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Ordinary Excitement This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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Growing up in Brazil, a third-world country, has taught me to appreciate certain things about America that most people take for granted. Sights as basic as organized traffic impress me, in addition to cars that stay in their own lanes, motorcyclists who don't weave in and out of traffic as if the road is an obstacle course, and the lack of traffic jams due to donkey carts.

Upon arriving in the United States from Brazil, one of the first things I notice is the clean smell. There are no traces of mildewed sidewalks or smoke from burning trash. It just smells fresh.

Then my attention turns to the fact that while the outfit I put on earlier in the day appeared fairly nice at the time, now it seems worn and faded. Until that point it hadn't mattered that my clothes had suffered the effects of a harsher climate, but suddenly, noticing that everyone else seems at the height of fashion, I become self-conscious.

Each time I visit the U.S. I notice several technological advances that have appeared since my last trip. I remember being puzzled finding faucets with no handles or buttons to turn on the water. The idea of motion-activation still makes me smile. I'm sure I received many odd looks when I first discovered that all it took to get a paper towel was a simple wave of the hand. Touch screens were also a new concept; I could spend hours entertaining myself with them, that is, if I could ever master their use.

Even something as mundane as grocery shopping provides hours of excitement. The sheer variety of items at a Walmart is enough to set my head spinning. And the cereal section is cause for giggles of glee as I make a vain attempt to choose from an entire aisle of options as opposed to the small shelf I am used to. And then there is the endless variety of comfort foods that many take for granted: peanut butter, Pop Tarts, tortilla chips, dill pickles, salsa, etc. The whole concept of ready-made meals and instant anything makes food preparation a completely different experience.

Of course, not all the surprises I find in the United States are pleasant: every country has its downfalls. People tend to be cooler and more isolated here. It always takes me several weeks to get used to the fact that it's socially unacceptable to hug people I am not well acquainted with. In America people expect a three-foot radius of personal space.

I love both of my countries; each is a part of who I am. I always miss the other, regardless of where I am. And so I find myself looking forward to returning and rediscovering all the little things that make up each country's everyday life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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beautifulspiritThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 8, 2012 at 11:10 am:
I like your article, especially that you added that every country has its downfalls. The image is not an ideal one, but rather a realistic one. I've met people who think the United States is a perfect place---and it can be, but not always. Their expectations are a little high. But I'm also glad that you addressed mundane activites such as grocery shopping or driving in traffic as fascinating. Those things often go unnoticed. I imagine that I'd notice those things too when I visit another country... (more »)
 
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Mateus Marques said...
Jan. 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm:
Hey Shae! Congratulations, you're a published writer! Sorry I did not respond sooner, i'm trying to catch up and actually start using my facebook.
 
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Mishaela P. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 9, 2009 at 5:38 am:
woah! don't get me wrong here people, I love Brasil! And it is most definitely beautiful. But i grew up in the Amazon, which would be considered the poorer part of Brasil , not Rio...Rio is completely and totally different from the area I lived in...worthy of the Olympics for sure!
 
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Jessie said...
Nov. 9, 2009 at 5:30 am:
Hey Shae it's really cool...
=)
good job =]
 
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Nathalie L. said...
Nov. 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm:
Hey Mishaela! Excellent job! :D
 
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Rahel said...
Nov. 8, 2009 at 12:18 pm:
Wow, Mishaela
Good job!!!
 
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Dan Faust said...
Nov. 7, 2009 at 7:28 pm:
Wow! Brazil must really suck! I always imagined it to be a beautiful place, but I guess I changed my mind after reading this article by someone who has actualy lived there herself. I don't think the olimpic games should be held there in, what... 2016?
 
Allegra Moretti replied...
Nov. 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm :
Seriously! Brazil really seems to be a drag! Thank you for the heads-up Mishaela, I'm never going to Brazil!
 
Rebeca Garnet replied...
Nov. 8, 2009 at 2:42 pm :
I went to Brazil two years ago and I loved it! It is a beautiful country and I am very sadened to see people getting a blury impresion of it. Sure, there are unpleasant places in Brazil, just like there are unpleasant places in every country I have ever visited (18 in total). I think this chick could have pointed out a few more positive Brazilian atributes. Other than her mentioning the warmth of the Brazilian people she could have written about a lot more than mildew and burning trash!
 
Mishaela P. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 9, 2009 at 5:39 am :
woah! don't get me wrong here people, I love Brasil! And it is most definitely beautiful. But i grew up in the Amazon, which would be considered the poorer part of Brasil , not Rio...Rio is completely and totally different from the area I lived in...worthy of the Olympics for sure!
 
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Rachel Lambach said...
Nov. 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm:
Wow, Mishaela, you did a great job!! Everything you said I think relates to each MK here in Brasil.All I have to say now is: Congratulations!!!!
 
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jill stewart said...
Nov. 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm:
Great job
 
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Lizzy Cooley said...
Nov. 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm:
Congratulations Shae!! Great job!!!
 
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CooleyClan6 said...
Nov. 7, 2009 at 2:54 pm:
Way to go, Shae!! Very nicely done! I'm so proud of you!!
 
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Mr. Stew said...
Nov. 7, 2009 at 2:01 pm:
Parabens Mishaela! Excellent job!
 
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