My mom was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She loves being with her family, her mother and father are very important to her life. So were her three sisters. My mom and I have a lot in common. My family is very important to me, especially my mothers side of the family. Her family, the ones I connect with the most, all live in Brazil, they were all very close. When she was young she worked in her mothers clothing store; Lucia Roupas. Which is her mothers name, “Lucia” and Roupas means “Clothes”. By doing so, my mom met a lot of people that lived in the city of Rio, Nova Friburgo. She became very known in the neighborhood. A lot of people knew her and she knew a lot of people. Even if she wasn’t related to these people, she felt a connection, and these people she met, became a part of her family. Every other year, when we go back to Brazil to visit, people and her friends, call her name and ask her how she’s been. Even if she doesn’t live there anymore, she is still remembered, because she is unforgettable. To me, my friends are like family, and this connects to my identity because without my friends, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t be as confident as I am now five years ago when I had just moved to CT. The people I’ve met, and stayed in my life from fifth grade to now, tenth grade, are very important to me, so important that I can call them my family.
People were not only very affectionate and friendly In Brazil, but they were also full of love. The very known gesture is hugging. People loved to hug. It showed affection and care. My family in Brazil are filled with joy and love. And that’s why my Dad fell for my mom. My mom went to the United States to visit and met my Dad there. She was going to visit her uncle, who went to Boston to learn English. My mom originally went to learn English, which she did, but met my Dad in Boston as-well. From there, my mom learned a lot of English but at the same time she was teaching my dad Portuguese. Now, my dads Portuguese is really good. If my mom never went to go visit her uncle in Boston, my parents would’ve never met. And the many books about the English and Portuguese language in the bookshelf in the hallway outside my bedroom would’ve never existed. My mom took classes learning English because it simply fascinated her. She also had a majority of English learning books like; “101 American English Proverbs” by Harry Collis, “101 American English Idioms” by Harry Collis, and many other books about American English. She had received these books from my Dad when they both met at the University of Cambridge in Boston. As for my dad, he studied Portuguese independently like he was studying for an important test. He took great care about learning the Portuguese language because he wanted to be able to communicate with my mom and her family. Sooner or later, my mom’s English became better and my Dad’s Portuguese became fairly well.
Later on my Mom and Dads relationship grew and they got married. When I was born, I grew a little bigger, a little stronger and visited Brazil for the first time in the summer of 2001 in July. I first met my Grandmother and my Moms family when I was one years old. We stayed there for two months and when we got back to Boston were we had lived at the time, a week later were the attacks in New York. I was really young when I went to Brazil for the first time but my sister was younger. The first time she and I both went to Brazil was when she was 10 months old, and I was six years old. My sister and I both really liked going to Brazil, we got a long with all of my Moms side of the family and we both loved the language. When were born my Mom taught us a lot of Portuguese. Which was good so I knew more from the start but I also learned more of the language the more times I went to Brazil. I’ve visited Brazil about ten times and my sister has visited Brazil about seven times.
In the year of 2003, my Grandmother gave me a stuffed animal pig. It was really big at the time because I was just so small, now it seems really small. This stuffed animal is really important to me, it’s a gift that I’ve kept for thirteen years now and I’m sure i’ll keep it for more. It’s so important that every now and then when I go to Brazil and bring it, my Grandmother washes it so that it’s fresh and clean. There’s an image of me with my dad near a water fall and besides me I am holding the stuffed animal. I used to name it different things and never really stuck to one name. I could never stick to one name because I liked them all. There was pinky, pinky pie, piggy, pinks and probably many others that I don’t particularly remember. I used to sleep with pinky every night and if I didn’t have it with me I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I used to hold pinky so tight like I was holding onto something that was going to disappear. As a kid I used to get so many dolls and stuffed animals and none of them were as important to me as pinky. Also in Brazil, from one of my Mom’s friends and someone I grew very close too, gave me a stuffed unicorn stuffed animal. I used to be so close with the stuffed animal and loved playing with it. Now, it is in my sisters room, who is now nine years old. She doesn’t play with these stuffed animals but there are specific things we can’t just let go to. Both my sister and I have the struggle of letting things go which can be good and bad. Here is the picture of my dad and I with the pig and the pig by itself:
I was never a girly girl as a kid. In Elementary school, out of the four elementary schools I’ve been, all the girls loved American Girl Dolls. For one of my birthday’s I was taken to the store in New York City and honestly, didn’t want a doll. I accepted it as a gift but never played with it. I got the one that was supposed to look like you but I didn’t have a personal connection to the doll as I did with the stuffed animal. My Grandfather on my Dad’s side gave me the American Girl Doll which later on my sister started to play with. I am not as close to my Dad’s side of the family as I am to my Mom’s side. Brazil is a big part of me and ever since my first trip there I love going back. When I had first moved to CT, I attended the Cos Cob elementary school. From there, I had met a lot of different people from a lot of different places. CT is a very diverse state, more diverse than Boston. Fifth grade was a little difficult to make friends since it was the last year of elementary school but I did meet a few people that I am still friends with today. Friends come and go, but true friends are the ones that stay. There were three fifth grade classes and in my class, I had met a girl who is now one of my best friends. And in another class, I had met one of my closest guy friends, who happened to be have a mom who is also Brazilian. We began to talk, and became very close friends. Later on I told my mom about his mother and both my mom and his mom became very close friends as well. I feel like my mom misses her home, her family a lot in Brazil. So when she meets someone who is also Brazilian she connects with them very well because she can talk to someone in her language more and have a stronger relationship. At home, my family and I don’t speak Portuguese to each other. But when I am on the plane to Rio, and we meet our family at the airport in Brazil I’m already talking the language. I love Brazil, and I love my family there so much. My identity revolves a lot around my family in Brazil, they are my other half.
My Grandmother and I have a strong relationship. She’s a very religious person and she’s always been there for me. Whenever she comes to visit the U.S she brings her bible. Everyday she spends a few hours praying in my room or my sisters room. I really liked that about her. She was full of devotion and care. She cared for others strongly. She easily had conversations with people and she was always kind. Whenever she came to visit, I tried to be more like her. At school, In public, towards friends and family. Some times when she was in my room praying, I joined in. In the back of the book there were some songs in Portuguese that I loved to sing. I wasn’t the best singer, I wouldn’t ever be able to go to the x-factor, but I liked to sing with her. The songs were really pretty and some I even knew the lyrics in English. My favorite song is Hallelujah. Not only did I know this song but when I was younger, my Grandmother also gave me CD’s of a singer named XuXa. She sings songs for younger kids but a lot of adults like her music. In her music videos kids sang along with her and there were a lot of kid looking backgrounds. In 2015, she is still one of the prominent singers in Brazil. Personally I love music. All kinds of music. Genres like rock, indie, alternative, pop, rap, hiphop, classical, any genre you can think of. But a genre of music a lot of people don’t know I really like is Brazilian Portuguese music. Here is what XuXa looks like:
She has aged quite a bit since she started singing at a very young age. Another song I really like that my mom also loves is Michael telo’s song “Ai Se Eu Te Pego”. The title means, “Oh if I catch you”. The more I listen to Brazilian music, the more I understand the language. The songs are also very catchy. Michael also made a English version of the song but it is not as good as the original. Here is the music video for “Ai Se Eu Te Pego”:
Other than all the music in Brazil, I love the candies and sweets. Some of my favorite things in Brazil are the banana candies that are actually called ‘Bananinha’. They are banana sugar coated candies and are very addictive. Here are what they look like:
Every time I go to Brazil, I always look forward to getting these. These can be found in some Brazilian restuarants and stores here in CT, but those ones are wrapped and are not as good. Another Brazilian sweet that is also very good are Brigadeiro’s. My mom makes this all the time and they are so good. They are basically chocolate candies with the texture of sticky caramel. Here are how some might look:
My mom sometimes makes these differently and makes them with grapes inside. This way, when you bite inside of them you taste chocolate with a fruity flavor. There are also so many other things I love about Brazil. But it’s the little things that make life big. And without my mom meeting my dad in Boston, I wouldn’t have ever been able to discover all of these things and people that I now love. I wouldn’t have ever been able to discover this side of my Identity because it wouldn’t have existed. But I am grateful that it does.
Here’s a picture of my Grandmother and I when I was younger: