-Where were you born?
I was born in Hong Kong. The way Brazilians think, that makes me Chinese. On my driving license it refers to the Republic of China. I am not even slightly Chinese. When I was born there, Hong Kong was a British colony. But anyway, for a Brit, your actual place of birth has nothing to do with your nationality or citizenship...it's all about your parents. I'm officially British.
But...I'm becoming Brazilian.
-In which country and city are you living now?
The marvellous city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
-Are you living alone or with your family?
I'm living with my 2 small children and Brazilian husband.
-How long have you been living in Brazil?
I've been living in Rio de Janeiro for one year.
I lived for three years in Sao Paulo.
We decided that Rio was a healthier environment for small children, even though we have sacrificed some of the culture and 'sophistication' of Sao Paulo. We also miss the service levels in Sao Paulo.
-What is your age?
35 years young. Just a few wrinkles, but nothing that a dermatologist can't wort out.
-When did you come up with the idea of living in Brazil?
Marrying a Brazilan/British dual national was a major factor. He applied for a job in London, but they thought he was better suited to their Sao Paulo office. We just went along for the ride and decided to stay. No regrets.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
Neither, being married to a Brazilian citizen and having Brazil-born children. That's not to say it was quick. It took over a year to get my RNE.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
Luckily it's part of my husband's package.
-How do you make your living in Brazil? Do you have any type of income generated?
When I moved here I just kept working remotely, writing for the advertising agency I used to work for in the States. I'm lucky.
-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
Yes I speak Portuguese fluently and I think that is absolutely necessary in Brazil.
-Do you miss home and family sometimes?
I miss having my parents and siblings within Sunday-lunch distance, but I have made a great group of friends.
There's no shortage of things to do here, and it's a very healthy, outdoors lifestyle.
Lots of beaches, parks and studios for cycling, running, swimming, online skating, yoga, pilates, dance and whatever you are into.
Also some interesting cultural centers and theatres.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
Wow that's a big question. I can barely make plans for tomorrow.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
We rent a home from some family members. It's in Flamengo. In general, rents and purchasing prices in Rio are skyrocketing out of control...in Rio you have a very small area that everyone wants to live in - between the beach and the mountains.
Sao Paulo is more reasonable - there is a lot more space there for new developments, and not so many 'features' (like the beach) so real estate location is not such a huge deal as in Rio.
While I'm on the subject, we're trying to sell a duplex penthouse with 3 bedrooms and 2 parking spaces and an amazing city skyline view in Pinheiros, Sao Paulo, for $R770....Anyone interested can contact me via my blog (below).
-What is the cost of living in Brazil?
The currency is pretty inflated here, and import taxes are also very high. This means that any imported goods are ridiculously highly priced. I try not to buy anything here and instead, stock up whenever I go to the States or the UK. Luckily, baggage allowance from Brazil seems to be more than anywhere else, so there is plenty of room to bring back a year's worth of stuff!
-What do you think about the locals?
The locals are reserved but friendly. No one has ever been mean or rude to me because of my being foreign. Instead, they are usually curious and kind.
Just like in every other country, there are educated and ignorant, rich and poor, people; men and women of every imaginable colour and religion, size and shape. Brazil is a real melting pot of immigrant cultures from all over the world and a great example to countries who have problems with integration.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Brazil?
Brazil is going through a really strong moment, especially Rio, since the football World Cup and the Olympics are heading our way. The whole world seems to be talking about Brazil at the moment...for once I feel like we are in the right place at the right time.
Certainly I don't think I'm missing out by not being in either the US or the UK right now.
This month in Brazil, for example, they just posted the lowest unemployment rates for decades. The economy is very strong. Let's just hope that whoever our new president ends up being, the country stays on the same ascent!
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Brazil?
Have fun and make the most of being in Brazil. Don't take anything for granted...get out there and explore. Don't be fearful or nervous.
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Brazil?
Of course my own blog is the best one: