Earlier this month I was interviewed by Gringoes.com . Check it out!
“Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes
August 23, 2010
This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Daniel Bertorelli. Read on as Daniel tells us about his impressions of foreigners, and gives some helpful advice also.
1. Where are you from in Brazil and what do you do?
My name is Daniel Cadete Bertorelli and I was born in Rio de Janeiro. I am a lifelong sportsman and performing arts student, mainly interested in writing and acting with a focus on the movie industry. After teaching and coaching swimming, weight lifting and English, I progressively shifted my career to the arts. I most recently worked on Stallone’s blockbuster film The Expendables (with Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger) when parts of it were filmed in Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans and Los Angeles. I am currently finishing a book and improving my acting skills in London, England. Last month I started blogging at http://www.bertorelli.wordpress.com, it‘s been quite educational and even inspiring!
2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?
I believe the first one is the language. Second is adapting to the pace and the way people do business in Brazil. Being involved with Brazilians learning English and foreigners learning Portuguese, I learned the key factor is realizing that the language and the cultural aspects of a place walk side-by-side. And even if one can learn the language fast, he/she needs some time to understand the nuances of it to fully digest and experience the culture and the way people think.
3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?
I don‘t consider it a mistake, but an unfortunate fact. The interaction of foreigners with locals (mainly due to language handicaps) could be better. I know some Brazilians who like to promote this interaction (and I include myself in this category) and also some foreigners. But it is rare. And the collaboration on both sides can be very fruitful sometimes. Friendship and great business can result from a little “cafezinho” or a chat at the beach.
4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?
I like the punctuality of the British people and the determination of the Germans. I admire the ability of Americans to network and promote businesses. Some of the foreigners I know well are people like Prof. Tom Sluberski, a “natural born networker”. For example, I worked with Prof. Sluberski, who is a National Faculty Member of the United States Sports Academy and a Judge for the American television Emmy’s, in filming, translating, and coordinating a major fitness and bodybuilding contest in Juiz de Fora, MG. He encouraged me to join the American Society of Rio de Janeiro and eventually to be elected a Governor of the Society (one of few Brazilians). I had a unique opportunity to meet lots of foreigners who live in Brazil, and share knowledge, experiences and different views of life.
5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?
I am not sure if “prefer” is the word I would use. Having lots of American friends, studying and watching movies with a standard American accent (or some similar accents) makes me more “used to it”, therefore more comfortable with it. But living in London for some time now, there are some words and accents that are being incorporated into my own vocabulary and accent. I have now a hybrid accent, but still more American than British.
6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?
It‘s hard to say, I tend to look at the bright side of things everywhere. So picking a favorite place would throw a shadow at many places that I loved, admired or cherish. I prefer to highlight some experiences I had and would recommend friends to try. In New Orleans, take the trolley at Canal Street in New Orleans and go all the way till the end of the line. The old colonial style houses at Saint Charles Avenue are impressive. Come back but not without a pit stop at the Audubon Zoo, and finish the day in a restaurant in the French Quarter. In Los Angeles, enjoy the morning breeze of the Hollywood Hills riding a horse, have lunch at the amazing Bossa Nova Restaurant on Sunset Blvd (and you might rub shoulders with the Wayans Brothers there, I did it more than just once or twice) and finish the day watching the sunset and a music concert at the Santa Monica Pier. I am still discovering London and its beauties, but Richmond Park for a picnic and a walk around Knightsbridge are my favorite activities so far. The only constant in all these places is the people. Anywhere I go the most interesting thing is always the diversity of people. Hum… a lot like Brazil!
7. Favourite foreign food?
I am always counting calories, since I started swimming when I was five years old. Maybe I am not the best adviser on this topic. Anyway, what is “foreign food” for a Brazilian? You can find all nationalities in Brazil! I guess my Italian genes would vote for pasta. Italian food is always the best! There‘s nothing like pasta and good wine. Or a hamburger and Coca-Cola. Or Japanese food… What can I say? I love them all!
8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?
Hard question… There are so many. Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen… Currently listening a lot to a band from Arizona called “Trash”. The 1976 ROCKY and THE GODFATHER movies would be among my top 10 choices. I am re-reading now Passages by Gail Sheehy. Also like The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Soon I will have finished the book I am working on, and I would recommend it if I had made up my mind about the title… Maybe the title should be “Untitled book”!
9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?
Personalities aside, there is a cultural clash that needs to be understood if one wants any relationship to work. Stereotypes, pre-conceptions and beliefs must be deconstructed and rebuilt. The family is also important. When you date, and eventually marry, you end up dating/marrying the whole family. The hint to everyone is to be curious and patient. My wife is a wonderful German-Brazilian woman and every day I find out something new about her and her lovely family.
10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or ‘culture shock‘ that you have experienced with a foreigner?
The first time I went to New Orleans, I understood only about 50% of what local people said. The Southern accent can be tricky and basically I tried to fill in the gaps to understand what they were saying!
11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?
Interact every chance you have and enjoy the ride. Brazil is so big and diverse that any advice given by me would be incomplete and inaccurate.”
Thank you, Mark Taylor, and keep up the great work you do at Gringoes.com