Immigrant Voices Podcast Project

Adson from Brazil

September 08, 2020 Deborah Season 1 Episode 3
Immigrant Voices Podcast Project
Adson from Brazil
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Once their daughters were enrolled in University in Brazil, Adson and his wife Aleide, left behind their careers to live life abroad. Culture shock hit hard. Not just the language and the food, but the snow and a sudden career change made Adson’s adjustment tough. As a concert coordinator, journalist, and musician in his native country, he found himself suddenly painting houses in Boston. After years juggling work as a journalist for a local Brazilian paper and as a construction worker, (while amassing a collection of musical instruments —you can hear him playing the flute in the background of this introduction), Adson started his own home improvement company. As a successful entrepreneur, Adson has made New England his home. All those who know him are grateful that he stayed. 

Deborah: Once their daughters were enrolled in University in Brazil, Adson and his wife Aleide, left behind their careers to live life abroad. Culture shock hit hard. Not just the language and the food, but the snow, and a sudden career change made Adson’s adjustment tough. As a concert coordinator, journalist, and musician in his native country, he found himself suddenly painting houses in Boston. After years juggling work as a journalist for a New England Brazilian paper and as a construction worker, (while amassing a collection of musical instruments (you can hear him playing the flute in the background of this introduction), Adson started his own home improvement company. As a successful entrepreneur, Adson has made New England his home and all those who know him are grateful that he stayed.

Adson: First of all, I have to say thank you for having me, for having the opportunity to talk about our life in the United States. Actually, I came following my wife. She wanted to live abroad. She was really stressed because she was running the company that we had which was a small T-shirt factory, silkscreen. Since I was finished my bachelor's in journalism, and work as the cultural coordinator for the city hall in our city. My wife was running the company alone, and then we were 46 years, and . . . 

Deborah: You mean, forty-six years old?

Adson: Forty six, yes. And our twin daughter were 21. They could live by themselves. I would say the reason for me to come here is love. Because how could I stay there if Aleide, my wife, the love of my life, she wanted to live abroad. Then I decided to follow her. 

When we arrived in the United States, at the beginning it was really, really tough. We had to rebuild our lives. My wife started to work as a housecleaner, and I started to work in construction. I'd never thought I could have done a job like that. In Brazil I never did.

 Deborah: You never did that kind of work in Brazil?

Adson: Yes. Never.

Deborah: What made you think you could do it here? 

Adson: It’s interesting because, when I arrived. In the house the guys used to live in that house, they worked in construction. And then it was my first job. And I really liked construction. When they started to work in construction, I thought, oh, I'm a lucky guy because I liked. For me construction, it gives me the opportunity, I don't like routine. I don't like to do the same thing every day go back the house, go back the house. That's why I like construction. It gives me the possibility to know about the city, different city, to be in a different place. It’s nice. I like it.

Deborah: this variety. 

Adson: Yes, exactly!

Deborah: Not a 9-5 drone

Adson: Yes. Exactly. Nine months later, I had the opportunity to work for a Brazilian paper (get the name of the newspaper!). So I started to work at a newspaper and construction. For 10 years I worked as a journalist and in construction. 

Deborah: A journalist while you were in this country? 

Adson: Yes. For 10 years. But then they don’t pay enough money. I decided to concentrate on construction. For 10 years I worked. After six years of working for a big Brazilian construction company, I decided to grab the bull by the horn and I opened my own company. Now I work only for my company. I really long for the opportunity to go back and forth. 

Deborah: Ah, to go back and forth. 

Adson: Yes. That's what I really long for. 

Deborah: Is that the hardest part about being in this country?

 Adson: Yes. Actually, the hard part was the beginning. Everything is different, everything, even when we arrived, it’s not like nowadays. Nowadays, you can find Brazilian stores, you can find a lot of different things. That time when we arrived,

Deborah: What year was it?

Adson:  2006. Even telephone. I had no telephone. It was really, really difficult. Food here was different. Now everything is easy. Now if you arrive here today you can see your family in Brazil. You can talk to each other. It's really easier now. It's interesting to think about. I think about Aleide's grandpa because he was from Italy and he went to Brazil to live in Brazil. 

Deborah: This is Your father in law. 

Adson: Not my father. My family's from Portugal. 

Deborah: Right. But it was Aleide's father

Adson: Not Aleide's father, Aleide's grandfather. 

Deborah: Ah Aleide's grandfather.

Adson: When he arrived in Brazil, he sent a letter to Italy, and three months later, the letter arrived in Italy. And then someone sent a letter to him in Brazil. Three months. Six months to get news about his family. And when I came [here], my friends, said, "Are you crazy? Your life is nice here. Why are you going to the United States? It's not like two centuries ago." I can come back to Brazil. It's ok. 

But when you arrive it was very very difficult. It seemed like the sugar was different, bread was different, the taste was different. I don't know if it was only in my mind. But I felt like that. And I almost got depression because we arrived in July and in December, if you don't know anything in construction, you start painting. I was helping. Then when the winter came, the job was gone. I had no job for everybody. And then I have to stay home. It's the I almost got depression. 

Deborah: How did you avoid the depression? What did you do? Did you play music? I know you're a musician. 

Adson: Yes. Yes. I am going to talk about how that music help me a lot here, but I have to, . . . I had I am a lucky guy because when I arrived, some people helped me to meet other people. And I spent all my time home and talking to people through the internet. But it's very very difficult because it's exactly the opposite in Brazil. When it's here winter, in Brazil, it's summer. 

Deborah: Ah it’s below the equator.

Adson: Yes, exactly! And the summer in my city is party, has parties everywhere.

Deborah: Parties everywhere.

Adson: And I used to be coordinator of the cultural in my country. And I used to. My office was on the beach. I used to work seeing the ocean. And I organized live concerts and things like that. Here, when I looked through the windows, it's snow, snow, snow. Oh my god, I started to get depressed. The days are short days, the night is long night like 4 o'clock, it was getting dark. In my country, it was party, when I turn the TV on, see my all my friends on the beach. I said, Oh my God, what am I doing here?

Deborah: So you had regrets?

Adson: In that moment. OK, I feel like that. I used to cry a lot.  And Aleide said, "You have to stop crying. You have to look for something to do.

Deborah: I know you left the twins behind because they were in University. But you must have missed them a lot huh?

Adson: That was another tough problem. We stayed five years without not see. To see, we had the webcam. But to give a hug. It was five years.

Deborah: Five years without a hug.

Adson: Oh my god. 

Deborah: Was that one of the hardest things. 

Adson: Actually, some people say, "I miss my mom, I miss my father." I don't miss my mom. I have a good relationship with my mom if I'm here, she is in Brazil. It is nice. But if we are in Brazil, together, we start to lock horns. 

Deborah: But it's different with your children.

Adson: Yes, of course. When we came from the airport in Brazil. I could not cry. I like to cry but there was my children, and my friends. It's not because I was ashamed. No, I liked to show them that we are going for their lives. For everyone. But when we got into the plane, we started to cry.

Deborah: Both of you? 

Adson: And when we arrived I remember. We arrived in Florida. I had a friend there. The first night something really strange. I told Aleide. "Oh my god, I think I'm going crazy." It's nice because we came together and we could support one another. 

Deborah: "It must have taken a lot of adjusting to your new life.

Adson: When we arrived. My soul was in Brazil. My body was here. And then five years, half of my soul was in Brazil. My body was here. And today. My body is here. My soul is here. I like to stay here. But now Aleide is thinking about going back to Brazil. 

Deborah: for retirement.

Adson: Yes. But I would like to stay here. I think I can still work for another 5, 6, 10 years I can still work. But I have no choice. I have to follow.

Deborah: You had mentioned earlier that you had the worst moment.

Adson: Since we arrived here, we've had been living nice moments, happy moments, but the worst moment in our lives, my family life, happened here. Actually, it doesn't happen here, it happened in Brazil, but we were here. Clariana, our daughter, she got cancer. Thyroid cancer. And then during at least three months, we lived under pressure. 

Deborah: Because you couldn't go to Brazil to be with her.

Adson: Yes, If we decided to go, that would mean we would have to go permanently. And in that moment it was really complicated to go back to Brazil. We had goals here and we had not achieved our goals. 

Deborah: Oh you had goals here. I thought you said you had ghosts here.

Adson: It's interesting because Clariana, she is very strong. I remember. She called me around 11 at night. She told, "I have something to tell you. Where's Mommy?" She told us. "I got an exam. I cried for consecutive for 30 minutes And I decided. Don't cry any more! I don't want to see anyone crying for me because I already...she’s strong. I’m proud about her. she wrote [read] 45 books about the disease. I have all the information. I'm gonna fight against. I already went to the doctor. I will go to the surgeon." She did 15 days with her mind without talking with anyone.

Deborah: I don't quite understand. You mean she stayed alone like a silent retreat? When she found out about the cancer.

Adson: Yes. When she got the exam, she decided "I don't want to talk with anyone about it. I would like to get all the information. I don't think if I had the same problem, I could be strong like her. I think my first decision would be to share with someone, ask someone, some help. And she stayed alone for fifteen days. She prepared everything with the doctor. Everything. 

She called me. She said, "I'm gonna have the surgery." And then we started to cry. She said, “I don’t want to see you guys cry.”

I remember that night I couldn't sleep. Actually, I don't like to sleep and I have trouble to sleep. I usually go to sleep after midnight and sleep maybe 5 hours. Since she told me, during the three months I used to sleep two hours a night.  I used to wake up crying during the night.  She went to the doctor to get a surgeon. We were home. Me and Aleide. Mariana was here. She went to the doctor's. She went from the surgery to home. It was supposed to be 40 minutes and they spent two hours.

Deborah: In surgery?

Adson: Yes. And then Aleide got into a panic. She started to cry. "Something happened. Something happened." And I started to cry. Approximately after two hours, they did call us. "Ok. Everything is nice. Don't worry about it. She only needs to stay alone because you needs to have Io, some chemical product."

Deborah: Iodine?

Adson: Yes. And then, we had to wait for six months. It's like an alcoholic Day by Day [a day at a time] And she waited for three months to get a new exam, then six months. Now she needs once every five years. 

Deborah: that's great!

Adson: But

Deborah: That was the hardest experience for you?

Adson: Yes. Yes. Because I discovered that I don't have Brazilian friends here. We used to have our house full of people. Have a drink, have wine, have beer, have a party. But when we got the news about Clariana, nobody called me. Nobody. Nobody called me to say. It's not about support money. It's to give some word. Nobody asked and everybody knows. It make us understand that we are strong together. We decided to, not avoid Brazilian people, we decided to live our life, and don't get involved in other peoples' lives. I remember Michelle. Michelle sent a card with nice words about. 

It's interesting because Aleide has a client and she is really, really demanding client. It is very difficult to work for her. But she has a big heart. And she called me and she told me and Aleide, "I want to give you money to bring her here. I'm not lending you money, I'm giving you the money. You're gonna put her here, and I'm gonna give nine doctors." Because her son-in-law, he's a doctor.

Deborah: So did that happen? Did she come here?

Adson: No, she told me, "I'm gonna put the money in your bank account. And you're gonna take care of her. Don't worry about it. Doesn't matter how much it's gonna cost. I'm gonna pay everything. You don't need to pay anything!" She's very nice. She has a lot of money. But I told her, "No! It's nice things like that. Before I already considered you as an angel to my family. But Clariana has nice health insurance in Brazil, we have nice doctor. And before, the doctor call me and said, "Adson, I'd like to tell you something, I can't lie because during my life I made I swear two times because I am doctor, and I am chief of the police. And I can't lie. And I am not lying to you. You don't have to come." I was prepared to go back to Brazil. He said, "You don't need to come, because I'm going to take care of her. If I had to choose what kind of cancer to have, I would choose this kind of cancer because it's 99 percent of the possibility to get a cure. 

Deborah: To survive. So that must have made you feel better.

Adson: Yes, of course, he told me, "I'm gonna take care. Don't worry about it. You don't need to come." Ok. It's nice of course.

Deborah: Did you pray? Did you go to church during this situation?

Adson: I am not a religious person. I used to be a seminarian. I used to study at the seminary, Catholic seminary, Italian seminary, the Franciscan. I was a seminarian but in the end, I When I met Aleide, that's when I decided, I want to give my life to her. But I believe that when things like that happen, it's happen for some reason, and the reason it happened, at least for me, it is to make us strong. Since then we started to talk more about each other. Before I used to talk to Clariana once a week. Since then, we talk to each other every day. Every day. "Good morning. How are you?" Every day. That's nice. It's made our family grow. Of course, it was a terrible experience. But at the same time.

Deborah: It brought your family closer. Definitely

Adson: Same time. It's that's the worst moment, 

Deborah:  Wow.  Thank you for sharing.  What are your dreams now?

Adson:  It's interesting about the dreams, because I am really a dreamer. I can't survive without dreaming. I am glad, I am grateful because all my personal dreams came true. My personal dreams.

Deborah: That's great. These are dreams that you had when you lived in Brazil?or since you came to America?

Adson: No I'm talking about since. In Brazil and even here. Actually, I never had a big dream. I'm not talking about material things, but my main dream was to have a family because my family was crazy. I'm talking about my mommy, my father. When I was two my father goes away. Never came back. Never. He left my mommy her with five kids. My Momma started to have, boyfriend, boyfriend. She had more children. My family was a really, really poor family. I decided to go to the seminary because that was the only way to study. If I go to the seminary, I can study. 

Deborah: You're saying seminary, through the church?

Adson: Yes. I'm really grateful about the seminary because it gave me a lot of . . . contributed to form my character. 

But since I was I a child, I had a lot of dreams. I wanted to play the harmonica. My grandpa, he used to play harmonica, accordion. He used to play a lot of different instruments. He tried to...

Deborah: Now how many instruments do you play?

Adson: Actually, I'm not savvy about a specific instrument. That's the problem because I love all those instruments. I have trombone, I have trumpet, I have flute, I have saxophone, I have five saxophones, I have oboe, I have banjo. I have piano. At least 12 different harmonicas. I have two accordions. But I am not a specialist in any [instrument]

Deborah: That's OK

Adson: But I love. Music is since I was 2, my hobby is play music, listen to music. Everything I do, I listen to music. My hobby is bike, from bike listen to music. I love to read book, listen to music. Of course, different kind of music. If I am biking, it's a different kind of music, not the same for reading a book. My hobby. The only thing I do without listen to music is when I am writing. 

Deborah: me too.

Adson: I like silence. Here I have no time to do, but I like to write some poems.  I wrote a lot of poems for Aleide. She has complained. "You don't write anything for me any more!" But I don't have time any more. I'm so sorry. But about the dreams, 

I am dreamer person. I am really happy. My main dream was to have a family. I have the best family of the world. Is my family


Deborah: 
 , wow.  Thank you for sharing.  What are your dreams now?

Adson:  It's interesting about the dreams, because I am really a dreamer. I can't survive without dreaming. I am glad, I am grateful because all my personal dreams came true. My personal dreams.

Deborah: That's great. These are dreams that you had when you lived in Brazil? or since you came to America?

Adson: No I'm talking about since. In Brazil and even here. Actually, I never had a big dream. I'm not talking about material things, but my main dream was to have a family because my family was crazy. I'm talking about my mommy, my father. When I was two my father goes away. Never came back. Never. He left my mommy her with five kids. My Momma started to have, boyfriend, boyfriend. She had more children. My family was a really, really poor family. I decided to go to the seminary because that was the only way to study. If I go to the seminary, I can study. 

Deborah: You're saying seminary, through the church?

Adson: Yes. I'm really grateful about the seminary because it gave me a lot of . .. . contributed to form my character. But since I was I a child, I had a lot of dreams. I wanted to play the harmonica. My grandpa, he used to play harmonica, accordion. He used to play a lot of different instruments. He tried to...

Deborah: Now how many instruments do you play?

Adson: Actually, I'm not savvy about a specific instrument. That's the problem because I love all those instruments. I have trombone, I have trumpet, I have flute, I have saxophone, I have five saxophones, I have oboe, I have banjo. I have piano. At least 12 different harmonicas. I have two accordions. But I am not a specialist in any [instrument]

Deborah: That's OK.

Adson: But I love. Music is since I was 2, my hobby is play music, listen to music. Everything I do, I listen to music. My hobby is bike, from bike listen to music. I love to read book, listen to music. Of course, different kind of music. If I am biking, it's a different kind of music, not the same for reading a book. My hobby. The only thing I do without listen to music is when I am writing. 

Deborah: me too.

Adson: I like silence. Here I have no time to do, but I like to write some poems.  I wrote a lot of poems for Aleide. She has complained. "You don't write anything for me any more!" But I don't have time any more. I'm so sorry. But about the dreams, I am dreamer person. I am really happy. My main dream was to have a family. I have the best family of the world. Is my family

Deborah: Wow.

Adson: Usually, I say to Mariana, Clariana, and Aleide, "Of course, I don't want to die, but if I die today, I have no regrets about the life. If I die today, It's done. I did everything I'd like to do." As a dreamer. I have big dream about, not about my family. Of course, I'd like to have a better life, better work for my family, but my main dream is to see a better world for how human beings and for the animals. To have a nice, to have a better world for human beings and for animals. It's just not for human beings.

Deborah: Oh. OK. So, the environment you're talking about.

Adson: Yes. I'm talking about the environment. But, Specifically about dogs. Because back in our country. When I talk to Aleide, and we are talking about going back to Brazil, we think about the dogs. Because in Brazil, it's common to have dogs on the street. Dogs live on the street. It's crazy because they . . . And Aleide thinks If you go back there, we're gonna have a lot of dogs in our space, because she loves dogs. I love dogs.

Deborah: Do you have a dog here? 

Adson: No I don't have a dog here because I don't have time to take care of a dog. I'd like to have. Actually, I'd like to stay here, I'd like to buy a house here, to have some dogs in my house.

Deborah: You said you'd like to go back and forth.

Adson: Yes. 

Deborah: That's a beautiful dream to hold that you can go back and forth to your own country.

Adson: I think if I stop dreaming, I die. I think it's like in my opinion I am like a factory of dreams. I think about dreams. I dream all the time.

Deborah: Are you talking about daydreams too? Or just like things you want to do someday? 

Adson: No, no. I talk to him about the dreams like it. Mmm. I don't know how to explain. There is a Brazilian composer. He told something about the dream. He says, "Dream that you dream alone, it's just dream alone. Dream that you dream together, It's the reality."  It's Paulo Cuelo I don't know if know about Paul Cuelo, He is a writer.

Deborah: I like that saying. 

Adson:  Yeah, that's my opinion about, about the dream. That's when I talk about the main dream, my main dream, it's not my main dream. It's a qualitative dream. I will do like it's like a John Lennon dream.

Deborah:  John Lennon

Adson: I am not alone. I have someone dream with me 

Deborah:  and reality. 

Adson:  Same guy. He says something like this, "We are bird. We, everybody is bird with just one wing. Yeah. To fly. You need to embrace another one. 

Deborah:  You're a real philosopher. 

Adson:  That's just perfect. , if you think like this. I think the world can be better for everyone. I don't need. People ask me to go to the church, you have to go to the church. Here, in the Brazilian community, I think is 90 percent at the least they are Protestant. They are, they are Protestants. "You have to go to the church! You  have to pray." I don't need, I don't need to go to the church to be a better person. I even, I don't need to, to know about the 10 Commandments, to know the thing is you or I don't need to read the Bible.

Of course, I know about the Bible. I was a seminarist, but I don't need to read the Bible to know that the 10 Commandments, it's right. Yeah, I can't steal something for someone, I can't kill someone. I can't. 

Deborah:  You're a humanist. 

Adson: Exactly. I think that life is, 

Deborah:  And the humanism believes that people are inherently good. And that they don't need religion to make them good. 

Adson:  Yes, exactly. In my opinion, everybody's good. Until someone proves the opposite.  Everybody's good. Aleide says, "You believe everybody!" Everybody is a human being.

 If someone does something bad or now I know he's that guy.

Deborah:  Well, that's a great note to end on, Adson. I love what you said about how your soul and your body are in the United States. You've made so many friends. So many people value the work that you've done in their homes. It's been great talking with you.

Adson: Thank you for having me, for having the opportunity to talk about our life in the United States.

Deborah:  I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about Adson’s adjustment to life in the United States. His resilience and drive tempered with his Brazilian family values makes him an example to all of us for how to live a balanced life. You can hear his wife Aleide’s experience in an upcoming episode. 

Thanks to our funders
Thank you for staying with us right to the end of this episode. A special thanks to music consultant Michael Bluestein who provided royalty-free music as background for each of my guest episodes. The Immigrant Voices Podcast Project is the brainchild of Michelle Duval the Program Director at the Adult Education Program at the Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston, Massachusetts. You can learn more about the English for Speakers of Other Languages at our website www. gpaesol.com. or by emailing Michelle Duval directly at [email protected] Without the funding of Charlesview, Inc., and the support of Jo-Ann Barbour its executive director, this project would never have been possible. And a big thank you to all the guests who participated in the series of interviews, and to our listeners, we say thank you and do come back for the next episode!

 

 

Introduction to Adson
The Desire to Live Abroad
Culture Shock
The Worst Moment
Dreams Fulfilled
Environment
Philosopher Adson