Live out Loud Too Blog

Things I started paying attention after the pandemic

Can we stop talking about the trainwreck 2020 was? No? Ok. Can we also stop trying to improve other people’s lives with useless tips? Yes, please. Alright, so let’s talk about things I started paying attention to after the pandemic. I promise this isn’t ” You should try it yourself” type of post or “I did much better than you during the pandemic.”

Not at all. I’m constantly writing my struggle to connect with people who are living through the same energy.

That’s why I write this blog.

Life was always busy, running around, planning, executing (sometimes, let’s be honest) trying to hustle and bustle. It seems that the roaring ’20s was about to start and I was ready to step on the gas and let amazing things happen to me. I lived January and February of 2020 with intensity and planning for the rest of the year.

In March, as we all know the hourglass got clogged and stopped, as we were all left wondering what was next, for God only knew how long. We didn’t know when life was going to go back to the normal, matter of fact, I don’t think it ever will. Vaccinations or not, the Pandemic changed everyone’s life. For better or for worse, we all are going to have stories to tell about those months the entire planet was stuck at home, cooking bread.

My stress levels 

I listened to hours and hours of podcasts, about the pandemic and whatnots, meditate, and got myself an apple watch. Even though I think the watch harasses me, telling me what to do, like “breath” “walk more” “get you bums of the couch, lazy bitch, you’ve been in the same position for 3 hours”.

I decided to tag along and just listen to what I think matters, not the passive-aggressive notifications I receive all day long. One good feature of this watch is that it can measure your heartbeats, so if you think you are struggling to control your nerves, you can calm yourself, with breathing techniques.

I learned that your stress levels are entirely up to you. If your mind is spinning out of control, and you feel like passing out, try to manage how you are breathing. You are the only person who can do that, and no one, not a boss, not a friend, not a significant other can do it for you.

My food – Trying to eat healthier

Discovering new ways on how to eat better, without sacrificing my love for chocolate. It’s not the chocolate that makes you sick. It’s all combined. The chocolate, the pizza, the frozen lasagna, the fried chicken.

I’m not an expert on anything, but I decided to give it a try and see how my body feels. I understand that most of the time we don’t have time to eat all the food from the pyramids, green, yellow, orange, red, and so on.

It’s too hard to follow a super healthy diet, so I do what I can. Walking around TJ Maxx, I found some Superfood Green Powder that you can make smoothies with and bought some fruits. Felt like a winner immediately!

 

The alcohol consumption 

Working in restaurants, I had to try different types of drinks and beers constantly, to be able to sell them to my table. I enjoyed it, I learned a lot, but I stopped working in restaurants in December of 2018. As I kept trying to make drinks at home, putting to practice how to mix different liquors, the pandemic hit, and what was a hobby, almost became a problem.

I come from a long line of alcoholics. My grandpa, my dad, my uncle, and some other family members that don’t assume they are, but it’s very clear for the rest of us. If they are happy, they drink, if they are sad, they drink, if it’s hot outside, they drink beer to cool it off, if it’s cold outside, they drink wine to keep warm. As I said, it becomes a problem when it’s constant.

The only stores opened during the pandemic in Austin, were, guess what? The liquor stores. It’s weird for me that a mom-and-pop food truck couldn’t be open, but a large retail alcohol store could. Anyway, so every Friday, I walked myself to the liquor store to get a different liquor to mix the drinks.

I also had some wine.

As we all lost track of what day of the week it was, it becomes more and more normal to drink wines on Monday, Cocktails on Tuesday, beers on Wednesday. After two weeks, I talked to a friend about how all this alcohol intake was coming and we decided together to stop and only drink on Fridays. It worked well until I started working again last month, in a hotel, which debunked everything I have been working towards last year.

Give me a break, I’m trying here.

Be more active

Long walks without destinations are my gem. In Chicago, I used to walk for hours and that kept me active. Living in a city where you are car dependable, makes it harder. Denver has a lot of parks, but to get to the park, you need a car.

There are days when I still walk to Walmart and around the park close to home. I only do that so I can close my exercise ring, on the apple watch. Once again, the watch harasses me if it thinks I’m not doing it enough. It is my day off watch, leave me alone.

Be thankful ( paying attention to small victories)

I learned how to count small blessings during my day and pay attention to what is working. If my remote control works without me having to it against something, it’s a beautiful day. If I can be outside, in a coffee shop, while watching people pass by, something that didn’t happen last year, I’m thankful.

Happiness is made of a fraction of moments. Victories, accomplishments, learning new things, meeting new people. What people get wrong is because they were taught that we have to be happy 100% of the time, if we are not, something is off.

Don’t take sunny days for granted

Photo by Rampal Singh on Unsplash

We live in Colorado. Winters are long, and there is a possibility it might snow in May. Don’t put the snow boots away yet. Wait another week. I was born and raised in Brasil, where we take sunny days for granted.

We don’t have cold seasons. In the United States, I learned that seasons exist and some of them are longer than others. So enjoy the sunny days, wherever you are.

Meditate and learn how to control my emotions 

 

Listening to podcasts like Mindful for beginners or Headspace helped me to center whatever chaos was happening during the Pandemic. I needed to hear myself breathe and make sure I was alive.

I was getting angry with everyone and mad that I couldn’t live my life the way I intended. The internet super-achievers were also not helping. I guess getting away for a few minutes from social media, to reconnect myself, it’s a habit I want to keep forever.

Understanding that other people are struggling too, I don’t reign on the struggle.

Struggle with mental instability is not a privilege of a few. We all got derailed at some point of this lockdown, wanted to leave to a different place, start over, and all these emotions that come when you are removed from your normal daily routine.

Into to the Unknown

The Unknown is scary, unpredictable, and leaves us wondering what is next, it’s not a good feeling. For some people, this is the epicenter of craziness. How dare you act like this with me? Well, we are facing the same type of issues, some on a different level than others.

Some people like to say “we are all in the same boat”. Yes, Kylie Jenner, but your boat has 5 floors and I’m fighting the tide in a little canoe and a broken paddle.

Normal people, not the Hollywood crowd, are struggling to keep their mental health in check. What we have to do now, is have some compassion. Take a deep breath, and remember we are all trying our best. Ok, some more than others. Some people are just mean because they want to be and no pandemic will change that.

All I know is that being stuck at home for over a year, gave me the ability to reinvent myself and do whatever was missing in my life, during the busy days.

I baked, I meditated, I put on 5lbs, I started eating better and paying attention to my mind, body, and emotions. I delayed all my career plans for my writing, I’m doing what I can. One day at a time.

So, what did you change in your life during the pandemic? Let me know in the comments if you got a new hobby or restarted a new old one, you had to put it aside. How are you taking care of your body and mind after this mess?

What makes you buy a book? Ideas from a reader’s point of view.

What makes you buy a book? Is it good marketing? Is the author engagement with the readers? Charisma? A higher number on lists? For me: the subject and how the author engages with readers.

I remember when I was a kid, I used to buy comic books from the same author, week after week. It was a whole brand of products and that helped the brand to be known everywhere we go. It was almost an emotional connection.

Books are my favorite companion. I like to have them around, for fun and for advice when no one can hear me. I’m so glad I was raised with the habit of reading it, my house might not have much, but we did have books, magazines, and music.

Yesterday I bought a food photography book, from a YouTube channel photographer. I found out about Joannie and The Bite Shot when I was looking for more information last year about venturing into food photography. Two passions I have in life.

Food Photography.

Photographing The Starving Gypsy events, in Austin, last summer

After the first video, I followed her page on Instagram and started to learn all the food photography techniques, which I applied while working with Chef Deameatrie, at The Starving Gypsy, in Austin. I even made a few photography boards, as Joannie taught in one of her videos, it was a lot of fun. After knowing the book was coming out, I saved it on my list and planned to buy it as soon as it was available. When the book arrived, I started to think: What makes people buy books?

I would like to share a few ideas based on why I buy books I do, even though most of them keep piling up because I buy too many.

1- Favorite Author.

We all have one. Even if she acts crazy on Twitter, if she comes out with a reimagined Harry Potter book, people would still buy her material. She might even come out with a pen name, to protect her identity, because she butchered her persona with the lack of caring. I was never a Harry Potter fan, I did watch the movies, but I had a hard time engaging with the books. I always liked more the Bridget Jones Diary types of series. In 2005, I read a book by Sophie Kinsella and from that point on, I read most of her work. At that point, the story of a mid 20’ years struggling with life, while living in London, had all my attention, as I wanted to live there too.

2- Author Engagement with the Audience

As an author, and you have to blast the internet with your content or your soon-to-be-released book, you are not doing it right. I bought a few books, just by some of the people I follow, interviewing another author. It doesn’t matter that the author makes the New York Bestseller list, what matters is: the author engages with the audience and talks about their book selflessly. Yes, you can have an entire marketing team, but nothing works better than showing why this book is so important to you, and why I need to have it. What makes me resonates with you and your story.

3 – Good Marketing skills.

Not only it’s important to engage with the reader in a more approachable way, than showing that you have the skills to acquire and maintain the audience long term. Once they know you, they will keep coming back to new releases. It’s a good idea to have a Facebook page, an IG account, a Twitter account.

Be creative, and show the audience why do you care. Make connections. More important have a Pinterest board and invest in some ads. I was led to so many different websites through Pinterest and if you are not constantly making pins to promote it, you should try it. Last but not least, create an author website.

4- The book is relatable.

Self-help books take the most space on my shelf. I love a good story, but since I was fifteen years old, I keep trying to find answers to my questions and ways to improve myself. At that time, we only had books for that kind of content.

Now we have podcasts, Youtube channels, IG TV, audiobooks, and an array of different ways to consume the media, but a well-written word still makes me buy the book. I like to have something to come back and read it again, the marked pages with underlined passages can’t even be compared to listen to the podcast.

I’m also deeply passionate about cooking books, yes, I could find the recipe online, but if my internet goes down, I would still like to know what I’m doing.

5- Big promotion or Lists

Lists on Pinterest are how I find my next book to buy or Good Reads. I usually save the Pin or the picture of the book, to get it eventually. I also love promotions at Target. They usually have books selling with 30% off the full price and Amazon is usually butchering the Author. Lowering the price so much, the author has to sell a lot to make a profit.

Unless the author is already established. I don’t mind paying full price for a book if I know the (indie) author is getting paid too. I have a full understanding of how difficult it is to be a writer, I wrote and self-published a book for the Creative Writing Degree, and putting all the work together was intense.

I have been following and reading a lot of content about books and about what works and what not when it comes to selling your work. I don’t have any published (yet) neither I’m a famous publisher or whatnot.

The only thing I know is what makes me buy a book and talk about it with other people. Sometimes buy the book as a gift, because I liked it so much and I want people I like to read it too. That happened with “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis.

I understand she is also in hot waters now and probably taking a break from social media, but that book resonated with me when it comes to make time for yourself and stop making excuses as to why you can make it.

Here is my question: What makes you buy a book? Please let me know in the comments I would love to read your opinion!

What makes you feel alive?

Coming out of the situation we were all put in last year, a few of these habits had the power to make me feel alive. Especially on those days, you had nothing to look for or any idea how long this situation would last for.

How long are we going to be in lockdown? How long are we only going to visit the supermarket and drugstore for fun? Thoughts like “will my life become entirely digital, without any other human contact, smile, or even facial recognition because we are all be wearing masks for the rest of our lives?”

There were so many questions I couldn’t find the answer at that time, and the only way out was to find things that made me feel alive. Felling alive and blessed for having a healthy strong system, enough to keep me safe during the pandemic, while a lot of people struggle, was a plus.

That led me to think and evaluate the true thing that keeps me alive and happy. Whatever brings a smile to my face or a giggle while walking around.

What makes you feel alive? Here are a few things that make me dance around.

The bright sun in the sky

At this point in my life in the United States, I’m somehow used to long winters. I lived in Chicago two different times and I know how dragging arctic winters can mess up with your mood, leading to seasonal depression.

I’m so thankful I was in Texas when the pandemic started because just imagining being cooped up in a tiny apartment for months, drops my mood to the ground.

I grew up in Brazil and we have the sun almost all year round, so when I had to deal with drag, short days, getting dark at 4 PM, that was it for me. Living in Colorado is also cold, but they have a lot of sunny days here, and that helps me to smile more. I love opening my window and see the light shining bright, it pushes me forward to keep moving.

Everyone looks happier when the spring and the summer start.

Dogs

Dogs are my kryptonite. I love dogs and I just want to be around them. I had two dogs before of my own, one we adopted and another one we foster at the beginning of quarantine. There is no greater love than the love of a dog, they want nothing in exchange, they just want love and treats, and that I have an abundance of. My parents adopted a stray dog, while I was visiting them in Brazil, last March.

Baby Kiara, the stray dog who won my heart <3

Baby Kiara is about three months old and she was found at the veterinarian clinic by the vet. She is the most adorable thing, but she is in trouble, because she looks like a little rat, running around the house, and sometimes we trip on her. She also bit the walls, everyone’s feet and she barks at an empty bottle filled with rice grains my mom gave to her. This time was especially hard to come back home because I got used to her. I hope she remembers me when I go back next year.

Walking around without a destination.

Usually, I put on my favorite playlist, something from the late ’90s or early 2000s, like Nsync or Britney Spears, and march away. Sometimes I walked so far, I had to take the bus back. That used to happen in Chicago a lot.

I used to live in Lakeview East, close to the Wrigley Field Stadium. Summertime comes around and I walked to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Had to take the bus back. On one of these random walks, I was listening to Beyonce and almost got hit by a car, because I was distracted and didn’t pay attention while crossing the street.

Listen to my favorite song.

Having a very peculiar taste in music, so depends on the day, I can go from Katy Perry to David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac in an instant. I traveled through decades and my playlist is adaptable. If I want to be happy in an instant, I will listen to Mariah Carey. I recently bought a karaoke mic and I’m driving my neighbors up a wall while singing “Emotions”. At least they stopped stomping in my head at 6 AM.

Food ( either cooking or eating it)

I get hanger. I don’t know how to deal with the feeling of being hungry. It puts me on a spiral of emotions and drama, I overreact to simple things, and have I mentioned drama? I love food. That’s a given and I also love cooking. I’m constantly checking for recipes and trying new ways to improve my meals. We don’t allow mac’n’cheese or frozen lasagna in this house. The joy of serving other people also makes me feel alive. For me, the act of cooking for someone else shows great compassion and caring for others. Food is energy and if you have good energy, it should be shared.

Observe the nature around me

Great things happen when you are not being distracted by your phone. A walk in the park can be refreshing and you can observe different scenarios every time you are out. Living in Colorado, I can see the front range mountains and it looks like a painting on the wall. Hiking gives you another sense of adventure and you can listen to nature and relaxing with the quietness, even though most of the time Mariah is singing her jams rent-free in my head.

Visiting my family in Brazil.

That’s the one thing that brings me the most peace and keeps me centered. Living in the United States, makes me feel I’m losing my identity, little by little. I know who I’m, but my life fluctuates between two different cultures.

My past and my present collide, sometimes I question my choices. When I’m in Brazil, I have all the love from my family, my food, my music, my tv shows. When I’m in America I have financial stability, some sense of security, and all the makeup Mac can make, that back home would cost me an eye and a leg. Life choices, am I right?

That’s how I see myself living in America.

I don’t regret living here, but I would like to go back to visit more often. My parents are getting old and I haven’t been there enough. Do you know that “missing hug people” you felt the entire last year? I have been in this situation for years

Find whatever makes you happy.

I read once that happiness is a feeling and not a constant state. That made a lot of difference in how I pursue things in my life. Gratitude and the simple things I can achieve helps me to move forward in life, without being so hard on myself.

That’s my list of what makes me feel alive. What’s on your list? Dogs, cats? Ice cream, traveling? Let me know in the comments!

XXX

J.Snelly

Papercuts.

Just don’t say anything you can pass like an American”
Wait a minute here. I don’t want to be quiet to pass by. I’ve done it for too long. You gonna hear my voice, my accent, and my anger, that you planted on me, while I spent years trying to fit in”
My blog is called LIVE OUT LOUD TOO for a reason. I will not ask permission or control my voice anymore because it’s not up to your American standards. I didn’t move here to be muffled because you think you are better than me. I’m here to be loud. Latina loud. Brazilian loud.
Deal with it.

That’s was a Facebook status update from yesterday. It was about a memory from 6 years ago when I was filling the Greencard paperwork, and questioned why immigrants are called “Allien” over and over.

Tiny little cuts, you just feel the pain after.

So this piece is about enduring all that, through the past 6 years, while trying to have my voice heard, and find my place in this country. All the tiny papercuts I have to deal with.

https://liveoutloudtoo.com/2020/06/10/the-fear-of-the-white-man/

From time to time I have to deal with the same immigration problems. Being told by clueless people that immigrants are only here to steal their jobs and hard-earned money. I’m sorry, but I can almost guarantee you that the 200 bucks that you paid in taxes your whole life while making 7,25 an hour, would not give you a fantastic retirement.

We are not taking money from you, if you look closely, you never made enough. You want to complain that an immigrant is getting your retirement money when you didn’t even finish high school.

Life made you bitter. It’s not my fault.

I feel sorry that all your dreams were washed away from you. Maybe you didn’t have any dreams to pursue, or a chance to dream of being something other than a 9 to 5 worker. All you taught growing up was how to work to feed your family. And that made you bitter.

You have no voice. I have a voice because I was born in this country. You were not.

Bitter when you see someone that doesn’t look like you succeed. Someone that doesn’t look like you, or prays to the same God, becomes a president. Someones that don’t sound like you, gets a job and creates a great life. Especially because in your mind, you think you deserve it because heck, you worked your entire life. But guess what? I’m working my way through life too. In a second language. In a country that I didn’t grow up in.

All these years I cried, with that feeling that I don’t belong here. That feeling that you planted on me, with your “I’m not trying to offend you” harsh words. When you applaud and cherish a president, who never wanted any of us here, besides his foreign trophy wives. You enable this feeling.

“You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you.” – Pocahontas

Let me tell you, good sir, things are different when you don’t see life through your political goggles. Immigrants work and they work hard. Sometimes we flee our countries for safety, and for a chance to have a better life. Can you put yourself in a position of having to leave everything behind to start over, in a country that doesn’t want you here?

You come here, fleeing the war or extreme poverty, with little to nothing, to save your kid and give them better opportunities. Have you stopped to think about how hard it is? It’s not your culture, it’s not your food, it’s not your language, it’s not your people. Like a videogame, after you died and get a chance to start over, from zero. With one life left.

These people are not coming over here to get a chunk of your hard-earned 7.25 an hour. They would rather work and be with their families in their country, instead of being here, harassed for something it’s not their choice. It’s not being a snowflake democrat, my good sir. It’s being human. It’s having empathy. Did Jesus talk about empathy in his book?

The Problem with interpretation.

Having read through that sacred book millions of times, and knowing it by heart, you are having a problem with interpretation. Love thy neighbor. I’m not an expert, but what I understand about this verse is “love your neighbor” and that the part you probably need help interpreting. The parable of the Good Samaritan, don’t do to others, what you would not like to be done to you. Treat others with the same respect you would respect yourself.

WAKE UP! I think you might be sleeping during the mass.

There is no need to go to church because it doesn’t make you a good person. We all sin, but in your mind, you think you have the right to judge my sin like you are some kind of Jesus sent to earth. Let me tell you.

Jesus is watching very closely what you’ve been doing to me. And when you get to the gates of heaven, you might have some explaining to do. I don’t think they will let you in, in my opinion, you will be in limbo. Because of how you treat people different than you, and your terrible choices.

All the not helping others, judging harshly who thinks different than you, and being aggressive with people that you should support, is getting a whole chapter in the Jesus notebook. It’s never too late to change, but with all you’ve done for others, you might need 3 different lives to cleaned all your records up.

You made your life choices, I made mine. Move on.

I keep trying to restructure myself after the mess you go back to the vault, every time you come around, I find more and more reasons to not want to be closer. I tried. God knows how much I tried and how many tears I cried trying to be part of something I don’t fit in.

Shame on you if you full me once, shame on me, if you fool me twice.

You cut me like a papercut. It’s always unexpected, but the cut hurts me for days. The tiny little cut on my finger keeps reminding me to be more careful next time. It hurts and it bleeds from inside.

I never asked for that.

I don’t care about your dumb racist profiling opinions! I’m here to stay!

That’s the situation I never asked for. I was always respectful, understanding, and quiet. Condescend maybe. All I wanted was a family to embrace me, be proud of me and my achievements. All I got was rage and mistreatment, misinterpretation, covered in sheepskin because the immigrant got a life you could never have. It’s ok.

I have my husband and friends that love me and take care of me. Just like the family I wanted to when I moved to America. So I will cherish them like I would like to have cherished you. Well, your loss. Little by little, I will regain my strength and I will shine.

As I finish this piece, I wish you well. Because your anger pushes me forward.

Sincerely,

The Allien you can’t get rid of.

Travelling abroad during Covid.

I’m finally back and ready to take the wheel with the blog again. It was a great break, but now it’s time to put in perspective all the new projects I had blocked in my mind because of missing my family.

The last time I went home was December of 2018, and I left with a promise of coming back soon. Or at least having my parents visit me, in case I was not able to take time out to go see them. When Covid started in 2020, we were still hopeful they could come to see us, at some point, until the borders were close, with no intent to open anytime soon.

Mama, I’m coming home.

My mom also had the PCR test done before my arrival.

Not being able to go home last year and hug my parents was a struggle. I was hoping we could switch presidents here in America, so I could travel with peace of mind I would be able to come back to the country without any issue. Brazil is in such a chaotic situation, that if we kept Trump, I might have to stay there, as I’m a resident, and not a citizen of the United States yet.

I promise myself, as soon as the elections were over and he would finally be out of the office, I would buy my tickets to go home. I waited a few days after he left the White House, because of crazy conspiracy theorists, so I could purchase my tickets and that’s exactly what I did. On January 28, I finally purchased my tickets to go home.

All the preparation and anxiety, days without sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night, led me to a state of alert as my eyes were on the news, in case something else changed for the trip.

The PCR Test.

Brasil only lets citizens and Americans in if they have a negative covid test in their hands. My husband and I set up a drive-thru appointment at Walgreens, to do the PCR test before our trip, it costs us about 120 dollars each.

The drive-thru of Walgreens works like the Mcdonalds, but instead of getting food, they give you a swab so you can stick it on your nose. The results come out a little over 24 hours, as the lab works non-stop. I was very nervous because the trip was on Monday, and they told us the results could take up to five business days. We called and the lab told us to be calm, the results would come up fast.

The airport.

Denver doesn’t have direct flights to Brazil, so we bought the domestic leg separated, from United airlines. It’s funny because they are all careful to separate the boarding by rows and yet, you are on a packed plane and being asked if you would like to fly on a different flight.

The flight was crammed with people. The crew served us some snacks on a bag and soft drinks. Besides eating, we were supposed to keep the mask on all the time.

We got in Fort-Lauderlade from Denver to our international flight, to check in our bags and prepare to fly out. At the check-in line, there was an airline worker, making sure we all had a negative covid test in our hands. When we got to the counter, the lady asked for it again and stamped our tickets confirming we were negative.

I asked her if I could put the paper away or if I would have to show it again. She said they would not ask for it in Brasil and explain that it was the airline’s responsibility to check its passengers to make sure everyone was negative before flying. I kept the paper close to my hands anyway.

The flight.

I found out if you seat by the window, the plane will shake less. Booked all the flights with window seats.

As everyone on the plane tested negative, it gave us a little bit more peace of mind for the many hours trapped breathing the same air as other people. The airline crew reinforced that even though everyone was negative, we should keep our masks on, only removing to eat and drink. I’m not gonna lie, it was terrible trying to sleep with the mask on.

Planes are already uncomfortable, I’m an extremely nervous flyer. I’m always on alert even when the entire plane is asleep. I either take some Dramamine or wine. I need something to pass me out and on this trip, my drug of choice was Dramamine. After eating and the cabin lights were turned off, I took my scarf, covered my face, and held the mask in my hand.

The arrival.

When we arrived in the country, it took us a good hour to get out of the plane, as now they are only letting people out, row by row. Let me tell you that people are slow as they can be when it comes to getting out of a plane.

I had my PCR test in my hand, but no one asked me to show it. The Homeland security officer advised my husband that if something happened, like borders closing, he could easily renew his visa stamp for another 3 months. I wish we could stay that long!

The airport in Sao Paulo constantly reminds us over the speakers of the importance of wearing a mask, cleaning our hands, and keeping a distance from others. That’s not what I saw.

Brazil is a huge country and it’s nearly impossible to control the people, as they have a hard time following the rules. Some of them, because they can’t, and some of them because they are stubborn.

People need to work and they don’t have any government subside money to live off. I’ve seen buses crowded with people, with no AC, in 90F degree weather, and that’s Corona paradise. When we left the country was going on lockdown again.

Josh loves Brazil and always has a great time visiting. He loves the food, the people, and how cheap it is for us when we arrive in the country with some dollars. We eat what we want, drink and enjoy the warm weather. My mom is constantly asking why the man is blistering in the heat of the room when he could just be outside with a fan. Whats its torture for us locals, its a blessing to my Indiana guy.

The way back.

Once again, we had to take a PCR test for the trip back. I think it’s fair, as you don’t want to contaminate the airline crew and other passengers, it gives everyone peace of mind. It costs us half of what it costs us in America, expensive for Brazilians, but 1 dollar is worth about 5.70 reais. Let me explain this better. It works like this: If something would cost me 57.00 Reais, I would be paying 10 dollars, plus a small amount of transaction fee.

We had to set up the drive-thru appointment, at the lab stand outside the mall, and wait in line. When it was our turn, the lady was all prepared to perform the test on us, which scared Josh. On this trip to Brazil and another reason why we traveled since the American health system is inexistent.

We went to the doctor and found out Josh has an autoimmune disease, called Nasal polyposis, which is a small benign tumor inside his nose, that can be controlled with antibiotics and medication.

The polyposis obstructs his nose, impeding the PCR Swab to go all the way up. The lady stuck up the swab to my brain, with him, she attempted, but he hurt so bad, she had to stop halfway before he slapped the swab away from her hands. Get the vaccine when it’s available to you, so you don’t have to go thru this invasive procedure.

This time we were requested to show the negative PCR at least three times before boarding our final flight. Once at the Airline check-in point, at the check-in to the international flight in Sao Paulo, and lastly, the Homeland security. Nobody asked us for it inside of the United States.

Traveling with the Covid restrictions was hard, but all worth it.

Seeing my family, spend time with loved ones, and getting josh the treatment he needs was all worth it. We didn’t visit places, didn’t go to any parties, all we did was staying with my family because I still need to protect my parents. After all, they are in the risk group.

I didn’t cry saying goodbye, but I cry my eyes out when the plane took off.

It was hard to say good-bye. It getting harder and harder, as when I go there, I see my parents and I’m not around to be with them. I just have to put on my big girl pants and plan the next trip, hopefully, next January, after the holidays. Since we have to go back to pick up Josh’s medication.

All I have to say is if you want to go home, go home. Life is too short to plan too much, wait for the next opportunity, or to the perfect time to do what you want. Take your chance and jump in, life is a short breath of air. Don’t waste it. Don’t forget to Live out Loud Too!

On the next post, I will write about how going back home re-centers my mind and focus.

J.G.Snelly

XX