My name is Roberto Nascimento. I work in the film industry. I’ve always wanted to. I’m from Brazil.

When I came here I had no idea how to do that or how to start and it took me a few years to get there. I’m still getting there. But at least I am doing what I want to do now.

I have lived away from Brazil for 13 years. I always wanted to get out of Brazil since I was about 10 or 12. New Zealand was not my first option but it just happened.

I was 21 and a bit directionless. I didn’t have a job. I wasn’t studying and I was really frustrated. I had the chance and it was really quick – within a month I was here. There was not a lot of planning involved. I just wanted a chance to get out and I did. I came here but I didn’t know anyone here.

I started doing farming jobs. I first arrived at Auckland and I went straight to Hastings. I was there for a week and then I travelled further south. I was there for about a month pruning grapevines and picking grapes to make wine. There I met a bunch of Brazilians who were doing the same thing and we drove to the Bay of Plenty. I stayed there for several months working at fruit farms, restaurants and other jobs. I was the only one of that group who could speak English so I ended up being a translator.

***

I look at my family, my parents and my brother and sisters and I love them. I look at my cousins and the people I went to school with and I never wanted that life for me. I never wanted to go to University. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted more but I have always been passionate about films and I saw no way I could do that back in Brazil at that time. It was a new concept and I struggled to fit in. I was never really, I never really fitted in. But I don’t fit in here either, so that’s the thing.

A friend of mine and myself we talked about it a lot. I don’t think there is a concept of home. I don’t think there is one for me. I don’t think I’ll ever find it.

I don’t feel sorry for myself. I hate being a victim actually. I always felt like an outsider here coming from Brazil for a number of reasons. I’m gay as well, but I don’t think that would be the only reason for not fitting in.

I am constantly reminded that I don’t belong here. I feel like I have to work twice as hard to get any recognition or work. It’s probably something that’s just in my head but ingrained in me so I think I really have to work hard. So I try. I have a very strong work ethic and it’s just because I wouldn’t know what else to do.

I feel like I can’t slack off because no one is going to give me anything. People are not going to be patient with me. I have to really be focused. In my experience if you are from New Zealand people do give you many more chances. If you don’t have privilege or family you can feel like you are excluded and you have to work twice as hard. That’s definitely how I feel. Of course I have met incredible people for most of my adult life so I can’t complain. At the end of the day, I am still doing what I really want to do.

I am pretty resilient. I feel like a douche bag saying it. If you have survived New Zealand for 13 years you need a medal. You need like an award or something. Though in equal measure, the place has been pretty good to me also. Obviously I like it, it’s the reason I am still here. I can get the freedom I never had. It means I can have whatever I want. I can explore whatever I want.

When I left Brazil was 21 and my brother was 4. We always had a very strong connection. There are not many people I love. My brother would be the person I love the most in the world. He gave me a compass, like a plastic toy. I don’t think he even remembers giving it to me. When I left Brazil I knew I wasn’t going to see him for a while. I didn’t see him for 3 years and then for 7 years after that. The plastic compass is just something that reminds me of my brother.

At one point I returned to Brazil and stayed with my family for 9 months. A part of me thought maybe there was a small chance that I might stay in Brazil but after I month I realized I wasn’t going to. It wasn’t a shock to me, it was just a confirmation that I never really fitted in there.

When I first moved to Auckland, I was not used to the city. I met very kind people who helped me a great deal but it was not a fun time for me.

I think am doing okay in comparison to a lot of people I know. I think I have a good group of friends. I think that I have been working really hard over the years to get somewhere. I really don’t have anything to show but that’s okay. It’s more about doing what I want to do and I think I am starting to get to a point where am getting a bit more work. I survive and I pay my rent. I would be lying if said I am happy about it. I'm frustrated about things but if I fall into the spiral, it’s going to very dangerous. I feel I really don’t have the luxury to get depressed. I can’t really do that because no one is going to pick me up.

The point is I think am doing okay. I have got a lot of cool projects and I’m meeting new, interesting people. I have to remind myself of that every day otherwise you start doubting yourself and I don’t want to do that.

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