I was born in the hot, humid jungle of the Amazon in the lovely country of Brazil. My future adoptive mother was a nurse and became good friends with my biological mother who became her helper/assistant years before I was born. My future adoptive mother helped deliver me as a baby, but had gotten plenty of practice delivering other babies before I came along. Due to certain circumstances for my safety, my biological mother wanted me to have a better life than what she had there and asked my adoptive mother to adopt me. For my biological mother, this was the hardest thing she ever had to do, but she felt in her heart this was what she had to do and wanted the best for me. My adoptive mom began the process of the adoption which was not easy, but eventually after 2 years everything worked out. In an effort to make a better transition into Kindergarten, my adoptive mother taught me English. I still have a tape of myself singing and speaking in broken English to my grandfather. I became fluent in the English language just by playing with other kids in Kindergarten.
Around the age of 3 or 4, the little village I lived in did not have a main water structure for everyone. I’m not sure how it happened, but the days leading up to the “big event”, I knew something important was happening. As a child, I sensed the excitement of the adults and I felt a certain happiness in the air. I just remember a lot of men working for days putting a pipe in the ground and building a structure. The day finally came and we finally had clean running water that everyone in the village could benefit from. I think you now understand why any water charity is so dear to my heart. There were many interesting people I also met as a very young child. Some of the men I met felt larger than life to me. I later found out they were anthropologists, adventurers, archaeologists, pathologists, scientists, American researchers and pilots. I have flown on all types of planes from small one & two engine planes, huge army planes, 747’s but my favorite as a child were the water planes. There is nothing like landing on water on a plane specially designed to gently land on the river, it truly is one of the greatest sensations you can ever feel. Thus began my love for Indiana Jones when the movie came out when I was much older. Indie reminded me of my friends that I met as a young child, even down to the hat. These people I met were literally real life Indiana Jones to me, some world wide known and admired by famous institutions in London and the USA. The picture below is of me relaxing for mom to take a picture before I got up in .013 seconds to go back to playing.
My adoption process was completed when I turned four. I remember we had to fly to Rio to fill out some papers. During our time in Rio we went to a zoo and this gorilla drank a lot of water and spit it through the crowd. I can stand here and brag that a gorilla spat on me as a child and I was terrified yet wondered what I did to deserve such an act. My mom kept for years in her keepsake a little picture of a gorilla that I drew spitting water on the crowd. I think I still have it. If I find it, I’ll post it on here later on, it’s quite cute. Thus began my love for King Kong as I grew older. It’s amazing how the littlest things you experience as a child shape the types of movies you like later on in life; albeit it has to do more with fond memories of childhood of the people/things/animals I met than the actual movies themselves.
I went to an International English speaking school and had classmates from around the world, thus giving me the love of appreciating people from all walks of life. Some days I would hang out with my best bud from Switzerland and we’d go and make crafts at her house after school. Another day, I spent the day with my bestfriend from Trinidad. Other times I’d share lunch with my Japanese friend or hang out with my Dutch friend who later gave me my first and last cat. When I was 8 years old we flew to the USA for me to become an American citizen. We usually spent a year in the States before returning back for another 4 years in Brazil, so we took advantage this time to complete that process. Before going to court, I was so scared I’d forget how to say the Pledge of Allegiance and that the judge would scowl at me and deny my citizenship. I practiced and practiced the entire ride up to the court. The ride was about 20 minutes long, so you can just imagine the number of times I was reciting in the back seat quietly to myself. In the courtroom, there were many other people there too and we all recited together, so my fears were quickly diminished and I successfully became an American citizen. I still have my little American flag and I proudly display it.
After High School, I went to 2 different colleges here in the USA. If there is one thing I do regret now is that I never took advantage of the “Semester at Sea” program. I had gotten loads of brochures during my Junior and Senior years down in Brazil, but either because I wasn’t ready to be away from my mom or something else, but I never went. I now wish I had. I suppose I later made up for it in a small way by going on 2 cruises and visiting 6 different countries a few years ago, but studying at sea and visiting different ports would have been a dream come true. I’ll always have an eternal thirst for travel. Once you travel, it’s something that will always stay with you. Visiting different countries gives you an appreciation of what you have and a new sense of compassion for those who are less fortunate.
To be continued….