Over two months ago, I wrote a post here on the blog sharing questions and comments that I always hear when I say that I live in New York. To my surprise, the post had a lot of sharings and feedback from people who identified with everything I wrote. Since then, I wrote some notes and also took the examples from some people to wirte part 2 of this post. So, today, I share with you 7 more things that people always tell me when I say that I live in New York.
1. Wow, now I have a place to stay when I come to New York!
Do not get me wrong: I love hosting visitors – since they are people I would host if I lived in Brazil as well. You need to have a certain relationship with someone to let that person to stay in your house, right? However, some people think that is very convenient to have a “known person” that live abroad – after all, we know that a hotel here is not the cheapest thing in the world. Then, they always find a way to let you know about it. Who does not want a free couch to sleep in New York, right?
2. How can you eat well? We know that United States has only fast food, right?
This question / comment is very normal. Obviously, in this country, fast food chains are huge. Fried chicken, burgers, pizza, fries and so on – the range of options in this style, fat filled, combined with the giant glasses of soda, are well known and portrayed in movies and series. But it doesn’t mean that I have hot dogs for lunch and a Big Mac for dinner, right? It is true that the United States has alarming obesity numbers, but you can not generalize. Especially in New York, where people have a healthier lifestyle. I’d say it’s easier for me to have a healthy diet here than in Brazil. The options of light foods are huge, there are many organic foods, gluten-free or lactose-free ones and also chain restaurants dedicated to healthy dishes – all cheaper than Brazil.
3. I would easily live in New York!
Here there are some points to talk about it. First, the neighbor grass will always be greener – and Brazilian have an inferiority syndrome. We always think the other people live better than us, that some city is a paradise, that in that country there are no problems. Ok, I know that Brazil’s situation may not be the best at the moment but that does not mean there are no problems elsewhere. In New York, for example, you can not “easily live” if you like huge houses – here, the apartments are small – and the rent is very expensive. It is not easy living in a place without knowing anyone, it is not easy to face the freezing weather, it is not easy to have to speak a language that is not yours, it’s not easy being away from family. Of course it has a bunch of cool reasons to live abroad – but remember: in life, not everything is perfect. And visiting a city during your vacation is different from having a routine.
4. And how did you get used to the food?
Obviously, I miss some things when it comes to food – especially from my mother’s food. Seriously, have you try anything better than mother’s food – and grandmother’s food too? Other than that, let’s make things clear: the options in the markets are vast – including healthy foods, as I said earlier. If you are a loyal consumer of Brazilian products, there are some markets in the city where you find since Maguary juice to requeijão. There are also a large number of Brazilian restaurants. In fact, not only Brazilian ones: you can taste all the cuisines from all around the world in endless restaurants around the city. I love to try all cuisines: from Thai to Indian, from Chinese to Greek. If I don’t get used to the food, poor me … What should I do? Leaving the city?
5. I love snow! I love cold weather!
I also love – but only when I do not need to leave my house… that is? I wrote a post with the truths about winter in New York here on the blog and I say, it is not easy. I have heard stories of many Brazilians who went live in Florida because of the weather. Honestly, it’s not something that would make me leave New York – because, for me, all things that the city offers makes up for the fact that the cold weather. However, again, “vacation days are different from living a routine.” Snow is very pretty in the parks – but the mud that it leaves on the streets after a few hours only disturbs. The cold weather can be interesting for those who are visiting – but when it lasts months is tiring. Everything is a matter of perspective.
6. It’s the English? Are you fluent?
If you allow me some advice, here it goes: study English and start as soon as possible. I studied my whole life in a public school – and my favorite subjects were always Portuguese, English, History and so on. In my school, English was very focused on grammar, but outside of the classroom, I loved translating the songs from my favorite bands – Hanson! I just get in an English course after graduating from college – even knowing that, as a journalist, speaking a second language is essential. I studied three years – and this experience helped me a lot when I got here. After a certain time, you will only improve your English. I consider myself fluent, yes, but I’ve never stopped to spend my time in the improvement of language: vocabulary, pronunciation.. Do not expect to have an opportunity to live abroad to learn English, do not use the price of English classes as an excuse: the internet is full of quality and free content!
7. Do you have friends? Are your friends Brazilians or Americans?
This is one of the saddest and boring parts about living abroad, at least for me. I spent six months alone here, then I met several people, I had my smartphone full of numbers to call friends and have a coffee. But living abroad is to learn to say goodbye from time to time. Incidentally, this is a cycle that repeats itself in the life of anyone – but when you live abroad this cycle is shorter. In two years here, I have seen many friends leaving the city – and I know that, unfortunately, I will have to say goodbye to others in the future. And it hurts, it hurts a lot. You must learn to deal with loneliness and have the maturity to face the fact that there will be days when that friend you is too far away to give you a hug. About the nationality of my friends, I don’t deny: almost all of my friends are Brazilian. But this is not standard. I think it all depends on where you go and the activities you develop. But you can not deny that Brazilians are different.
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.