February 28, 2021

The Promise Land | My journey to America

United States

Ah, every immigrant dream is: To come to the promised land. To live the American dream. Have a white picket fence. Go to college. Get a 9 to 5 job. Make money.  Become an American Citizen and be able to vote in the election. * Which are all things that I have personally been able to accomplish.

How do I fit into all of these things? well, I should start by telling you part one of my stories:

I was born in São Paulo, Brasil... Which is one of the biggest cities in Brazil. It constantly reminds me of New York City. The tall buildings. Businesses everywhere. Hard-working people. Subway Stations. Traffic. Taxis everywhere. A beautiful park in the middle of the city (much like Central Park). 

My childhood was amazing! My parents made sure of it. They were hardworking middle-upper class people who always-always made sure my sister and I had everything we needed. Ballet? Judo? Swimming? Gymnastics? You got it! We did it all and then some. My sister and I both attended a private school in our town and the experience as well as the memories we made in that school is was just everything. 

Utah Hogle Zoo - 1998

We traveled a lot. We had family all over Brasil so weekends were meant for beach trips or going down south to the countryside. One of my favorite memories was visiting my Italian great-great-grandma. She lived on this beautiful farm with every fruit tree you could think of. My cousins and I would climb up the apple trees and pick fresh apples. She lived in Minas Gerais which is a city known for its cheese. Great-great grandma Angelina had the longest most beautiful white hair that went down to her waist. She would stand on her porch and brush it out and smile at us! 

My grandparents were my everything!

From my mother’s side: grandma Lia (who I named my daughter after). She was the tiniest little thing. We would spend Sundays at her house and she would bake us the most delicious cakes and make the yummiest foods. My mom reminded me of something I had forgotten: my grandma Lia used to bake a cake every day of the week on Sundays. So that there was always cake for an afternoon tea or coffee time. I think that I get my passion for baking from her! Now, my grandpa, Gerald was this tall Italian guy with the most beautiful blue eyes. He was quiet but funny and guess what? He loved to work out just like we do! It was always so fun to visit with him and talk about weight lifting!

From my fathers' side: grandma Mada is where I get all my creative side from. She is an amazing artist, she crafts, she does yoga, and just always on the go! When my sister and I were little we took painting classes and when my grandma came up to visit us a few years back we took her to a painting class here. It was such a fun experience. She loved it! When she crafts she is resourceful and uses magazines and glue to completely up-cycled her furniture. My grandpa Giba is a man of little words. The sweetest guy! He is from the south of Brazil in Rio Grande Do Sul where they are known for this drink called chimarrão or mate as it is called in here. I distinctly remember drinking this with him when I was little.

So yeah, you could say that my life in Brazil was amazing and we didn’t have to leave the country to “get away” and to have a better life. My mama had just worked so hard giving us what we wanted and did an amazing job at keeping us humble because throughout my childhood I never ever bragged to anyone about having money and being better than them. Quite the contrary, I had friends from all walks of life.

When I was 10 years old my parents, sister, and I came up to the United States and spent a month doing all the tourist things you can think of. Our Aunt Fatima and uncle Gary lived up here in Utah at the time. We started in California by going to Disneyland, Universal Studios, San Diego. Then went through Zion National park, Camped at Capitol Reef, then went up to Utah and spent the 4th of July at a park watching fireworks and eating American Junk food. The rest of the month was spent shopping around (Park City) and eating at restaurants we had never heard of (sizzlers at the time) One of my favorites stops was the Hard Rock Cafe. 

After spending a month here we missed home and went back to our lives in Brazil, but as the years went by, moving to the USA was always on the back of my mom's mind. After all, two of her sisters lived here. My grandparents were constantly up here visiting so it made sense that we would eventually end up here. 

My mom is one of the hardest working women in know. Not only was she working a 9-5 at one of Brazil’s biggest banks (ITAÚ) as a business administrator, but she was also going to college full time at night to earn her bachelor's degree. To this day I still don’t know how she did it all and graduated with an A average! My sister and I used to make a list of snacks we were craving and put It on the fridge door. It was like magic because we would wake up the next day and all of our favorite things filled the fridge and pantry! 

Salt Lake City-2002

After my mom graduated college was when she decided to talk to my sister and me about moving to Utah and getting the whole school experience here. It was hard at first because we had so many friendships in Brazil that were going to miss. But I love the fact that we had the opportunity of trying something new. Even if it meant traveling to a foreign land and actually living there and not just doing tourist things.

Part 2 coming soon... 



Post a Comment