Merry Crisis and a happy new Fear!

Sometimes I looks around and I’m thankful for all I have. Its not the material stuff, it is a story of my achievements. On the wall, on my table, in the small memorabilia I acquired throughout the years. It all takes back to a time when I arrived in this country and all I had was my laptop, a few pieces of clothes and an air mattress.

This year it was the 10th anniversary of me arriving in the USA.

There was a long way and don’t take nothing for granted. My fridge full of food, gas in the car, a warm house and a loving husband. The small things in life should be appreciated. All the small victories should have never been taken for granted. America has changed me a lot.

As I look around the room, the small SheShad that I build, that I like to call my office/ studio, I can see all the progress I made in those years of sweat and tears. I might not have a higher CEO position in a company, I might not have bought a property, I don’t even have a bicycle, but you know what I have? Hope. Joy. Again, pride in my small victories.

Immigrants are ingrained with the moral and social responsibility of succeeding. So we can show our people, who stayed back home, we left for good a reason. We left for a better life, comfort and some more money. That makes them think we are rich. Because we are in America and have the newest IPhones, we are loaded with money.

The better life not always means more money.

Eventually it just means you have the safety you didn’t have in your own country, or that you feel safer to be who you are without being killed. By religion, by society standarts among other things. What people don’t see is, we are probably broken inside, and filled with guilt of leaving everything behind to start over. And most of the times, there are families who stayed back home, are guilt-tripping us into some madness, some psychological warfare. So we find our family members that we choose to put in our lives. Your support system.

We bond over our failures

Your support system are usually other people that has the same struggles as you. Mine are immigrants( and poc, who are indeed immigrants too). All my friends were bonkered (my word of choice for “screwed”)  in a different way arriving in this country. We bond over our failures and our achievements. We sit at the bar and we cry because sometimes life sucks.

I look around in my office, full of stuff, I’m taken back to how much I had to get rid off, in order to accomplish everything that hangs on the wall. When my confidence is nowhere to be found, I stay quiet in my chair, look at my pictures, and share some gratitude. I manifest to the universe all the cool thinks that are still to come, how strong I was to get where I’m today and I ask you to do the same.

New year, new me. Not really.

 

Next week, we enter a new year, and with that all those promises to get better, the lists, the goals comes at you all at once. Keep it simple, I suggest. I’ve been doing it the past couple of years, with just a few items on the list. Going to Therapy is the one I keep dragging to another year. Since I don’t have insurance, the therapy podcasts are doing the dirty job. The second one is to write the script. I have it on a notebook, I wrote a little while I was at work, bored.So now I need to put it on Final Draft to accomplish the goal.

Again, keep it simple.

Want to eat healthier? Start by eating more fruits. Want to have a better and mindful attitude? Take long walks. Do something everyday that makes you happy. That’s been working for me. But there are also days when it doesn’t. So I give myself time and wait for the day to be over. I don’t write, edit, cook, or do anything. I just allowed myself to be away.

I let my mind wander.

My goal’s list are not up for next year yet. The past years the goals had been to intense, so 2023 I’m taking easier, way easier. Goals like citizenship, drivers license, create a youtube channel ( and actually post content) took a big part on my life during the previous years.

2023 I want to take even easier and maintain low expectations. Of course I want a lot, I’m just too scared to write it down.

 

Have you made your goals for next year yet? Let me know in the comments! Do you dream big, or do you keep on the down low like me? I’m going to work on mine resolutions now and post it here at the beginning of the year.

See you next week!

Stay healthy, Stay safe!

JS XXXX

 

What did you change as an immigrant?

What habits did you change and what habits did you keep from your country?

Did you become a completely different person since you got away from your motherland, or did you keep it in your core?

The reason why I’m writing about this subject today is because I have a lot of people from different countries that stumble upon this blog. I see you and I’m happy to share how is life in the US of A with you.

I grew more insecure.

I’m not as confident as I once was. I play safe. And even though America is called “The land of free” it doesn’t feel like that at all. Something stops me every time to move forward with my projects.

Heck, I’m playing so safe at this point, that I can’t even put myself to update my resume. It’s easy to get in the bubble and feel protected by it. You took too many risks once before, did crazy things to get where you are today and then you got into your safe place. In your safety net, that like  little spiderweb you crafted around yourself.

Watching a lesson on Skillshare, I realized that what bothers me the most, is the fact that I know exactly who I’m and what I want, but I don’t know where I belong.

I’m constantly conflicted by two cultures and I have no idea on which way to bend. Feels like a Bambu stick and I’m a plump panda. I cannot erase who I was before moving to America, at the same time, I have to be 100% aligned to who I’m here. So I jiggle to different sides and that where my projects get stuck.

Between video production, writing and creating content, there is a lot of space for self sabotage and low self esteem.

Self sabotage cripples in everyday. I have great ideas, all the resources and equipments I need and when I need to move forward, I freeze. I tell my peers at work all the time how great they are and how they should move on with their dreams. I’m great in giving advice, I’m not so kind when it comes to the voice inside my head.

People say that you shouldn’t compare yourself with others, but I get disoriented when someone half of my age has all the opportunities I never had in life. How do you manage that? I’m always put in a position of “you are not doing enough”

But what is enough? I’ve seen far more mediocre people, who does way less than I’ve ever done, succeeding. In no time or effort.  While other friends just work themselves into exhaustion, just to get by. How are we ok with that?

The essence of Live Out Loud Too is you can make it through, even though you are in odd conditions or you are considered the minorities.

Live Out loud too means you belong here too.

You have the same chances as everyone else, you are just embezzled in a brain fog that probably needs therapy to move forward and break the spell. I just couldn’t figure out how to do that yet, but as soon as I have an idea, I’m going to share here.

It’s hard to explain the fact that you are in America for years and yet, you are not a successful business person living in Malibu driving a benz. It’s hard to the average American, it even harder for immigrants and people of color.

Living in the US and being from Brazil, feels like I have an Alter-Ego.

There is discrimination, there is doubt, there is a mediocre person who pretends they know more that you gets the attention and the position, because they speak “clear english” or “were born and raised in America” Let me give you a clear example that I’ve seen it happen.

My friend who is Latina, has an accent and never went to any school here in America, all her studies were in her country and let’s say she has a mild accent, and a lot of experience, applies for a job.

Now person number two: A mediocre American, younger, who has never left her neighborhood, drops names during the interview, has little to none experience and went to a decent school in America. Who gets the job?

I learned along the way that American don’t like humble people.

Americans like people who can push it the “fake till you make it”. They like  like people with confidence, that can challenge them. That’s where my cultural behavior clashes over and over. A good example is going to the American Embassy to get a visa. Treat them with respect, but act superior. I had no money and I got my visa because I acted like its a given for me, not their choice.

I’m too nice and way too humble. I should learn how to be more aggressive. Someday I will wake up and kick it like a the Kool-aid man. Watch me.

That’s the American way. Here is give and take. I give you something but I’m make sure to take something back from you. Even if it’s your will to live. As you can see by now, the disappointment is real. I have it dust it off as I’m constantly adapting to this country.

Butterfly metamorphosis. I like to think that I’m struggling to become a butterfly at some point. So are you.

 

Before I move on to the next post, I would like to thank you for reading my ideas throughout the year, even though the only post that things to get traction is the one about Encanto. I still have 2 more posts before the end of the year, its ready, it just need some editing.

See you soon.

JS

XXX

The one about the Third Coast – Chicago

 

The Vlog about Chicago

Every time I visit Chicago, I want to move back.  As I’m filled with the nostalgia of a great time in my life, the city also brings the best in me. When I’m there, I relieve that moments of risk taking, fearless empowerment and make it happen kind of feeling. Do you have a place like that in your life too? I have two. Rio de Janeiro and Chicago. On this post, I’m going to talk about Chicago, we leave Rio for another time. 

Last September, we planned a trip to Chicago to celebrate my 10th anniversary in America. If you are new to this blog, Chicago is the place I moved to, after almost two years of agony of living in Sao Paulo. My life is full of up and downs and Sao Paulo was the lowest place I’ve been in my life. Moving back on to. Chicago. 

The Windy City, the third coast, the less crowded New York, the much nicer people. 

The pilot announced that we would be landing in the next ten minutes. I look at the window, and we were in the middle of the clouds. Suddenly, I felt the plane flew back up.Lord have mercy.  The pilots voice came back on to let us know that they needed more time to land, because Midway had other planes to land before us.I remained calm. 

I’ve been listening to a podcast called “fear of flying” where a former pilot explain to us how safe is to fly and I guess its working. I hate flying.I don’t like to be up in the air, don’t like to trust my life on someone that might be overworked (33 thousand ft above), and don’t understand how planes work. We landed ten minutes after being hanging around in the clouds. 

Chicago was rainy and cloudy. 

It was the first time I visited the city since we left, in November of 2019, to Austin. And boy, the Chicago changed a lot. Not the weather, that’s a given. But the city looks like it was trashed. I love Chicago and I would never talk bad about my city. I read a lot about what was going on in the city during the pandemic and also through friends we have there. The city is still vibrant, people are still outside, but I think it’s going to take years to reconstruct the damage of the Corona Virus led the city to. 

I love Chicago and I would never talk bad about my city.

After putting our stuff in the hotel, we took the bus to meet our friend Brittney, in a very nice restaurant in Gold Coast. How much I missed my friend!! I was immediately put in a “I want to move back here” mode. I miss my friends, I miss the chaotic energy the city has and how I could move around without relying on a car. We bought a 3 days CTA pass, and we were all over the place. I love big cities, and even though I really like Denver, this is not a big city. 

Walking around at the Magnificent Mile, I was surprised by how many stores are closed now, from the time I was living there. Big stores on what is supposed to be a mile of luxury and entertainment are gone. Uniq-lo, Columbia, The Italian food place on the corner, all gone within two years. 

Old Italian Village Restaurant

We went to eat in a place close to the hotel at night called “Italian Village”- The oldest Italian restaurant in town. The clientele surely reflects that. And the music, and the Ambience.  The poor waiter,  who looked like she had drinks a witch’s potion to remain young. Made my creative mind to image her being as old as the restaurant is, but every day before her shift starts, she drinks from a potion of youthness, like a Howard’s moving castle on the opposite way. 

Next morning I was ready to run the town.

We walked around Michigan Avenue and hit Eataly, the place I used to work and my very last waitressing job. As soon as I walked into the building I realized why I gave up being a waitress. The anxiety that took over my body only from getting on that escalator was unreal.

The store was having a Sale-tember and we bought some cookies, coffee, chocolate to have breakfast next morning. When we travel we try to have at least one meal at the room, so we save money for a bigger meal later on. Thats how can we afford to travel. We also share meals. 

I got Bites on my heart. ❤️

At the end of the first day we went to our favorite restaurant to see another friend, who lives close by. We got at  BITES a bit early and we were received like we always were.

The staff recognized us, treated so well and the owner came by the table and she remember we moved to Austin, she asked if we were still living there. We told her we moved to Colorado. She asked if we were moving back. I said I wanted to. I always want to. I never wanted to leave in the first place. The manager sent us some food and we had a great time as always. 

They let me take the little flamingo as a souvenir

What I miss most about Chicago is the community sense. People help each other. They talk to each other, on the train. Exchange a few words or a quick smile. That always made a difference  especially when I first arrived there in 2012. I never felt alone. We bond over the crazy people on the red line. If you know, you know. 

Last day was the day to film some footage for the channel and walk around  The Bean, at the Millenium park. Also have lunch in Chinatown. The city has the best Dim Sum ever. I couldn’t believe how easy was to jump on the train, have lunch and come back to downtown Chicago. 

The city is a melting pot of cultures. It’s like New York, but better. Even though it has a lot of problems and concerns about safety, and I would still visit anytime I get a chance to.

What I tell everyone is if you are looking for fun and different types of cuisine and different types of people, go to Chicago. Go get a Chicago Italian beef, or a deep dish pizza, Go get a donut at Stan’s donuts. Go get some of the latino vibe at the Pilsen neighborhood. Go to Andersonville for a Scandinavian taste at Svea. 

How much I miss the city vibe. 

Last remarks of what happened before I go:

 We jumped into the orange line in the Midway airport, an elderly man started talking to us, engaging about the mac and cheese he would have to buy. He was worried that he would forget and asked us to keep remind him. He asked me if I like to cook and I said yes, but not mac and cheese.

Another time on the train, a man was with his headphones, was dancing for the hispanic lady on her seat. He danced around, hugged and humped the guy who was standing before he proceed to leave the train. None of this humans knew the dancer.  

As you can see, I shared a few videos of what I’m working in our youtube channel TRVLS & COMIDA . If you are kind to subscribe, I will be very thankful for it. I’m going to keep working to improve it.

See you next week, possibly.

JS XXX

 

Miss Duolingo – Est. 2001

On the passenger seat of a moving car, I stared out of the window. I see cars passing, right in front of my eyes and I think to myself how lucky I’m. I think that in my native language. I turn around and tell my husband how I’m feeling, in his native language. I’m impressed on how fast my brain switch from Brazilian Portuguese, my native language, to his American english. 

Our biggest difference brought us together. For him, english is a given, for me, years and years of studying, learning, mimicking the sounds, making phrases like a two year old.

I was not raised bilingual.

I’m going to write the book someday.

 

I forced myself into learning and that only started at the age of 16. 

One of my memories was the first week of English classes, when the teacher would make us simple questions, and I was thrilled to answer it. I remember the first level book, with lessons like “do, did, don’t and didn’t”. Something that sounds so simple for a native speaker, for us took an entire month of putting words together, trying to make sense.

 I had some vocabulary, because I used to translate the song’s lyrics with a dictionary. A few different times when the teen magazines had the translation of the song, I used to study the words.

Being bilingual requires a lot of brain power.

Being bilingual requires a lot of brain power, as I don’t translate words or phrases. I switch, like a light switch. On and off. I think in both languages, but not at the same time. And I cant understand it at the same time either. Its either one or another.

For example: if I’m watching a Brazilian show on tv and my husband asks me something in English, I can only understand one at a time. I stop for a millisecond and choose which one I will focus on. 

When he asks me to do a simultaneous translation of the novella I’m watching, it feels like my brain is scratching a rock agains wood to make fire.  

Like the Titanic engine, right before it hits the Iceberg.

The brain of a bilingual works like the Titanic engine, right before it hits the iceberg. Everyday. I remember the first time I was in the States, in 2006, during a summer work abroad program.I was on a J1 visa, and how fantastic it was being immersed in another language was and also very confusing.

At that time, the placement for the work abroad program was in North Carolina, and the southern accent clearly didn’t help. The first few days I was getting by as I could.

There were plenty of times, at Mc’Donalds when the attended asked me “for here or to go?” and all I could catch on was “to go”. So many times I ended up with my food in a paper to go bag, while my coworkers had their food spread on a tray. 

“Everything you own, in a box to the left”

It also happened with songs. I remember being on the resort’s van, going to Asheville, for a night out with my coworkers, and listening to Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”, I was emotional because I thought the song was so beautiful and romantic, when in fact she was kicking the guy out of the house, in the nicest melody. 

It’s not easy on us, and there is plenty of people out there, who can’t say another damn word, in a different language, that will pretend to not understand you. 

Or try to make you look like an idiot for even trying. I’ve been there way too many times. Where people laughed at me because I was trying to say something, and it come out as I though in my brain.

Or use the same words, that mean something different, in the other language. I used to say “we live at a condominium” because in Portuguese Condominium means “apartment complex”. Here its apartment complex. Or USB driver, that in portugues it’s called a “pen drive”.

Americans makes no effort to at least minimize the struggle for someone speaking in a second language. You either learn how to talk like them, or you will be ostracized. Thanks Georgia. Not too long ago, I decided not to fit in on this terms. 

Let me tell you : Don’t you ever be embarrassed by your accent. This is your identity, is your motherland, your roots. Specially, if you started learning later in life, like me.

Don’t worry about how you are going to sound, just put the words together and be confident, it will come naturally to you after a time. Watch TV, read books, listen to music. 

Congratulation on being Bilingual!

My words for you are always congratulations for making an effort of being bilingual. There are people that appreciate you trying to speak their language, while going through the hard burdens of understanding how everything else works. That’s the reason I have this blog, to encourage other like me, who feels like on outcast in this country, to shine through the cracks. We need each others support. 

We belong here. Not matter what anyone else yells at us, because we don’t look like them ,or don’t sound like them. 

Be brave, Be bold!

XXX

JS

 

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

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