My husband and I are from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Our first child was born there and lived there until she turned two months old, when we moved abroad. Rio is a popular destination for tourists, who come for many different reasons. But I would say the main reason behind their visit is perceiving happiness, whatever happiness means to them. It could mean taking part in the famous parade (Carnaval), visiting beautiful sandy beaches or enjoying the juicy nightlife.
In fact, I would dare to say happiness is a philosophy of life for cariocas (name given to people born in Rio). No matter what is going on, there is always a reason to celebrate. Even though this is wonderful for people to live well, it also has a disadvantage in terms of the city being taken care of. Since cariocas always seem happy, the government may do things that are not for the city’s best interest but most residents don’t really seem to care or even try to make themselves heard to turn things around. With that, the city suffers a lot, since there is no vision or big goal to make it cleaner, safer, more organized, etc. Cariocas seem to live in the moment, and the city goes along.
What I miss the most about my hometown: My family, my friends, and the beautiful beaches. What I do not miss at all: Violence, traffic jams, lack of love and care for the city from some residents (usually the ones who did not get any education for one reason or another). I would definitely move back if I did not have kids. Maybe living in Rio again in my future, once my kids are off to their own houses.
I recommend you visit Rio at least once. Even though people are very friendly there, it would be best if you knew a resident who would give you some tips on how to be street smart there or to avoid traffic jams. And if I am living there when you go, let me know and I will happily show you around.