Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama Everywhere!

I recently subscribed to one of the many Google ad ons...Google Alerts. Google has taken over my life! I get daily updates about websites and articles that discuss Rio. This one came up this morning in my email and I thought it was particularly interesting because it touches on something that I witnessed a lot while I was in Brazil.

For the first month I was in Brazil before I really knew how to get around and felt comfortable, my cousin suggested I take a cab to get into the city. Unfortunately taking a cab back in forth became pretty expensive because I was traveling from Barra to Botafogo and with traffic it took awhile. Ended up being around 40 heis each way but this is really besides the point. During these trips often time little communication happened amongst me and the driver. Usually only a couple things were asked or discussed. One being who are you voting for..Obama or McCain and every time I would say Obama, they could cheer or give me thumbs up. It happened on practically every occasion in which I told someone I was an American.

There was one specific incident I wanted to share..I met this woman named Beth who is a relative of my cousin Katie's husband. She and I had an interesting discussion about the effects this election will have on our country. She was talking to me about the problems with their President Lula which I knew a little bit about but not much before visiting. There is a book that I have been meaning to read that was released recently in the US that tells the story of his life. It is called Lula of Brazil: The Story So Far From what I have read about the book, it is a positive look at what the president has a accomplished for the country but the majority of the people I talked to while I was in Brazil, about Lula, talked really negatively about the President so I am very interested in reading this book and sharing it with my friends in Brazil to get their opinion.

But back to Beth, she works for an American company based out of Baltimore, Maryland! which was crazy to hear and made me really excited to talk to her about what she thought of the city because I love it so much.

She also had a lot to say about Americans and the upcoming election.

It was always really hard to hear someone talk about people from your country, while I was in Brazil, because often times, or at least in my case, they had negative things to say about Americans and often times I think it is a little unfair. I mean I guess it is all relative to who you meet and what impressions you cast on someone. Sometimes that impression can become someones one stereotype of people from that area which really is unfortunate. We all are different. Beth however had a positive comment, she told me she thought Americans were the most hard working people she has ever met. That was really nice to hear and made me proud to be an American which commonly doesn't happen because sadly often times the negatives are highly more publicized.

She did however talk to me about her concerns about Obama becoming president. It was pretty intimidating. I guess for me because, here I was visiting another country and experiencing all this chaos my country was going through, through a television and newspaper and I guess for many Americans back home it could've been similar. Beth flat out told me, people who aren't from America typically don't like it. They don't like Americans. They are laughing at you right now because your country is falling apart. I didn't really know what to say. She doesn't have much confidence in Obama but I beg to differ. I think he offers something Americans need right now which is hope and with that we can bring change. I know that he has a lot of pressure on him and honestly I know it can't be all done but any change right now for the better is what we need. Optimisim is the key.

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