First Published: 22nd of February, 2021 by Patrick Carpen.Last updated: February 24, 2021 at 0:46 am
Advisory: This article contains adult language!
Last evening, I was having dinner with some Brazilian friends whom I had met the day before. They had invited me to taste their deliciously prepared fish, boiled cassava, salad and rice. It was tasty indeed. No complaints there! And of course, I had to comment that the food was “muito delicioso.”
As it often happens, the conversation veered around to how long I have been in Brazil, what I’m doing in Brazil and what I thought about Brazil. When asked what I thought about Brazil, I was stupid enough to respond, “it’s a great country, but there are a few things that needs to be improved.” Yes, stupid enough!
I subsequently remembered the advice of one of my Portuguese teachers, Marcia Macedo. She had said, in one of her Youtube videos, “as a foreigner in Brazil, when you are asked for your opinion about Brazil, don’t find faults, just say you love it and its great!”
And she’s right. Most Brazilians have a very patriotic spirit. Of course, many of them may seek to leave Brazil, but deep down in their hearts, they love their homeland. But I had already made the blunder. The next question came like a lightning bolt: “so what do you think needs to improved?”
I stammered and stuttered, “well, there are some problems…with drugs…and crime…that doesn’t necessarily affect everyone…but….”
I wasn’t getting anywhere. I quickly found a way out…”Brazil is a great country! I love it, but I think, like all countries, there are some things that needs to be improved.” I stressed it again. “Like all countries…no country is perfect.” The conversation then petered out and diverted to the food at hand.
I realized quickly that I had just put my foot in my mouth. Don’t we all from time to time? Yes. And that’s why it’s important to learn from our mistakes. But in this case, I want you to learn from my mistake. If you, as a foreigner, now learning the Portuguese language, have traveled to Brazil, and you are asked what you think about the country, or how you feel about the country, please do not give your expert, scientific advice to the ordinary citizens on how the government of Brazil could make Brazil a better place. Chances are, that’s not the answer they are looking for!
Remember, you are not speaking to a table-full of experts ready to analyze your world class ideas. Most Brazilians will just want to hear that you love Brazil and you think it’s a great country. Otherwise, what are you doing here anyways? Great food? Talk about it. How about the waterfalls, scenery and friendly Brazilian people? When giving your opinion and views of Brazil to your Brazilian friends, please list all the positives.
That being said, I’d like to teach you a colloquial Brazilian expression, “e foda demais!” The next time I’m asked what I think about Brazil, I’ll just say, with thunder in my voice and glee in my eyes, “Brasil e Foda Demais!”
Well what exactly does that mean? Let’s break it down.
Brasil = Brazil
e = is
Demais = too much
Foda – here’s the trouble word. The word “foda” in Brazilian Portuguese does not have a matching English counterpart, but it does have a number of English words that may approximate it depending on the context.
The word “foda” may be a swear word, slang, exclamation and adjective in Brazilian Portuguese – depending on how its used.
Fuck – the word foda may be translated to the swear word in English “fuck.”
Here’s an example: I just missed the bus, fuck! = Acabei de perder o ônibus, foda!
Go fuck yourself! = Vai se foda!
I pounded my finger. Fuck! = Eu bati meu dedo. Foda!
You’re not understanding me. Fuck! = Você não está me entendendo. Foda!
But the word “foda” may simply be a “strong expression.” It may express strong feelings that are not necessarily slangs and that can have a positive meaning.
This place is beautiful, stunning, extraordinary, enchanting, somewhere I want to come back often, and somewhere I can’t get enough of. In other words, this place is “foda demais!”
So, the next time someone asks me what I think about Brazil, I’ll just respond, with fire in my eyes and thunder in my voice, “Brasil e foda demais!” And trust me, I mean that with every syllable!