Immigration is a process. It is not a decision taken overnight, indeed it is a process that takes a long time in life. I’m not sure if it ends but it has a day to begin.
To me, the immigration process did not arise from dissatisfaction with life in Brazil. Graduated in psychology, master in education, I’ve always had a hard-working life, but a very good life. Enough money to shop, cinema, car, motorcycle and good trails on the weekends, either in the mountains or at the family farm.
The immigration process came as a spell.
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We took a family trip to China (Beijing, more specifically) on the way back, we stopped 7 days in Switzerland. We stayed the first 3 days of the trip in Lucerne, where I was infected by a kind of swiss-passion-virus. I returned to Switzerland for tours 5 more times after that, and one time I stayed here for two consecutive months.
I started to have a kind of melancholy, I missed Switzerland so much. In fact, I felt as if I had lived all my life in Switzerland and was spending time in Brazil. I used to spend six months planning my next trip to Switzerland and a week or two traveling in Switzerland. That is, I used to spend 12 months a year thinking and studying about Switzerland.
I became a peasant.
The trip to Beijing and Switzerland was in 2009. In 2010, I had visited the Alpine country once again, and in September that year, I submitted my Swiss citizenship application. The recognition of citizenship took 4 years to arrive. But in March 2014 I received the letter of the officialization of my registration as a Swiss person. The citizenship was extended to my daughter, so in July 2014 we had both a red passport.
We became Brazilian and Swiss.
This gave me free traffic through the airports of the world. After all, only 3 or 4 countries require visas for Swiss citizens. But even with this freedom, my destination remained in Switzerland. More specifically German Switzerland, from the northern Alps to the border with Germany.
During this period of 2009, when I met Switzerland, until 2018, when I emigrated with my family, I tried to plan and study the destination country:
- the languages;
- Cost of living:
- Taxes and fees.
- School (for children);
The more I studied, the more enchanted I was with Switzerland. But it took 9 years of planning, it wasn’t a backpacking momentum, it wasn’t despairing about Brazil’s situation, it wasn’t an unpatriotic outbreak against Brazil, it wasn’t debit or credit. It was the result of the enchantment of the relationship between a people and the land to which they belong and care.
To explain further.
Life in Switzerland, I always repeat this in my posts, is not easy. Like anywhere in the world, life is waking up early, transport to work, and working until we’re exhausted. Just like in Brazil. Work – money, money – bills.
Of course, there are striking differences: politics here is not at the extremes; The economy here is not down; violence here is practically null; the public spaces here are well preserved.
But the reason for my charm with Switzerland was not because it has something better than Brazil. After all, these 4 things are the only things better than Brazil.
All other things are much better in Brazil: food, family, friends, work, love, forests, beach, music, people, laws, family, friends, family … Brazil, with all the corruption and chaos, is the 8th economy in the world and this is the result of being a badass people in a wonderful land.
Without the clutter caused by illegalities and corruption, Brazil would be easily the first economy in the world and the first in all rankings, school, justice, and health.
But what enchanted me in Switzerland was not the contrast with Brazil, not the comparative data. It was a more intimate, more visual and affective relationship.
The landscapes of Switzerland are amazing.
As the country is very small and from northeast to southwest, it is cut by the Alps, which occupy 60% of the territory and another 20% of the territory is occupied by lakes, the landscapes are absurd. Living in a small town in the fields of Switzerland gives us a view like the living and facing a postcard from your window.
In fact, the Swiss people know that landscapes are absurd and take care of that. the architecture and growth of cities are compatible with the landscapes and the nature of the surroundings. So, the town square always ends up being a place with architecture or a view that meets the eyes of the community.
Almost every city has a forest protected around or near its center. And, these cities are smaller than the neighborhoods of Brazilian cities, smaller than housing estates and condominiums. With that, leaving my house, which is on the street with the name of the mountain that can be seen from the front of my house, I walk 5 minutes and I’m in front of waterfalls, hills, trees, forests, rivers, lakes, trails and magnificent views, in less than 25 minute walk.
The mountains are 20 minutes by train from my city station.
The lake is 10 minutes walk away.
And, you may not know, but I love hiking in the mountains and forests. Added to it, I love to photograph.
Switzerland has almost zero violence and some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world 20 minutes from my home. I leave the house with a camera around my neck, zero risks and with a train pass in the pocket.
How to resist?
Do not know. I could not.
Of course, I do not believe you, the reader, are really interested in walking and photographing Switzerland. And in this blog, I do not deal with this subject. To read about it, visit my other blog: www.grandefocal.ch
In fact, quite the opposite. Here, I write here about work, taxes, laws and serious life in Switzerland, not about my hobby: to walk and to photograph.
Most of the Brazilians I met emigrated in search of a better life. But if life here is as difficult as in Brazil or more difficult (if we speak the language) than in Brazil, what do they consider to be this better life?
The better life, sought by Brazilians who emigrated here to Switzerland, is a relationship between the effort to earn the money to give support to life and the life bought com it. But, especially, the comparison between the results of this equation in Brazil and where the immigrant wanted to go or is in.
So, unlike what happened to me, the Brazilian resident in Switzerland did not always come here for the sake of the Swiss dialects, or the mountains of Switzerland. But, yes, because when this Brazilians analyzed the quality of life he could have here and what he had in Brazil, the effort to emigrate made sense.
So this equation:
An effort for life sustenance/life obtained with sustenance = LQR (life quality result)
It ends up pushing people to the most diverse places in the world, in fact, in recent years, much less to Switzerland than to France or to Germany, Canada or New Zealand.
The comparison between LQR in Brazil and LQR in other countries ends up being striking when we consider two factors:
1 – What can be acquired for life with the monthly salary?
2 – What are the risks to life and the perception of safety in life?
A quick discussion about the first factor:
What we can buy with the minimum income in Brazil does not allow the minimum subsistence of an individual, much less of a family. And even with family income support programs, they are not enough for the individual to leverage or leverage the family.
So when we think about the development of this family over the next generations, the effort to achieve the changes that will ultimately reflect on the quality of life will have to be giant and probably unfruitful.
The relationship between income and cost of living is unfair, it is not possible to grow, at most, survive or perish.
In the EU, the US and other countries, the relationship between income and the costs of subsistence are fairer (not much more, but fairer). What can be done for income, labor relations, and especially the rewards of individual effort, are very easily reflected in a transformative or stimulant income.
To have a fixed job and, in parallel, selling the popsicle on the beach, the drumstick at the station and even beauty products at home allows the acquisition of a fair income. An income that will allow a qualitative enjoyment of life and a little more. This a little more can or should be invested in self-development and development of the family.
Here in Switzerland, because of the high competitiveness of the labor market, we are always investing at least a little in development: language courses, further training courses, extra activities for children …
On the other hand, the second factor brings gains to life that, today in Brazil, we have not long known what it represents. The sense of security allows the enjoyment of public space or community space, in an orderly and cooperative way for leisure. Let me explain briefly about it.
In Germany today, the situation is the most difficult of the last 40 years. Since the end of World War II, things have not been so difficult there. The mostly Muslim refugees are causing drastic changes in the behavior of the German people.
But Muslims do not steal, they are not violent, and apart from some minority groups that are widely echoed by the media, they live their lives like any other believers: Work to home, home to work and a lot prayers.
They do not cause an increase in the rates of violence that may be considered impediments to the exercise of living in the community space.
So despite the massive changes that mass immigration has witnessed, EU countries continue to offer their residents a sense of security for life and heritage that we Brazilians have already forgotten what it is. Of course, without foolishness, life in large urban centers has its problems everywhere in the world and living in small communities (with its own problems is always a challenge also).
But generally, no churches are stolen or vandalized, no people are stolen in the streets, practically nothing is robbed. Per-capita crime rates are very low. See, it exists. Violence exists. But it has another form, it has another speech, it has another character.
So it affects very little or does not affect (for us Brazilians who have another level of tolerance for it) the sense of security and the right to life, because it is restricted to specific places or specific minority populations.
With that, parks, squares, forests … places, where you can exercise free leisure, which we lost in Brazil, because the squares, are taken by drug users, become a great possibility. By the way, here in Switzerland, we share the barbecue grills in parks and squares, bringing together children, families, and neighbors.
Weekends are no longer to go to the mall to spend money. The weekend is taken up to a concept of my father’s time: going to the downtown, to sit on a bench and to watch the movement of the city, the sunset on the lake, the children playing ball in the square, etc.
The relationship between the quality of life obtained from the fruit of the effort is what drives the Brazilian’s emigration out of the country, the sense of security that keeps the Brazilian out of the country.
I have often heard this summary: “My family is very poor in Brazil. We often had nothing to eat. I use to live with 2 (3, 4, 7) brothers when I met my husband. I got married and came to live here, I miss them every day. But today I can give my children a life they couldn´t have in Brazil. Today, 2 (3, 4, 7) brothers live here too. Each one has it’s own business. One of them is a capoeira teacher (cook, janitor, engineer) and together we managed to help mom and dad in Brazil. We also help our neighbors (cousins, uncles, brothers) there ”.
It is as if this “never give up” thing that we Brazilians have tuned to be magic in other fairer countries. It’s as if this ability to always handle reality no matter how big the problems give us to a power-up when we are not pressed by the injustice. It is as if our way (not the “way”) could be fruitful and multiply when we are not surrounded by iniquity.
And to feel able to build, to make, to shape, to bear our fruits is priceless.