Opinion, by Pia Granjon Lecerf

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Hello! The expatriate population grows at the pretty fast speed in the Cidade maravilhosa. Rio is zooming up. A few days ago, I was having a caipirinha with a friend along the beach at a ‘quiosque’ in Ipanema. We were discussing how we had adapted to the complex Brazilian social organization.

How many times did I hear “Brazil? It takes more time to adapt here than to any other countries I have been to…” though, when you have reached that stage, you have Brazil under your skin!

How long did or will that take you? It will be your length, that will seem too much some days and absolutely perfect to others. During that “in between” two cultures time of adaptation, life could be easier. Rio may ask some patient skills from you. Many values are different from yours. When you feel you are becoming mad and you do not want to deal anymore with that-guy-who-is-supposed-to-come-and-fix-your-boiler-and-never-appears… Or maybe is it the internet that doesn’t work, again? You feel you are wasting your time because of those so unorganized Brazilians!

Rings a bell? Ouch! Careful! We are reaching there the very dangerous and false generalization. Won’t help you. At all. And when I think that the Brazilians have to deal with us, I feel for them. Culture shocks sometimes. Welcome to Rio!

We have to deal with such very practical and annoying stuff and it will not change today, just for us. One tip for surviving those is to break social isolation. You can find many foreign associations that propose interesting activities.

Though main point: Keep your true self. Think about what really matters to you. What is it that is truly and deeply important to you?
Not for your partner, nor your children, your family or your friends. Do not negotiate with that; whatever the time it will take you to find out.
Include a “true me time” in your agenda. You can postpone everything except that.

How to find out? For example, be connected to your inner voice. Be wild and let go! Letting go of that little voice that says “What will X think about that?” X may be mom or dad, your partner, a friend, your kids if you have them, a member of your family… Notice, listen to, feel your inner voice, the one who tells you if it feels right or wrong. This voice is precious.

Those two stages can be reached with simple relaxation exercises and conscious breathing; Emotions, feelings, your five senses will come out. Then you can know if it feels good or if it feels bad. This is a first step of information.

Now, you may hit your very left side of your brain, the one that is analytical and logical. We use that one a lot. You can go through your life time line and write down all what comes to your mind instantly when asking: “What have I ever done that I LOVED so much that I remember til now?” It may be riding a horse, watching friends playing soccer, maybe skiing, a family reunion or even reading, being outside… Anything. For these processes, there is no good nor bad answer. If ever nothing comes out, go back to step one, and some more relaxation, and that is fine.

With what comes out of those two steps, you hold a precious part of what is you at the moment. Be certain that, in terms of feelings, nothing is definite. Think about it. I wish you some magical thinking!

Pia, Life Coach, www.piacoach.com


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