.One of my favorite procrastinatory pleasures is reading blogs authored by other expats who are living in Brazil. When I first moved to Brazil, the blogosphere was very young and such blogs were very scarce. Over the past couple of years, however, the number of foreigners moving to Brazil, both temporarily and permanently, has mushroomed, and the number of blogs authored by these foreigners has blossomed.

Earlier this year, when I was commissioned to write a new book for Moon, entitled Moon Living Abroad in Brazil, I went wandering through the blogosphere in search of some insight into other foreigners’ experiences of living in various parts of the country. During my research, I became an avid fan of a handful of expat blogs. In fact, in some cases, I ended up contacting the authors, many of whom, with great generosity and graciousness, agreed to share their experiences in Brazil for the book (scheduled for release in early 2013).

Many of these expat blogs offer rich glimpses into life in Brazil – not just for those toying with the idea of living here, but for travelers interested in visiting Brazil, armchair Brazilianists, and readers with a penchant for postcards from the edge penned by 21st-century adventurers:

What Am I Doing Here? is written by Markuza (his artist’s name), a New England transplant who lives in Bahia’s capital of Salvador with his Brazilian wife and son. A graffiti artist who also owns his own paint store, he spends free time creating murals on urban surfaces (documented in his blog). His constant, if erratic postings offer wry glimpses, served with an appealing dose of self-deprecation, into Salvador’s often maddening and humorous brand of daily chaos.

Rachel’s Rantings in Rio is authored by Rachel, a self-declared “Momma, Wife, Woman, ex-Pat, American, Brazilian at heart, cranky, Sassy, Ridiculous… big old mixing pot living life in Rio de Janeiro.” Rachel’s wide-ranging rants about every topic under the tropical sun are both wise and entertaining. An engaging heroine, she is supported by a cast of characters that include her two young, bilingual offspring, Chatterbox and Menace, and her Brazilian husband, Mr. Rant (who even gets his own “Ask Mr. Rant” column). Frequent features range from “Wordless Wednesdays” to “Stream of Consciousness Sundays.”

EatRio is a beguiling and well-organized hodgepodge of brasilianidade curated by British expat Tom LeMesurier who lives in Rio with his Brazilian wife. Tom’s eclectic blog mingles true life stories and “musings” with advice for travelers, Portuguese language tips, and appetizing riffs on food and drink ranging from “lemon-lime confusions” and the “ultimate caipirinha recipe” to where to eat and drink in Rio’s favelas.

The Rio-Recife Blog is the work of Michael Jerome Wolff, a political scientist and photographer Michael spent the past year living in both Rio and Recife while doing post-graduate research into issues of drugs, violence and security in the favelas of both Brazilian cities. Michael is also a shrewd essayist and a talented photographer whose riveting blog weaves social commentary with personal histories in a way that avoids sensationalism, but is informative, gripping and human.

Keeping Up with the Joneses delves into the expat existence of Maike Jones, who worked in U.S. politics and business before moving to São Paulo with her American husband and young son. Her informative journal-like entries explore transition, work, cultural and life issues with insight and contain details that are especially helpful for those considering a move to Brazil’s largest city.

Floripa Living details the fast-paced life of Chris Packard, who traded a career at Merrill Lynch to become the owner of a chain of gourmet Mexican restaurants in his adopted island hometown of Florianópolis. Although Packard’s entries are few and in-between, when he does get around to posting, the lengthy and vividly detailed accounts of his intense professional and social life make for very engaging reading.


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