Welcome to my blog! I’m Corina Evelyn, and I’m a food and travel blogger, and writer in my spare times. To learn more about what this blog is all about, head over to the ABOUT page – or keep reading to find out more about the girl behind this blog.
I grew up in São Paulo, the world’s 7th largest city in the world and known as the never-ending metropolis that has loads to offer with its great multi-cultural environment and really great food. As you may see in this picture I look Asian, right? Well, not everyone knows but Brazil has the largest population of descendants of Japanese out of Japan. So, I’m not Japanese actually, I’m Brazilian and my mother tong is Portuguese. I was born and raised in São Paulo all my life and I’m part of the third generation of Japanese descendants living in Brazil.
I started blogging when I was 14 years old when had my first contact with the internet and we all used dial up internet. And I’ve learned coding HTML and CSS at that age because there weren’t such nice templates available as today so I had to create my own. Since then, blogging became my hobby and I used to write things about my life, then I started blogging about food and places.
In 2012, I had my first international solo experience. I studied English at CCAA and Cultura Inglesa since I was 9 years old but never had the chance to practice or experience it and I wasn’t the best English student, so I decided to go to Florida and take a course at Embassy CES Fort Lauderdale for a bit more than 2 months, as I was on university holidays. I stayed in a very nice host family with who I’m in touch until today, they will always be my favourite host family for sure!
Living there I met people from all continents, especially European students. In Brazil, if you have opportunity, you grow up watching all North American series and movies, and that was my reality. And as I grew up with the American dream I never actually dreamed about going to Europe for example, especially because I was never the biggest fan of History and Geography. Now I learned how to enjoy it. So, after having all the experiences and different situations with people from Europe, it woke me up to new horizons.
It’s funny to say, but I studied Spanish at Instituto Cervantes before going to Florida because of an experience I had while travelling to work there in 2011. Me and my dad only found the way back to the hotel thanks for the help of some Spanish speakers in the area. Thankfully my dad speaks Spanish and we went through it successfully. Then, I decided to learn it to prevent myself if any equivalent situation happened. It was actually very useful because I met many people from other countries in South America and it made my experience even more fun. But when I went back to São Paulo I wanted to learn other language due to my confusion with words in Portuguese, which can be very similar.
Then, mid of 2012 I started a self study in French, which was a language I never dreamed about. After my self study, I took a one month intensive course to check if I learned it all correctly and right after I decided to go for a one month course in Paris on my university holidays again.
There I was in January, 2013. Paris was one of the biggest challenges of my life. I arrived there by myself with only theory and very little speaking practice. My knowledge was based in my self study, my one month course at Alliance Française and the listening course “15 minutes of French” I used to listen in my car while driving. The first time you arrive in a place in which people don’t speak your language or English it’s really hard even to open your mouth. And since the first day I stepped there I went through many unpleasant circumstances because I started speaking English instead of French because I was afraid and a bit timid.
In two weeks, I had to learn everything one person takes 6 months to a year to learn. In one month I was almost fluent speaking. People there don’t actually like to speak English, they probably have their reason, but I went through very tough situations. Also, I stayed in a host family in which the host mom used to argue with me every single day that I was committing so many mistakes that I would never learn French and the host dad wanted to practice his English with me, so she was always freaking out. They weren’t bad people but they used to fight almost everyday between themselves and the house was very dirty and had no heating at all so I felt cold even taking a shower. I had to use 3 or more jackets inside the house. But well, I survived.
While living in Paris, I started my adventure of solo travelling. Actually, the first flight I took by myself was to New York while living in Florida, but living in Paris is to be in the middle of many countries and not states of a country, so I went to Switzerland, Italy and UK. I’m going to tell the stories little by little in this blog.
On the beginning of 2014, I was done with my Bachelor Degree in Social Communication – Journalism at FIAM, in São Paulo. Despite of the fact that I’ve just graduated I was still not sure about what to do with my life and it was very hard to find a job. I started working in a small company of accounting. At that time I was working but knew that that wasn’t for me. Then I stopped, looked back and realised my life was all calculated and kind of “manipulated” as what “society” expected my life to be. After some months, on my mind there were only thoughts like: “I need to leave”, “I need to know what I want”, “Who am I?”.
I started searching for courses abroad that could help my professional skills and that was also a kind of excuse to be far away and alone so I could finally have time to find my inner self. I was completely lost, I didn’t know who was I and neither what I was doing. I was living without goals. I didn’t know what were those goals. So, I left and only my family and close friends knew about it. You are probably wondering where did I go this time.
On October of 2014, I ended up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I have no specific reason to explain why did I chose that place. I just searched for a place to keep learning in English and one of the most low cost cities to live in the UK. And, it had to be Europe, I definitely wanted more adventure, meet more people and their cultures. I lived there for a year and got my Graduate Diploma in Management at Queen’s University Belfast.
Belfast was the place where I started my life as Myself. I danced Salsa every time I could, I had dinner with homeless people in charity houses, I worked part time as a receptionist, waitress and bartender. I learned cleaning, cooking and learned loads of stuff through Skype with my parents, Google and Youtube. For the first time I felt like I was in charge of my own life. Not completely but I knew I was finally on the way to my independence.
I was supposed to go back to São Paulo right after but in the end applied for a Bachelors Degree in International Business with Spanish at Sheffield Hallam University and got accepted so I ended up staying for a year and some months more.
September of 2015, I moved to Sheffield (England) for my new course and restarted life once again. I became really good in restarting life in new places by myself. I can tell that the first three months are the worst because it’s hard to adapt to the place, the people and the food. But when you find good friends, you find yourself at home. Something I’ve learned was that you’ll always be home if you have the right people around. It takes time but you’ll find for sure, so what I have to say is never be afraid of the new things that can happen to you. Now I have best friends in many countries and that’s awesome, isn’t it?
This new city became my home more than Belfast because of the fact that most of my best friends there have left to their home countries. But in Sheffield, every time I come back I still can meet some of them there.
Sometimes I wanted to go back in time to live all those moments together again, but in reality I’m quite happy that we’re still in touch until today and every week since we left. Even if one is in Malaysia, other in Pakistan, other in Turkey, others in UK, Spain, USA and many other places, I know that we are family forever.
Those 2 years abroad have taught me that we have our best friends in our home countries and that’s amazing because you live closer and you can count on them. However, when you live abroad you have survival best friends who become your family far from your home town. Living in students accommodation can be very fun and there can be loads of parties but living abroad is not that easy as many people think. Only who went through these situations will really understand.
It’s not party every day. There were times that I was very ill and they took me to the hospital, bought me medicines, cooked for me, helped me buying groceries, helped me cleaning. When I was down they knocked on my door, made my day better, when I felt lonely they came and watched movies with me or we just talked the whole night.
They were 90% part of my life, the other 10% I was probably sleeping. And I’ve never been in any similar situation like this here in São Paulo, probably because I have my family around but if I didn’t have them and the ones I trust could’t help me, I really don’t know who would I call for help even though I know loads of people here and that’s a fact.
My Bachelor course was half in English and half in Spanish and so, I decided to go for an internship in Spain. Mid of 2016, summer time, I moved to Vera, a very small beach in the coast of Almería. I worked in the Spa of a hotel as a receptionist and had to manage some finances as well because they were having troubles with money count at every end of the day. Living there was the third biggest challenge of my life. (actually I lost the count of challenges)
When I arrived there they gave me a room in the basement of the hotel shared with two more girls who at the first day looked at me like they wanted to kill me. After I saw the tiny room, broken beds, one shower and one toilet for 12 people, everything dirty, cockroaches, toilets leaking, I understood why everyone was so angry. And our room was between a room of crazy girls who were drunk and screaming every night and other room had 2 couples who were also nonsense. The walls were like paper and it was supposed to be only girls accommodation and the closest market was 30 min away by bus. (and it was never on time) Yes, everything was wrong.
However, I decided to be strong and stayed because it was important for my growth. The accommodation wasn’t the best but I enjoyed working at the hotel, despite of some very racist and disrespectful people. I couldn’t even complain much because I wasn’t paying for the room and food and they were paying me monthly for the work.
The girls of killing eyes became my best friends there and the days off we used to go out together for food and “tinto de verano”, a wine based drink popular in Spain. We had really nice moments together and we became good friends, we’re still in touch.
I was supposed to stay there for three months but it took me a month just to get all the documents done and so, I stayed one month less. After Spain I didn’t know what to do with my life because I was already planning my way back to Brazil after the internship.
And then, one of the girls invited me to move with her to Madrid where she was living and there was me on the road again. We literally moved from Vera to Madrid by bus, carrying all of our luggages and carrying a big fan I bought because she didn’t want to throw it away. It was a very funny trip, I can tell. We fit the fan in a plastic bag and until today I don’t know how we made it.
I was supposed to stay there with my friend but ended up living for a month with her roommates that I’ve just met. Her best friend there gave her a flight ticket for her to see her family in the USA and she left some days after I arrived in Madrid.
It wasn’t was I expected but I had really good times with her friends from Schiller International University of Madrid. We went out for drinks, dance, pub crawl and I spent Halloween there. It was very amusing. During the day, I used to go searching for jobs, knocking every establishment door and giving my CV until the shoe ripped from so much walking. Some days I just wanted to be home doing nothing. Madrid made me feel at home because it feels a bit like São Paulo, a big metropolis and very busy. But as I couldn’t get a job there I came back to São Paulo by the end of 2016.
After all I went through the past years in my courses, my internships, living abroad and solo travelling made me the person I am today. Now, I definitely know that I wouldn’t have the certainty neither autonomy to do anything I can do nowadays.
Travelling opened my eyes for a new world and a world where people accepted me the way I am and consequently it made me accept myself too somehow. It made me take risks, have courage, lose fear of many things. I was taught resilience for survival. I still feel insecure about many things but I know that this baggage of experiences I carry is very rich and it was very important to my growth.
Even though, I still feel like a girl but not as lost as before, now I found some goals to fight for. I am now I’m trying to find my other selves because after living in 5 countries out of Brazil I’ve learned to reinvent myself so many times that now I can visualise that it’s possible to restart life if we want. If I could, I’d live in one country per year to acquire more and more knowledge.
Nowadays, I’m back to São Paulo, have a fix job and in my spare times I’ll be sharing here about all my experiences of life because I want you guys to take courage and ENJOY LIFE!!!
I hope you enjoy!!!
Thanks for the visit!!!