Luisa, 22, Mercado Brasil
A new series, People We Meet and yes, inspired by Humans of New York.
Luisa worked behind a register with a deck of pastries next to her and spoke Portuguese to the customers ahead of me. She wiped her hands clean before putting all her cooking gear back in place.
“I got here 11 months ago and before that I went to high school in Alameda so I was an exchange student. That’s how I got to know the Bay Area, and I was just in love with it. I went back to Brazil and I just felt like I was more at home here than there,” she said.
She ended up meeting someone here, getting married and staying. “It’s a crazy story,” she sighed and rested her chin on her hand and looked around, “That’s pretty much where I am now, just waiting to start going to college.”
I asked how she came to know of the store: “I came here just to spend a week and a half, and it was my last night here, and then I went to the crepe house right here. I went to buy dinner with my boyfriend, and then the waiter was about to leave and then he heard me speaking Portuguese. So I asked him about a job like and he told me about this place. He said he already knew they needed someone, because they needed someone who speaks fluent English as well to work here.”
She didn’t hesitate to answer when I asked about the differences in living here as opposed to Brazil. “When you’re describing someone like, ‘I met someone,’ You don’t say ‘I met a girl today,’ you say ‘I met a Brazilian woman,’ You say either the race or where the person’s from first. So I think for me, that would be something I’m not used to in my country, because like no one says where you’re from, like ‘You’re Brazilian, period,’ Doesn’t matter where your family came from you know? So that’s something I’m learning to deal with.”