Slice of Life in Brazil

20 February 2023

Since I was in sixth grade, I have had an interest in Brazil. It was the year we studied South America, and I chose Brazil for the country I wanted to focus on. I had never been there before last week, so when I got the opportunity to go, I jumped at it. As a fascinated tween, I remembered the built-from-scratch capital city of Brasilia, the Amazon, the cattle ranches, the rain forests. (I don’t think the southern cattle ranches had dangerously encroached into the rain forests at that time.)

After 55 years since studying Brazil, last week I helped to lead a Simply the Story workshop in São Paulo with young people from all over Brazil. The people of São Paulo are called Paulistanos. We felt warmly welcomed in this huge city. Here is an elfchen I wrote with Ethical ELA and Margaret Simon on Saturday about the Paulistanos we got to see each day in São Paulo.

Greet kindly
Pursue life audaciously
Drink deeply of Amor

Here are a few photos. But really, where do I start with all the amazing experiences I had?

One of many neighborhood Carnaval celebration.
Barbecued tilapia with rice and tapioca bread.
Do you see the VW in the garage? There were many on the roads, and lots of graffiti. Not too many stray dogs, though.
So many electrical wires!
I love these little bananas.
One of the lanes in the neighborhood where we stayed.
Did you know they eat mashed potatoes on hotdogs in Sao Paulo?
Brigadeiro is a sweet I saw in a few places. A young man made and sold these ones to help him earn support.
Tereré was a very interesting discovery. It has been “a social beverage for centuries…an important ritual signifying trust and communion.” Two of the participants came from the place in Brazil that practices this gentle tradition.

Now, as we look ahead to a daily Slice of Life in March, would you like to continue in April joining us at Ethical ELA for writing poetry during National Poetry Month? Click here to sign up.

8 thoughts on “Slice of Life in Brazil

  1. What a wonderful trip, Denise, and the photos take us there. I, too, was enamored of Brasilia when I was a tween—a city from scratch had great appeal. The photo of the Carnaval celebration took me back to our trip to San José del Cabo. My favorite thing was the bustling square where people of all ages congregated, socialized, played. I am glad you enjoyed a dream-come-true.

  2. Denise,
    I’m so glad you had such an amazing opportunity. Your photos are down-right delectable. As I said about your poem a couple days ago, I love writing poems about my travels. You have a bunch of poems awaiting your pen after an amazing trip. I’m excited to read more about your adventure.

  3. Denise, wow, what a fantastic adventure! I love the photographs and thought the food looked especially good, but I’m not sure about the drink. What kind of fish was that? Also, how did the workshop go? Did you meet several times during the week or was it a one- or two-day event? Would love to hear more. I also remember learning about South America when I was in 5th or 6th grade, I think. Our teacher was lovely. I remember how positively she spoke about particularly books, etc. She made me want to learn more, and I completely enjoyed learning about Brazil and other countries.

    1. Barb, the workshop was actually Monday through Friday, all day. Most of my memories and treasures are about the people I met and worked with. They were such beautiful young people.

      We had the weekend before and the Saturday after to do some sightseeing. The fish is tilapia, prepared by an indigenous family. They would have used a different kind of fish in their village, but tilapia is what was available in Sao Paulo. The drink is like an herb tea, with mint. They add ice cold water to it. It was very refreshing! I think I’ll take Maureen’s suggestion and write during March about some of the specific events and things I learned. Thanks for your questions.

  4. Denise, gorgeous photos – it must have been such a fabulous trip! I would love to hear more … perhaps those March slices can dive deeper. The photo overlooking the town/houses (showcasing all the wires), I just loved this! Such a beautiful looking place. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Denise, are those plantains? I have never had one but I once heard there are little bananas and there are plantains. I always wanted to try a plantain like Kramer on Seinfeld liked. This trip and the food and people look like so much fun. You always do such a great job sharing your photos and letting us experience the culture by showing us what things are like. Thank you!

    1. Those are not plantains. You are right, there are little bananas and plantains. The plantains I’ve seen are actually bigger than regular bananas and thicker skinned. They had many different bananas at the street markets.

  6. Denise, I LOVE it when you share photos and stories from where you’ve been. Thank you. I’m so glad you got to travel to Brazil!!!

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