Moving to Florida after her boyfriend, Rafael Ramos, signed to play soccer for Orlando City S.C., Cheyenne created a blog documenting her experiences and adventures as an immigrant and resident of O-Town.
It's so interesting to read someone's experiences transitioning in Orlando, especially when it is a place that I call home.
Where are you originally from?
Why and when did you emigrate from your home country?
Actually, my boyfriend moved to Orlando first, in August 2014, when he got a really good job offer. Then we figured it would be a good opportunity for myself as well, especially for my career. So I came first as a tourist in January 2015, to make sure it would be good for me, and ended up moving in February 2015.
How was the transition?
At first it was really hard to be so far from my family. I had never been so far from home, so I really struggled with that. Living in a different country on the other side of the ocean, and with a different language and culture, can be really challenging. But the experience has been great and I’m embracing it the best I can.
Are people welcoming towards you or hostile?
Yes [they are welcoming], I’ve been meeting a lot of different people that are helping me a lot. I think one of the best things about living in a different country is meeting all these different and amazing people.
What are the struggles that come with immigration to the United States? Any personal experiences?
At first, the language. Even though I had had some English classes in Portugal, I only learned the basics. So doing my day-to-day talking, and learning a different language, was challenging. But it is nothing you can't improve by taking more classes and practicing by talking with people. I have been having a really good experience in the USA, I don’t feel any different than others. I have never been mistreated.
Were you able to find any people in Orlando with your same background?
I met a few people with the same background as me, starting a new life in the USA. It’s really good when you can share your experiences with people in the same “boat” as you. It makes you feel better to know that you don't have to do this alone, there's always another person living out the same experience as you.
How do you hold on to your culture?
Actually the Portuguese culture is not that different from the American, at least here in Florida. We live in a state with a lot of immigrants and tourists, so there's a big mix of different cultures. But one of the things I miss the most is the food. The Portuguese food is delicious, and even though we have some Portuguese restaurants around Orlando, they're all really far from my home. So I hold on to it by cooking myself at home.
What makes you the most proud of your country/culture?
I love my country! Portugal is absolutely beautiful. Even though it's such a small country, we have it all. You can find snow in the mountains, you can enjoy the most beautiful beaches in the south. We have castles, museums… people are amazing, the weather is great. And the food…did I talk about it already? There’s only good things to say about Portugal.
What inspired you to begin blogging?
I like to write, and to share experiences. So what’s better than a blog? I thought it would be interesting to share some of my experiences about being an immigrant in the USA. And besides that, I have been trying to write all my posts in Portuguese and English, which has been really good in practicing my English writing.
What is your goal in blogging?
I don't really have a goal in blogging. I do it because I like it. I don't expect to get anything else from it.
Do you wish to stay in the States or go back to your home country? Why?
That’s a hard question. I’ve been enjoying my life a lot in the USA, but due to professional matters, I’ll be back to Portugal soon. But that doesn’t mean I won't come back someday.
How is diversity important to you?
I think the more you know, the better. The more experience and knowledge we have, the better we’ll become. So meeting new people, new places and new cultures is really important in my opinion.
Why is diversity beautiful in your eyes?
I love to know more. More languages, more people, more places. For me, everything that can make my life richer is always good. There's so many different things besides what we already know. We just have to be courageous enough to go find them.
What advice do you have to people who wish to emigrate their country?
I’ll always encourage that. You’ll learn so much. Not just about others and new cultures, but also about yourself. If you have the chance, go travel a lot, learn a lot and challenge yourself.
What is the best way to get out of your comfort zone?
(answer in comment section)
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