Every person in his life seeks for something that will fulfill them as a person and help them know themselves. Sometimes it's the love of your beloved, sometimes, those are friends and family, and sometimes it is the place or the state we live in. We all have the calling we are created for, and sometimes, totally unpredictable circumstances can help us discover it. That was the case with Thiago Ferreira who moved from his Brazil to Serbia.
This young man tirelessly promotes the tourism of our country so that more and more domestic and foreign tourists will visit Serbia, which he claims to be rich in natural beauties. He did not find it difficult to learn the Serbian language, and he likes to write exclusively with Cyrillic.
Exclusively for Telegraf, Thiago talked about how he came up with the idea to move here, what he liked most in Serbia, whether he found it difficult to get used to a new environment, without what specialties he could not live, and he revealed whether his country women are more beautiful than our girls. He spoke about his birth country and he said that he misses it immensely.
- How did you hear about our country why it amazed you so much? From where did so much love for it come from?
I heard about Serbia for the first time when I started to write with one Serbian girl who accidentally found my video clips on Youtube. She told me a lot of beautiful stuff about Serbia, showed me pictures, songs, movies... Little by little I was increasingly more interested in Serbia, so I started planning my arrival. I came for the first time in July 2010.
I didn't know what to expect, but I had a really good time - that was the greatest surprise in my life! I was amazed by Serbian hospitality, food, history, natural beauties... I felt like home, although I was 10.000 km away from it! I immediately fell in love with this country.
- Why did you decide to move here?
After our first visit, I returned home and it really struck me that Brazilians are so badly informed about Serbia... After everything that I experienced here, it seemed unfair that my fellow country men have such a bad opinions about Serbia, especially when Serbs and Brazilians are so similar!
One day, I came up with the idea to launch the blog "Bem-vindoà Sérvia" (Welcome to Serbia) to present Serbia to Brazil through my personal travels, photos, and videos. I felt that promoting Serbia is my life's goal, so I later decided to move to Belgrade.
- Was it hard leaving your country and separating from family?
Very difficult! I love my Brazil and I have always been very tied to my family. On the other hand, I had a strong feeling that Serbia is the place where I should be - my heart was clearly and loudly shouting "Serbia"! Despite the fact that everyone at that time told me to stay, I was convinced that I could do nice things for the promotion of Serbia when I move.
- What do you do for a living?
I am engaged in the promotion and development of tourism in Serbia. Basically, it's my job to bring foreign tourists to Serbia and to make as many Serbs as possible travel their own country. I am proud to be a member of the board of directors of the association "Serbia for young" that deals with youth tourism and which received the Tourist flower in 2016, the most prestigious tourism award, awarded to those who have contributed the most to the development of domestic tourism.
- How often do you travel throughout Serbia? What places have you seen so far?
Since I am engaged in domestic tourism, I travel to Serbia quite often, so that sometimes I forget what it means to be at home. I visited most cities, mountains, rivers, and lakes in Serbia, and there is still a lot of things I did not see, which is incredible! As the folk song says: "Who says that, who's lying? Serbia is small "...
- Do you prefer mountains, villages or perhaps our resorts?
Since I have always lived in a big city, there is nothing better for me than going to nature. I am fond of an active vacation and I love two things most: hiking on mountain trails and swimming in the rivers. The nature of Serbia is inspirational.
- Which place in Serbia left a special impression on you and why?
There are so many beautiful places in Serbia that it is impossible for me to choose only one ... Namely, the meanders of Western Morava river and the Uvac lake are some of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life! Untouched nature and view from the "Banjska Stena" take my breath away every time I visit the Tara National Park...
The Danube near Golubac fortress reminds me of the sea of my native Rio de Janeiro, while the architecture of Sombor reminds me of fairy tales I heard as a child. I can sense this real medieval spirit every time I climb the Maglic fortress, and that true Serbian hospitality every time they call me to dinner in Nis. Serbia is a beautiful country!
- Why did you take such responsibility to promote tourism in our country?
Serbian people deserve the world to discover their real face! There were many wrong, unfair opinions about the Serbs... But it is also important that the Serbs themselves learn to value their country because if they do not, nobody will. I feel that this role has been assigned to me since I was born... I have a special mission here to make foreigners see the real Serbia and to help Serbs understand in which wonderful country they were born.
- Have your friends and family from Brazil visited Serbia? What are their impressions?
Some of my friends, the same ones who laughed at me when I started planning to move to Serbia, came and they were blown away. My sister was traveling with me through Serbia, she met my friends and she saw snow here for the first time in her life ... At the end of the journey, she just said: "Thiago, I now understand why you came to Serbia. This country is beautiful"!
- Do you plan on staying in Serbia for a long time and perhaps making a family? What are your plans for the future?
I'm not leaving here until I get a Serbian passport! (Laughter) I'm joking ... I'll stay for longer, surely. Whatever I do, I will be forever tied to Serbia. I feel like one of you, and I can not ever forget my native land. I would love most if I could spend half a year in Serbia, half in Brazil. I'm working on it.
- It is interesting that you have mastered the Serbian language in a very short time and that you like to write exclusively with Cyrillic. How did you manage all this in such a short time?
A great dose of devotion, perseverance, and love. At first, it seemed to me that I would never learn Serbian, but when I decided to live here, I had a great desire to learn the language in order to better adapt to my new home and fully understand the mentality and culture of the Serbian people. Now that I can communicate with you in your language without any problems, I am proud of that!
- How do you like our cuisine and what is your favorite dish? Is our food better than Brazilian?
Serbian cuisine is fantastic! It's really good and you eat great. I can not live without cheese cream, ajvar, greaves, smoked ham, gourmet burger... But I always miss the food from Brazil. I miss tropical fruits and Brazil sweets.
- Do you like watching our movies and series? Do you have someone you find especially dear to you?
I don't have the habit of watching television, but I find "Montevideo, Bog te video" especially dear, where I play a smaller role.
- Did you have any negative experience since you are in Serbia?
One time, tourists who were with me and I were robbed of our money we had, we couldn't see the thief. But, coming from Rio de Janeiro, where much worse things happen every day, this didn't affect my love towards Serbia.
- Describe some of your experiences you had traveling Serbia that left the greatest impression on you.
Camping at Kamena Gora at the Greenland Festival is something I will never forget. Few people know about Kamena Gora, a mountain village near Prijepolje, preserved from civilization. We spent the whole day hanging out in untouched nature, and at night we were witnessing a starry sky spectacle that I never saw in my life!
- Tell us about your native country of Brazil. What makes this country different from others and what is its charm?
Brazil is a special country for two things: rich nature that gives the visitors the feeling that they are in a national park even in urban centers and a mixed nation that gives Brazil that unique energy, known all over the world.
- You were born and you grew up in Rio de Janeiro. Describe how your famous carnival looks like and, of course, a unique New Year's Eve on Copacabana Beach?
Carnival is simply the biggest and the most cheerful party in the world! During Carnival, in almost all the cities of Brazil, people come out in costumes, sing, play, and carry good mood with them everywhere. As for the New Year's Eve in Copacabana, fireworks last over 20 minutes, and about 2 million people enjoy this wonderful spectacle every year on the sand of the most famous beach in Brazil. It's really phenomenal!
- To what extent are Brazil and Serbia similar, and to what extent do they differ?
Serbs and Brazilians are very similar by their warm temperament and hospitality. Like the Brazilians, you also know how to make everyone feel welcome and know how to enjoy despite the difficulties in life. That's why I often say that Serbs are European Brazilians. Essentially, the differences between these two nations are small... There are some in some practical matters related to local customs.
- Is there really so much crime in Brazil as we see in the media and that much poverty, or perhaps the situation is different because we don't have the opportunity to hear about that? Guardian has recently published an article that Brazil is sinking deeper into poverty and crisis.
Brazil's biggest problems are social inequality and corruption that exist since Brazil itself. A good part of the people lives in total poverty right next to educated people who have good salaries and careers. These poor people, who are largely ignored by the government and the upper classes, see the crime as the only way to save their lives, to earn something and survive.
That's why we Brazilians got used to the theft, murders and other crimes that unfortunately happen every day there. And it would be better if only the poor were stealing ... The biggest thieves are corrupt politicians who are not ashamed to steal millions every year.
- What do you miss the most from Brazil since you moved here?
I mostly miss the tropical atmosphere in Rio de Janeiro. I miss going to the beach half an hour before or after work, to drink cocoa and juice from the "acai" (my favorite fruit from Amazon) with banana and so some of the things that I've been doing there almost every day, I can not do here.
- How would you, in your own words, as a Brazilian, introduce tourism in your home country? What makes it unique? What do tourists have the opportunity to see there?
Tourists in Brazil have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, some unique natural places they will never see in Europe, try a different but delicious food and gain valuable friendships for their entire life.
- Considering that you are coming from tropical regions, was it difficult for you to get used to the change of weather in Serbia and low temperatures during a part of the year?
It was not hard at all. It is true that there is summer in Rio de Janeiro all year round, but I've always loved winter and snow. I am more annoyed by constant heat than 4-5 months of cold. Time in Serbia is right for me.
- Brazil is thought to be the Cradle of football. How important is this sport in your country and do you belong to the fans of the most important side things in the world?
Football is the only important sport in Brazil. Most Brazilians behave as if there are no other sports, which I do not fit in because I always loved basketball, and I was not so good in football. So, no, although I respect it as any other sport, I do not belong to fans of football. I'm a strange Brazilian.
- I'm probably putting you in a little awkward position with this question. In your opinion, which girls are better - Serbian women or Brazilians?
I would hardly come to Serbia if the Brazilians were more beautiful. Jokes aside, there are beautiful girls in Serbia and in Brazil, but the fact is that the percentage of beautiful girls is significantly higher in Serbia.
(Telegraf.co.uk / A.Taskovic - firstname.lastname@example.org)