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There was a time, not long time ago, my life was about sun, samba and cachaça. Graduating while enjoying a front sea life…
Even started writing my articles from a distance, while discovering Brazil. What a tough life, isn’t it!? Eventually, I came back in France. Straight from Ipanema to the « MSB Arena ». At least enjoyed some basketball at the JSF Nanterre/ MSB game right away. But trust me, reality still hurt me very badly anyway…
As a kid, I grew up in Le Mans, then wrote a chapter of my adult’s life in Brazil. Joao Paulo Batista did it the other way around. And that leaves me very thoughtful…
Basketball can make you travel. Athletes can make you dream. Most of them left everything behind, and embracing a new culture is never easy. But when you are driven by this passion of yours, well, the world itself is all yours.
A BRAZILIAN IN FRANCE. A FRENCHIE FROM BRAZIL.
“The plan has always been to continue playing, wherever”
JP BATISTA – MSB
Oi João Paulo! Tudo bem?
Oi, tudo ótimo.
Tell me, how would you introduce yourself to people whom do not know you?
I’m just a simple hard working man, living my dream of playing professional basketball. I strive to become better in every aspect of my life. From father to husband to athlete.
You were born in Olinda, nearby Recife, so you were used to a front sea lifestyle. I had the chance to live some time in Brazil, and I grew up nearby Le Mans…Would you agree to say that it’s… »slightly » different? Lol! How have you adapted yourself to this change?
Lol… Slightly different is an understatement. It’s a lot different. The weather, the culture, the way of life and etc… Adaptation has never been a problem to me. I left my home when I was 17 to chase my dreams, and I had to adapt to many different cultures before I landed in France. I love everything about France. So adapting here has been super easy. Both my daughters were born here in Le Mans, so we really embraced the French lifestyle.
What is the most difficult thing you had to deal with by leaving in France coming from Brazil?
There’s nothing difficult about living in France. Learning the language has been the only challenge. But it’s hard to stay away from my relatives back in Brazil. Missing the holiday, the food and etc… I have my wife and two daughters here though, so it’s all good.
Brazil is all about soccer mainly, how was it perceived when you expressed your will to become a pro basketball player at home?
Growing up in Brazil, I used to love playing soccer when I was a kid. I used to play everyday out on the streets with my friends. But only for fun. When I was 10 years old, my older brother started playing basketball. He is the one who got me started playing. After that, I couldn’t stop. At home it has been pretty easy for my parents to accept. No big deal.
You first left Brazil to study in the USA, what memories do you keep from your American experience? Wouldn’t you have liked to stay and live there?
I actually received a basketball scholarship, so I had the opportunity to play and get an education in the US. I have so many memories of these days. Most of my best friends until today, I met them during my 4 years in the US. The love of my life, who’s my wife today, too. I had my degree and realized many others things there. Maybe one day when I will retire, we could go back and live there. But the plan has always been to continue playing after college, wherever.
What are the main reasons you eventually did not settle down there?
Well, after college I received some great offers to play professionally in Europe.
So here I am, still today.
Brazilian culture is very much family oriented, is it tough to be abroad like that? How often do you travel back there?
It’s very though, but I’m used to it. A Basketball season is very long and busy, so it keeps my mind off of it. We only have time to go back during the off season, in June, July.
Did you manage to find some Brazilian mates to organize some churrasco on Sundays? (if yes I would love to be invited! Lol!)
Haha, we found some Brazilians in my first couple years here. We went to few dinners, but everyone is so busy with work that we kind of lost touch. No churrasco though! I’m so sad, cause it’s my all-time favorite.
Talking about food…. Le Mans and Brazil have one common point: their culinary specialties are both based on pork! Lol. Rillettes, pâtés, etc.. Are made with at least as many pieces of pork as Feijoada! But maybe you have other meals in the North?! What is the culinary specialty in Recife’s area?
Yes, feijoada can have a lot of pork in it, but you can also choose the simple version, with only sausage, bacon. Rillettes and pates are not my thing. There are many culinary specialties from the North, but my favorite is « Tapioca ». Similar to crepes here, where you can eat with literally anything inside. Plain, with coconut, or jelly, chocolate, cheese, ham etc….(Well, yeah I can tell! I became addict to Tapioca in Brazil… It is just a bomb!!!)
Finally, what are the things you miss the most from Brazil?
My family, churrasco, água de coco, Brazilian Easter eggs and for sure the beaches with the burning hot sun.
And the things you like the most in being in France?
I love the culture, the diversity of people. The quality of life here is one of the best in the world.
Things you dislike maybe?
Ha! There not a single Brazilian restaurant in Le Mans, and not enough churrascarias in France.
I remember I was very surprised by meeting so few people talking anything else but Portuguese when I arrived in São Paulo. From your experience, do you feel like American and French people are doing any better at speaking foreign languages?
Well, Brazil is a big country with a major population without access to a decent education. Very few speak a second language. But yes, I do think Americans and French have a better chance of speaking a foreign language because the education system is much better in both countries.
From outside Brazil is still a country inspiring dreams: white sand beaches, colorful landscapes, charming people… Yet, looking in, reality is less envying: violence and poverty are present on an everyday basis… What would you like people to focus on about your country?
Brazil is a beautiful country, with beautiful people. Yes, unfortunately there’s violence and poverty. It’s the reality that many times overshadow the beauty in it. But violence is everywhere. There’s a lot of honest people with good heart in Brazil. You see a lot of good people with good intensions who dream that maybe one day things will change for the better. Including me.
Você tem alguma coisa que quer falar com as pessoas do público?
Just wanted to thank everyone who have always supported me throughout my years here in this beautiful country.
Merci beaucoup !!!
Obrigada vôcé JP!
Follow JP BATISTA and his team online : http://www.msb.fr/