While Brazil is enthralled with hosting the World Cup, during our visit we have focused our attention on the passion and romance of its people. Our many interviews with Brazilians have taught us that this country and its people exude love—from the sheer beauty of its landscape, to its pulsating music and dance, and through its lovely and passionate people.
There is no better place to experience the Brazilian culture of love than at the famous Rio de Janeiro restaurant, AGarota de Ipanema. If the name doesn't ring a bell; perhaps a short trip down memory lane will.
Back in the 1962, a Brazilian songwriter by the name of Antonio Carlos Jobim collaborated with fellow Brazilian, poet Vinicius de Moraes, to write a wonderful bossa nova song entitled, “The Girl from Ipanema” (A Garota de Ipanema). The English lyrics were written later by American songwriter, Norman Gimbel.
Over the years the song has been performed by Frank Sinatra, Astrud Gilberto, Madonna, and Stan Getz to name a few, and by numerous female artists, including Shirley Bassey, Petula Clark, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Supremes, as “The Boy from Ipanema.” “The Girl from Ipanema” as performed by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz, won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965.
The Girl from Ipanema lyrics talk about the longing for love:
Tall and tan and young and lovely, The girl from Ipanema goes walking. And when she passes, each one she passes goes – ah!
When she walks, she’s like a samba That swings so cool and sways so gentle. That when she passes, each one she passes goes – ooh!
Ooh, but I watch her so sadly. How can I tell her I love her? Yes, I would give my heart gladly.
But each day, when she walks to the sea, She looks straight ahead, not at me.
Tall and tan and young and lovely The girl from Ipanema goes walking. And when she passes, I smile - but she doesn’t see.
She just doesn’t see. She never sees me. She never sees me.
The lyricist, Moraes, later described “The Girl from Ipanema” as “the exemplar of the raw Carioca: a golden-tanned girl, a mixture of flower and mermaid, full of brightness and grace, the sight of whom is also sad, in that she carries with her, on her route to the sea, the feeling of beauty that fades, of the beauty that is not ours alone — it is a gift of life in its constant, beautiful and melancholic ebb and flow."
After talking with and observing the Carioca’s (people who live in Rio de Janeiro) for several days we have concluded that they are not only attractive and vibrant, but they have insights and perspectives about love, marriage and life that we could learn much from.
4 Lessons Learned About Love In Brazil:
#1 Love Lesson From Brazil
To the Cariocas, family matters above all else. We have been amazed to see so many extended families walking down the streets of Rio, in the neighborhoods, and on the beaches together. As we sat at AGarota de Ipanema, we watched members of multiple generations embracing, chatting, and laughing as they gathered at the street corners and outdoor restaurants. It is not uncommon at all to see Grandma, Grandpa, husband and wife, their children, uncles, aunts and other members of the family walking together on their strolls.
#2 Love Lesson From Brazil
The warmth and easiness of the Brazilian people is simply awesome. Everywhere we have gone in this magnificent country, we are greeted by people who are relaxed, good-natured, humorous, and in love with life. They emit a aura of love and passion unequaled anywhere in the world. Relationships are an essential part of their culture and the nature of their very being.
#3 Love Lesson From Brazil
When we ask them why divorce is so low in their country they tell us that they surround each other with love, and when times get tough in their relationship, they support each other—they surround each other and their extended family with love. How can you get divorced within that context? The message here is this—we are a family and families stay together. Divorce is out of the question for most. Just work it out. Seek the support of your extended family and all things are possible. In line with this culture, the Brazilian government has made it tough to secure a divorce. All individuals, regardless of nationality, who seek to get a divorce in Brazil, must comply with Brazilian law. It seems that Brazil, for historic and cultural reasons, as well as religious reasons, want those who commit to marriage to honor their commitment. There are lessons to be learned from this Brazilian tradition.
#4 Love Lesson From Brazil
As beautiful as the “Girl from Ipanema” was, beauty does not last forever. There is an ebb and flow to life. Being beautiful does not sustain life or love. In the end, what sustains us is our love for each other and the support of our extended family. To hold the love of others in our heart is to value love above all else – above beauty, above youth, above position in life. When the girl from Ipanema goes walking by she might capture your love, but her beauty will not sustain that love. True love is sustained when two people commit to each other their lives, their love, and their sacred honor.
The most important lesson the Cariocas have taught us about marriage is that divorce is usually not an option for them because their entire extended family values the sanctity of marriage and surrounds each couple with sustaining support and love. This is a model the rest of the world could emulate.
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