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Today's word on

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Those were the days:

"The way I had it is all gone now. The bars are
gone, the drinkers, gone. There remain the smartest, healthiest newspeople in the history of the business. And they are so boring that they kill the business right in front of you."

--Jimmy Breslin, newspaper columnist, 1996 (Thanks to alert WORDster Jim Doyle)


Back to Brazil, with memories of big eaters, big cars, and big-time winters

By Ana Antunes

Editor's note: Ana Antunes completed a year of studies at USU in December. As she prepared to return to her native Brazil, she wrote this for the Hard News Cafe.

January 25, 2005 | This wasn't my first time in the United States; I've been here many times before, never alone though. It was also the first time that I would ever live outside of my home and my country. Of course I was a little scared -- different culture, different language, different weather. But I was also very excited. My whole life I wanted to come live in America.

All my life have I studied English, and, obviously, I knew everybody would talk to me in this language. But when I got to Atlanta, the connection of my flight I freaked out. Seriously, all those yeas of boring English lessons were useless. Who would figure that the guys from the tapes didn't talk like everybody else?

As soon as I landed in Utah I could see the difference, even better feel the difference: a 120-degrees difference. I came in January and, as you might know, the seasons are inverted on the bottom half of the world. So, here was winter and in Brazil was summer.

Not even in my worst dreams could I imagine feeling so much cold. And I thought I came prepared!

I couldn't stay more than five minutes outside in the cold. And people wanted to take me out to ski and stuff. My first thought was: "Are you serious?" Just the thought of being there for two seconds scared me to death.

The cold was definitely the worst part of coming. But then came the time when I finally gave up. No matter how many sweaters I put on I would still freeze. This was also what I miss the most about my country, hot weather all year long.

Soon I began to forget about the weather and started to think about my roommates and the friends I would have to make.

In Latin America it is common knowledge that Americans are unfriendly, and I'm glad to say that's not true at all. The best part of Utah State is the friends I made. They are the best memory I'm taking home with me, and that's what I will want people back there to know about.

I thought the religious difference would be a barrier between me and the 99 percent LDS population in Logan (that's what I was expecting) since I come from a Catholic background. But, besides some exceptions, everybody was very nice with me.

I just had to runway a little bit from the returned missionaries who served their mission in Brazil. Not that they weren't nice guys, but I couldn't stand those people trying to speak Portuguese with me. It felt so weird.

But religion is not the only aspect where Brazil differs from the United States. The food is very different. Everywhere you go, even the fanciest restaurant serves hamburger. What's up with that? I thought that was just a stereotype, but no, Americans do it hamburgers 365 days a year.

Still on the food matter: how much can a single person eat? A lot, according to the food package we see in the supermarket. Everything comes in huge portions. The packages of cereal can feed a whole kindergarten in a school in Brazil for months. (And before you start to think that everybody in Brazil is starving . . . review your concepts!)

The first time I went to the movie theater was a surprise for me. I couldn't believe how much popcorn and Coke someone could have in a two-hour period. And then they complain that most Americans are fat! I wonder why! And it's not only the food you guys eat.

People here are so lazy. Drive-through ATM is a little too much for me. When my Malaysian roommate and I decided to walk during summer you should have seen the faces inside the cars on Main Street, they thought we were crazy! People here drive everywhere!

I had fun seeing things I just had seen before in the movies: kids selling lemonade (pink ones!) on the sidewalk, high-school buses, cheerleader (it can't get anymore American than that!),

As I write this, it's Christmas time and the houses are all lit up. I give you this, Christmas decoration goes well with snow, but every time I listen to the song White Christmas all I can think is my own version: "I'm dreaming of a warm Christmas, just like the ones I use to know."

I will miss many things from America. I will miss it so bad that I'm even taking a souvenir home. My American boyfriend is coming with me to study for a year in Brazil. So, maybe next year he can write all the weird things he will for sure find out when he gets there.


Copyright 1997-2004 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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