Brazilian Challenge Day 38: Passive Aggression

Brazilians are notoriously passive aggressive. I’m sorry Brazilian friends, family and readers… you are. You may not recognize it because you all are – it’s like sea urchins not noticing how they are all underwater. But throw a submarine into the mix, and things start to surface.

I haven’t been that happy with my daughter’s school. I missed the beginning-of-the-year meeting (for a couple good reasons). But I still wanted to meet my daughter’s new teacher. However, the school director’s view was that it was absolutely impossible for me to meet the teacher during their two-week “adaptation” period. Mind you, all the kids have been there for at least nine months already, most of the entire six kids have been there since they were one-year-old. So I do believe that they were f-ing with me for not going to the meeting. And for being an aggressive American in general.

Now, I’m not a passive aggressive person. I’m quite the opposite (which would be aggressive). I can bring someone to their knees with words. I’m not proud of it, but at the height of my raging pregnancy hormones, I’ve made grown men cry in business situations. If I’m motivated to do so, I will take you down with conversation. In English, that is. In Portuguese, I need a new strategy.

As of this morning, I had yet to hear back from the school director about when we could meet the teacher. Four whole days of some unknown being responsible for 3 to 4 hours of my daughter’s fragile life went by.  Nor had he emailed me all the information received at the meeting that he promised he would.

So in order to be more Brazilian today, I thought I’d fight fire with fire.  Remembering that the school had sent an email to parents imploring us to dress our kids in the school uniform, my daughter wore her own clothes to school today. What were they going to do? Refuse her entrance?

When I picked her up she had a big blue spot of paint on her shirt. Despite never having seen a paint spot as big or as blue on her uniform as the one on her own shirt, and having carefully packing a painting smock in her bag, there it was. Hmmm. Am I being paranoid?

Perhaps. But I demanded to speak to the teacher in my “I’m not going anywhere” way and got an instant meeting. So, aside from the blue spot, I walked away satisfied.

Maybe my daughter will wear her uniform tomorrow… maybe she won’t. I’ve got plenty of product to get blue paint spots out of cotton.  Perhaps I’ll try my hand at passive aggression for one more day.

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23 Responses to Brazilian Challenge Day 38: Passive Aggression

  1. Suzann says:

    Yes! Don’t back down 🙂 I firmly believe that paint was there to teach you a lesson.

  2. Anna says:

    they should let you talk to her teacher of course!

    Why do u want her to wear her own clothes? I think every school in the world should provide uniforms for their students. I specially love british uniforms 🙂

  3. Lenisse says:

    I’m loving your bog… I’m Brazilian from SP, living in Florida for about 8 years now… all your experiences as a Brazilian reminds my experiences as an American 😛

  4. Trish says:

    Here’s what you are not seeing: Brazilians ate only passive agressive in a social context, but upset them (especially women, and most especially moms!) and you will see true rage.

  5. Maria says:

    I agree the stain was probably like a punishment, and i am brazilian. However, I also think rules are there for a reason and your kid should go to school on her uniforms like everyone else. To us it may be silly, but if one kid is always wearing their own clothes and not uniforms, everyone else will complain and bring problems to the school. I have been there being a school teacher myself. I understand you did that to get your point across, though.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Good for you! I can imagine myself doing something like this in some cases. But as my time here increases, I just pull out the big bitch card and it usually works, even if it doesn’t make friends. When it comes to your child’s school/caregivers….that is important. I wish I could be more like a lot of the Brasilian women I know, handle things with cute and kind words, batting eyelashes, etc. It’s just not me, I try to step back and think of how I can address or react to certain things in this more gentle/manipulative way, but I have so little patience for dancing around, I just want to get to the point! God help me.

  7. Stephanie says:

    From what I’ve read so far, you’re doing GREAT! Just remember, never be shy to say “nao” when your gut tells you so. “Nao posso” “Nao quero” “Nao vai dar…”, this kind of thing, learn all of negative responses! You’ll be prepared for the next challenge. And apologize and smile too when doing this of course! ; )

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Ok. You are hilarious. I think some of the above people might have misunderstood why you put her in her own clothes. I got it and it was fantastic to read about. Loving your blog!
    BTW. I am an American living in SP with my husband (brazilian) and our three kids (the oldest is four). I am also from NY.

  9. Pingback: The Stalker | born again brazilian

  10. marissa says:

    YES THEY ARE. I love your blog I just found it today……I have been to Brazil only once, and it was to Espirito Santo. Small state but very nice.

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