Augusta Rego-Barros arrived in Seattle from Recife, Brazil in 1996. She moved to the United States with three children who didn’t speak English. She came to marry an American named Mike and to bring together her three kids, who up until then had been living separately as she struggled as single mother to bring in enough money to support a family of four.
Her first day in the United States involved a first ever visit to McDonalds and finding out that her new home had practically no furniture. Her biggest struggle was dealing with her eldest son, Marcelo, who deeply resented the move from Brazil and his now inability to continue surfing.
In August 1996, we arrived at the airport in Seattle, in Tacoma. And my husband, Mike, drove us to Redmond. In Washington. I remember the kids were exhausted. The flight was 18 hours long. And so Mike, stopped to give them some food. We stopped at McDonalds. And the kids loved it, because at that time there was no McDonalds in Brazil. We knew about it, but the kids had just had a blast.
Then we went to the house. It was the first time I saw the house, it barely had any furniture. Was disorganized. Mike just moved in. So it was a little bit of a shock for me. But everybody was so tired, I just tried to put everybody to bed.
The first day, the very first days were very challenging, because Marcelo, my 14 year old son was very very upset to move and live here in the United States. He loved Brazil, he loved our city. He loved the beach. He was surfing then, and he was not happy. I faced very very difficult days with him.
With the other kids, they didn't speak English, but they were small, so it was easy. They were excited. Everything was so new for them, so it was exciting.