We have already spent a month in our new host countries and we would like to share our first impression of our new homes. Some funny situations encountered and, of course, the sustainability measures seen at our new cities.
Norwegians in Brazil!
We (Hanna and Eirin) are now living in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, and will have our base here this year. The first month has been spent exploring our new city and getting to know our new job. Portuguese language course is also a necessity here, since not that many people in Brasilia speak English.
There have been some funny incidents because of the language, one example is the word ‘oi’. We Norwegians use this when we get surprised by something and can often be walking around the stores here saying ‘oi’ to all the new things we see. In Brazil ‘oi’ means hi, so when we express our surprise we can often hear someone replying ‘oi’. Saying hi to random people is very strange in Norway. However, here that is perfectly normal! The Brazilian greeting is also something new to us awkward Norwegians. It does not matter how long you have known a person, you will always be greeted by a kiss on the cheek, or maybe two, followed by the heartiest hug.
Thoughts about sustainability in Brazil
Arriving in Brasilia, one of the first things we as “new” Brazilians noticed is that almost every bus stop has their own bookshelf. The idea behind this is that people can leave books they do not use so other can enjoy them. Such a good and effortless way to spread knowledge and enjoyment for reading. Something else that is very new to us from Norway, but not for most part of the world, is how scarce of a resource water is here. In Brasilia the water supply is shut down once a week, as a way of rationing it. In addition, most places have installed smart ways to save water, for example by having water-saving shower heads, water tanks on the house roofs and water filters.
The water issue is high up on the agenda while recycling not as much. Most of the Brazilians we have talked to, have little knowledge of the recycling scheme of their area. It seems to be a low focus on recycling. What is recyclable and what happens to the waste is not on people’s mind. On the other hand, Brazilians must be some of the world most creative people when it comes to reuse! Everywhere we go, whether it is hostels, cafes or shops – old is made into new. An example is our local cafe, where they have reused a number of things, such as old teapots made into flowerpots, and what used to be a wine crate has now become the bathroom shelf.
Written by: Hanna Jacobsen and Eirin Heddeland
Keep following our updates here on the blog, to hear more stories and ideas about sustainability in Brazil and in Norway!