RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Now that I’ve lived in Rio for over three years full time (and had spent a lot of time here writing from 2004-2007), sometimes I feel like I know the place. Especially when I meet folks that have just arrived and you start to realize how much local knowledge gets picked up over time.
It’s like New York that way, or any big city, maybe any place really, it takes some time to learn the ins-and-outs. Where to eat, how to get from point A to B, how to open a bank account or say “agua com gas e gelo e limão” with a mild enough accent.
We have a lot of people interested in being reporters for us, which is a blessing and I’m thankful for. It is hard though sometimes because not only is there a learning curve of our operating process, writing style and voice, but when people are new to the area there is so much background that they don’t know.
Even an experienced reporter has to work extra hard to pick up knowledge that someone living here for years carries as inherent knowledge. There are also the people that arrive in the Cidade Maravilhosa and realize it is the best place in the world and decide to set up a life and business here.
The learning curve for that is a well-traveled path, but it takes time. It is this need for information that sparked the idea for The Rio Times. Now after three years what amazes me most, is how much I still don’t know.
When I talk with friends and associates that have lived here ten or thirty years, and they mention something I’ve never heard of or am only vaguely aware of, I love it. I hope that means I’m in the right business.
The Portuguese language is a big hurdle, and certainly helps absorb and retain local information. It is still perhaps my biggest challenge, but I know I’m not alone struggling with it. In all honesty it was another key reason for starting The Rio Times, the desire for local news in English.
This week we covered a story about a report on how language barriers are effecting Brazil’s ability to do business internationally (or vice versa). Education is going to be a big focus for Brazil in the future, as it should for everyone everywhere, it’s a big universe out there to explore.