Welcoming Florida

I’m walking down the Florida Mall when a sales guy from the bed sheet kiosk approaches me.

“Quer experimentar o lençol?” He asks.

Wait… This guy is talking to me in Portuguese. And I am in Orlando, Florida. How does he know I understand?

Vero Beach: the best ocean swim I’ve had in the the US

Orlando is a piece of Brazil in North America. People here not only speak Brazilian, they also dress, behave and look Brazilian. Sometimes I have to remind myself I am north of the Equator.

Later in the day, I stop by a nails shop owned by a woman proudly wearing a Brazil-flag t-shirt. I see ads in Portuguese on billboards. I hear conversations in my native language. For the first time in my seven years living in the United States, someone correctly pronounces my last name.

Having a Brazilian experience in a foreign country is like going on a cross-continental trip to the south. You witness familiar behaviors, recognize accents, eat your childhood food.

In Florida, you swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

I’ll certainly come back to this place. These few warm days I’m spending here are just a homecoming invitation. Next time, I’ll bring my parents.