From Brazil to Aspen Hill
Eduardo (not real name) was a taxi driver in Rio di Janeiro who lost his job because, like in so many other cities, people prefer to take Uber. He moved to Maryland with his family and has since become an Uber driver himself.
Eduardo: Sorry it took me a while to find you. This area is new to me.
Bryan: That’s ok. When GPS works, everything is easy but when it doesn’t getting around can be very hard. Been driving long?
Eduardo: I have only been in the United States for five months. I have been driving for the last two months. I was a taxi driver in Brazil but I lost my job because of Uber. So here I am now in the United States driving for Uber.
Bryan: Driving in Washington DC isn’t easy. How do you find it?
Eduardo: I was a taxi driver so I am used to this. Traffic is bad in both Washington DC and Rio di Janeiro where I am from. But the streets are cleaner in Washington DC and people don’t fight with each other like in Rio. Here it is unusual for people to get out of their cars and yell at each other.
(Waze: No Cruzamento Vire a Esquerda!)
Bryan: Waze speaks Portugese – that helps!
Eduardo: I really want to practice my English and being an Uber driver helps me to do that. But I also need to know for certain where I am going so it is better for me to hear it in Portuguese. As long as the GPS works, I will get passengers to where they need to go. If I didn’t have GPS, it would be too hard for me.
Bryan: Do you have family here?
Eduardo: My uncle and cousin were here already and helped me to come here because there is no work in Brazil now. There is a big community of Brazilians in Aspen Hill (Maryland).
Bryan: I had been reading about how difficult things are in Brazil. Even Lula (a well-regarded former President) got caught up in the corruption scandals. I liked that he had the heart of a socialist and the brain of a capitalist. But it seems like there were a lot of things we didn’t know.
Eduardo: Politically, things are not getting better…
Bryan: I used to live in Haiti. Haitians came to Brazil to work in construction before the Olympics. With the economy being as weak as it is now, there isn’t work for them either. Many have made their way up through Central America and to the Mexican border to try to enter the United States. It’s very dangerous and many of them are trapped in Mexico.
Eduardo: I saw that on the television. I feel badly for them too.
Bryan: Did you work over the New Year weekend?
Eduardo: I did for a while. So many drunk people! They can be disrespectful and even damage your car especially late in the night. I stopped by early evening to be with my family. That’s why I am here in the United States – for my family. I have two children. One of them is an American baby – born here in November. I want them to have better opportunities than I had.
Eduardo: Thanks! Now I am just figuring things out. Life is expensive here but at least I have friends, family, and can work as much as I want.
Bryan: It’s good that you have family here and a community of Brazilians in Aspen Hill – I didn’t know about that. When you miss the food, you probably have some good Brazilian restaurants to go to. The only one I know of in Washington DC is “The Grill from Ipanema” which has been around for many years.
Eduardo: There are some others in Washington DC. “Texas de Brazil” is the best one.
Bryan: This is my stop over here. Happy New Year!