An umbrella protects you from the rain when you have nowhere to take shelter in. I had no place, no family, and no friends to help me protect me when I arrived in the United States in 2014. I decided to leave my hometown, the city of São Paulo, Brazil in order to be able to be myself and to develop my future at a place that is more accepting than my home country. After experiencing the hardships of growing up as gay in Brazil, California pulled me because of its acceptance towards minorities and the opportunities that it held for the LGBT community. I decided to leave my culture, my language, my friends, and my comfort zone behind, searching for a better opportunity and a better future for myself.
Before I left my rainy hometown to embark on my journey to California, my mother insisted for me to bring this umbrella with me. Knowing that California was extremely dry, I insisted that I did not need it. When I arrived in Fullerton and had to leave the cab to go in the hotel, the city was pouring rain and without hesitation I reached for my backpack to grab my mom’s umbrella. This umbrella has ever since held a really important place in my life, as it represents my family’s presence and their efforts to protect me even if we are physically apart. Knowing that I have their support and that they remain close to me has given me the strength to adapt to a new place, a new culture, a new language, and a new life.