So who actually is Pedro* and what makes him very special to me? Pedro is a Brazilian guy at an age comparable to mine. He was born somewhere in Europe and spent his early childhood abroad since the job of his parents was demanding it. Pedro speaks very good English since he attended an international school which made it very easy to communicate with him. Despite his mother tongue Portuguese and English he is fluent in two other major languages. As most of my close friends, Pedro is very smart and interested in history, politics and what is happening in the world. He works for the Brazilian government and is very proud of having achieved this.
What attracted me to him? I very much like to be surrounded by smart people like him because I enjoy talking with them and being constantly pushed to broaden my own horizon. I also enjoy his straight talking meaning to come to the point very quickly. There are not many people like this since most people are either not able to articulate what they really think and desire (especially women) or they are too afraid to hurt the feelings of others which can be the result if you directly say things which are not so nice for the other person but help him / her to understand and develop. There are also some things in which we share a similar interest or opinion on such as religion, movies (excluding some comedy), education, general lifestyle, etc. He’s an easy going person, likes to extend the laws, e.g. by constantly exceeding speed limits and I could imagine to share my daily life with him as far I can say after a few days with him. One of Pedro’s largest desires is to find a new lifetime partner and have a family which is in line with my general life plan but he seems to be much more obsessed about it and wants to have it all today rather than in a few months’ time which I and probably most people find more normal. Last but not least I like his dominant male behavior, his casual dress style, his smile and (I know this sounds weird) his eyelashes.
On the other side Pedro’s values are very much Brazilian. I’m sure he would deny this fact since his life is far away from the standard life of a Brazilian, political wise he thinks on a global scale and he’s much better educated as 99% of the Brazilians. But what I mean are more values which are in the core of a person and which are mainly driven by culture rather than education. Since rich people in emerging countries very much enjoy the benefits of globalization and capitalism they tend to ignore the dark side of it such as the impact it has on the society as a whole. In my eyes they need to learn to think more critical about what is happening in the world even when this critique is putting their own lifestyle into question. Most Brazilian people, who have achieved a certain lifestyle, don’t really want to deal with poorer people or countries, e.g. they prefer to travel to the US rather than Africa or Asia. The same people also like to show their money, e.g. by driving an imported car which is more expensive due to a high import tax. Showing the money also seems to be the major proof of liking somebody which feels very strange to me.
The people in Germany, who have an above average income, more like to stay on the ground and there are even occasions where we specifically asked to do so. As an example we are asked to not park any very expensive car in front of a clients’ office. The reason behind is clients paying 2,000 to 4,000 Euros a day for a good consultant and they should see the business value they can gain out of a consultants advice rather than the feeling consultants getting rich from the clients’ money and driving expensive cars. So in general we prefer to understate rather than showing off. Sure we like to have some money because it gives us the freedom to do whatever we like but we don’t like to show it to others too obviously.
Pedro left around 9am to go to work. His work schedule is much more relaxed as mine used to be which gives him the opportunity to integrate his work and private life. Every day he comes home for a two hour lunch break giving him enough time to eat, to have a nap or to do other things he likes. His work finishes around 6:30pm so he can actually have some leisure time in the evening. My previous life, the life of my colleagues at the same level and the life of Michael, one of my best friends, is very much different. My work usually started at 8am in the morning and I used a taxi to drive to work because I could already have first phone calls in the taxi avoiding me even getting up one hour earlier each morning. Then there was my calendar which was often packed from 9am to 8pm with physical meetings or conference calls, sometimes there were even up to four meetings in parallel and I needed to decide which one to attend. And after all those meetings around 8pm I started to deal with approx. 200 emails each day, reviewing presentations, thus actually doing physical work. It was also not seldom colleagues calling me at 9 /10pm or physically working with me until midnight. And all of this happened several hundreds of kilometers away from home and you can imagine what my partner thought about a girlfriend flying to work very early Monday morning and returning totally exhausted at Friday night. I didn’t realize how unusual and sick this fast moving life was until Daniel, my boyfriend at the time living a more relaxed lifestyle, was holding the mirror in front of my face. Now as I have quit this fast moving life I feel much more alive and for no money in the world I would return to such a crazy lifestyle. My friend Michael is very close to change his life as well. In the last three weeks I tried to call him which was impossible because he was simply too busy. Now from a distance, I really start to realize how sick this lifestyle is even when the both of us made extremely good money. Michael told me about colleagues of him who got burned out, got sick from this lifestyle and died at an early age. And one of my less close friends committed suicide last December because he started to suffer from depression and was not able to deal with his fast moving life anymore. All in all, I find it more attractive to balance work and private life as Pedro is able to do and even when I don’t know what I will be working in the future, I’m sure I will not destroy the rest of my life for it.
While Pedro was at work I used the opportunity to walk around in the neighborhood and to wash some clothes in the laundry area of the apartment complex. There is also a gym and a pool but I wasn’t in the mood of using it.
After dinner we had some wine and watched the movie “The Producers” which is about two producers aiming to produce a flop with the musical “Springtime for Hitler”. The movie was made in the late 60ties by an American film company. It’s a parody on Hitler and all sorts of Nazi stuff. While people abroad are often fascinated by Nazi stuff, we Germans feel really much ashamed about what happened during the Third Empire and simply avoid talking about it in any sense despite from historic facts. People talking about Nazi stuff are mostly perceived as Neo-Nazis and sympathizers of the extreme right wing parties National Democratic Party of Germany (NDP) or The Republicans (REP) and nobody really wants to be associated with them. Probably because of my values and cultural background I couldn’t really laugh about this movie, sorry.
(* name changed)