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7 things that I hear when I say that I live in New York City

Almost every circumstance in our life comes with a stereotype or generalized thoughts (or we might say boring and inconvenient questions?). You just have to remember when you were 16 and people would ask: what about the boys (or girls?). Then, you start to date someone and people ask you when you are going to get married. Got married? Let’s talk about babies. And I don’t even want to think about what is to be a first-time pregnant and hear so many people giving advice and tips that you never asked. Well, who live abroad will agree with me that there are also classic thoughts and questions about our lives too. During these two years of living in New York, I have heard some comments and questions…

Wow, you live in New York! So fancy! It’s a dream! 

I think that a big part of the people has fantasies about living abroad (or living in New York City). For some people, it is like living with glamor and zero problems. It is not true. Fancy? It depends on your concept of what is fancy. If for you fancy is to live in a mansion with the car of the year in the garage, living in New York will not be anything fancy unless you are really rich. Most people live in small apartments and use the subway – and I particularly think it is really good not having (or needing) a car. Everyone has bills to pay, has a routine to follow, and works to maintain it – everything without maids, okay? The train sometimes is late, there is no public health system, nor schools for free. For me, the advantages of living abroad are far from status or money. Remember: be on vacation and be a tourist in a city is different from living their routine as a resident.

Wow! You are so lucky!

Hummm, lucky? I don’t like this idea. I am from the team that believes that nothing in life happens is by accident, but I’m also from the team that thinks you can not rely only on luck. I have already spoken on other opportunities that my husband and I didn’t wake up one day and decided to leave Brazil. It was a joint decision, that has matured along with us – and took a few years to be true. We never wanted to leave Brazil because we were tired of it or to be rich. We just really wanted to have this experience of living abroad. He was no luck getting a job in New York – he had to prove his competence for the job. And, of course, there were some privileges involved.

Wow, and you can get back and forward from the US?

Many people have asked me this question and many people have also asked me if I am illegal in the United States. One thing that somebody told me once is: asking someone’s immigration status is the same as asking someone’s salary. Whatever, I have no problem saying that no, I’m not illegal: Thiago got a job – so we have a work visa. I do not condemn those who seek other ways to live in the United States, but, particularly, is not what I would do.

Are you gonna live in the USA forever?

The truth is: we don’t even know if we will be alive tomorrow – so, who knows the answer to a question like this. “Forever” is a long time and, as much as today I say I don’t want to leave New York anytime soon, you never know what life will reserve for you. Today we don’t wanna go back to Brazil – but I don’t know about tomorrow. It is very relative.

You should go crazy with so many things to buy, right?

I understand that thought because, before I moved to New York, I have been a tourist in the city – and in other cities as well. And sometimes you are just like Becky Bloom. But the truth is that living abroad has caused some changes in my head. First, because I had to let go of a lot of stuff (a full apartment!), and summarize my life in two bags. Second, you can not live in New York accumulating many things, because space is something that you don’t have in your apartment. You make choices, learn to ponder. Another thing is that the stores and the products will not disappear tomorrow. When, and if I need something, I’ll go and buy it. I like new clothes, cosmetics, I love the fact that I can find anything I want anywhere in the city – or on Amazon. But I do not need to be desperate, simple.

How much is an iPhone? Can you bring me one?

This is classic:  if you are from another country – especially from South America – and you live in the USA, everyone thinks you know the price of everything. In fact, you don’t need to live in an American city to know how much is an iPhone – Google’s there for it, folks. I will not even complain a lot about it, but the truth is that there are some items that are so obvious, right? Like an iPhone, maybe you just check on the Apple website? About “orders”: is another good point. Remember, before speaking that “it never hurts to bring something”: it will cost time and patience, and sometimes people are not in the mood – and they have no obligation to do it for you. What scares me is that friends and family are always delicate and worried before asking for me to buy things for them, but that person that you don’t talk since 1997 think it is ok to ask you to bring a guitar (yes, it has happened).

Do you prefer to live in the USA or Brazil?

Brazil has problems, and I love to live in New York, but there is no perfect place. I love New York for its intensity, its cultural variety, the opportunities, and all I am never tired of always talking about this. But my family is in Brazil. I lived a big part of my life there. And New York is not perfect. We live well, I can not complain, but that does not mean it’s perfect. We are immigrants, and we have the language barrier, we have no family nearby. I prefer a lot of things in New York, but I also love a lot of things in Brazil. And I don’t have to choose, right?

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