Sorry for the big time lag between posts, but I've been in Brazil working on some freelance projects. A new blog post is coming in the next few days, and stay tuned to see more of what I've been working on over the next few months.
It's been an incredibly interesting year to watch Brazil: from the protests to the NSA scandal, from new movies to new media. I've put together a list of some of the top posts from this year, including reader favorites, some issues that I covered before the international media, and interviews with important new Brazilian voices.
Interview on Batalha do Passinho: I interviewed the director of a documentary on a dance style that developed in Rio's favelas, at a time when favela culture is starting to lose a bit of the longstanding stigma it's faced.
Brazil's Tomato War: I covered food inflation that crept up earlier this year and made tomatoes particularly expensive. I later spoke with my favorite Brazilian economist, known as the Drunkeynesian, who accurately predicted that prices would soon stabilize.
The Things Brazilians Buy in the United States: To illustrate the ongoing issue of the high costs of certain consumer goods in Brazil, I conducted an informal survey of Brazilian shopping requests from people visiting the States. The answers ranged from the expected (iPads) to the ridiculous (a boat anchor).
Social Development and Entrepreneurship
Interview with René Silva: I spoke to the enigmatic founder of Voz da Comunidade, a newspaper in Rio's Complexo do Alemão favela, who is changing the face of social media and journalism in Brazil. I also spoke to two other inspiring young people who like Silva, participated in a new Brazil-U.S. exchange program.
Imagina na Copa: I profiled the Brazilian organization started by four intrepid young people trying to turn the popular phrase "Imagine during the World Cup!" on its head by promoting different social projects from around the country before the mega-event begins.
Nine Questions on Brazilian Criminal Law: With lots of questions about the mensalão corruption trial, a new conviction in a complex homicide case, and how jail sentencing really works, I turned to three leading Brazilian attorneys.
Interview with Alessandra Orofino: I talked to one of the co-founders of the Meu Rio, an organization trying to engage young Cariocas in public policy, just two months before the protests began. Her mission is to address some of the very same issues the demonstrators were protesting. Alessandra would go on to become one of the faces of the protesters, sought after by international media outlets.
Brazil's Protests: A Resource Guide: As one of the first major protest movements since Brazil's redemocratization, it was also one of the first to be broadcast via social media and livestreaming. I put together a list of people, webcasts, blogs, and crowdsourced information to follow.
Dilma's Comeback and Social Media: The president got back on social media this year as a direct result of the protests and ahead of the election year. I look at the hilarious way she kicked off the process.
From the Ground
Behind the Protests: A Rio Commute: In the wake of the protests, I narrate a long Rio commute on public transportation. Bus fare increases were the initial spark for the demonstrations.
Just a quick note that I'm having some technical difficulties with the domain riogringa.com, and I'm working on resolving this. For now, the blog is accessible and fully working at riogringa.typepad.com. I'm really sorry about this for those who had trouble accessing the blog!
UPDATE: This is now fixed. The blog is accessible at www.riogringa.com. Apologies to those who had trouble opening the blog these past few days.
Just a quick note that I've been in Brazil for the past two weeks, hence the break from the blog. I have lots of fun posts coming up, starting this week. Also, I'll be back in gear on Twitter and Tumblr. Thanks for your patience and stay tuned!
I started this blog five years ago today as I prepared to move to Brazil, with the intent to write on a personal level to keep friends and family in the loop about my experiences in Rio. But over time, the blog morphed into something quite different. Since then, I went from being a frustrated English teacher to a full-blown writer, from a girlfriend to a wife, from Rio back to New York.
To mark a new chapter, I've done a couple of things. First, I started a Tumblr to share the lighter side of writing about Brazil, which I'm trying to update daily. I'm also still going strong on Twitter and Facebook, where you can see more of my work and my picks of interesting Brazil news. I did some reorganizing of categories so it should be easier to find content in the archives. I'm hoping to refine the archives even more to make them easier to navigate. And as always, I'm open to suggestions for new posts, guest posts, and interviews.
I also just want to thank everyone who reads the blog, both new and long-time readers. It's through the blog that I've met some of the most amazing people who are now friends, that I've been able to interview some incredible Brazilians and Brazilophile gringos, and that I've had the opportunity to forge a new path for myself. Thank you all so much, and I hope you'll stick around for more exciting things to come.
I'm starting a new series on day-to-day issues affecting Brazilians and foreigners living in Brazil, so I'd like to ask for your input! The first post will be about bureaucracy in Brazil, and the second about transportation in Rio de Janeiro. Feel free to share your experiences, opinions, and recommendations on both of these issues in the comments or by email.
And as a reminder, for daily updates on interesting Brazil news and info, follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
I was in DC over the weekend, attending a Brazil conference amongst other things, and I've been following Obama's visit as much as I can, but have a lot of catching up to do this week. If anyone has any suggested reading, articles, or videos, please feel free to post them in the comments or shoot me an email. My overall reaction is one of mixed feelings, in that some pretty key mishaps strained the supposed good will that the trip was supposed to foster. Anyway, I'll try to get a post up tomorrow or Tuesday, and I'll also include a post about the conference some time this week.