With these interviews, I really like to try and understand the environment where people grew up and how that may have influenced their life. Of course, I'm just scratching the surface, but personal stories can open a window onto a culture for people and hopefully help understand, for example, why a Brazilian migrant in Tasmania is the way she is.
Brazil, to me, is a fascinating country to me, being not only an major migration country for much longer than Australian and having a rich and extremely diverse culture with many incluences, but it's also the home of the Amazon, the Copacabana, Carneval, Pele, Samba...so many iconic places, people and things.
But what I got from my very stimulating chat with Ariana was how her early life, which involved starting her first job at 13 helping her mother cleaning houses seems to have informed an outlook of what I would describe as "positive realism" that appears to have stood her in good sense when settling in Tasmania.
I was struck particularly by her description of her dream of being a pilot early on, but then realising that "dreams don't come true", and yet she pursued it in a kind of pragmatic step-by-step way. We discussed staying positive and how she does that and what that means to her, because it's something that people interpret differently and it was clear to me that Ariana wasn't any kind of starry-eyed dreamer but rather her kind of positivity was one that I could relate to from my own background - one where you don't rely on wishful thinking but try and keep focusing on the little steps you can make to move yourself forward towards your goals, even when you have setbacks.
One of my philosophies or beliefs is that no matter where you're from, there are always things we can find in common, and for many I've talked to already sport, music and art have all been popular, but in the case of Ariana's Brazilian cultural heritage, Australia's coffee culture has been something that has helped her adapt to life here, as it was identifiably similar to what she was used to in Brazil. In fat, it was really interesting to hear a Brazilian explain the importance of "coffee culture" in Brazilian society. These things can seem mundane and unimportant until you move to a new place where many things are done differently. It reminded me that it's often important when you're moving to a new country to be able to find some kind of social "in", a way that helps you can connect with and relate to people, because it's these kind of things that make life enjoyable and worthwhile. It can be so easy as a newcomer, especially a migrant from a non-English speaking country, to feel lonely and isolated even in an advanced country like Australia.