The TL;DR version: Don’t throw toilet paper in the toilet.
You’re a guest at a new friend’s house in Brazil. You’re having a good time. Everyone is having a good time. Nature calls. You ask, and they show you where the bathroom is. You flush. And then it happens. No. Oh, no. The toilet has clogged, the water is rising, the lock on the door is sticking. No, oh, noooooooo!!!!
It’s a touchy subject…
It’s well-known that Latino culture is warm, vivacious, and hospitable. Brazilians are no different. This becomes evident in a myriad of situations. It means personal space is much tighter than in North America, sometimes non-existent, sometimes personal space bubbles overlap. It means niceness is politeness and not flirtation. It means greetings with a kiss to the cheek, regardless of gender, especially among the younger generation. It means friendly touches are just that, friendly.
Don’t read into light touches, warm hugs, and friendly attention. This may be nothing more than polite attentiveness. Obviously, there are boundaries. Anything that makes you uncomfortable, make it known. Be polite, but firm.
Every once in a while, in an airport here or there, I am reminded of a few things people might not know about Brazil, or about our language or culture. I don’t really blame them. They genuinely don’t know.
In fact, maybe it’s our fault. Maybe there just aren’t enough Brazilians promoting our culture out there in the world. So! I thought, why not do a little introduction just in case?