.....Brazil is a country that honors and loves children. Brazilians love kids. Strangers will stop in the grocery store to talk to our kids and say something nice and loving to them. It seems like to me that taking care of kids and loving on them is seen as everybody's job - not just the parents. People pay attention to kids and always speak kindly to them. If you are waiting in a long line at a bank or an airport, and you have little kids - they will move you up to the front of the line. And no one gets mad. Kids are special.
I have seen this mostly with our kids' teachers. Now, I am a former schoolteacher myself, but I have never seen teachers who love their students like the teachers here do. Everyday for the past 3 1/2 years when Anderson has walked into his classroom, his teacher has greeted him individually with a hug, a kiss, and a kind word saying how glad she is to see him. When he gets picked up, he hugs and kisses his teacher good-bye. They do that with each child every day. I didn't do that as a teacher. But I love seeing it. My kids have had great teachers and they love them dearly. I'm sure that has a lot to do with their love of school and the success they have had in school.
.....Brazilians work hard and appreciate their jobs. Jobs are hard to come by in Brazil and there are many poor people. Brazilians seem to appreciate their jobs and always do their best. Whether it be in a large multi-national company, or cleaning up bathrooms in the mall, people want to keep their jobs and they work hard. You will never see a cleaner, more efficient McDonald's than you see in Brazil - because here people are proud and glad to have that job at McDonald's.
I have heard people say that in other parts of Brazil, the work ethic is not as strong. But gauchos (people from our state, Rio Grande do Sul) take great joy and pride in working hard.
.....And finally, Brazil is great in soccer - even though they didn't win the World Cup this year. I am not a huge soccer fan, but I am learning. I don't know all the statistics of Brazilian teams and players and how many wins and accomplishments they have. But I do know that there is not another country equal to Brazil in soccer. They have won more World Cups than any other country.
Soccer unites Brazil. Every Brazilian has a favorite team - and they are passionate about that team and are happy to talk about it with you. I have watched millionaire players play soccer here in huge stadiums, and have seen little boys playing soccer with an empty potato chip bag because they didn't have a ball. Guys love to get together for a soccer game - from little boys Anderson's age, to grandpas who still like to play. Soccer is more than just a sport here - it is a very strong part of the culture and something that sets Brazil apart - a source of great pride.