More on Brazilian Medicine

I am not a hypochondriac. I promise. It’s just that according to the decree of the to socialist/statist labor law, each employee in my company is obliged to do an annual medical check. And apparently,  it’s impossible to do this in one procedure because just like everything in Brazil, even your annual check-up is a bureaucratic pipeline.

Upon the referral of my doctor’s referred doctor, I had to arrange some medical tests in a special clinic. This is how I returned to Brownstein, which is the McDonald’s of medical clinics here in Rio de Janeiro area. These diagnostics clinics are spread across town, and for any procedure beyond the most simple one, every doctor ends up sending you there. There is a call center one has to call and wait and wait and wait, until finally, someone screams at you on the phone and if you say the right password (like “sesame open”, or “samba carioca”), they finally agree to book you an appointment at their most inconvenient location at your most inconvenient time.

I was lucky today, because when I arrived to the clinic and took my number to wait in line, I almost immediately was summoned to the countered and spent half an hour dictating my personal information that I had already provided on the phone. Then, I  asked to add another exam I had to come back for the next day since the phone-nazi would not agree to schedule both on the same day. As it turned out, the receptionist was much more agreeable and started screaming across the room to her colleague – “heyyy!! this girl is here for a transvaginal exam, can she also do a mammography ???”, “What??” ,”You know? a breast scan!!”. The colleague was kind of deaf so my new friend had to repeat about 5 times, so that everyone present both inside and on all adjacent streets could hear. Thank god that I have no shame. This could totally be part of a friend’s episode. I was extremely happy with the service since no one even once told me “please wait here” and I was out in under an hour. It’s amazing what Rio does to one’s expectations.

I had yet another entertaining supermarket anecdote. As always, I did my purchases and proceeded to the express check-out, as always with more items than the allowed amount. The cashier started scanning my items and as he was on No. 6 or so he says to me: “you have more than 10 items, this is the 10 items register”. Me: “hmm.. I guess so.. so what do you want me to do?”. Him: “I will scan 10 items and close the bill, then I will scan the rest”. Me:”ok…”. So as promised, the guy counted 10 items, closed the bill, I paid, and then he did a whole new bill for the remaining 6 items and I paid again!! I shall say no more..



Last week I decided to test the quality of Brazilian medicine (praised by Brazilians and cursed by foreigners) and get my wisdom tooth removed. The procedure was executed with much success and I must note that the dentist clinic I found here was the most hi-tech one I’ve ever had in my life, as well the most sterile one. So I guess my conclusion about local medicine so far is somewhere in between the two factions (as the other doctors I went to were pretty horrible).

Anyhow, I found myself for the first time in very long, unable to eat solid food. The first day I had two ice creams, a soup and 2 yogurts. The next day, I had some more yogurt followed by acai and a glass of beer (to cheer me up). At that point I was between having a diabetic attack and passing out from starvation, and decide to take the chance and help myself to a little ham and cheese pastry. Oh, my! It tasted absolutely like heaven!! It was as if someone plugged me into an oxygen machine.

15 minutes later I was at the supermarket, trying to find not- sweet, non-solid food. I came out with an absolutely ridiculous selection of: canned Tahini, 2 cans of baby food mashed veggies, a box of cottage cheese and a can of Campbell’s soup. Of course, I ended up trashing most of it upon arriving home and realizing that even when one is sick and hungry, the above taste absolutely horrible. The found solution was to munch a bit on a piece of soft bread and cheese spread.

Another example why we should be appreciating the small things in life.

A bit on diversity

Today, I was once again exchanging emails with a brazilian friend in the States about life in Brazil. His hypothesis was that as a foreigner, with an MBA and a diverse background, I should have plenty of opportunities here. I must say that I find it quite different here in my all- brazilian company, whereas being a foreigner makes some people shine away from us as they feel intimidated by our experience, ability to speak English, way of dressing, communicating, or whatever else. While some find this new experience refreshing, those people are normally a minority that lived abroad or worked with foreigners before. The majority views us as some sort of aliens, I think. Aliens that are always doing something wrong.

An illustrative example: yesterday, some of my colleagues were complaining that our department has too many gringos because in the meeting the day before, the colombian girl was speaking portunhol, the canadian was not understanding when the british boss addressed him in Portuguese, and I was speaking half Portuguese half English. My suggestion to have the meetings in English, the international language of business in which all team members are fluent, was immediately declined without any further thinking, as “the executive board speaks portuguese anyways, so why bother?”. Today, our 20 year old intern started laughing after imitating something I said because I sounded too American when speaking Portuguese. Not that I cared, but if i did something like this to a Brazilian, they would have put me on their hate list forever.

Some day I will elaborate more about how does it feel like to be working in the circus.

Brazilian Football

How could I write a blog about Brazil, without mentioning football (or soccer)??

On my way home today, I finally managed to capture on camera the typical scene I see by my house, every week when the whole street just stops on the sidewalk next to the bar to watch the outcome of the ongoing game, followed by an earthquake of cheers and scorns. It never stops to amaze me: the passion, the rigor, the animal reaction!

Professional attention deficit disorder

Today, I actually found out that there is a name for the type of person, or apparently the generation I belong to: a millennial. I guess I don’t feel so bad anymore about getting a new idea every 5 seconds and getting bored every 2 seconds later. You can read more about it here..

Today, I had the pleasure of motivating two discouraged young employees from another department that is doing very badly. I told them life is full of options and offered them to follow my footsteps in terms of pretending they are inside a soap opera or a zoo, and acting like spectators, learning and absorbing everything they see. Then I was encouraging them to go for an MBA
in the USA, because it would “change their lives!!!”. The poor suckers believed me. I am kind of enjoying selling euphoria dreams of pink clouds and unicorns. Any business ideas?