Where I Have Been Map

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trying to figure out how different countries view America!

I am very excited to announce that we have found yet another attempt Brazil has made to eat pizza the "American" way!!! This discovery was made while walking in the mall yesterday. While in the food court, we could see a little food stand where people where going up and grabbing what looked like ice cream cones. Since there are many ice cream stands all over the mall, we assumed that's exactly what it was. However, when we got closer... our stomachs turned. The sign on the stand read "Cone Pizza."

This crazy looking pizza was shaped like an ice cream cone with the cone part being the bread and the ice cream part being the cheese, pepperoni, or any other topping you would want. As disgusting as this sounds, Mary Alice actually tried one and loved it! Honestly, next to the cheese-flavored and corn-flavored ice cream, which are traditional Brazilian ice cream flavors... cone pizza doesn't seem that odd!

After we chowed down on some cone pizza, we went to the Mercado Central. There I bought the most random thing. I walked passed a hammock stand and asked them how much one was since I would need one for the Amazon. He pointed to something called a "hammock chair," which is a smaller version of a hammock with a back to it so you can sit and swing and said "40 reis!". Since I really had no use for a hammock chair I said "Nao obrigada" (No thank you). As I was walking away, I could hear the boy yell out "Okay, 30 reis...... 20 reis....... 10 REIS!!!!!" It was at that point I turned around and bought this random hammock chair for the equivalent of $5! I guess the only place to put it will be in my apartment! Which is slightly risky considering how many things seems to get broken in my apartment! But I guess the only thing you can really break in a hammock chair is your own tailbone!

I lugged the deal of a hammock chair back to our school because Simon, Lucy, Mary Alice, Titus and I were signed up to talk to the Brazilian kids who were learning English at our same school that night! They set the five of us up at the front like a panel and piled in 20 to 30 kids ranging in ages 6 to 18 years old to ask us questions! For an hour, the kids treated us like the most interesting and important people in the world! The really small kids just looked at us with wide eyes and keep whispering "Americanos! Americanos!" Some of the middle school kids asked us questions like what is our favorite food, what's our favorite thing about Brazil, and if we like 50 cent. These same girls became Lucy's fan club... except they thought her name was Woosie; so, they would run up to her screaming "Woosie! Woosie!" The older kids were the one's who asked us the harder questions.

One girl asked us what we thought about Obama as our new president. She asked us if all Americans knew how much our Global Relations have strengthened since Obama got into office. She continued to say that most of the rest of the world was extremely against the Iraq War, and during that time some people in other countries, including Brazil, thought very poorly of the American government. She wondered why American's didn't see during that time how the rest of the world viewed their government. And did they know even now?

After getting questions like "Do Americans like popcorn?" ... this one was tough.

We ended up saying one reason why not many Americans know how the rest of the world views us, the good views and the bad views... is because our media is very limited. Coming as a journalism major, I know that certain things in the news must be approved by the government, and we learn that your own opinion is non-existent in any article you write. This means that although the story you are getting may be completely truthful, sometimes it may not necessarily be the whole story. I don't know if it is better to know everything (including the bad) or to be sheltered from it, but after watching the Brazilian news when I got back to the apartment... I was shocked.

They started off by reporting all the news around the big cities of Brazil. Then, in the next 30 minutes, I saw news about America, Japan, Iraq, Britain, and then back to Brazil. I was amazed to see how much news they cover globally, and in fact, every single news channel in Brazil is like this. This is how a little girl at our English School knew so much about our American government. They previously showed clips from the Iraq War. Some were good showing American progress in Iraq, and some were quite disturbing showing torture to Iraq soliders, women, and even children. War is never pretty, but the fact that they showed every angle of the war was so different than American news! And even more incredible is how much even the Brazilian children know about the rest of the world when I couldn't even tell you who the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is! I do not know if it is the media to blame for not showing more Global news, or if the American public is culturally raised to not take a huge interest in seeing what's going on in the rest of the world, but after traveling to different countries... I only feel more whole as a person learning how other countries function and find it very interesting learning what other countries think of America. After seeing these different countries, and being taken out of my own middle class familiarity by seeing the rest of the 85% of the world that lives as the lower class and in poverty, it was easier to open my eyes to what the rest of the world we live in is really like. After seeing the world in the different perspectives of everyone living in it, you can then truly decide for yourself however you want to view the world.

The little girl seemed to be happy with our answer, and added at the end that all the Brazilians she knows love America! And most of all, they love Disney World! If there was such a thing as a World President... Mickey Mouse might be a great candidate.

The Portuguese/English students

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