I met Larissa during my Au Pair year in Los Angeles. We took the same weekend classes at UCLA Extension and hit it off right away. Even though quite some time has passed, we’ve stayed in touch. Our lives have changed a lot since then and so I’ve decided to ask her some rather personal questions and share her story with you in the form of an interview. So here it is, enjoy!
Hi Larissa! Could you tell us, where you’re from originally and where do you live now?
Hello! I was born and raised in Brazil but I’ve been living in Atlanta, Georgia for the past 2 and a half years.
What’s the biggest difference for you between the US and Brazil? Have you experienced a culture shock?
As much as I love Brazil, the two countries feel like worlds apart. The biggest difference is the safety factor. Brazil is a beautiful, amazing country but unfortunately, it’s dangerous and unstable. I didn’t have a culture shock when I got here, I believe the south of the US is really similar to the Brazilian culture.
What’s the best thing about living in Atlanta?
I love the vibe! I love how cool it is, I love living near to all the best spots, to have amazing concerts coming to the city, big broadway shows. I grew up in a big city, but I knew I would be happy living closer to nature… So Atlanta gives me the best of both worlds. It’s a great big city but with lots of parks, lakes, a huge river and amazing outdoor activities.
Larissa, when you first moved to Atlanta you were working as an Au Pair. Why did you decide to become an Au Pair? How did you even hear about the program and were there other options you looked into?
I always wanted to travel and especially live somewhere else. Unfortunately, my family didn’t have money to afford me living in another country, so the best way I found to follow my dreams was to become an Au Pair. It was the cheapest one, I have all the experience and I would be able to work and pay for my own things. I heard about the program on youtube, years ago.
How would you describe your experience as an Au Pair in 3 words?
Challenging- Amazing – Heartbreaking
I’m sure many other former Au Pairs would agree with you on that one. Larissa, you’ve mentioned you always wanted to travel and that’s also why you’ve decided to take part in the Au Pair program. Did you get to travel a lot during that time? What was your favorite place?
Yes! I was lucky enough to go to 10 states and Hawaii! I’ve been to so many amazing places that it’s hard to choose one, but Hawaii is a magical place that I would like to go back to again, with my husband this time!
You’re done with your Au Pair adventure and you have actually entered a new chapter in your personal and professional life. You stayed in Atlanta and you’re a preschool teacher now. I’m so happy for you Larissa and I truly think you can be very proud of yourself! I think it takes so much courage to move abroad, to travel and then to really settle down so far away from where you grew up. What kept you motivated along the way?
My family was always so supportive, and even though I miss them so much, I know that this is my place. I found home far away from home. I wasn’t happy in Brazil, I wasn’t living the life I wanted to. Here I feel I can be closer to realize my dreams. I thought I was going back home when the program was over but, it turns out that I came home and I didn’t want to leave. I wish my family and friends were here but, I will see them and the love is always in my heart.
Is homesickness something you struggle with? How do you deal with it?
I didn’t have any homesick in the first 6 months, but after that, it started to hit me. Everyone I knew, all the bounds I made in 22 years were 9 hours away. It was hard in the beginning, but having my husband here, makes me feel like I’m making my own family and I will always be connected to my Brazilian life just not physically.
You said before that you’d like to go back to Hawaii with your husband…You found the love of your life in the US and you actually got married there! First of all, congrats, he’s one lucky man! But first things first. Speaking of dating in the US vs your home country Brazil – what are the biggest differences in dating? Was there something that surprised you?
Thank you so much! It turns out that we both found love here right? Yours led you back to Europe and mine is meant to stay here forever. I would say the biggest difference between dating here and in Brazil, is how respectful the men are. Unfortunately, Brazil has a strong sexist culture, and it’s hard to have relationships over there. Men here are committed and willing to start a new life together. I never felt like this when I was dating there.
How does it feel to be a wife? And what has marriage taught you so far?
I love being Clint’s wife. It’s so amazing to share your life with someone you love. It’s hard, we’re two different people from different families, and now we’re gonna have to mix our habits and create our own little family. Marriage teaches me something different every day! How to be more patient, more selfless, and to be understanding are things I’ve been learning how to be better.
Marriage is helping you grow in so many ways. What’s one life lesson living abroad has taught you?
That you don’t need anybody to survive but it’s not worth it to be by yourself. Life is too good to be lived alone.
Oh, I totally agree! Can you share some dreams you were able to follow and make come true since moving abroad?
My biggest dream, since I was a child, is to travel! I can’t believe how many places I’ve been to, friends I made (you included), experiences I lived. Life has been really generous to me and I’m grateful every day!
That’s great and I’m so happy that we met! Ok, final question Larissa. What would you tell someone who’s unhappy with where they are in life now, they know there’s more out there, but they might be too afraid to just go for it?
I would say, life is too short to be unhappy! Nobody is gonna be happy every day, it’s impossible, but we need to try to have more happy days than sad ones. I know it’s scary and lonely sometimes but, when you find the place that you feel like you always belonged, it’s an indescribable feeling!
I couldn’t agree more. Thank you, Larissa!
I hope you’ve found Larissa’s words as inspirational and motivating as I did. If you feel like you want to start your own adventure and become an Au Pair, check out my posts: