My USA Photo Album was lost for years, I emptied my house before leaving to Central America and left all boxes in my grandma’s basement. It’s true that I’m in a forever process of simplicity and live with less but there are few things you just can’t get ride – Memories. I saved all my USA Year pictures in 4 Cds, I always found cds safer then usb sticks… countless all college documents and works I lost in floppy disks and usb sticks pffff. I couldn’t find them in all boxes, everytime I’d go get something from the basement I’d look for the damn cds but never sucessful until last month.
These cds are not only my life in USA, also contains my travels in Toronto, Jamaica, Rio de Janeiro and that East Coast Road Trip I will never forget. Since my memory sucks I refuge myself in digital images so you can imagine how over the moon I was when finally found this little huge treasure.
Best (first) roomates ever! Wout from Holland and Faith from Belgium. Love you party animals ♡ ♡
In the meanwhile me and Wout fell in love and lived a beautiful love story during that year.
I just wanted to finish College to travel the World. I always wanted to be a journalist who travels to interview all different ethnicities and use my influence to help ONGs and local social projects. I wanted to make videos/documentaries and give them away to TV to share with the World. If there’s something I’m obsessed with I gotta say mustard yellow color… I mean documentaries about what’s going on in our planet.
So after I graduated in Social Work and not Journalism (when I was 18 I understood that a journalist works more then 12 hours per day and it’s hard to have a family and I want to have a bunch of kids – if my mind doesn’t change the next years) I started looking for ways to get out of Portugal as soon as possible. My friend told me about this project in Cabo Verde, Africa and I started being truly happy and excited about it but I was waiting, waiting and nothing. She didn’t answered my phone calls anymore and I got disappointed. For one entire week I stayed at home in front of the computer trying to figure out where to go. Everyday I was more depressed, I didn’t want to stay in Portugal, I was starving for the adventure of my life.
I finally found ILEX (International Learning Exchange) Program which doesn’t exist anymore… sad! In this program they were looking for European Social Workers to work somewhere in USA East Coast, they would pay for all bills, rent and even pay us 900 dollars per month. AWESOME DEAL! Only 2 problems here: I needed to buy a car since transportation doesn’t work well, which means I needed to save around 4000 dollars (also to survive the first month and to pay car insurance, plate, etc.) and tell about my decision to my parents.
Since I’m stubborn and when I want something I will have and I transform problems into challenges, I made it! I worked in 2 different jobs, saved the money and after many conversations my parents respected my decision. I was ready to go!
I was placed in Maine working with kids in risk, kids with serious problems that no one or any place wanted. Spurwink is the job place I won’t forget for the good and the bad, I learned so much that year! I was attacked by these kids very often and still love them. I left work with blood in my arms but with a smile in my face thinking “mission completed”.
Maine is border with Canada so we got crazy freeze temperatures like -30ºC!!! I came from Portugal, where we don’t even know what is 0ºC or any negative temperatures. I would lie if it was ok with me but I was focused on the mantra “It’s only for one year”. So I made the most of it and went sknowboarding, ice skating in lakes for real, snow mobile, sladding and felt happy watching snowing outside while I was cozy in a blanket drinking my cup of tea.
During this year I tried to make the most of it! I’d join any dinner, barbecue, party that people invited me for. I celebrated Thanks Giving for the first time, Halloween in USA with trick or tread kids knocking my door, I attended an american wedding (I looooove to go weedings worldwide, also been in an indian and vietnamese weedings) of my co worker Darcy that became a close friend, I went to Mc Donald’s and all kinds of fast food restaurants and gained 10 kilos.
I travelled as much as possible, I had 3 days off so I was able to go 3 times to New York City, explored New England area, went on a road trip from Maine to Florida (the whole East Coast) with my american best friend Jenn, my best friend Ana and my brother Rui. To run away from the cold in February we went to Jamaica and in May to Brazil. I blame myself that I haven’t visit Cuba. I also been in Canada: Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montreal and Quebec.
It’s been 7 years since I was there but I will never forget this experience, the people I met, the smiles I shared, the kilos I gained, living alone in a foreign country, first social work job with such taugh kids, deal with the snow, a lot of party, 16 hours shift on Sundays, being more consumerist than ever, learn american reality and finding out american dream is all bullsh*t.
Do you want me to post about Jamaica, Canada and Brazil? Did you live in USA? Tell us about your experience.
Have a wonderful weekend pals xx