I have many fond memories of growing up in Brazil. I love everything about Brazil, the culture, the people, the food, the weather and I’m so proud to be Brazilian. I remember the weather was always nice and warm, even our winters were warm. I used to live a few blocks from the beach in a town called Santos, in the State of Sao Paulo. I used to go to the beach almost every day. When in high school, my school was right in front of the beach. Every day I would look out my classroom window and I could see the beautiful sea shining under the sun and many people having fun and playing soccer. Some days I just couldn’t resist and I would sneak out of class and skip school with my best friend, cross the street and just join the fun at the beach.
It was amazing growing up in Brazil, I wouldn’t change anything. However, when growing up I always felt like there was something missing. I couldn’t figure out what it was. Since I was a little girl I always had a dream of living in the USA. I didn’t quite know why I wanted it so bad, I just had a feeling in my heart that I had to be there. I remember when trying to learn English it came very naturally to me. I liked the way it sounded and how simple and easy it was compared to Portuguese. I used to watch American movies on TV and dream that one day I’d be in that country, speaking English and living the American culture.
There’s another reason why I wanted to go to USA, to see the snow. I really wanted to see the snow. In Brazil is way too warm and we don’t have snow. I always wondered what it would feel like to see the snow for the first time, to touch it, to make snow angels and to have snow ball fights. The first time I saw snow I was mesmerized by its beauty and by the big snowflakes just floating and falling very slowly from the sky. It’s so surreal to see everything so white covered by the snow. It’s hard to explain how magic it is.
When in Brazil, dreaming about coming to the USA I used to imagine what it would feel like to snowboard. I had surfed and skated before but I just knew that snowboarding would be a totally different experience and way more special. I love the way that snowboarding is a sport that is filled with excitement and personality. I also loved the way that snowboarding was seen as a kind of extreme sport.
The first opportunity I had to come to the USA was when I find out about an International Exchange Work Program that allowed international students to go work abroad during their school break. In Brazil our school break is between November and February, this is our summer vacation. As part of this interchange program, American employers would hold job fairs in several countries in South America like Brazil, Argentina, Peru and etc. recruiting international employees to work for their companies during the winter season.
In the job fair there were several employers from the hotel and ski resort industry. At that time I was a student in my second year at the University with a major in Marketing and Advertising. I didn’t think twice about taking this opportunity to go work in a ski resort, improve my English and learn how to snowboard. I took all my savings to pay for the program and my family helped me with some money too. I applied for a position to work at Dodge Ridge, a small ski resort located in Northern California, 30 miles east of Sonora, near Pinecrest, just off of Highway 108. I worked there the whole winter season and had a wonderful experience. I got to see the snow for the first time, I’ve learned how to snowboard and even got to travel to other cities in California.
The second time I went to apply for a job in the US I decided I wanted to visit a different ski resort. I applied for a position at Sierra-at-Tahoe. Sierra-at-Tahoe is a ski resort located in Northern California, in Twin Bridges, 15 to 30 minutes from South Lake Tahoe. First time I saw South Lake Tahoe I thought it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. The lake was sparkling and the mountains in the background were covered with snow. It looked like a picture from a magazine that I never thought it would be possible to see in person. The more time I spent in South Lake Tahoe the more I knew this is where I wanted to be for a long time. Curling up under a blanket next to a cozy fireplace drinking a cup of hot chocolate after a long day of snowboarding, there’s nothing like it. The mountain living lifestyle is so amazing and it’s something I could never experience in Brazil.
The next few years I kept going back and forth between South Lake Tahoe and Brazil. During the winter season I would work at Sierra-at-Tahoe and then I would go back to Brazil and finish my course at the University. During those years I met my husband Jimmy while working at the ski resort. He is American, born in the Bay Area. We’ve been together for 6 years and married for almost 3 years. Since we got married I’ve been living in South Lake Tahoe permanently. I’ve worked at Sierra-at-Tahoe for a total of 7 seasons now.
In the last couple of years I’ve decided to get my Real Estate license. I’ve been doing Real Estate for almost 2 years now and I love it. It’s such an exciting and fulfilling career. I love living and working in South Lake Tahoe. There is a great variety of summer and winter outdoor activities all year round. Snow and skiing play a major part in Tahoe’s economy as well as the 24 hour casinos around the lake.
In the winter there are plenty of options to enjoy such as, skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, tubing, snowmobiling and etc. In the summer there are many recreational activities such as hiking, boating, camping, fishing, golfing, horseback riding, mountain biking, mountain climbing and many more. I enjoy doing many of these outdoor activities with my husband and friends. I want to be living in South Lake Tahoe for a long time and pretty soon start a family and raise my kids here. I couldn’t picture myself living anywhere else.
My family in Brazil comes to visit me in Tahoe about once every two years, and I try to go visit them in Brazil as much as I can. They are very happy for me that I got to make my dream come true of living in the USA and snowboarding every year. I really miss all my friends and family in Brazil but I’m having a blast here and I know this is where I was meant to be. I love Tahoe!