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.
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!
What I have been buying and what I have been producing with the equipment.
*this is not publicity- I’m not getting any commission on any these products. These are my personal recommendations.
One thing that has been constant thing in my life is creating stuff. My brain works in different ways and I’m always trying to get all the things done, even though I don’t have time for it. Or at at least not all the time I would like to have. Again, this time around we have way too many distractions to get things done in a timely manner.
During Creative Writing school, I had a chance to film and edit a few of the content I was writing for. Tipping my toe in those waters, only make me want to go further. Last year, I apply for Film school here in Denver, but couldn’t take any credits out from the previous degree, so that also made me thing If I would take another two years to dedicate myself to something, when I could perfectly try to work on that on my own.
The idea of compromising with school again, at the age of 36, knowing what I know about schooling system here in America, was not an option anymore. I started then, gathering information from different Youtube Channels, that could mentor me into filming, without getting another 30k in debt.
It hasn’t been easy. I guess the worst part for me is still the editing. I enjoy editing, I just can’t find enough time to do it. I took some classes on SkillShare, and got most of it done, but Adobe Premier Pro is chaotic software for beginners. True to be told is, I do everything by myself. I’m just now learning how to plan on how to get my content organized in a way that it won’t get lost, or take forever to get it done.
Rule number one : Get a planner.
Last October, when I got my GoPro Hero 9, I found out about a website called www.wish.com . The first thing I bought was an extension pole. People use to film with their GoPro adventures and it was one of the Youtube Channels I subscribed advised me to get it. It was about 13 dollars and it would get here in about 30 days, or less.
My biggest problem was: the item I bought got here on time and I started collecting points to bet discount on different purchases. I’m a sucker for collecting points. Wish 1 X Amazon 0
From that point on, I check on Amazon first, check the urgency of what I need, then proceed to get it on Wish (and collect my points). I’m don’t have any rush to get the products, since I’m still a beginner and I’m testing out what works better for my filming or not. My biggest obsession so far has been lighting equipment. I hate poor lighting as I had poor audio.
Here is the list of some equipment I have been buying to start my own channel.
A portable light that works like a Stadium lights. They are tiny but powerful. The first one I bought I got it on Rory Lights, and I pay 3x the amount for the same light I found on Wish, a year later. The difference is that the Rory Lights comes in a nice branding box, with some colorful filters. You could charge it and it will last for about 3 hours. I tested in one of my friends private party, when the electric in the house we were vanished, the portable light saved us, even though this is not its main purpose.
The portable Tripod:
The portable Tripod. I bought it on Amazon and the phone adapter I can’t remember where I got it. Its been a while, I guess this was technically my first purchase of all and I use it to make Stories on Instagram on my desk. The Tripod costs about $10 on Amazon and the phone adapter about $2,00 on Wish.
GoPro Hero 9
GoPro Action camera deserves an entire stand alone blog post. People have been using the GoPro for travel content for quite some time now and I don’t want to lose this wagon. Its tiny, portable, the resolutions for filming are 5k and it comes with an app, QuickPro that sends the footage straight to your phone via WiFi. It’s a little bit more of an investment, actually a way more than what we would like to pay, but its totally worth it, if you are looking for a reliable action camera.
Universal Video Microphone with Shock Mount, Deadcat Windscreen. I used it a few times and it works really well. If you have an Iphone, you have to get an adapter, to film it on the phone. It works well with DSLR cameras.
Wireless Lavalier Microphone Portable Audio
Wireless Lavalier Microphone Portable Audio was my latest purchases. I used to record a campaign video for my best friend and it worked well. It costed about $9,00 on Wish and it for here in 3 weeks.
Another trial and error one with this one. It works great to put all the equipment together, like the lights and the microphone and it also can be placed on the tripod, as you can see on the picture below.
Josh gave me this tripod about 7 years ago, when I started to push my photography projects. I use it often, mostly to get stable shots around the house, when I’m taking photos of myself for the blog. Just like the one from the land page. I keep everything mounted in my office to film the content I have been working on.
I’m a newbie when it comes to film content. I have been doing for years, but only now I’m being able to get the quality I want. As I found out that I don’t need a lot of money to get the equipment, I’ve been picking what I think it works best.
Don’t let yourself been pulled away of doing something , because you think you need Hollywood type of equipment to get it done. We all start from somewhere and in the end it all becomes a good story to be told when we are old sitting on a rocking chair on a porch.
On the next post, I’m going to write about the software I’ve been using.
I tested out all the equipment at once, except I used my phone instead of the GoPro. I’m talking in my native language, Portuguese, because the channel will be about my life here in America. I’m also working on the subtitles.
Keep trying, keep failing, keep creating.
If you have any suggestions about the tools you use on your blog/channel I would love to know! Let me know in the comments what kind of equipment do you use to film your content!
Here is a coupon if you want to try Wish – cwmkvbfb
When times get hard, you have no choice but to get a job, unless you are a trust fund kid. As weird as the job offer looks, you sound hopeful that it will be different daily.
I got my first job at 17, at the movie theater at the mall, after I was held back for my third year of high school. I like the environment, but I hated that I had to work and not only watch movies.
My labor contribution to the world is turning 18 this year, and reflecting on all the jobs I’ve had so far, I came up with a list of the weirdest places I’ve ever worked.
At first, it looked like a good idea, daily, it was a beautiful mistake to accept that offer.
A Prep Cook for the La Taqueria, a catering company that serves Facebook employees
When I first moved to Texas, one of my dear friends was working for a catering company, that cooked and served food for Facebook employees, in downtown Austin. In the phone interview, the HR lady offered me the job to work in one of the restaurants, serving the Facebook Employees, which I was completely fine with.
She just forgot to mention the fact that I would prepare the food, set up the food line, serve the people, clean out all the kitchen before I leave for the day. It was a Prep Job, not a serving job.
I arrived for my first day around 7 am, excited because it was so easy to get a job in Austin, I mean, still in the south. Thanks to my friend. It looked like an amazing place to work.
The Facebook HQ.
All the high-tech people walk around like they own the place, the free drinks and snack stations, and the restaurants serving great food. Again, I was happy for five minutes while I was being introduced to the place. When 8 Am hit, I already wanted to leave.
The girl training me was convinced I couldn’t pull out the job, and she was right. First, we had to go and get all the pantry stuff, like avocados, onions, tortillas, drinks, to fill out the stations. They gave me an apron and forced me to wear a cap.
Like I was going to play baseball or something. It looked like my mom took me to work with her in a hurry, due to how ridiculous I looked.
At some point in the morning, we went to get some refreshments, and while I was at the station, I greeted one of the Facebook employees with a “Good Morning.” The girl looked at me, sighs and walked away. Completely ignore us, like she was some kind of superior being and we were her servants because we were wearing black aprons.
I asked my coworker if this was a normal attitude and she said yes. No, girl, this is not normal. You are not better than anyone because you have a tech job.
Anyway, to summarize that day I made about 100 tortillas, guacamole, and served the workers. Oh and we also had a big meeting with all the catering company employees, chefs, HR people, preps, in the middle of the kitchen to talk about sexual harassment.
All that was said: “Not cool guys, if you get caught you will get fired” or some absurd thing like that. At the end of the day, I left to never come back.
A few weeks after this disappointment of working in a different position I was hired for, I made the same mistake again. A charter company was hiring for the server position and I gladly applied for it.
At the interview, they talked to me about my experience as a server, what would I do to calm down the clients if the bus broke down in the middle of the highway, what would I do if the AC stopped working. I used my expertise and creativity to answer the questions and I got the job. Even though the questions were very sketchy.
It’s like a flight attendant, but on a moving bus!
I had to be in a parking lot, in the middle of a highway in Austin, close to the airport, at 7 am. I swear that I heard the bus would come out of the Hyatt hotel downtown, the part I was not informed about was, the guests who would get the charter would be picked off at the hotel, not Joana.
While waiting for the girl who was going to train me, I walked around the bus, while shaking my head, not again. Like a flight attendant, I had to fill all the cabinets with supplies, make sure the sound system was on, and I had snack baskets. Wait. Snack baskets?
Yeah, for serving the guests, while the bus goes at 100 MPH on a highway. To Dallas and back. In the middle of the trip. You can also ask if they want refreshments. Good morning Sir, would you like your coffee on your lap or your face? Also, if you can hurry up and pick it up from my hand, so I can hold on to the seats, I will be forever thankful.
I was surfing in the middle of the bus, both ways. Carrying a tray full of chips. Asking if people need drinks, while they take their sweet time choosing the bag of chips. From Dallas to Austin is about 3.5 hours, round trip is about 7.
Once you are back, you have to clean the entire bus. After being juggled around all day, I had to vacuum the seats and the floor, clean the bathroom, throw the garbage out, in the same garage I was at 7 AM. This time it was dark.
My coworker gave me a ride home to never see me again. I sent out an email, saying that the job was not for me and it was too dangerous to be in a moving bus, without a seatbelt. While taking lunch orders, serving chips and coffee.
Indie Video Store attendant
After being fired from the photography store, I got a job at the Indie video store, where my best friend was working.
At that point, we worked together on my first job at the movie theater and she was a great ally. I had fun working at the movie theater, and I was a bit desperate as usual to get a job. Why not try the Indie video store, full of those annoyingly rich film students?
Only rich kids go to film school in Brazil. We don’t get loans or scholarships. You either have money to pay out of pocket, or you don’t go until you have. At least not for film school.
The year was 2004, and we were slowly coming out of VHS and embarking on the DVD era. Mind you, Brazil is usually 5 years behind with technology and life improvements than America.
On my first day, I was given a list of people, who had not been in the store for the past month, and I had to make cold calls to try renting the new DVDs. I was only excited for my break because I wanted to check the bakery next door.
I was 18 and I couldn’t wrap my head around the movies I had to sell people. Iranian movies, German movies, Polish, and movies that talked about deep concerns.
Concerns that I’ve never encountered at that point. “We don’t have blockbuster movies here. It’s a more refined video store, more classy” Yeah, but you also have Glitter and Titanic, so I guess I could fit in. Just like Andy, from Devil Wears Prada, I had to try to find out the movie by its original name, sometimes French, sometimes German, and at that point, I barely spoke any English at all.
Again, I had to be able to explain the movies. Why did the director make these choices, what were the influences, in order to convince people to rent the movie. I had no idea of what I was saying.
“In her skin”
One day, I had to explain a French movie called “In my Skin” about a girl who has pleasure eating her skin. Uh, classy, and no, by that time I’ve never seen Amelie Polan. I hate film snobs, but this is a subject to another post.
One day, my boss traveled with her wife and I mischievously put Glitter on tv. The customers were baffled when they saw Mariah and her sluggish movie on the tv screen. Someone told my boss after she got back, I never saw that DVD again.
I quit after the boss fired my friend. I couldn’t be at the store without her, or the Glitter DVD. Somethings gotta give.
I still think about that job as the most obnoxious job I’ve ever had. There were a few other jobs around the world, but none has made me sell Iranian dramas on a rainy Wednesday.
Please let me know in the comments what was the weirdest job you have ever had and how did particularly changed your life. If it did, or it became a story for the books, like mine.
Every night, before I put myself to sleep, I thought about that place. The streets, the people, my former teachers. I Imagined myself walking around and going back to the stores I once couldn’t afford to buy anything.
In my mind, there was always a sense of victory, if I could go back, and show everyone the new me. I would do it in style. I will never forget the day that a boy from my school, look at me and say “If you want to be beautiful, you have to be born again”.
My only plan was to leave that place.
I haven’t thought about having a career, money, or any type of what is considered “success” in the eyes of society. I just wanted to leave and the rest I could figure later.
And I left.
After many years of living in the States, I’m now married, and with the life, I built to myself, a life based on a day by day achievements. I didn’t get rich, and it’s not a life based on what money could buy if I worked 70 hours a week.
I learned fast that nothing of that “hard work” matters if you are not happy with what you are doing. Eventually, you end up sick and depress, with a house full of stuff you don’t need. Stuff you bought to fill spaces that were missing in your life.
I live in a 1 bedroom apartment while working part-time and I’m still able to travel internationally two times a year. Ask me how. I would probably don’t know the answer.
Back to Basis.
On this last trip, I decided to take a few days from Vitoria, where my mom lives, and back to Rio de Janeiro. The jungle that raised me, that made me who I’m today.
It was the most eye-opening trip of my life. At the end of the trip, I was emotionally exhausted, but it was all worth it. Seeing my friends, and receive a long hug, that hug you receive from friends who have known you your entire life. It hits you differently. When friends that you consider family: “That’s Joana, I know her how she is” It brings you back to the ground.
Living in the United States for the past nine years, part of me lacks having my references. What I mean by that is, having people actively participate in my stories, or create new ones.
I have friends who can tell my stories for me. Because they were there.
In Rio, If I’m telling a story, it’s guarantee a friend will add to it, sometimes is nonsense, but still participates. If I have to tell a story here in the States, first they will not get any of my references, and second, they will not listen because it’s not interesting to them.
I do have friends here, but they are always too busy in their chaos to have time to hang out. Here in the States, time is money. In my country, we have no money, It is what it is, so we just hang out freestyle.
While walking around those streets, I saw my younger self, the one who used to be brave. The me that was not always in the shadows, afraid of getting yelled at “go back to your country” and then I realized what it was.
My country, my culture, my language.
Brasil is my country, my language, my culture. Something I will never have in the States. The United States, feels like a borrowed beautiful dress, that I want to, but it doesn’t fit me. Almost like Cinderella’s shoes, that I somehow made it fit. It hurts, it’s never going to be comfortable, but I still insist on wearing it.
I went on a crusade of places I wanted to show my husband. My school, the building I used to live in, the mall I used to hang out at, the Chinese food parlor I used to take my broken ass to eat after school. It was so cheap, I used to question where the meat was coming from. The tale of the pigeon sandwich. I will write about this some other day.
We had three days filled with emotions, trying to find cheap places to eat because after all, I still consider myself a local and refuse to pay more because I have a gringo by my side. I did pay for overpriced pizza at the mall, but it was one time, and I was ok with that.
My mom was there too and, it was priceless to be able to see her coming back to our place. I have to dedicate an entire post about what to do in Rio, in 3 days. There is a lot I want to say.
I have a place in this world.
Going back to Rio made me realize, that yes, I have a place in this world. A place where I don’t need to worry about making mistakes and be deported, or feeling unwanted like I don’t belong. A place where I have friends and family. Part of me got back to the United States with a less worrying feeling. If anything happened, I would have a place that I used to call home.
I missed the feeling from when I used to run those streets. Rio is the only place on earth that if I don’t have a phone or if my phone dies I can still go around, and get to places. No questions asked.
There is no way it will not take me another nine years to come back. In the next post, I’m going to write about my 72 hours in Rio and all the cool stuff we were able to do.
Walking o work the other day, the feeling of emptiness hit me hard. A few days ago, I talked with my coworker, about failure, why do we feel like that, and that triggered an entire afternoon of life evaluation. I thought about my life and my achievements and I came up with a few things that keep me grounded to my core. But most of what I wanted out for my life doesn’t exist.
I can’t keep a job for long periods, I don’t have an important degree, I don’t have what everyone calls a career. I also have a problem keeping up with my projects, if you read this blog you are probably aware of it by now. I have many projects and I can’t keep the focus on only one thing. It feels like a failure.
We are what the coaches would consider calling a failure. We sleep a lot. We eat compulsively, we cry over our small failures or just get plain angry with ourselves and we don’t stick with anything, rarely we get things done completely because we tend to feel insecure and change our minds along the way. I’m that person and most of my friends are like that too. That’s ok. We keep trying.
That’s called life.
Navigating life is an adventure. Trial and error is part of what makes us who we are, and if the coaches are giving you unrealistic expectations of life for you to be always pursuing something unreachable, let them try it. I wrote many times here on this blog how much I have failed in my life. The years are passing by and yet nothing.
I didn’t have a career plan at 20 I didn’t manage to be rich at the age of 25. Married with a new apartment by 30. Having kids by 32, and retired millionaire with my life savings in Florida. That’s the life the insurance commercial tries to sell us and some of us grow up believing that this is how the normal life should go.
“Some people spend their entire life, running on a wheel like a hamster because someone told them that this is how they are supposed to live. I did that with the so-called American Dream. Or as I’m learning now, just The Dream.”
In my country, we watched American movies, like Home Alone or Down to you, and it was ingrained in our minds with the American lifestyle. You either live in a nice suburban house or you live in a super cool place, like New York City.
America is not like what you see in Younger, the tv show
The cool city, trendy outfits, the fantastic job with reliable coworkers only exist on tv. So some of us, growing up poor, decides this is the life we should pursue in the United States. We take care of the dream like a fragile plan, needing to be water every day and taken care, so it doesn’t die. Until we get here and nothing is the same as it is in the movies.
Disappointed to realize that Americans struggle and they struggle every day. Americans don’t have medical insurance or free health care or free universities. Everyone either tries for a scholarship or gets into debt. A lot of debt. Some of them buy the biggest house and car, even if they can’t afford it.
I guess they were sold the wrong American dream too. Some of them don’t have a career, some of them can’t get married. And it’s all fine.
Invest in yourself first. Learn how to love who you are.
Some people spend so much time investing in the wrong people because they are scared to be alone. Be alone had its perks. I was alone for the longest time, yes getting wrongly involved with weird guys, until the day I decided I was going to learn how to love myself first.
What do I like to do, which is my favorite restaurant, what kind of music do I like, and Who I am? So I open the door to new opportunities and Josh came along. Accepting all my weirdness has the same bad taste in music as me, loves traveling and eating out. And his American dream is also broken.
Learning along the way that Americans don’t have it all, made me realize that the problem was not just me. I spend the majority of the time writing about the situations I’ve been in, thinking that it had something to do with me being an immigrant. Until I get some comments from friends relating to my experiences. It made me realize that the grass is always greener on the other side.
Don’t buy into unrealistic expectations social media sells you.
We are constantly sold expectations, on how we should live our lives, and most of the time we end up broken. Leading up to reflect on why other people have what we don’t have or why it doesn’t work the same. I’m tired of this regular state of unhappiness and unfulfillment. It always feels like people are always miles ahead of you. Social Media doesn’t help, as all those leeches are trying to, guess what gets ahead of you, like you are in a live competition.
I always ask myself what happened when I look back at my early 20’s and my expectations. Was I too lazy to try? Did I not try hard enough? What could I have done differently? Questions that live in my head rent-free.
The answer is nothing.
I’m not a failure and you are not a failure either. There is time for a change, even for small changes to make yourself happy. My problem was, I gave my life away to the hospitality industry and never got anything back, besides anger, calluses, and terrible back pain.
Now I’m working on getting whatever makes me happy done, like right now for example. I’m writing this post seating at a super cool Swedish coffee shop, at Union Station, in Downtown Denver.
Find happiness in small things. Happiness is a feeling, like sadness and anger. People don’t need to be happy 100% of the time. Or happy for a lifetime. It’s all made of moments, like a big life puzzle. Every day you find a different piece, and sometimes you just get mad and start all over. I did star over, multiple times.
One day, the planets will align and my projects will get done.
I have faith that someday I will wake up and the planets will be aligned with the universe and I’m going to finally take a step further to work on my calling. Someday LIVE OUT LOUD TOO Productions will come out of the paper.
You are not a failure. Life is a beautiful, mysterious thing to navigate. Hopefully, you are having a good week, if not just kick to for another day.
I’m kicking it for several days this week.
This was a short post only because I don’t want to be extending if it’s not needed. I got my message out and I hope these few words of encouragement help you if you are struggling with self-confidence too. Let me know in the comments if you ever felt like a failure and what did you do to get over this feeling? I’m looking for some encouragement too!