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Save the date

Upcoming AmSoc events Sep 1st - Happy Hour Sep 24th - AMSOC and Vida Jovem Charitable Event Oct 29th - Halloween Party Nov 5th - Angel Party

Monthly Newsletter September 2011

The Hottest Ticket in Town Get Yours Now!

Soft lights, sparkling wine, and an evening of sounds by an acclaimed musician -- Saturday night, September 24th, promises to be an evening you wont want to miss. AMSOC and Vida Jovem are delighted to present music and entertainment to benefit the Vida Jovem charity on that day, starting at 7.30pm. Ask any Brazilian and they will confirm that our featured performer is one of Brazils great musicians. Toquinho is also a natural fit for the purpose of this years benefit which is to make life better for So Paulos children. Throughout his career, Toquinho has composed music for children; for 24 years Vida Jovem has provided children in need with education and psychological support. Conveniently located in the lovely Golden Hall of the Sheraton World Trade Center, the event will include a silent auction of over 200 items, three-course dinner, and an opportunity to mingle with approximately 1000 guests. You are more than welcome to wear formal attire or cocktail party attire. Tickets can be purchased through the AMSOC office and vary in price based on proximity to the stage. Tickets are R$300, R$250, or R$200 per person and are sold individually or in blocks. Corporate sponsorship is very welcome and so are friends who would like to enjoy the evening together. Tickets are selling quickly; call the AMSOC office ( 11 5182 2074) for additional information and reserve your place today! Also check out the event blog at

The Numbers Issue

Crime in SP
Page 5: Is it really as bad as people say? How things have changed in the last few years.

Travel in Brazil
Page 8: Where are we going, where we are coming from and what do we do when we get there?

SP comes in at no. 10
Page 16: How our columnist deals with living in the tenth most expensive city in the world.

The 2011 Angel Party Needs You!

With two months left until the American Society Angel Party, theres still a lot of work to do. We need you! The Angel Party is a Christmas party held each year, this year on November 5, for over 220 children in day care centers, orphanages and educational programs, all funded in part by the American Society and people like you. The party is held at Chapel School and the kids have a great day of food, games and fun. At the end of the party, Santa Claus comes and gives each child a special gift bag with presents for just that child. Were in desperate need of people to help Santa by shopping for all the items in one childs bag. The list looks like this: tennis shoes, a backpack, a toy, pants and a shirt, socks, underwear, a coat or sweatshirt and some candy. And then we need plenty of help with organizing the party, from rounding up sponsors, donors, prizes and cash to helping on the day of the party. Theres a lot of work to be done. But its a great way to meet new people, lose weight and save the world all at the same time. Come help make the twelfth Angel Party the best party yet. Contacts: Eileen Tasso: Sue Banman Sileci:

Our Mission
The American Society of So Paulo promotes friendship by organizing social, cultural and athletic events for its diverse membership; encourages integration with the Brazilian society; and supports the American traditions of education, philanthropy and volunteerism.

The Presidents Corner

This month I would like to include my letter which is part of the Lets Make a Difference Folder which includes descriptions By Joe Sherman, AmSoc president of the various organizations we support. Presidents Letter, One of the highlights/strong points of the American Society of So Paulo is the Community Action Committee (CAC). This group of volunteers works effortlessly to raise funds to help the less fortunate children in our community. The CAC members began years ago to identify existing entities in So Paulo that were already making a difference in the citys neglected children. After evaluating several organizations , it selected a limited number where the American Society members, individual and corporate, could help through donations of time and money. On the following pages you will find a brief description of each organization, how it is supporting children, and how you can help. You can choose to donate directly to the entity or leverage your donation by contributing through Amsoc where the CAC will channel the funds appropriately. The CAC also organizes a mega event every year-the Christmas Angel Party. This is a fun day for 250 children and includes lunch, special games, prizes, and entertainment. Each child receives a backpack of clothes and presents. Amsoc members and corporate sponsors participate in this rewarding day with funds, products, and volunteering to work at the event. Recently the CAC has organized volunteer days for the children, a fun day with games, with a typical American lunch. It is rewarding to see the support by our community characterized by a large number of volunteers; more than the number of children sometimes! As our mission states, encourages integration with the Brazilian society; and supports the American traditions of education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. The American Society decided years ago to do something to help children in need. By joining forces with select people and organizations that are already successful our additional support clearly makes a difference. See how you can help by reviewing the pages in this packet, and we hope you will choose to join us. Sincerely, Joseph Sherman President The American Society of So Paulo If you would like to receive the Lets Make a Difference folder please contact the office. Board members, Jennifer Showers and Monica Freyre have been busy coordinating the Amsoc efforts in helping to organize the Vida Jovem mega event on Sep 24. I am looking forward to this special evening and hope to see many of you there. Abraos, Joe

About Forum

Forum is published monthly, with the exception of January and July, by

Lynn Cordeiro, editor and layout Ernest White II, staff writer Forum is printed by EGB. ( Views expressed in Forum do not necessarily reflect those of the American Society board of governors, members, or staff. Forum reserves the right to edit content for brevity and/or clarity.

The American Society of So Paulo Rua da Paz, 1431 04713-001 So Paulo, SP Tel: (11) 5182-2074 Fax: (11) 5182-9155



The American Society of So Paulo

Welcome to our New Members

Please welcome the following New Members who joined us in July and August of 2011. We are very grateful for your support! NAME Daniela BERNI Darcie & Marvin BOAKYE Magda BOCONCELLO Jeffrey BOURNES & Mariela VIVAS San & Monica Hwunah CHO Jayelle HUDSON & Flvio SILVESTRE David IFIDON Rafael & Charlotte Ann JARAMILLO D Anna & Elly KEIRAN David & Kimberly KERR James KING Luis & Vicky MANRIQUE Raymond MURPHY II & Pahisit KIMAKOM Katlin WESTEHERY & Michel RANEY Laura CHAMBERLIN & Richard SALAZAR Christopher & Joanna WILLOTT MEMBERSHIP TYPE Single Membership Family Membership Single Membership Family Membership Family Membership Family Membership Single Membership Helping Hands Membership Family Patron Membership Family Patron Membership Single Membership Family Membership Family Membership Family Membership Family Membership Family Membership American American American American American American Clifford Chance LLP US Consulate Zurich Latin America CITIZENSHIP Brazilian Canadian Brazilian American American American Brazilian Panamanian Emerson Global Latin America US Consulate La Fee Confeces COMPANY OR PROFESSION Dental Office



Getting Under Brazils Skin

By Ernest White II, staff writer While Brazils demographic claim to fame is as a racial melting pot, with centuries of carnal interaction resulting in a veritable rainbow of skin tones, prevailing wisdom dictates that the descendents of Brazils original peoples mostly populate the north, black and brown Brazilians predominate in the northeast, and white Brazilians people the south. This distribution may seem true to the naked eye, but according to a DNA study produced earlier this year by the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), color is only skin deep. In fact, old notions of blacks as Africans and whites as Europeans are being turned on their heads, as scientists found that genetically, Brazilians possess between 40 and 80 per cent European ancestry, regardless of their physical appearance or self-ascribed racial identity. The study, published in February, looked at DNA samples from 934 people in the states of Par, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, and Rio Grande do Sul, representing four of the five geographic regions of Brazil (the North, Northeast, Southeast, and South) and three of the five government-designated racial groups: black, brown, and white (the other two are yellow and indigenous), with brown encompassing the hundreds of terms mixed-race Brazilians historically used to identify themselves; in Brazil color stands in for race, and is defined by a complex formula that includes skin tone, hair texture, and width of facial features, all independent of ancestry, which is the defining characteristic for race in North America. Using data gleaned from geographic genotypes, the researchers found that in Rio Grande do Sul, no less than 43 per cent of the genetic material in selfidentified blacks came from European forebears, with that percentage increasing to 53.9 per cent in Bahia, long considered the blackest of Brazilian states. Conversely, African genetic material in black participants in Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul registered at only 49.5 per cent and 45.9 per cent, respectively. Whites, on the Since Brazils inception as a Portuguese colony in 1500, barriers to sexual race mixing for men, at least have been non-existent, as European men coupled first with indigenous, and later enslaved African women during the countries first few centuries. Additional African infusion into the gene pool virtually ended with the banning of the slave trade in 1850, while increased European infusion began in 1870 with the Brazilian governments campaign to encourage immigration from countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Germany, thereby whitening the population (a policy called branqueamento, popular with eugenicists and not a few members of the elite and intelligentsia). It is this period of immigration, which lasted until about 1975, to which the UFMG scientists attribute the high percentage of European genetic material in the Brazilian population and suggesting that the population is indeed more homogeneous than traditionally thought. These findings most certainly indicate far-reaching social implications, as historical understanding of what race means comes under scrutiny. The governments current and controversial quota scheme, in which a certain number of university spots are held for members of historically-underrepresented racial groups, may face increased opposition from critics who cite the study as proof of racial equality in Brazil. Civil rights groups counter, however, that it is the surface-level traits the ones used by society to determine race that people discriminate against, regardless of how much European blood a dark-skinned person has, in hiring decisions and criminal court proceedings. Meanwhile, thanks to the inquisitive band of scientists organized by UFMG, the people of Brazil have that much more knowledge about what they can find just underneath that perfectly-hued skin.

other hand, possess anywhere between 66.8 per cent (Bahia) and 86.1 per cent (Rio de Janeiro) European genetic material, with only white participants in Bahia registering more than 7.7 per cent African genetic material in fact, white baianos registered as 24.4 per cent African, indicating differences in racial perception among the regions. The brown category showed consistent European ancestry of between 60 and 70 per cent in Par (which had higher indigenous genetic material, at 20.9 per cent), Bahia, and Rio de Janeiro, but showed virtually identical genetic percentages to those who identified as black in Rio Grande do Sul, also indicating a diversion in racial perception. In no state, other than Par, did the percentage of indigenous genetic material prove higher than 11 per cent. In essence, the study finds, there is no necessary correlation between self-identified race and genetic ancestry; terms such as black and African or white and European are not scientifically interchangeable. One thing is for certain: the 5.4 million European immigrants that came to Brazil in the 19th and 20th centuries have truly left their mark on Brazil.



The American Society of So Paulo

Murders Down, Car Thefts Up But Numbers Can Be Cryptic

By Ernest White II, staff writer In spite of still-large income disparities and the ease of access to firearms, the homicide rate in So Paulo has been in steady decline over the last twelve years, according to statistics published by the mayors office and compiled by the state office of public safety at the end of last year. Since 1999, murders have declined 78 per cent, from 52.58 deaths per 100,000 people to 11.2 deaths per 100,000, falling below the limit established by World Health Organization, a branch of the United Nations, of epidemic. In addition to this drop in homicide numbers, several areas of the city, which were hotbeds of violence only a few years ago, have cooled tremendously, indicating either successful policing in those areas or a dearth of murders that have actually been reported. Nodes of increased levels of violence include parts of central So Paulo, from S east to Belm and north to the Rio Tiet; parts of Parque do Carmo, Jos Bonifcio, and Iguatemi in Zona Leste; the Trememb district in Zona Norte; and sections of Jardim ngela, Capo Redondo, and Jardim So Lus in Zona Sul. Sections of town such as Anhangera in the northwest and Graja in the south have seen some of the sharpest drops in homicides, at least since 2005. This years statistics also seem promising, as Veja recently reported a mere 8.3 homicides per 100,000 people in the first half of 2011, with 6 districts centrally-located Cambuci; Vila Carro, Parque da Mooca, and Alto da Mooca in Zona Leste; Limo, in Zona Norte; and Campo Grande, in Zona Sul reporting zero murders during that time. In all of Brazil, the figure was a much higher 25 murders per 100,000. The State Secretariat of Public Safety has attributed the decrease in homicides to several factors. A newly-installed criminal information system (Infocrim) that uses computer-generated mapping to help police officers intercept criminals, increased police presence in statistics comes from internet news portal ltimo Segundo which reports that So Paulo only counts murder cases that have been officially recorded as such in its police reports. According to a study the news agency performed using information gleaned from official records, in 2010, while 1,196 homicides were reported in the city, the Department of Homicides and Personal Protection handled 1,569 open investigations. Of these, 724 have been solved, leading to a 46.1 per cent closure rate; in essence, more than half of the murders in So Paulo remain unsolved. The public is not exactly taken by these numbers. In a survey conducted for community NGO Rede Nossa So Paulo and announced earlier this year, the average level of satisfaction regarding safety in the city was 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 10. While better than the 4.3 the city earned in 2010, the dissatisfaction is palpable. Assaults, robberies, general violence, and drug trafficking were the major causes of uneasiness among the populace, according to the study. Meanwhile, the city graduated a class of 2,467 new police officers in March, a number So Paulo governor Gerald Alckmin likes to promote. With increased police presence, better training and technology, and serious community outreach, coupled with increased education and citizen awareness, these numbers could possibly fall even lower. Only time and a serious commitment by all involved parties can ensure a more pleasant, safe, and secure So Paulo.

neighborhoods with higher crime rates, better-trained police officers, and crackdowns on illegal weapons possession have all been cited, though other forces may be at play, including the departure of drug-related criminal gangs for more tourist-heavy destinations, and falling illiteracy and unemployment. On the other hand, auto thefts and break-ins have increased in So Paulo after a ten-year slide of 25 per cent. The number of vehicles in the city has grown to about 7 million, and according to state statistics, just in the first half of 2011, break-ins rose by 7.7 per cent and car thefts by 9.77 per cent. Zona Leste tops the list of areas with high instances of vehicular robbery, especially in the districts of So Mateus, Vila Rica, and Parque So Lucas, followed by Jabaquara and Campo Limpo, both in Zona Sul. Another stain on the glowing



Data and Decisions: Applying to College in The U.S.

By Kristina Dooley Its all about the numbersat least thats what high school students are told when embarking on the college search process. GPA. SAT. ACT. Its a feat just to keep the acronyms straight, let alone understand exactly WHAT colleges and universities are looking for in an applicant. The complexities of the search process are augmented even further if the applicant is applying to a university outside of the place they are currently calling home. International students, expatriate children, and global nomads are applying to universities abroad at record numbers. According to the Institute of International Education (IIE) there are more than 3.3 million students studying in a country other than their own. Leading the pack in popularity for attracting international students is the United States with more than 690,000 enrolling in 2009-10. This figure is actually not surprising given the more than 4,000 university options available in the U.S. Other countries seeing a significant influx of international students in recent years include the UK, Germany, France, Australia, and Canada.. A recent IIE study, Open Doors 2010, revealed that the top places of origin for international students studying in the U.S. went to China, India, South Korea, Canada, and Taiwan. To put these facts into perspective, nearly 127,000 students from China enrolled at U.S. universities last year compared to just 8,700 from Brazil. According to the NationalAssociation for College Admission Counseling, students coming from outside the U.S. comprise just 2% of the countries total undergraduate student population. In fact, just 10 states within the U.S. account for 61% of all students coming from outside of the country. California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts are currently the states attracting the most international students. The most popular universities hosting non-U.S. students this year include University of Southern California, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, NYU, Purdue and Columbia. According to the Open Doors 2010 Study, the top fields of study for students coming to the U.S. from abroad include Business Management, Engineering, Physical and Life Science, and Social Science. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the highest number of degrees awarded to all undergraduates in the U.S. in 2009 were in the fields of Business, Social Sciences/History, Health Sciences, and Education. When applying to universities in the U.S., both domestic and international students can save an immense amount of time by submitting the Common Application online. The Common Application was created in 1975 through a collaboration of just 15 private colleges in an attempt to standardize the college application process. Today there are 456 universities who accept the Common Application, including both private and public institutions. In fact, 146 universities are exclusive users of the Common Application including Boston University, Carnegie Mellon, University of Chicago, and all Ivy League schools with the exception of Harvard. The Common Application has allowed students from around the world to apply to many universities by completing just one application online. In fact, in 2010 nearly 2.5 million Common Applications were submitted online! Before completing an application for admission to a U.S. university, students worldwide must complete one of two standardized tests: the SAT or the ACT. Both exams are accepted by all universities in the U.S. and both offer international testing locations. In 2010 approximately 1.6 million graduating seniors had taken the ACT, while 1.55 million sat for the SAT. Many students take both exams as they are very different and test different academic areas. The ACT, developed in 1959, includes 215 multiple choice questions in the areas of English, Math, Science, and Reading. An optional writing section is also offered. The average score for students taking the ACT in 2010 was a 21 out of a possible 36. The first SAT exam was administered in 1901 and today includes 170 questions and an essay in the areas of Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. According to The College Board, the company administering the SAT, the mean scores in 2010 were: Critical Reading - 510, Math - 516, and Writing - 492. The mean composite score for all sections was 1509 out of possible 2400. An interesting fact cited by The College Board is students who have taken four years of English and three or more years of math and science scored, on average, 151 points more than students who had not. For students applying to U.S. universities from abroad the process can be daunting, as indicated by the numbers above. However, by gathering information early, preparing for standardized tests, and becoming familiar with the Common Application, students anywhere in the world can successfully gain admission to a university of their choiceand take time to enjoy their last year of high school! Kristina L. Dooley is the founder of Estrela Consulting, an Independent Educational Consulting firm helping families navigate the college and boarding school search processes. A former college admission counselor, Kristina enjoys sharing her behind the scenes tips with families embarking on this exciting experience. Kristina is a former AMSOC member now living in Buenos Aires and can be reached via email at Kristina@ or online at



The American Society of So Paulo

The Consulate in Numbers

By Ciera Burnett, ACS office of the American Consulate in So Paulo customer service to our clientele has never wavered. Everyday more and more U.S. citizens are moving to Brazil. Whether you are a dual citizen hoping to reintegrate into Brazilian society or a U.S. expat looking to secure unique employment opportunities in Brazils fast- growing economy, the ACS office is here to support you. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2008, 13,923 U.S. citizens registered with our office. This number jumped to 15,245 in 2010 -- almost a 10 percent increase in just two years. We estimate that less than 50 % of our U.S. citizens residing within the consular district actually register with us, so we project a more realistic figure of 32,000 U.S. citizens residing within our consular district. This has resulted in demand for greater and more diverse ACS services such as meeting the special needs of our detained U.S. citizens, assisting in the repatriation of deceased U.S. citizens, resolving child custody disputes, or aiding those who are incapacitated. To ensure we can give you our full attention, ACS asks that our clients schedule an appointment for all services except for true emergencies. Growth in demand for services at a glance: 1,991 passport adjudications in 2008 and 241 CRBAS issued in 2008. Seven months into 2011, we have already done 1525 passport adjudications versus 1161 issued at this time last year -- a 7 percent increase. During this same time frame, we have issued 173 CRBAS versus 140 at this time last year an 8 percent increase.

The American Citizen Services (ACS) section in So Paulo, Brazil provides a wide range of information and assistance to the U.S. citizens. Despite an increase in the demand for services within the last year, our commitment to providing outstanding

2010 2011


Tourism in Brazil
By Melissa Harkin, AmSoc member Domestic Overview Tourism in Brazil is a growing sector and key to the economy of several regions of the country. The country had 4.8 million visitors in 2009, being the main destination in South America, and second in Latin America after Mexico, in terms of the international tourist arrivals. But this number is still small considering what Brazil has to offer, since this is the number of international tourists arrivals for the high season in France, a country the size of So Paulo State. Revenues from international tourists reached US$5.3 billion in 2009. Both arrivals and revenues fell in 2009 as compared to the previous year due to the effects of the 2008-2009 economic crises. Brazil offers an ample gamut of options for both domestic and international tourists, with natural areas being its most popular tourism product: a combination of ecotourism with leisure and recreation, mainly sun and beach, and adventure travel, as well as historic and cultural tourism. Among the most popular destinations are the Amazon Rainforest, beaches and dunes in the Northeast Region, the Pantanal in the Center-West Region, beaches in Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina, cultural and historic locations in Minas Gerais and business trips to So Paulo city. According to the 2008 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), which is a measurement of the factors that make it attractive to develop business in the travel and tourism industry of individual countries, Brazil reached 49th place in the worlds ranking, second among Latin American countries, and sixth in the Americas. Brazils main competitive advantages are shown by the sub index measuring human, cultural, and natural resources, where Brazil ranks sixth worldwide, and third when only the natural resources criteria is considered. The TTCI report also notes Brazils main weaknesses as information and communications technology infrastructure (ranked 58th), ground transport infrastructure (ranked 95th), and safety and security (ranked 128th). Domestic tourism is a key market segment for the tourism industry in Brazil. In 2005, 51 million Brazilian nationals made 10 times more trips than foreign tourists and spent 5 times more money than their international counterparts. The main destination states in 2005 were So Paulo (27.7%), Minas Gerais (10.8%), Rio de Janeiro (8.4%), Bahia (7.4%) and Santa Catarina (7.2%). The top three states by trip origin were So Paulo (35.7%), Minas Gerais (13.6%) and Rio de Janeiro (8.2%). In terms of tourism revenues, the top earners by state were So Paulo (16.4%) and Bahia (11.7%). For 2005 the three main trip purposes were visiting friends and family (53.1%), sun and beach (40.8%), and cultural tourism (12.5%). International Overview According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), international travel to Brazil began to grow fast since 2000, particularly during 2004 and 2005. However, in 2006 a slowdown took place, and international arrivals have had almost no growth both in 2007 and 2008. In spite of this trend, revenues from international tourism continue to rise, from USD 3.9 billion in 2005 to USD 4.9 billion in 2007, a one billion dollar increase despite 333 thousand less arrivals. This favorable trend is the result of the strong devaluation of the American dollar against the Brazilian Real, which began in 2004, but on the other hand, making Brazil a more expensive international destination. This trend changed in 2009, when both visitors and revenues fell as a result of the 2008-2009 economic crises. Despite continuing record breaking of international tourism revenues, the number of Brazilian tourists traveling overseas has been growing steadily since 2003, resulting in a net negative foreign exchange balance, as more money is spent abroad by Brazilians than receipts from international tourists visiting Brazil. Tourism expenditures abroad grew from USD 5.76 billion in 2006, to USD 8.21 billion in 2007, a

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The American Society of So Paulo

42.45% increase, representing a net deficit of USD 3.26 billion in 2007, as compared to USD 1.45 billion in 2006, a 125% increase from the previous year. This trend is caused by Brazilians taking advantage of the stronger Real to travel and making relatively cheaper expenditures abroad. Brazilian traveling overseas in 2006 represented 3.9% of the countrys population. In 2005, tourism contributed with 3.2% of the countrys revenues from exports of goods and services, and represented 7% of direct and indirect employment in the Brazilian economy. In 2006, direct employment in the sector reached 1.87 million people. Domestic tourism is a fundamental market segment for the industry, as 51 million traveled throughout the country in 2005, and direct revenues from Brazilian tourists reached USD 21.8 billion, 5.6 times more receipts than international tourists in 2005. In 2005, Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguau, So Paulo, Florianpolis and Salvador were the most visited cities by international tourists for leisure trips. The most popular destinations for business trips were So Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre. In 2006, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza were the most popular destinations by national visitors. Most international visitors in 2008 came from Argentina (20.2%), from the United States (12.4%) and from Italy (5.3%), while as a region most visitors came from neighboring South American countries, mainly from Mercosul. Tourist visa requirements have been waived for citizens of Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Morocco, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Malta, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela. Tourist visas also apply for lecturers at conferences, for visiting relatives and/or friends, unpaid participation in athletic or artistic event or competition and unpaid participation in a scientific/academic seminar or conference sponsored by a research or academic institution (in these cases an invitation letter from the sponsoring organization in Brazil is required). Brazils official Tourism Website ( is in English and offers a variety of tips and info for foreigners. Pay special attention to Tips for the Tourist which offers info on airports, climate, consulates and embassies, currency, passports and visas and vaccinations. The Ministry of Tourism also offers its website in English with very useful information: h t t p : / / w w w. t u r i s m o . g o v. b r / turismo/ingles/



Privacy? Try Again. How Facebook Creates Celebrity from Ordinary

By Isabella Freyre Facebooks popularity are fairly easy to understand: it helps people maintain contact, find dear old friends, and share interesting photos. Besides, Facebook also satisfies our inner stalker - a reason much less overt but equally true. However, somewhere along the line this entertainment became a vice. Each day, 50% of active Facebook users log in. Facebook is no longer just a welledited reflection of our lives. Our lives become a reflection of Facebook. While some might observe that life shines through in the details, it is an exaggeration to think that every detail is worth noting. Each day, 55 million status updates are made. People concoct witty phrases to be shared in the virtual dimension, but not every abbreviated thought deserves to be diffused through the public. What has been created by Facebook is passionate surveillance - a desire to check what everyone else is busy with, to polish the tiny moments of life. People flatter themselves in assuming that others are genuinely concerned that they are up all night finishing a project or stuck on page thirty-three of some book. As goes the proverb, some things are definitely better left unsaid. (Isabella Freyre is wondering how many words she has written so far.) Facebook knows us too well. Our favorite quotes, our wild vacation photos exposing reckless behavior, enlightening comments on those photos - all are posted for the vast entertainment of others. Users even become paranoid if they do not receive notifications on their activity, a sure sign that they are not being appreciated. It seems like a life not publicized is not truly a meaningful life. Thus we waste valuable hours surfing through Facebook instead of finishing our essays and spending quality time with our families. We have grown accustomed to the idea that we need to compare our lives to those of others. Sadly, we cannot help it. I myself cannot help it: nine hundred and sixtyseven acquaintances and counting. Then we arrive at a truly crucial question: does Facebook come before reality itself? Are we writing simply to entertain an audience or due to an innate desire for attention? Has typing a few words on the screen become the climax of our experiences? I first noticed this when I was out with a specific group of friends who took pictures incessantly. I realized that they were not really enjoying the moment. Yes, they were smiling widely and striking all kinds of quirky poses. But those strained smiles and scripted gestures lasted the five seconds it took to aim and click. As the pictures appeared on my news feed less than twenty-four hours later, it occurred to me that posting extravagant photos has become the sweet compensation of going out. By posting the photos, we grant legitimacy to the experience and to our identities. And more than 30 billion pieces of content are shared each month. People no longer create memories, they simply tag Facebook albums. Facebook not only targets how other people view us, but it even affects how we view ourselves. When people add us on Facebook, we feel proud of our Internet profile. If someone posts awful pictures of us where we look disheveled and silly, we begin to believe that we actually are exactly that: disheveled and silly. Facebook trumps reality, making us all more vain and narcissistic. Although we doubt the authenticity of the whimsical statuses and coded posts that erupt on Facebook, we still have the uneasy feeling that these people might be enjoying their lives more than we are. This fear lingers at the core of our generations insecurities, especially

The Facebook frenzy sweeps through society, encouraging people to constantly update their status and inevitably overshare by providing trivial details of their lives. Personal information ranging from the arcane to the surprisingly revealing has spread furiously across Facebook, creating a black hole for individual data. With modern technological equipment grasped in their hands, people are able to communicate with those who delve in the eternal depths of the Internet. In fact, the average user spends over 700 minutes on Facebook per month. In only a few words, people narrate what they are doing at any exact moment. All the effort required is the click of a button. (Isabella Freyre is hungry and contemplating a visit to the kitchen.) The Internet allows the proliferation of superficial relationships. Facebook status updates avidly broadcast short messages to anyone who desires to receive them (and even some who do not). These might range from a small friends list of seven eager members to hundreds of buzzing tech-savvy acquaintances. They can all easily skim through the awkward pictures and lopsided grins that compose each of our legacies. The social network, once exclusive to students of American universities, has quickly spread to anyone with a face. The reasons behind




The American Society of So Paulo

in the United States which heads the ranking of number of users per country with a whopping 111,212,840 users while Brazil has 21,239,380 users. Brazilians first became avid users of social networks in 2004 when they adopted Orkut like no other country. And despite the surge of Facebook, Google-owned Orkut maintains its faithful followers. Actually, Brazilians represent nothing less than 50,6% of the approximately 60 million Orkut users around the world. It is hard to believe considering Facebooks success (one in every nine people constantly use Facebook), but Brazil is one of the only countries where it has not topped the charts as the most valued social network amongst the population. Appealing to the youth of lower classes, Orkut, with its animated gifs and spaminfested scraps, keeps its advantage over the more discrete Facebook. Of the Brazilians who explore the Internet at lan houses, many stick to the basics: an e-mail account, a MSN messenger chat, and a profile on Orkut. Yet people harness Facebook for their own unique ends. They divulge foolish jokes, track eccentric friends, follow conventional trends, and report vehement views. Living in an intricately connected world, people have formed a habit of expressing their opinions and presenting inner thoughts to a vast public of willing readers. There is simply nothing not worth mentioning. The free flow of information has even given rioters a medium through which to coordinate action, leading prime minister David Cameron to vow a crackdown on social networking and its recurrent disturbances. In fact, Facebooks appeal is so great that its users are significantly higher than many global populations - lagging behind only China and India. Facebook accentuates the idea that voices are heard once they are typed. (Isabella Freyre has prepared herself a sandwich. And it looks delicious.) Recently, another battle of Goliaths has surfaced as Google launches its new version of social media with the innovative Google Plus. As an invite only release, Google + has intensified users urge to join the simple website. At first glance, Google + looks just like a shameless Facebook duplicate - it is generally easy to manage with a place

for posts (a copy of the Facebook wall), a stream (identical to the Facebook newsfeed), and even a +1 button (a clone of Facebooks like button). But it also has a brilliant difference in that friends are grouped into circles with distinct settings. In this way, people share items with a specific few while simultaneously preventing others from seeing news of no interest to them. Google + allows the user to limit permissions for any group of friends and choose whether to show his/her data in search results in order to protect privacy. Now, what would you opt for? Note: All data was retrieved from, which measures social media.




Halloween Party Preparations Under Way

By Ruth Hollard, AmSoc board member For most expats in So Paulo, Halloween is one of those things that you had to leave behind. It just doesnt happen here. True, it is becoming more popular in So Paulo, and the shops have a lot more Halloween decorations now than they did 10 years ago, but trick-or-treating is as scarce here as Candy Corn. Every year however the American Society comes to the rescue of this tradition and throws a huge Halloween party for kids. There are lots of games with prizes, trick-or-treating with mountains of candy, and even a haunted house. Kids love the sweets, the hotdogs and cupcakes. And parents love reliving their own childhood Halloween excitement as they watch their kids have fun. Preparations for this years party are beginning now. Its time to volunteer help shop in the Centro for the prizes. We also need volunteers to dress up and work the enchanted forest (That includes men too!! Come on dads, your kids will never forget this!). Are you traveling to the US on business? We need American candy. Candy Corn, Tootsie Rolls, Nerds, Sweet Tarts, stuff like that. Because thats one of the cool things about our party, we give out lots of American candy too! Dont know if this is appreciated more by the kids or the parents... For the party to be a success for your children, we need your help! If you can contribute in any way, please email Ruth Hollard at or call 94056424.

for this fun event! We need helpers to help decorate the morning of the party and also some volunteers to set up and work the games. We need volunteers to

Annual Flower Show

Event: Place: Date & Time: 72 EXPOSIO ANUAL DE PLANTAS E ARTE FLORAL do So Paulo Garden Club Centro Brasileiro Britnico, Rua Ferreira de Arajo, 741, Pinheiros 24th and 25th of September 2011, from 10am to 5pm daily

Tea starting at 3pm in the salo principal. On-site parking available. Call (11) 5541-8750 for more information




The American Society of So Paulo

Fighting Not Just To Survive But To Prosper

By Irm Yvone Venditti meals instead of remaining in the streets), adolescents seeking first time employment and professional courses, and adults who are learning to read in our classes In addition, we offer a range of other activities and that has transformed Vivenda into a point of social reference in Parelheiros (the poorest of So Paulos 31 districts). All of this fills me with hope and motivation. Sometimes, with so many social ills and imbalances, I think it is an uphill battle. However, every time I see a childs smile or participate in one of our graduations, I remain convinced that we are, in many cases, the only hope for those who are in greatest need. In that way, I renew my energy to go forward and grow, to do more! Growth, however, has a price. Problems dont decrease they just change. Today we have much more infrastructure and projects than when we began. On the other hand, our costs have increased a great deal. It is the price of improving every day, meeting the needs of many more families and bringing dignity and relief to a greater number of people in need. Due to our sense of responsibility along with our understanding of how difficult it is to secure donations (even those arising from government incentivized corporate tax benefits), we created alternative possibilities for Vivendas auto-sustainability. From that initiative arose the Opportunities project. We are authorized by the Ministry of Labor to allocate young people in companies, thereby creating the opportunity (due to training held at Vivenda) for professionals to develop in diverse areas. Employers, in partnership with Vivenda, can thereby comply with Law 10.097/2000 which obligates large to medium size companies to have a quota of young apprentices in the workforce. Young professionals, before joining the company, can undergo two training courses administrative assistance and information technology that are certified by SENAI (a reference in professional training in Brazil). The project for employing young apprentices has received UNICEFs recommendation. We are also approved by the Secretary of Culture to offer ProAC ICMS, which permits companies to pay part of their tax on goods and services directly to Vivenda, thereby incentivizing various forms of culture: song, music, theater, crafts, and others. Our experimental kitchen is prepared to produce bread products, baked goods, and bread-based appetizers of high quality and taste, as always aiming to create both income and work opportunities for the economically disadvantaged in Parelheiros. Although in the beginning we depended exclusively on donations for survival, today some projects generate jobs and income for those who participate and for the institution. What hasnt changed is that we continue to depend upon partnerships to make our auto-sustainability projects viable. For that reason I am addressing my friends of many years at the American Society. I ask them to honor our young professionals and the products they can make. I ask for a chance to show how we can help their businesses and how you can help change a cruel reality in the poorest periphery of So Paulo. I ask, finally, to help us prosper, which is possible and desirable for all persons. We want, with our actions and proposals, to create dignified citizens, capable of reinventing themselves, so that instead of begging we can roll up our sleeves to work, show our value and prove that we have high quality products and services that are consumed by people who are conscience that the world we live in is worthwhile! Visit Vivenda, include us in your work partnerships, hire our services and young professionals, and help us in our fight for prosperity (

When Vivenda da Criana was founded in 1989, we were in need of everything, from materials to manual labor. All of the circumstances around me were adverse and resources were very scarce. We fought daily just to survive. At various moments, I thought we were going to go under. In the meantime, I persisted! On this journey, many people, companies and entities helped me. Perhaps one of the reasons I was able to continue has always been the friendly shoulder (and aid) from partners like the American Society. Many times, when confronted with the challenge of paying employees, honoring a bill, or buying food and medicine (during the time of the foster home), I found myself facing problems that were almost insurmountable. Suddenly, when I was most desperate, with the help of God and friends, relief arrived in the form of donations and this made me continue forward. In that way, 22 years went by! Vivenda grew and our social work progressed. Later, a phase of professionalization arrived, with new employees, ideas and challenges. The four employees who, along with me, comprised our total workforce in the past have multiplied into 36 employees and 9 service providers, such as a nutritionist, workshop providers and others. This battalion of employees and resources is needed to meet the needs of 1,000 families, 160 young people who spend half days at Vivenda (where they receive balanced and complete




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S ervices
Personal Trainer I will come to your home, office, or workout facility and create an exercise/fitness program tailored to your health concerns, fitness goals, and schedule. For adults and children, individuals or groups. Sessions in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. For more information please contact Daniela Franco at (11) 9739-6191 or dsf29@ Selling Up Go with a pro! We have been selling household goods for families, individuals, and companies for more than 20 years in So Paulo and Brasilia for embassies. We have hundreds of preselected clients wanting to buy from you, safe and sound! Send an e-mail to meredithsales@ or or call (11) 5908-1144 or (11) 7997-8808. Ask for Ms. Zaquie Meredith. Argos Dog Kennel Traveling? What about your dog? Argos Kennel Hotel could be his second home in the country. Food, water, and shelter with lots of love and personal care. No lonely kennel for him, but our home and the freedom of a spacious garden. Fetch and carry service. English and French spoken. Call Jean or Christiane at (11) 4661-1430 or (11) 7143-0837 or send an e-mail to Embu Guau, SP. Math and Science Tutor Former Graded and Chapel teacher, with 25years experience, tutors Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Science for all levels, including but not limited to the IB, IGCSE, SAT-I & II, AP and Brazilian vestibular. Elementary and middle school students are also welcome (all subjects). Call Fernando Knijnik at (11) 9134-6700. American-Licensed Expat Psychologist American-Licensed Psychotherapist In this busy and ever-changing world, people often feel stressed and overwhelmed with no place to turn. Psychotherapy/counseling can provide a safe place to receive professional guidance and support. Brief or longer-term therapy offered depending on your needs, goals and expectations. Services: individual, couples, child/adolescent. Certified to conduct Adoption Home Study for American Citizens. Contact: Pamela Wax, MSW/LCSW at 5051-5988 or 9656-2106 or send an e-mail to Located in Moema. American-Licensed Clinical Psychologist Heloisa Garman, Psy.D. U.S.-licensed Clinical Psychologist (covered by U.S. health insurance). Bilingual, with extensive private practice in Chicago and former therapist at the Family Institute at Northwestern Uni. Treats individuals, couples, and families. Specialized in anxiety, depression, cultural issues, and adjustment disorders. Call Dr. Garman at (11)7179-9723 or 3898-2330 or send an e-mail to Transform a Cherished Memory into a Work of Art Time seems to be passing more and more rapidly and many times we would like to hold on to a moment and make it last longer than it does. A first step, a birthday, a special feeling, a moment in the light. Time is one thing that is out of our control and the more we try to grasp it, the faster it seems to go. I dont have a solution for this but what I can do is capture a precious moment in a sculpture. Please contact me for more information. Nadja 5535-0937 or 8921-0165 or email or visit

A classified of up to 350 characters costs R$55 for AmSoc members and R$80 for non-members. To place a classified please call (11) 5182-2074 from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., or send an e-mail to amsoc1@

Forum does not check all of the advertisers appearing in this newsletter. We urge you to use these services; however, thoroughly check prices and services prior to finalizing any service or purchase agreement.

Richard Morhaime, Psy.D., offers skilled psychotherapy for children and adults. He also provides complete diagnostic evaluations in English for children with academic or behavioral difficulties, featuring individualized recommendations for school and home. For more information, contact Dr. Morhaime at 5538-0099 or 9669-8057 or visit


A Note to Our Readers

Place a Classified



01 Monday
Important Dates: 5 Labor Day (Us), 7 InDepenDence Day (br)

The American Society of So Paulo

Learn more about this months AmSoc events (highlighted) at

Happy Hour at LAbsolu Bar

From 6 pm to 9pm. It will be at LAbsolubar - Rua Gomes de Carvalho, 1715 - Vila Olmpia. Meet AMSOC members upstairs on the balcony! No Cover, No Minimum! For more information, visit Varekai Deep - Within a forest, at the summit of a volcano exists an extraordinary world - a world where something else is possible. A world called Varekai. To buy your ticket click on At Parque Ibirapuera from 9:30am to 2:30pm. More information click Pra Simplesmente Ser Feliz Visit the blog of our event amsocvidajovem. The party will be at Hotel Sheraton - Golden Hall - Av. Naes Unidas, 12559 - Brooklin Novo. Start at 7:30 pm. At Brazilian British Centre - R. Ferreira de Arajo, 741- with parking. From 10 am to 5 pm. Tea service from 3 pm in the main hall. More information call 5541-8750 or visit or During the second half Patricia will guide us in the art appreciation and expression activities. All activities are playful and hands on constituting a healthy, fun and inspiring activity for the community. Always from 10:00 am to 01:00 pm. More information in AmSoc website.

15 15 until October 02


INC Lets Speak Portuguese Club Cirque du Soleil



50th Anniversary Family Fun Day



Toquinho Concert AMSOC and Vida Jovem Charitable Event

24 & 25

Saturday & Sunday

72th Annual Exhibition of Plants and Floral Art So Paulo Garden Club



Workshop II: The art of Seeing Natural vision improvement with art

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For more than 60 years The American Society of So Paulo has worked to establish a strong network for expats living and working in So Paulo. Join Today!!! Visit our website at and fill in our on-line form or call the AmSoc office at 5182-2074




The $35 Martini and the Mula

By Maureen Kennedy Alves, AmSoc board member Did you see the New York Times headline last month the one that called Brazil the land of the $35 martini? While I cant speak to the cost of martinis down here (I learned a long time ago that martinis and I dont mix but thats another story), I can tell you I wasnt surprised to learn that a recent survey named So Paulo one of the worlds most expensive cities. Yes, thats right. In just one year, our beloved Sampa made a giant leap from 21st place to 10th in that ever-exclusive list of expensive cities youre glad you dont live in unless, of course, you happen to live in one. Its true that the meteoric rise was due, in large part, to the strengthening of the Brazilian real against the U.S. dollar (apparently Im not the only one who converts prices into dollars to see what things really cost). But just step into a clothing store, a car dealership or a restaurant in this city and youll find it easy to believe that So Paulo is more expensive than Paris, New York, and London. Probably combined. I always imagined that life in So Paulo would be much cheaper than life in New York City, where Im from. After all, wasnt there a Lonely Planet book called South America on a Shoestring? March 2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 11 8 21 Somehow I thought that charming description also applied to living well in Brazil. Alas, I was sadly mistaken. Being from New York, I barely raised an eyebrow when I first went food shopping here; Im used to $100 getting me about three bags of groceries. But my chin nearly hit the floor when I looked for furniture for our apartment. I couldnt find a decent lamp for less than R$500. And forget about baby clothes or baby anything for that matter. Ive never considered myself frugal, but after several forays to shopping malls, megastores and cute boutiques, I was sure the cost of this city would put a serious crimp on one of my favorite pastimes. Thankfully, a little ingenuity and a lot of have saved me. Rather than bemoan the prices here, I simply order what I need online and have it shipped to my sister (bless her heart) in New York. Even with taxes, its still cheaper than buying locally. The only problem is those packages then have to make it from my sisters house up north to me here in So Paulo. And thats where a pinch of elbow grease comes in. In the past year alone, Ive lugged back a lamp, an air purifier, clothes, shoes, books, toys you name it. My husband refers to March 2010 LUANDA TOKYO NDJAMENA MOSCOW GENEVA OSAKA ZURICH SINGAPORE HONG KONG SO PAULO City ANGOLA JAPAN CHAD RUSSIA SWITZERLAND JAPAN SWITZERLAND SINGAPORE HONG KONG BRAZIL Source: me lovingly (I think) as the mula. Thats fine with me because I can tell you from countless check-ins at the TAM counter at JFK airport, Im definitely never the only mula on board. Unfortunately, there is no easy way around the high cost of dining here. Unless, of course, you never leave your house which, I must confess, felt like a distinct possibility after the birth of my first child. During a perfectly nice dinner out with my husband the other night, I couldnt help but marvel at how my plate of spaghetti spaghetti cost R$50. But then again, considering the cost of a martini, I guess my entree was a bargain. Im not certain what the solution to the high cost of living in So Paulo is. I know I cant continue buying everything I need in the U.S. there will come a day when I need to replace my sofa and dining room table, Im sure, and even this mula has her limits. But maybe there doesnt need to be a final resolve. Perhaps the high prices here help us keep our spending in check, help us discern the difference between what we need and what we want. And, now, if youll please excuse me, I think I will sign off here so I can go sign on to