Finally my father gave me the right to earn a life for myself. As I left my home, I was convinced I could go to Latin America, easily get a job, and without any hard work, become independent.

I wasn’t sure whether or not i could prove myself. The diversity of a rose’s petals glimmer in the distance, but choose to come closely, and you will be pricked by thorns. In reality, the first few months in Latin America, all I did was make mistakes, and there were plenty of times I wasn’t sure whether or not I would truly be able to prove myself.

It was hard to live away from my parents, but due to that decision, I learned so much.

I traveled first to Uruguay (the cheapest flight), and from there Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela.  Before I reached Brazil, I don’t think I had found a single place to really consider home. Luckily, Sao Paulo was one of the first cities I truly loved in Latin America. In the same way neighborhoods in New York are completely different worlds, if you go to Trinidade in Sao Paulo, you know you are entering a Japanese world, fit even with a Japanese style gate. The main differences are that in Sao Paulo, there is much more class difference. There are plenty of skyscrapers and fancy buildings in places like Avenue Paulista, but people often live in meager conditions in the favelas. I may have loved Sao Paulo on my first day, but over a week, I realized it was a city of many problems. In order to just live in a slum, I would have had to pay around $400, and I definitely did not have the money to live well in a rich neighborhood at that time. No matter how much I liked Sao Paulo, the expenses of it were simply not in my favor.

It was during this time that my Couchsurfer gave me a handful of key recommendations. At the time I was looking for work, and so he suggested I consider teaching online. I did my research on it, finding out that a class would only pay about $9 an hour, a meager wage for a developed country, but decent for the industrializing world. Such a salary would not be enough for Sao Paulo, but my Couchsurfer told me that the city of Florianopolis was much prettier compared to Sao Paulo, and cheaper to boot. He implored me to do my research on it. I found out that Florianopolis was a small city on the island of Santa Catarina, surrounded by 42 beaches, and it was clean and quite developed. It did appear to be some paradise on earth. I decided to make a booking on airbnb for a month and check it out.

I ended up staying for two months, teaching English for a company called Open English while staying at an airbnb. I worked so that I could make enough money to survive and then would work on my novel, we, of the forsaken world… If I had free time, I would explore the beaches. I was there for a few months, clearly not enough time to explore every one of the 42 beaches, but I found my favorites. The beach by the hill on the other side of my house was quite white and green, whereas in the north the beaches were next to buildings and shops that had a somewhat Soviet flavor. A lot of the towns were very similar to the kinds seen in Portugal. Each beach in Florianopolis was truly its own experience.

While I did enjoy my short life in Florianopolis, I don’t think I ever felt fully at home there. I had earned enough money to survive for longer after teaching, and I had a desire to explore more countries of Latin America. I shortly decided to take a trip to the Guyanas from Northeast Brazil. For whatever Brazil gave me, I am eternally grateful. By making mistakes, I became one step closer to being an adult.