Just to keep this blog from swinging too far to the cynical side, because the truth is I love being here in Brazil (’cause it’s constantly providing me material), I’ve decided to post the reasons why it ROCKS to be a foreigner (specifically an American foreigner).
1. If you do anything weird, intentionally or unintentionally, you can blame it on your home country. “Oh, that’s just an American thing…” or “That’s what we do in the United States,” can explain away any of your idiosyncrasies or bizarre habits.
2. You can easily get out of uncomfortable or annoying conversations. Don’t feel like chatting it up in the grocery store check-out line or while you’re waiting for the dentist? People on the street asking you for money? No problem, just make it incredibly painful for someone to have a conversation with you. Even if you understand what they are saying and how to respond, instead, eagerly answer, but leave out prepositions, use incorrect articles, and offer totally inappropriate tenses. Then sputter back a barrage of nonsensical questions and watch your conversational opponent attempt to delicately sidestep out of the discussion. (Unfortunately, I do this even if I want to have actually want to have a conversation. Ask any of the mothers who have attempted to converse with me at my daughter’s school.)
3. You can pretty much get away with whatever you want by only interpreting the rules or laws as how you want them to be. (within reason, please see comment below) (Actually, in Brazil, this isn’t a foreigner thing, it’s the Brazilian culture.) If you get caught, or someone pushes back, simply explain that you’re sorry you misunderstood, but that’s the way it’s done in your country. If you go into enough detail about why your culture believes it should be done that particular way, they’ll eventually get tired (especially the Brazilians) and give in, allowing you to do whatever you want.
4. If you can actually manage to communicate with the locals, people really want to talk to you. Especially if you are American, they want to figure out just what the hell is going on over there. And for some reason, they think you know.
5. Most countries have way more holidays than the U. S.