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Who’s There?

Julie Sutorsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Bianca Dement spent the first 25 years of her life in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Party, party, party.That’s how 27-year-old Silverthorne resident Bianca Dement described the atmosphere of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she spent the first 25 years of her life.”In Brazil, everything’s a party,” she said. “Nights in Brazil start at 12 a.m., and you stay out until 3 or 4 in the morning. That’s having fun in Rio.”Growing up, Bianca imagined she would live out her years to the rhythms of the samba pulsing from the bars and the waves crashing on Rio’s famous beaches.Inspired by her globe-trotting, German-born mother, she had traveled through Europe and North America, but she always considered Rio her home.”I love my country to death,” she said. “I love the beaches, the people, Carnaval in February and March, the food. Rio is such a beautiful city.”Four years ago, however, her plans shifted radically when she met her husband Greg during a vacation in the U.S.

Bianca’s mother had relocated to Dallas, and Bianca arranged an extended visit for some mother-daughter time and a chance to learn English. Greg, then a personal trainer, approached her in a Dallas gym one day. He knew no Portuguese, and she could barely speak English.”Hi, there,” he said.”What? Where?” she asked, looking behind her.After a lot of improvised sign language, the two arranged their first date, which was to be followed by many more. Over time, words replaced hand gestures, and the two eventually married about a year ago, shortly after moving to Summit County.”My life really changed,” Bianca said. “I used to have 30 bikinis. Now I have 30 coats.”But wardrobe changes are the least of Bianca’s challenges, as she strives to adapt to mountain-town culture.

“I still don’t speak English very well, which is hard sometimes when I’m trying to talk to someone at the store or on the phone with a doctor. It can be so frustrating, because I’m 27 years old, and I have to ask for help with so many things,” she said.”Sometimes people are very nice, and sometimes they’re very rude. It has helped me learn to respect everyone. It doesn’t matter what color they are or if they’re gay or whatever.”Bianca manages to temper her frustration with a healthy dose of humor: She recalled enthusiastically telling a customer at a local clothing shop how “awful” she looked in a new shirt, mistaking the word for “awesome.””I tell Greg to go to the chicken, but I mean to say kitchen,” she laughed. Though Bianca’s life in Summit County is different from the fast-paced Brazilian life she once led, she has embraced her new home.”I fell in love, what else can I do? I like the calm of this place. I feel peaceful here, and I’m learning to like the snow,” she said.

Bianca said that her relationship with Greg provides a forum in which they constantly gain greater understanding of each other’s cultures.”Every day, he teaches me a little bit, and I teach him a little bit. I’m learning things I wouldn’t if I were with a Brazilian guy.”The first time Bianca saw Greg eating barbecued ribs, she was appalled.”We were sitting by the river, and it was so romantic, and he’s eating with his hands and licking his fingers!” Bianca said.”I had to have the waitress vouch for me that that was normal,” Greg said.-Julie Sutor


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