2007. I guess that’s the year it all changed. My husband Paulo and I got married on January 6th. We went on our honeymoon on January 7th. We got back on January 23rd. My College graduation was from January 24th through the 26th (that’s right. Three days! That’s how we, Brazilians, roll!). The hubs moved to the United States on January 31st and ten days later I joined him at our new home. “Home is where your heart is”. And that place was Seminary Housing in Wilmore, Kentucky.
It was a complete shock for me. “Why?” (might be your question). Well, let me list you the reasons:
Number 1 or Numero Uno (just kidding, we don’t speak Spanish!) – From big city to small town.
I was raised and had lived my whole life (21 years at the time!) in Curitiba, Brazil. Curitiba is a 1.75 million person city. 3.2 if you count the metro area according to Wikipedia (wow, I didn’t know that, I was just gonna go for big city!). And Wilmore is a charming small town (that’s actually on their website which, by the way, lists all of Wilmore’s business. That’s how small it is).
Number 2 – From “lot’s of things to do” to “I don’t know what to do”.
The years before we got married were always so busy. I finished college in 3 years, as opposed to the regular 4 years. At the same time I was planning our wedding, finishing my course in French language, selling beauty products to make some money, and of course finding time to hang out with family and friends. By contrast, when we moved to the States I was on a “student dependent” visa. That meant my husband was the only one allowed to study and work. Me? I could enjoy being here!
Number 3 – From being single and living with parents, to married and living on a budget.
Let me just start by saying that in Brazil one usually lives with their parents until they marry. In this case, one lived a very easy life. Food was on the table whenever one was hungry. One would find clean clothes in the closet after leaving them dirty on the floor. Everything had its place and everything would magically go back to its place. This, of course, was never seen as a problem until one realized she didn’t know how to make anything the first time she and her husband became hungry. My biggest accomplishment in the kitchen had been making ice (does that count?)! I was aware that I needed to go grocery shopping, but what would I buy? And what to do with what I ended up getting? One word: labels. I was so appreciative of them. I read every single word of every food package. I followed every single instruction, from the amount of water needed to boil some noodles to homemade barbecue sauce for meatballs. Later I discovered that even if you don’t do anything wild, things will get dirty sooner or later. To my luck, cleaning supplies also had instruction labels on them. “Glass cleaner? Yep, there’s glass in the apartment! I guess I’ll get this one. Spray 6 inches away from the surface. Ok. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Great! Wipe with a clean cloth. Oh no! Let’s go back to Walmart!”.
Number 4 – Newlyweds and … new mommy-to-be.
It’s hard enough to adapt to married life. Now throw in doing it while moving to another country. Then add becoming pregnant in 4 months instead of the planned 4 years. All of that plus not having any money (student life) made it quite the challenge for us. We had made our plans, but God had His own. He gave us one of the greatest most precious gift of all. Our little (not so little anymore!) Carolina.
I met the unknown and it was overwhelming. Trying to absorb everything that was coming at me at once. I remember my comfortable routine in Brazil. I had my parents and sisters, used my parents money, went to school, and enjoyed life. And now here I was in a place where kilos are pounds, liters are ounces, meters are feet, portuguese is english, old friends are new friends, family is my husband and that little baby growing inside of me. I didn’t know who I was, or what to do, or even what needed to be done. But it was the best thing that ever happened in my life. In the midst of chaos I was discovering myself. Actually, I still am. I don’t think we ever stop. So, let me introduce myself.
I’m Juliana. I’m thirty years old. I’m a follower of Christ. A wife to a wonderful husband whom I will forever love. A mother to three beautiful daughters whom I would give my life for. I am not a chef but I’ve learned a few things since discovering that a clove of garlic is not a bulb. I’m not an interior designer but I love making things pretty and organized. I’m not the hostess with the hostess but I love having people over. And I must say, I’m not a writer so bear with me!