Young Life in Brazil

by Abi Tarutis

Introduction
Whenever I hear the word Brazil my ears perk up. I consider myself a mini Brazilian culture expert. I haven't extensively researched Brazil or studied it beyond geography classes, but I did live there for 12 months. One year of my teenage life (16-17) was spent in Brazil. The Brazilian culture is of great interest to me. I wanted to, in a way, give a valued resource to young people interested in traveling to Brazil.
When I began writing my Project ProposalI knew I had to do my project on Brazil. I wanted my topic to focus on Brazil. I chose the broad topic of Brazilian culture. My enthusiasm, however, seemed to flood into only a couple of different topics.
What I Did
In my project I attempted to look at my time in Brazil in a more 'researched' light. I looked at insightful articles and apply them to the cultural aspects of Brazil that I had experienced. Throughout my blogging I would compare/contrast these articles to happenings and stories that I accumulated in Brazil.
I attempted to post three times a week with a total of 24 posts to my blog, www.slagoff.blogspot.com Slag Off. I however came up a bit short with only 18 posts, but all of them are longer than I anticipated. I thought that I'd be doing kind of a rough overview of articles and roughly compare them to my time in Brazil. However, though my project has condensed to only 18 final posts, all of them are packed with information. Toward the middle of my project I began to take more time researching for articles. It is harder to find articles of interest versus articles that are about boring topics. One article that I am particularly proud of is, "Poverty, Poodles, and Favelas". This article was of particular interest to me. It highlighted cultural aspects such as the extreme poverty compared to the extreme wealth in Brazil. Though it isn't one of my lengthier pieces, finding this article was a turn that my research needed. I began writing about interesting things. I'll discuss this later.
I researched article topics ranging from Ethanol based fuel to prostitution; each article contributed a little more insight into the Brazilian culture.
These ideas are laid out nicely in my Project Proposal. Then I would compare, again, each article to a personal experience that I had.
I did not anticipate having to filter though so much garbage articles to find interesting ones. I am now much better at doing this than I was at the beginning of the semester.
What I Discovered
Even though I am a self proclaimed Brazil-pert, I found my research interesting and informative.
After the first couple weeks of writing, however, I realized that my research and writing was getting more and more tedious. My lack of motivation, I thought, was getting in my way. I was researching general Brazil articles like ethanol based fuel and the carnival and very broad, but basic, articles. I was beginning to become bored to bits. These articles were too general and not telling of the Brazilian culture, outside of 'they party like animals' or 'their economy is growing'.
Some of the less fascinating articles were: A couple weeks of articles like this and it would make anyone go a little stir crazy. This is when I dabbled onto a topic that, pretty much, occupied the remainder of my blog posts. That was the topic of, "Brazilian Beauty". It fascinated me. This sprung up a rejuvenation of sorts and I began posting more and more often. I found out the problem with my "Lack of Motivation" had been simply that the material I had been looking into was, lets say, less than compelling. This was the only real 'bump' in my road. Once I found out what was irking me, everything began flowing a lot smoother. I actually had a clearer topic for my material.
When I began looking into Beauty and Brazil I found these articles: All of these articles highlighted the impact that 'Americanism' is on the Brazilian culture. In particular, they highlight the impact that it is having on young Brazilian women. In the past month, six Brazilian models, all ranging from ages thirteen to twenty have died of anorexia. This caused uproar in nation wide Brazilian news and the news has rippled into international media. There were countless articles on these girls. All three of these articles have mentioned them. Extremely interesting articles and they perked my interest back into blogging.

When I posted a few articles about Brazilian Beauty, I found a site called roadjunky.com. This site was also a breathe of fresh air. They have traveling articles posted about all of the South American countries. When I began reading my first article about Brazil entitled "Poverty, Poodles, and Favelas", I was hooked. Everything about this article from the picture on the top of it to the reporter's voice in it, was compelling and young. I needed this to hold my interest and inspire me to write more about Brazil, which, in turn, made my blogging a whole lot more enjoyable. I discovered here that, I am not interested in Brazil in general. What I am interested in are its dirty little cultural secrets. This inspired me to read more and more about Brazilian brothels and favelas and drug problems.

When I discovered 'my want' to read about Brazil's little hot topics, and wrote about these hot topics in correlation to me, I found my project becoming a lot more relatable. My goal for this blogging page was to get people to read it. They haven't yet, but I want them to read this because I really feel like it would be very insightful to young travelers. When I write about the specific details of Brazil, the things that -culturally- shocked me the most, I feel like I am being more helpful with my articles.

What I Would Have Done Differently
I feel as though my project was a success. I wish that I could find, someway, how to spark more interest into it. I really think that this would be a valued resource to young travelers.
Another aspect that I would change about my project is that I would have had it be more focused. I think the broad area of Brazilian culture could have been effectively spliced down into a specific area. Such as drug use, prostitution, or more than likely beauty.

In Conclusion
I had a good time reading and writing about Brazil. I had an even better time reading all the naughty stuff that Brazilians do.
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