Welcome to the new era.

We interrupt our normal programming to announce that this blogger just become a US Citizen.

 

I landed in this country 10 years ago, with 1500 dollars to my name and an extraordinary  passion to win. At that point of my life, I didn’t belong anywhere. I hated living in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro was never meant for me, and Fortaleza where my parents were living was a no go. I have tried before.

Home is where you heart is

When I arrived in Chicago, something hit different. I wanted to stay and grow roots for the first time in my life. Even during the worst moments, I could still see my future in it.  For the first time, I felt like I belong somewhere. I was not afraid of anything, I just wanted to make it work. As I walked around town, I learned really fast that in America, you HAVE to act like you belong. Just like Anna Delvey, in Inventing Anna, if you pretend hard enough that you belong, they will believe you do. That’s what I did.

I never scammed anybody, but when it comes to Fake till you make it, she got a point.

The minorities like me knows what I’m talking about.

Within 6 months living in Chicago, I had it all. But I also had something my country never gave to me.Confidence. This country is made by people that take chances, that kick the entry door. We suffer, we cry in silence, but we also brush off the dust, every day at dawn, and start over. The minorities like me, knows exactly how to get over situations fast, in order to survive. It’s a jungle out here.

You become a citizen as soon as you leave your country behind and make your way into this place. The rest is just formalities.

The reason why I wrote all that, it’s because I just got my citizenship. I love Disney movies and I recently watched Pinnochio. It resonated with me so much.

Husband said “Hold on, there is one string attached. Its your wedding ring”

Well my bad 🤣 I meant no strings with immigration.

There are no strings to hold me down. To make me fret or make me frown.

After 10 years of having nightmares about visiting my family in Brazil and couldn’t go back in the US, I’m finally out of the lions’ dent. No more wake up sweating in the middle of the night. I’m here to stay.  With all that being said, I will be focusing this blog in a less overdramatic line of writing.

September 2022
September 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

As this blog has always been about my journey as an immigrant, which I will always be, I will continue to write about my experiences, but I will also be focusing in other projects. Now that the haze has lifted, I want to participate in some writing contests, with Coverfly, travel and dedicate more of my time to the youtube channel.

I’m moving forward to more of Film/producing/ editing line of work. Live out loud too will soon be Live out loud Too Productions. I waited for this moment for a long time. Three years to be exact. I like to think I just didn’t do it because I don’t have a garage. Or because of the Pandemic. I still don’t have a garage, but I will make it work.

Hopefully if you are still reading this, please my youtube channel! I’ve been posting shorts lately, as I couldn’t focus on writing or editing for the life of me. This is the latest short I posted!

 

“Yippee-Ki-Yay, Motherf*****.”

 

See you soon!

JS XXX

Tips for traveling without a lot of money.

 

Like and Subscribe!

First of all, how are my 7 readers doing? Hope everyone is doing ok. I’m overworked with the youtube channel and I’m learning a lot, so its all good.

 First things first, let me complain about being burnout.

Am I lazy? Or I’m just burnout and exhausted from all the news and things happening around me? Am I trying to do so much, that it feels like I’m running on a hamster wheel, constantly without achieving anything? Does anybody else out there feels the same? Or I’m being the odd duck again?

I can’t be the only one.

I got trapped on the millennial TikTok hole and I guess, my generation feels trapped as much as I do. We can’t buy houses, we have student loans galore, we can’t afford to travel and we work to the exhaustion levels to make a living. It all seems suffocating, can you gives us a break?

Just a little break, maybe a collective day off, and I don’t mean another endless time at home in a pandemic, because at the time we were forced to be home, we were all living in fear of dying. Or killing Grandma. I mean a collective vacation. Shut down the world internet and lets live a day like its 1983.

Let’s all go to the lake, let’s all go camping, barbecue, ride our bikes and be outside without posting pictures or scrolling the news. Without being disturbed by the gas prices or who the next president will be. Can we be happy for one day? One of the reasons I bought a camper was to be able to escape the madness. Anytime.

The complaining part of the post is done. Let’s move on to the fun stuff.

My favorite part of owning a truck camper is to be able to get away. Run to the mountains, and be completely off the hook. No internet signal. Every time I travel, I get certain that buying that camper was the best decision we made. We put it for sale on Market place, and then we though about it and removed from the listings.

Let’s give it another try.

We drove to Turquoise Lake at the beginning of June, when it was still super cold in the mountains. After stopping in Leadville for a couple of hours, we drove another 25 minutes into the campsite, named Baby Doe, after the infamous Baby Doe Tabor, the mad lady in the cabin. I’m reading her book and I’m fascinated by her story.

The Campsite

Turquoise Lake in B&W

The campsite is very well structured, and you can do some fun activities such as biking and fishing trout on the lake. I’m pretty sure you can boat or paddle, but I didn’t dare to try it. It was too cold.

After we parked out car and settle everything, we rode our bikes to the lake. Again, no cellphones, no distraction. Just the mountains and the nature.

We cooked on the fire outside, danced around and had fun. The simple things in life its what brings me joy. What most of people get wrong is that you need a lot of money to travel. Truth to be told, you don’t.

I have been traveling on the cheap side for a long time now.

In my early 20’s, my broke behind in Rio, used to travel very often. I couldn’t travel abroad yet, so I learnt that I could go visit coastal cities in Rio de Janeiro and enjoy my free time off. Working in the Hostel also helped because I could stay in a shared accommodation for free, for a couple of days. Some of them offered breakfast for free, so I saved on that too.

I educated myself to understand that traveling is much more than spending a lot of money. It’s about learning the culture and sharing the spaces with people from all over the world.

Don’t limit yourself due to resources. Can’t fly? take a bus.

Of course is great to stay in a refined luxury hotel, instead of sharing a room with another 12 girls, but the reality is, very few people can afford to do it, and me in 20’s was not one of them. Yes, I did share a hostel room with 12 other girls while visiting New York city in 2007. Even when I was already living in Georgia, that I went back to visit Chicago in 2014 by myself, I stayed in a hostel.

Last time I went to New York, in March, I stayed at Beekman- A Thompson Hotel. Because once again, life gets better and I keep working in the hospitality industry and getting great fares.

My camper is in shambles, but I won’t get rid of it.

 

We had a lot of problems on this trip with the camper in terms of logistics. The shower didn’t work, and neither did the heater. The internet didn’t work, but somehow we could watch Stranger Things for a little before going to bed. I joked with Josh that is the chip on my vaccine. I’m double vaccinated, so I have double bars for signal.

That was a weird night that I kept dreaming about being attacked by bears outside of the camper, a very realistic dream, we packed our stuff and drove back to Denver. Started to planning another trip on the way back. We decided to go to Las Vegas. With limited funds, as usual.  We did and that’s the next video!

Follow me for more tips of traveling while being broken bruxa 🤣

Stay Healthy, Stay safe!

JS

XXX

What would you do if you win the Lottery?

“I’m Mrs Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous. You wanna piece of me?”

Spears, Britney –

Fun Post Saturday! What would do if you win the Lottery?

I’m utterly obsessed with rich celebrities and their lavish lifestyle. I’m not ashamed to say that out loud. Reality shows that show the life I can have, give me a chance to escape my reality for at least a few minutes and I’m ok with that.

Sometimes I just put it on mute and watch the images of flying private jets, skiing in Aspen, and partying on yachts. In the early days, I used to watch MTV Cribs and Girls of Playboy Mansion. The very early stages of reality tv consumed most of my free time. 

American Tv shows allured me into a lifestyle that doesn’t exist for regular Joe.

Watching this from abroad gives you an idea that America is all about that lifestyle. If you were a teenager in the early 2000s like I was, and you lived somewhere else other than the United States, you probably got some of this reminiscent in you.

All this alluring off the rich and famous for me to get here and nothing of that being real. Well, it’s real for the Trust Fund kids and society heiress, but not for the average American. The one who lives in the middle of nowhere and has to drive 1 hour and back to work every day to make a minimum wage of 7.25 hourly. And pay 100 dollars weekly for gas. Damn Indiana. 

Something that always lived rent-free in my mind is the idea of what would happen to me if I get rich overnight. Like if my mom turned to me and say “We’ve always been rich, but I wanted you to build some character and appreciation for life.” 

Would you be happy or mad? I would be mad. So mad. So I could be living like Paris Hilton this entire time and you took it away from me? How dare you? Well, at least I would be able to afford therapy. Since that wouldn’t happen the next possibility would be me winning the Lottery. 

If I woke up and have the magical numbers here is what would I do:

Not quitting my job at first. 

I would first invest in something. I would buy some franchises and some stocks, like big ones, so the money could keep rolling. I would love to buy some shares of a huge company and become an investor. Be part of their board of advisory. Netflix perhaps or Amazon Prime video. Heck, I would create my own film studio.

The first film studio was created by a Latina, just like Tyler Perry did for people of color. Buy a huge piece of land and build up. Give opportunities to new faces. Give them a chance to do what they love instead of competing in Hollywood with the same 3 faces we have in every movie. 

Quitting my job. 

Photo by Dirk Spijkers on Unsplash  Argentina Glaciers

I would quit my job and take my husband and travel around. Covid authorities permitting. I would travel around Europe first, eating the best food and drinking the best wine.

I want to swim in Greece crystal waters and eat fresh fish. Check the Aurora Borealis in the North poll and see different places. Definitely go to Tierra del Sol in Patagonia to see what’s considered the end of the earth. 

Take my parents on a luxury trip. 

My parents travel but it’s somehow always chaotic. It’s either one or another traveling, never both of them, because it gets too expensive. I would send them first-class on a trip to Portugal. First-class, the best suite, and all the food they could get. Sightseeing and all the fun without worries. 

Buy my Husband the Truck he wants. 

Josh is always talking about the truck 80k, 60k, the Tesla Truck. The only way to buy it would be by winning the lottery. Also, pay all his student loans and they are a lot. Chiropractic school is damn expensive. 

I would buy myself a small villa in Italy. 

https://unsplash.com/photos/lbZG3-qm2ac?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink

If you know somebody that is selling a winery and a few houses in Italy, send them my way. I’m crazy about Italian wines and I would love to relocate to a charming village where I could make wine and have some quirky Italian neighbors Much like that movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”. 

We would party in Ibiza

Photo by Michael Discenza on Unsplash

And we would say Ibiza with a lisp to sound fancier. We would sunbaked all day and party all night, in consideration of the time we were too tired and poor to go to a decent influential party. 

Closing a couture store so I could shop without disturbance. 

Instead of sales associates looking at me like I don’t belong, like “Pretty Woman”, and me when I walked into Louis Vitton in Denver. Instead, I would be served the best bubbly and get stuff without looking at the price tag. Oh, you just spent 16k on pieces? Good for you! here is another purse that cost another small fortune as a gift. 

Help a nonprofit organization in my country. 

Every time I watch the news from Brazil, my heart dies a little. No one should go hungry for no reason. I would help/ invest in a food bank, so some less-income people would have food in their fridges.

I would also include basic hygiene items on the box because that also costs a lot of money. In the meantime, I could create a subscription program to help the less fortunate, because this is not a 1-time thing. We could create a box every month for 30 dollars and that would ship the items to a family in need. Make the wheel keep turning. 

Invest in a restaurant. 

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

Becoming friends with a celebrity chef and out of nowhere, just because I have all the money, I would call myself a Restauranter. Because I invested all the money and I mean real money, the restaurant and its profit are 50% mine and I would pose like I own everything.

The restaurant, the chef, and the workers. I’ve seen it happen a few times in my restaurant career and that’s one of my goals. Dress for the job you want. I would dress up like I own everybody. 

Last, but not least, I would buy my in-law’s house in Indiana. 

They could do whatever they want with the money they got. I would get my parents a penthouse close to where they live.  

Again it’s fun to think of how different life could be if we were in a more financially stable situation if we didn’t need to worry about rent, school debt, and mortgage.

I would live a lavish life.

Image Retrieved from Pinterest

Don’t let the mind coaches take away the fun of playing pretend and daydreaming of an unreachable lifestyle. Life is meant to be fun, and not just follow the rules those random people decided to call out as the right way to live. 

What would be your lifestyle dream if money was illimited? What would you do if you suddenly win the lottery? Let me know in the comments! 

See you next week!

J.S

 

Abuela Madrigal is Toxic. And we need to talk about Bruno.

*This is not a movie review, nor a psychology lesson. Read it at your own risk. Contain Spoilers. 

Gio Luna’s art – Image retrieved from Pinterest

Disney strike again. No mercy. They hit first and you spend the next year talking about a cartoon, singing the songs, and quoting the lines of the movie. My husband and I don’t have kids, and yet we watched Encanto two times this week. The songs are so very catchy.

Colombia te quiero tanto!

The movie talks about Maribel and her family Madrigal, the location this time in Colombia. A tragedy happened and Abuela was given a miracle in form of a house, which is almost the main character. A magical house with an important part in keeping the family together. As it gives every family member special powers, to keep the Encanto between the walls and each other. Spoiler alert – except Maribel.

During the first scene of the movie, Mirabel is singing about Familia Madrigal, she presents the family powers, like her sisters, cousins, aunt, uncles until she says “Bruno” being reprehended with “With don’t talk about Bruno”. She moves on with her song and the kids, who are listening to her, start asking what is her special power.

Ignoring your problems is a way to go.

Mirabel keeps pretending she is not listening, while the little boy with coffee goes crazy. The song is so upbeat and the scene so colorful, which makes you want to dance. Later that day, we find out why they were all getting ready and the house ready. Her little cousin will find out what powers he will have, and he is terrified of ending up like Maribel since she was the last one to be gifted with nothing.

A very emotional flashback scene showed us what happened that night. Mirabel didn’t get any special gifts and her door vanished. So abuelita started to treat her differently.

We all got gifts, but you are just an ordinary girl.

From this particular scene where the little boy is gifted the power of listening to animals, Mirabel finally catches all the feelings of not being perfect and having any abuela’s approval, whatsoever. She is the outcast, the random one, and the one who doesn’t seem to matter in abuela’s eyes.

What Mirable represents until now is a crack in the perfect house. The crack that might break the Encanto. So Grandma becomes very snappy with her, without seeing what Mirable is going through. No mercy.

The house cracks because of Abuela’s toxicity.

Disney is notorious for making us look at our own life while watching the movies and relating in many different forms. It’s no different with Encanto. The Latino culture representativeness in this movie is very real.

The toxicity of the older generations, which require us some level of perfection, tend to blame the younger relatives for not succeeding and push them over the limit of existence. Our culture always shows us that we have to be perfect in our family’s eyes, otherwise, we are going to end up like Bruno.

If you are Latino and you were never compared to some distant cousin, because they seem to have their lives together and you don’t, you are lucky. We are constantly overshadowed by someone that does it better when you just want to live your life without other relatives’ expectations of you.

It’s your life, make the most of it. Get out of the bubble of expectations about you

So what if you want to go to Cosmetology school and your cousin is going to be a doctor? Have you ever asked if deep down inside that’s something that she is passionate about, or if she is just doing because society and family things this is some type of status? We have a lot of that in Brazil.

I decided very early I wanted to leave my country. One, I wanted to go to Hollywood and be a child bride to Leo Dicaprio. Two at a very early age, I had to learn about expectations. I was not good at anything, except writing. I was not good with science, physics, or math.

I was terrible at school and my only way out to succeed in life was to escape my country. If I’m going to fail in life, at least no one will see it and yell about my mistakes in my face. I left because I didn’t feel like being judged about my choices and being made fun of. Much like Bruno, I had to find a way to live my life without judgment and meanness.

Abuela sent her own son to exile.

Abuela Madrigal made her point to exclude Bruno because she was scared that he would break the Encanto, as everything he was predicting was becoming true on different occasions, and they were not good things. So when the same thing starts to happen with Mirable, she freaks out.

Abuela has this protection for the house, she is so afraid to lose it, that she ditches people when they don’t turn out as she expects. Understandably, her whole life revolves around that house, to the point of excluding her son, for being afraid of losing the Encanto.

We have to talk about Bruno.

When we are finally introduced to Bruno, we start to realize what the heck happened for him to be exiled. By Abuela. Bruno seems to be ok where he is now because he also doesn’t want to disappoint his family, so he finds a way to be around, but not present.

He then explains to Maribel what happened and what needs to be done to fix the cracks in the house. Mirable goes after what he said, but the house still crumbles. So Abuela Madrigal, falling apart, in tears, finally reveals why she has been toxic this entire time.

It’s nobody’s fault what happened to you, Abuela, be nice.

She lost everything and she was afraid of losing it again, she was given a miracle and she wanted to keep it. Then finally realizes why she has been so snappy and like almost any matriarch from a Latino household, controlling and obsessive with something she won’t possibly be able to fix.

Giving her undivided attention and preaching to people that goes with what she is saying. With all that, we also have Mirabel’s older sisters, Luiza and Isabel. Luiza has the gift of being stronger and Isabel has the gift of beautiful flowers or perfection.

Abuela loves it and wants her to get married, in an arranged married, by Abuela. Isabel buys the idea, but then we see she is also not happy, she struggles to be perfect. She just doesn’t want to disappoint the matriarch and end up like Bruno. Luiza thinks her only worth is to be strong and help the family. She also struggles when she starts to lose her gift.

What you see is not always what you get.

The entire movie is based on the premise of “what you see is what you get”, when it isn’t. Some people live throughout their entire lives afraid of disappointing people, afraid of being judged by their choices, agreeing to be submissive just to get by.

A perfect house foundation crumbles when is all a facade. We all struggle with something, we all like to be better at something or to showcase our talents without being judged. We already have the internet and Twitter for that Abuela, you need to be a haven, not make it worse.

My family throws shade at me for different reasons.

I don’t have any siblings, so I cannot relate to the movie on this level, but I do face the guilt-tripping from my mom does for the fact that I’m the only daughter and I’m there to be by her side as she gets older.

This is my burden. Not being around my parents as they get older. My mom always throws some shades at me and tells me she wishes she had someone to go with her to doctor appointments.

It’s a movie for kids, but the main theme is not. It’s for grownups for sure. Kids will like the music and the colors, adults will cry and question why is Abuela so toxica and they are never good enough.

Let me know in the comments if you watched the movie and how can relate to it.

Happy New Year!

Stay healthy, stay safe.

Why can’t I be a minimalist.

A few days ago, we moved to a new apartment, after living an entire year in a place I considered pretty much how the inside of a cast would look like. Dark, with no ventilation and people stepping on your head for the rest of eternity.

We tried to move last June, unfortunately, it didn’t happen, because things only happen with me, when they are supposed to. I don’t work against the universe. I just let it be. Even though that might cause me an extreme cause of claustrophobia and daily rage.

“Oh, you should be thankful for having a place to live,” I was, but also I don’t wish that type of apartment on anyone else. Again, it was temporary. More like an emergency, as we had just moved to Denver and had spent a lot with moving costs. That place seemed suitable.

The year went by fast.

It was also the year that I bought less stuff. Less furniture, fewer clothes, shoes, and kitchen gadgets. I didn’t have any space to put in those 600 sqft 1 bedroom apartments. It was already cluttered before we even moved in. The windows were small and it was like living in the underworld. A cave, where people that live off the grid go into hiding. Receiving visitors was treacherous. My friends came over to celebrate my birthday, all the way from Georgia. They had to sleep in my camper, parked in front of the house. It was fun for them and the kids, but I was mortified.

In the Cold November Rain

Settling in a new place has never been easier. It’s much more pleasurable when you go from a small place to a little bigger unit. Having my office back has also shifted my perspective into what I need to do in terms of peace, to plan my next step. Putting out the stuff from the box, I realized I could never be a minimalist.

Great for people that live with one fork, one knife, and a pan. I’m a collector, again collector, not hoarder, I throw stuff out. When it is necessary.

I need to have the security of having gadgets.

I landed in this country with two suitcases. I had absolutely nothing, as I left everything I had behind to start fresh in a new country. As I left all my memorabilia at home, I felt helpless. Helpless in terms of looking around and don’t see anything from my past, any of my references. Everything was new. I was new.

Little by little, with all the working hours I put in, I started acquiring the items for my new so-called life. My life in America, living as an American, buying useless stuff only to accumulate in the garage.

I quickly got attached, especially to the books.

I still have the first book I bought in a used bookstore in Chicago, back in 2012. Wicked is still on the shelf to remind me how far I’ve come. I don’t have any of the stuff I brought from Brasil. It was easy to get rid of those since there was not much, and the Chicago winter was much harder than Sao Paulo’s winter.

Every time I go to Brazil, I pick up some of the stuff that is still at my mom’s house. My cd collection, my Titanic VHS, my books. My mom waits for me with a bag of my old stuff, because she also doesn’t have much space, at least that’s what she tells me.

Those are my memories, not hers.

My mom had a box ready with my stuff, for me to bring home from Brazil.

If you ever had to live abroad, you know that the minimum you can have in the new country can make a lot of difference. It’s not just stuff, it represents what you are now, your success, your accomplishments.

I can’t be a minimalist because, for example, I like my books too much. I can’t just read and get rid of it. I mark some passages while I’m reading. Some pages, even entire paragraphs.

Books are and have always been a great companion. I buy new ones, even though I have at least ten new ones to read. It also works for stationery items.

Folders, pens, planners, calendars, you name it, I have it.

If I think it’s cute and somehow useful, I will make sure to buy it. Even though I’m not at school anymore whenever the new school year starts at Walmart, I stock up on notebooks and pens.

To add all this up, I buy containers to store all that. Drawers, shelves, colored bins and that makes happy. Now you asked me how I manage to have all that in a 1 bedroom apartment? Sadly, I don’t have the answer to that.

Now I’m in a bigger place, it will be like a scavenger hunt with all the lost boxes. Like the Goofy Stickers I bought at Disney, God knows how long ago. Have I used it in the past 3 years? No. Do I intend to throw it out? Also no.

Josh can’t be a minimalist either.

Everything he has from Indiana, he is still keeping, like the blanket he has had since he was 3 years old or the shirt he wore when we hung out on the first Halloween.

He can’t be a minimalist, but he has the potential to be a hoarder. The tools work for him the same way Sephora eye palettes works for me. They all do different things, at least he says so.

New trends and influencers caused people to rethink their lifestyles.

Marie Kondo, the author of “The life-changing magic of tidying up” a few years ago in a Netflix series, told us to throw everything that doesn’t spark us joy in our lives anymore, in the garbage.

According to her explanation, the energy needs to circulate, and I agree. You don’t need to be a hoarder, but you can keep the stuff that brings comfort, like old books.

At the same time, Marie Kondo’s series was out, Netflix released a documentary about minimalism and how Americans consume a lot of unnecessary stuff.

How they have enormous houses and almost everyone has a garage full of stuff they don’t need, when they don’t have a garage, they have paid storage.

Which has been our case for the past 3 years. Living in a 1 bedroom apartment you barely have enough space for yourself, I can’t imagine storing all those tools in a closet.

Capitalism always makes you want more and more.

I don’t buy unnecessary stuff. Not anymore. Books yes, stationery items, yes. Clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets I already have more than enough. As soon as I realized that I was only buying stuff to cover up my sadness and my lack of identity in this country, I learned how to manage consumerism.

The reason is I can’t be a minimalist, getting rid of everything I bought, but I can manage what I buy, with consciousness. Also, I never met an immigrant that is a minimalist, for the exact reason I said before.

Hopefully, you do whatever makes you happy. Like when I brought my new country some of the old me, with my CDs, magazines, and books.

 

 

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