Things I've Learned: No Country is Perfect

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Leaving abroad is great, getting to know people from different countries, different cultures, different religions is awesome, I love it. I always try to learn as much from people I meet as possible, especially when living abroad. Sometimes you will meet people who have never heard of your country or maybe they have heard, but have no clue where it is or has a very big misconception about the country or its citizens. I'm originally from Brazil, all there is to hear about Brazil I've heard. Even things that I never thought I'd hear in my lifetime I've heard. From silly things like: "Do you speak Spanish?" or "Does everyone play football/soccer?" to "Do you wear clothes in Brazil?" or "I heard that Brazil is in the South, near Florida, right?"... Just to answer these questions... No, we do not speak Spanish, we speak Portuguese. No, not everyone plays football/soccer and some people can't stand the sport. Yes, we wear clothes, but my answer to that question was: "No, we don't we live like Tarzan and Jane and have snakes as pets". And to the other question I just answered that yes, we were a lot further south than Florida, just keep going South and you will hit Brazil.

2 Types of People

I've learned that all over the world there are 2 types of people, the people who haven't a clue about the world outside their own, and end up only believing what they hear 3rd hand via friends/television/radio/internet. And people who have traveled, either for vacation or long term and have experienced the ups and downs of a certain country. When they talk they talk based on their experiences and they usually hit the nail on the head because they're not biased. They tell it as it is.

I've been away so long that I can usually spot either one of these people. First of all because when someone who hasn't been to Brazil or to the USA will make comments/ask questions that make no sense. And people who have been to either one of these places will make a comment, followed by a fact, or something they've experienced. I've learned to pretty much brush it off when I hear stupid comments, but these comments are the most upsetting because you know they haven't a clue what they're saying.

When someone who has either lived or visited your country makes a comment and the comment is positive, you get all proud, eyes shine, shoulders are up. Now, when their comments are negative, first you get a little shocked because you don't expect it, you want everyone to love your country, but if you're smart you will recognize that they're most probably spot on, after all, there is no such thing as the perfect country. Like I mentioned earlier, they tell it like it is. Remember, no country is perfect .

Being an "Ambassador" for your country

No, I'm not talking about the job, someone who is a high level diplomat and represents any country overseas.

Ever since I left Brazil to live in Morgantown, we were told to be our country's ambassador. Meaning, only talk about the good because that's the impression people stay with. Today I got thinking about all of  this because I was talking to a few people, and one person had lived in a considered "high crime" country and although nothing every happened to her, she knew some people who got robbed, or had cars hijacked.  As she was talking I was quietly listening and thinking to myself: "yeap, this happens in Brazil". Someone else mentioned that she knew someone from Brazil who was kidnapped x times in her life. That's when I chimed in... "yeap, unfortunately this is a reality".

What does being an "ambassador" for your country mean? It means showing people the side of your country that you want them to see. It doesn't mean lying about it. It doesn't mean arguing with someone who says something bad, but deep down you know it's a reality. It means clearing up mixed opinions and showing the truth, but of course you always try to show the rosie side of it first, it's the human thing to do.

For many years I was in denial. In my mind there was no better place than Brazil. I ignored the crime and the corrupt politicians and focused on the great weather, nature, amazing people & food. I think it was my coping mechanism. Nowadays I've come to realize that there is no perfect place, everywhere has the positives and negatives and when someone makes a comment that you don't appreciate, take it with a grain of salt. This person might never have been to your country, and this is an opportunity for them to learn. Or, again, they might be spot on and you just don't appreciate what they've said. What I find annoying is someone who's never been to a country and starts making silly comments without even doing proper research, oh yes, that annoys me.

How about you, have you heard some stupid comments about where you came from? Or have you heard something said by someone and thought to yourself... "hummm, they got that right" or "I haven't thought about it this way."?

Things I've Learned: Be Curious, be Genuine

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<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/13956687/?claim=nhsabst3asa">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a> I was never a curious person in school, full of questions, in fact, it was just the opposite, I tried my best to not get the teacher's attention. I didn't like it. I learned to become curious in college. I learned the joy to have my questions answered and to find out about things, in general.

And this is what I am talking about, when you move, after you've had some time to adjust, and you start to meet some locals, be curious! Ask questions, but not in an annoying way, ask questions about life in general, be interested in the people you are connecting with, be genuine.

Most people like talking about themselves, and if you meet a foreigner in your country and they are truly interested in you and in your country, your culture, not judging, but wanting to find out more about it, you will love this person! Believe me, when people move, the first thing they do, is to judge, seriously, I've been there, I've judged a lot!

I know two people who are great at it, one person from Germany and another from Ireland, they are so nice about asking the right questions, you feel so comfortable talking to them, it flows easily.

Being curious is just what can break that gap, that miscommunication and who knows, you might be meeting your friend for life.

Things I've Learned: No Regrets

When you think of your past, do you think, I wish I had been more bold, I wish I had danced more or I wish I'd been more studious or followed my heart?

Don't!

Stop right now!!

Seriously, no one can ever change what's been, we can only change the future. Think about it, our past has shaped who we are today, and our present is shaping who we will be tomorrow. Who we are today is the best that there is with how we've lived our lives until now.

How I think about my life is, whatever I've done, the decisions I've made, whatever I've said were things that happened at one point in time.

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I refuse to have any regrets about any decision I've made in my life. Are there things that I wish I hadn't done, yeah, of course. But having no regret means that I understand that every decision I've ever made, for me or my family was whatever I thought was right at that point in time. And for that I can't have any regrets. Life is too short to be wasted.

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Things I've learned: Soul Food is Everywhere

When I was little I was a pain when it came to eating. I wouldn't try anything! I grew up, traveled away, met new people, & started trying stuff.

How lucky am I that I started finding out about all of these amazing flavors and cultures through food? I pretty much eat anything nowadays, with some exceptions.

All that to say that today at work I tried chicken and waffles! I was so excited to try it, well, to be honest the first time I ever heard of it, I was not impressed. I couldn't picture this combination, and had no interest. But, why not? The more I heard about it, the more curious I got and today FINALLY I got to try it.

Final verdict? I liked it! In a weird way, I liked it. Fried chicken and syrup go well together... yam!

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(picture taken from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/travel-leisure/americas-best-chicken-and_b_4004469.html)

 

Things I've Learned: Arizona has no Daylight Savings Time

vector black clocks icons in the gray squares - stock vectorEverywhere I've lived in the Spring and Autumn the clocks go forwards or backwards. I remember being a kid and trying to understand what time I had to change my alarm clock to. It was really confusing! Funny to think about it now. Anyways, in AZ (if you don't live in the Navajo County) there is no messing about. You don't need to change the clocks ever!

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In the US, currently, there are 4 standard time zones:

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All the time zones mentioned above are set during the winter and summer only, like I said before, Arizona is the only state in the US that does not change the time ever.

If you are moving to the USA, just think about the Greenwich Median Time, to know when to call home. Believe me, I've called my parents (and friends) at odd hours many times over.

As noted, all pictures were taken from shutterstock.com