Transplants and Natives
Transplant from Danville, California: Lisa Bores
By Nancy Peevy
Lisa Bores’ engineer dad moved their family to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a work assignment when she was 12. Having grown up in Danville, California, with friends she’d known since preschool, Lisa had no idea where Brazil was or what life there would be like. She’s grateful for the experience, though, because living there impacted the rest of her life, giving her “respect for different backgroundsand cultures,” the courage to try new experiences, and lifelong friends.
“One of the first things I remember seeing as we drove from the airport to our new home was the ‘favelas’ — homes constructed out of cardboard — on the side of the mountain. Just to imagine that’s how people lived was eye-opening for a 12-year-old.” Lisa realized how fortunate she was and, because of that, looks for ways to help others.
Lisa’s Brazilian home was an apartment in a massive complex made up of six 30-story buildings with soccer fields, basketball courts, a dance studio, two pools, green spaces and lots of security guards with guns. Quite a change from Danville.
Half of the students at her English-speaking international school were expats from around the world, so everyone was in the same boat, adapting and bonding as they went through the experience together, helping each other along.
Lisa experienced Brazilian life, from the beautiful gowns she and her friends rented for friends’ quinceaneras — celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday — to being picked up by her friends’ family drivers. “Like personalized Uber – without an app,” she laughs.
On an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro, her family watched fireworks over Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Lisa laughs that they were surprised to walk out of their hotel to find everyone wearing traditional white from head to toe. Hurrying back, they found white clothes to put on. She remembers locals floating white flowers and candles out to sea that night as an offering to the goddess of the ocean.
On a trip to the Amazon, the family stayed in a hotel on stilts above the Rio Negro, fishing for piranha and eating it for dinner. On a visit to a local tribe they enjoyed native dances and trying the local food.
Leaving her close friends in Brazil was hard when the family later moved to Atlanta. But Lisa and her friends kept in touch, talking on the phone, taking beach trips to Florida, snowboarding in Colorado, visiting in Connecticut, even attending one another’s weddings.
As a result of the time in Brazil, Lisa says,“I’m more open than some people who never left their hometown. I’m adaptable when it comes to meeting people. Moving around forces you into different interactions and you have to build new relationships over and over again. Now I’ve come to enjoy that.”
While majoring in international marketing and Spanish at the University of Georgia, Lisa studied abroad in Valencia, Spain, spending spring break in Greece, backpacking to 18 European cities in 30 days and seeing the alpine skiing event at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Most memorable was “canyoning” in Interlaken, Switzerland, where participants descend a canyon by navigating streams or waterfalls through a mix of sliding, jumping, swimming, walking, climbing and rappelling.
After graduation, Lisa took a job in Chicago with Colgate, not knowing anyone there, but remembering that good things come from venturing into the unknown. Six years ago, work brought her to Northwest Arkansas, where she is now director of sales, Walmart, for Nestle Coffee Partners. When she married husband Derick in 2017, they honeymooned in Bora Bora.
Lisa says life in Northwest Arkansas is like an expat experience in the United States, “because everybody’s here for almost the same reason. Everybody’s been in your shoes before and everybody is so welcoming. That’s part of the reason I fell in love with the area.”