It’s Ingrid here, and I would like to share my experience living abroad ~ and how it feels, especially in this quarantine time. For those who don’t know me, let me introduce myself first: My name is Ingrid Miranda Rosenberg, Brazilian, one of the co-founders of Miranda ao Mar and, for the last year, I have been living in the US!
The reason that first brought me here was my boyfriend at the time, Steven, and the plans to spend Summer which quickly developed into a long term life plan. Soon after coming to spend the summer, Steven proposed and we got married in September 2019, saying yes in front of our family! Being in an international relationship is not always easy and, after a couple years together, living in the same house (he lived with me in Brazil for about 1.5 years) things wouldn’t really change much after making this official, and so we did.
So since last May, my home land has become New Jersey. I lived out the summer in LBI, moved to Morris Plains for a bit and currently, I am living really close to NYC ~ it’s nice seeing the city’s skyline from my window in the morning. During this time, I didn’t leave the country. At first, this was mainly part of the fact that I was enjoying Summer, then because my family was already coming for the wedding and after that it was because I was in the middle of the Green Card process and leaving the country could result in getting my case dropped.
This waiting process has generated a HUGE anxiety in me. I mean, I have always had anxiety and I have been under medication for about 3 years now. But, living far from my family and friends, for so long - when this was not planned in advance, gave me a really hard time with putting all my emotions together. I needed to balance how I missed my home country, my freedom to travel around the world (I have always traveled a lot), my career being put on hold… with all the happiness that I was living with the man of my dreams and all the new experiences that life has given me.
Living abroad, even when you have someone helping you out, is really challenging. Starting with a different language ~ as fluent as you think you may be, you are never fully prepared for any kind of conversation. My relationship has always been based in English. Steven knows how to speak Portuguese and both of us speak Spanish (we met during our semester studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2015) but, for some reason, we are always talking to each other in English. Still, there have been so maaaaaaany times that I had a really hard moment speaking in English with other people, or getting used to to some things on my own. In reality, the more nervous I feel, the worse my communication skills get.
Another challenging topic is exactly as I said in the last sentence: doing things on my own. I have always considered myself to be an independent person, I have lived abroad for many years since I was 21 years old. I have been living without my parents, even while being in the same city. I like to feel that I have my life in control and I do believe that I am able to do anything that I really want to. But, in another country we always need some time to adapt ourselves to the new system, culture, people etc. Making friends and understanding that they are different from your friends from childhood, realizing that your life is going to be a mess for a while… accepting this and yes, that you are not a citizen of this place.
It took me several months to finally feel good about myself and my current situation in life. I had many questions inside my head, like: ‘will my career be okay after this’ or ‘was it a good idea’... thoughts that, when you have anxiety, can get really bad.
Today, I am still missing my family, my friends, my food, my pets, speaking in Portuguese and being understood by everyone around me…
Recently, I received my permission to travel but GUESS WHAT!!!!! Coronavirus happened. So yep, I am able to travel whenever I would like to and yet, I can’t.
For now, just knowing that I have my freedom back, even though I can’t really enjoy it at this moment, helps me feel better and allows me to get my emotions under control again.
This is my most sincere speech about living abroad and I hope I have added something to your life. Don’t EVER be afraid to follow your heart: at the end of the tunnel there’s always a light <3