Nesse episódio, vamos ouvir duas histórias de pessoas que descobriram uma nova vocação depois de ter que mudar de carreira de forma inesperada.
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Helena: Quando Stephanie Wolf finalmente foi ao médico, sua perna tava doendo fazia várias semanas. Ela era bailarina profissional havia dez anos, então já tinha se machucado antes, mas dessa vez percebeu algo… diferente.
Stephanie: Walking was difficult. But I finally had my dream job after working so hard for most of my life. I was only concentrating on performing, and I didn’t want to admit that I was in pain. I hoped that it would just go away.
Helena: Mas não foi isso que aconteceu. E então, Stephanie decidiu marcar uma consulta.
Stephanie: I thought the doctor was just going to tell me to take a break. But when she saw that walking was really hard for me, she looked worried. After some tests, she told me that my femur was broken. I was 30 then, which is old for a professional ballet dancer. I started to wonder, “Is my career over? What else can I possibly do now?”
Helena: Welcome! Esse é o décimo primeiro episódio da segunda temporada de Histórias em Inglês com Duolingo. Eu sou Helena Fruet. Nesse podcast, você vai poder praticar inglês no seu ritmo, ouvindo histórias reais e emocionantes.
Os personagens falam um inglês simples e fácil de entender — perfeito pra quem tá aprendendo. Eu vou te acompanhar em cada episódio pra ter certeza que você tá entendendo tudo.
Hoje vamos contar histórias de pessoas que, inesperadamente, se viram obrigadas a mudar de carreira… Antes de começar a segunda história desse episódio, gostaríamos de avisar que ele fala da pandemia do coronavírus e das mortes que ela tem provocado.
Quando era pequena, Stephanie era tímida. Tão tímida que tinha vergonha de falar em voz alta na sala de aula. A professora levou muito tempo pra perceber que ela já sabia ler! Mas Stephanie logo encontrou uma forma de se expressar sem ter que falar: o balé.
Stephanie: I started taking dance lessons when I was 10. My teachers told me that I was very talented. They said that my body was perfect for dancing because I was flexible and had long arms and legs. I liked being active and feeling creative at the same time. And I loved performing on a stage.
Helena: Stephanie tinha 13 anos quando dançou pela primeira vez sozinha num palco…
Stephanie: It was also my first time wearing a tutu on the stage, which is an important moment for a ballerina. My tutu was light blue with flowers, and I still remember some of my dance movements. It felt so amazing to be on that stage. And after that, I knew that I wanted to be a professional ballet dancer.
Helena: Pra virar bailarina profissional, Stephanie se inscreveu e foi aceita numa escola especial de balé, no estado do Texas, nos Estados Unidos. A escola ficava a 12 horas de carro da sua casa, que era na Geórgia. E assim, o balé dominou sua vida.
Stephanie: You’re trained to believe that you can only be successful if you think about ballet and nothing else. So that’s what I did. I watched videos of ballets. I read biographies of dancers. All day, I only thought about dancing. My life and my identity were ballet. As a teenager, I never went to a school dance or football game, and I never had any romantic relationships. I didn’t have time for that because I spent weekends and evenings in a ballet studio.
Helena: Quando tinha 19 anos, Stephanie conseguiu seu primeiro emprego, no balé do estado de Minnesota, onde ela ficaria por sete temporadas, ou seasons.
Stephanie: I moved to a city really far away from my family, and I didn’t know anyone there. Also, I didn’t make much money. But I was still getting paid to dance, so I was happy. I danced there for seven seasons before I joined another professional dance company in Minnesota. And then I went to work with companies in New York City, including the Metropolitan Opera.
Helena: Nessa época, Stephanie entrou na universidade, mas nunca chegou a se formar. As turnês com a companhia de balé dificultavam os estudos. Mas ela sabia que precisava de um plano B pra quando não pudesse mais dançar.
Stephanie: I took an English composition course and one day, my professor asked if I was interested in being a writer. I loved writing. I wrote in a journal often. And when I danced with the Minnesota Ballet, I also wrote a blog for the company. But I never thought about a career in journalism — until then.
Helena: Depois que seu professor disse isso, Stephanie começou a pensar que quando parasse de dançar, se formaria em jornalismo. Mas era só uma ideia. Ela achou que ainda ia poder dançar por muito mais tempo.
Stephanie: My dream was to dance with a specific ballet company in the state of Colorado. I loved the style of dance at that company, and it was my goal to work there.
Helena: Em 2012, quando Stephanie tinha 30 anos, finalmente conseguiu entrar nessa mesma companhia de dança. Ela vendeu a maioria de suas coisas, empacotou as poucas que sobraram e dirigiu rumo ao oeste.
Stephanie: In the beginning, things were great. I loved the dances I was doing, and I felt like I was becoming the dancer that I had always wanted to be. But a month after I started, I fell.
Helena: Ela tava ensaiando uma elevação, ou lift, com um colega.
Stephanie: The lift wasn’t high up in the air. But it was difficult, and I had to land on one leg. As I was landing, I fell on my side. The fall was so bad that everyone stopped what they were doing to see if I was okay. My partner helped me stand up. And I didn’t feel any pain immediately, so I thought I was fine.
Helena: Pouco tempo depois, a perna de Stephanie começou a doer… muito. Mas ela tinha medo de contar pros colegas. Afinal, esse era o trabalho dos sonhos dela! E fazia só um mês que ela tava lá! Ela não queria que uma lesão atrapalhasse seu caminho.
Stephanie: There isn’t much job security for dancers with ballet companies in the U.S. We only sign contracts for one season at a time. I really wanted to stay for the next season, so I needed to show the company that I could work really hard. Also, pain is just part of the job. As a dancer, you learn how to manage aches and pains, just like you learn how to improve your pirouettes.
Helena: Mas a dor começou a ficar muito forte. Stephanie percebeu que não podia mais ignorar. Então ela foi ao médico, achando que ia ser uma consulta rápida.
Stephanie: The doctor sent me to another clinic to get some tests. I was there all day. Finally, they told me what was wrong with my leg, and it was very bad.
Helena: Stephanie tinha fraturado o fêmur, rasgado a cartilagem do quadril e desenvolvido outros problemas por ter seguido dançando com uma lesão. Sua recuperação, ou recovery, ia levar muito tempo.
Stephanie: That meant that I couldn’t dance for months. I had a frustrating recovery and walking was incredibly difficult for me. I was used to dancing for eight hours a day, but during recovery, I couldn’t even do basic things. Since I was new to Denver, I didn’t know many people. All of my colleagues continued with their busy dancer lives, and I just wanted to go back and work with them again. I felt really lonely.
Helena: Durante a recuperação, a companhia de balé disse que não renovaria o contrato de Stephanie por causa da lesão. Era oficial: ela tinha perdido o trabalho dos seus sonhos. E depois, recebeu notícias ainda piores.
Stephanie: My hip wasn’t getting better, so the doctor said that I needed to have surgery. When I heard that, I knew that I might never dance professionally again. I made a lot of sacrifices during my ballet career: with relationships, my education, my health. I knew I couldn’t dance forever, but I couldn’t believe it was all ending so soon. It was totally out of my control. You might think that it’s just ballet, but being a ballet dancer is more than a profession. It was my whole identity until then. I didn’t know who I was without ballet in my life.
Helena: Mas Stephanie sabia que era hora de aceitar aquela dura realidade: tinha que mudar de carreira. Então, no verão de 2013, nove meses depois de se machucar, ela conseguiu um estágio, ou internship, num canal de notícias.
Stephanie: There I was, starting a new job at 31. It felt strange to do an internship at that age. Some people in my life told me to get an office job or to choose a more practical career. They thought it was crazy to want to be a journalist. But I actually thought journalism was perfect for a performer like me. Ballet dancers have to work really hard under a lot of pressure. And just like journalists, performers tell stories.
Helena: Apesar de não ter diploma de jornalismo, Stephanie teve muita sorte de conseguir uma oportunidade em tempo integral na área. O estágio acabou virando um emprego numa estação de rádio, primeiro num programa de entrevistas e depois como repórter de cultura.
Stephanie: At the beginning of my journalism career, I did not want to be an arts reporter. I worried that other journalists wouldn’t think my work was important, and some of them didn’t. They called art stories “fluff,” which means that they’re not “real news.” But I stopped worrying about that. As a former artist, I bring a unique perspective to journalism. I understand the amount of work that goes into a painting, a dance, or a song. And I understand the art industry. I also find a lot of creativity in my work, which is important for me.
Helena: Hoje, Stephanie vive em Louisville, no Kentucky, nos Estados Unidos, e é repórter de cultura na estação de rádio local.
Stephanie: I was such a shy kid, and I felt like I didn’t have a voice. But then I discovered ballet, which helped me express myself. When I lost that part of my life and I had to stop dancing, I needed to find my voice again. And I did find that with journalism. It’s funny because now I actually have to use my voice to do my job. And I love it.
Helena: Pra Stephanie, aquela lesão foi a responsável por fazê-la mudar de carreira, indo do balé pro radiojornalismo. Mas pra Jenifer Veloso, foi a pandemia que a fez repensar sua trajetória como enfermeira. Jenifer virou enfermeira meio que sem querer. Quando era pequena, ela era apaixonada por teatro e queria ser atriz.
Jenifer: When I went to college, I had this strange idea that studying theater was selfish. I thought that I should study medicine and become a nurse or a doctor instead. I wanted to help people. Looking back, it was a little silly. You can help people in any career that you choose. But I decided that I had to study medicine.
Helena: E assim, Jenifer foi estudar medicina. No começo, ela queria ser médica, mas logo ficou amiga de uma enfermeira, que a incentivou a seguir o mesmo caminho profissional que ela.
Jenifer: She said I should volunteer at the emergency room, or ER, at a public hospital in the city of Flint, in the state of Michigan — where I’m from. Then, I could see how the doctors and nurses work together. So, I volunteered at a trauma center, which is a type of hospital for patients with complicated conditions. I was 19 at the time, and I remember watching the nurses. They did everything! The ER was so busy and crazy, and the nurses were working hard in the middle of the organized chaos. I wanted to do that too.
Helena: E foi o que ela fez. Jenifer se matriculou na faculdade de enfermagem e logo conseguiu um trabalho naquele mesmo pronto-socorro que foi voluntária. Nos quatro anos que trabalhou lá, ela viu pacientes com todos os tipos de ferimentos, ou injuries.
Jenifer: Some of my patients had injuries from guns, some were in car accidents, and some had heart attacks. There were also less serious injuries like broken arms. It was hard work, but I liked it.
Helena: Então, chegou março de 2020… e a pandemia de covid-19. Jenifer sentiu que devia se juntar à luta contra o vírus. Então ela decidiu pedir transferência pra uma unidade de tratamento intensivo num hospital que ficava a uma hora de de carro, perto da cidade de Detroit.
Jenifer: It was overwhelming. It wasn’t so bad when I first got there. But then we heard that the hospital in Detroit was completely full of COVID-19 patients. So, they were going to transfer some patients to our hospital. A day later, we had a huge number of people coming in, all sick with COVID. It was crazy!
Helena: Jenifer precisou atender pacientes que tavam no leito de morte.
Jenifer: Our patients were dying so fast, and at the same time, we continued to get more patients. People died in the ER often, but this was different. It was early in the pandemic. There was so much we still didn’t know about the virus, like exactly how it was transmitted. Young doctors were dying because of COVID. Everyone was so scared.
Helena: Jenifer teve medo. Pra se proteger do vírus, ela precisou usar todo tipo de equipamento de segurança.
Jenifer: I felt like an astronaut in a spacesuit. My face was covered, so my patients couldn’t really see my eyes or hear my voice very well. And I had to explain to them what was happening while wearing all of that protective clothing. It felt surreal and almost inhumane.
Helena: Os pacientes com covid não podiam receber visitas… o que significava que também não podiam estar com suas famílias, nem mesmo quando tavam morrendo. Jenifer ajudou vários deles a se despedirem de seus parentes por telefonemas ou videochamadas.
Jenifer: One of my patients asked me to do something very important for him. He wanted me to knock on his window when his oxygen levels got low and remind him to breathe. I made a sign that said, “Breathe deeply and slowly” and put it in his window when he needed to breathe. When I knew he was going to die, I helped him call his daughters so they could say goodbye.
Helena: Depois de fazer a ligação entre o paciente e as filhas, Jenifer tentou falar com a esposa dele. Ela ligou várias vezes, mas ninguém atendeu.
Jenifer: I later found out that his wife was at a hospital in Detroit. She also had COVID, and she wasn’t doing well. It broke my heart. I was with my patient when we had to intubate him, which we hoped would help him breathe. When COVID patients need that procedure, it isn’t usually a good sign. I cried the whole time. He died later… No one should die without someone they love next to them.
Helena: Jenifer ficou no hospital de Ann Arbor por um mês. O contrato dela era temporário e, quando terminou, ela queria trabalhar numa unidade de tratamento intensivo em Detroit.
Jenifer: I just wanted to help COVID patients and do nothing except work and sleep. Because I knew that if I stopped working in a COVID unit, then I would have to think about all of the horrible things that I saw in the hospital.
Helena: Mas, quando Jenifer se preparava pra começar no seu próximo emprego, o número de pacientes com covid no hospital diminuiu. Disseram pra ela que não precisavam mais de reforços, e ela ficou desempregada, ou unemployed.
Jenifer: When I was unemployed, I had a lot of time to think. Too much time. I started to process all of the things that happened, and I remembered the trauma of watching so many people die. That’s when I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t continue taking care of people who were dying. I was ready to find a new profession.
Helena: Uns anos antes, Jenifer tinha começado a tirar fotos quando tinha um tempo livre. Ela viu um monte de vídeos no YouTube sobre fotografia e leu livros de fotógrafos famosos. Um desses livros foi uma autobiografia de Lynsey Addario, uma fotógrafa de guerra.
Jenifer: She took photographs to show how breast cancer was treated in the Congo. And she took portraits of refugees who were escaping war in Syria. I read her book and thought, “Wow, I want to go to countries like Libya to take pictures.” So when I was unemployed during the summer, I decided to photograph my former coworkers. I wanted to tell the stories of the people who worked in hospitals during the pandemic.
Helena: Jenifer fotografou seus antigos colegas da emergência, da unidade de tratamento intensivo e os paramédicos, imortalizando-os enquanto faziam seu trabalho. Ela compartilhou essas fotos nas redes sociais e no seu blog.
Jenifer: I also asked them how they were doing, how the pandemic affected their work, and how they stayed positive. Then, each person suggested another person for me to interview and photograph. It helped me process my experience in the hospital, and it was a cool way to celebrate healthcare workers.
Helena: Isso também fez Jenifer pensar que podia investir numa carreira nova no mundo do fotojornalismo. E então ela começou a concorrer a vagas de emprego como fotógrafa.
Jenifer: A lot of people said no. They told me that I didn’t have enough experience. I also didn’t have a college degree in photography, writing, or journalism. I started thinking that it was a bad idea to change my career. I worried that I was spending too much money and time on photography. But I had a lot of helpful people in my life, and they made me feel confident. Some of my friends helped me improve my photography skills and others just told me that I could do it. So, I continued to apply for photography jobs.
Helena: Jenifer precisava ganhar dinheiro: tinha contas pra pagar e precisava de um bom equipamento fotográfico. Então, ela também procurou trabalho como enfermeira e até conseguiu uma entrevista num centro cirúrgico.
Jenifer: When I left the interview, I started crying. The idea of working at a hospital again made me feel anxious. I told myself, “I don’t want to do this.” When I got to my car, I looked at my phone. I had an email from the editor of a news site called Flintside. I knew they didn’t have any job opportunities, but I had emailed them anyway to see if they wanted to hire me as a photojournalist.
Helena: No e-mail, o editor disse que acompanhava o trabalho de Jenifer, que gostava das fotos e que queria trabalhar com ela. Em anexo, ele enviou um contrato pra que ela trabalhasse como fotojornalista independente.
Jenifer: It was shocking. But it was also a beautiful moment. I was worrying about working at the surgery center, and suddenly there was this amazing opportunity to start my photography career. I happily signed that contract.
Helena: A primeira pauta de Jenifer pro Flintside foi fotografar e entrevistar manifestantes durante os protestos por justiça racial em Flint, Michigan, nos Estados Unidos. Era fim de setembro de 2020.
Jenifer: I was amazed that my editor trusted me with this story. I was also surprised that people at the protests said, “Yes,” when I asked them if I could take photos and ask some questions. I was so happy to share these stories from the community that I grew up in.
Helena: Jenifer agora também trabalha como fotojornalista independente pra outros veículos de comunicação. Ela acha que aprender bedside manner, ou como tratar bem os pacientes como enfermeira, ajudou a carreira dela como fotojornalista.
Jenifer: Because I was a nurse, I have a good bedside manner. I spent years meeting strangers who needed help. When I met a patient, I said, “Hi! My name is Jenifer. I’m going to be your nurse today. How are you?” I had to build relationships quickly because my patient had to trust me. Photojournalism is similar. I meet strangers and say, “Hi! My name is Jenifer. I’m a photojournalist, and I’m working on a story.” I have to quickly build connections to help each person understand that I care about their story and that I will be responsible with it.
Helena: No entanto, Jenifer às vezes sente falta de trabalhar na emergência.
Jenifer: I miss working with a team of other nurses. And I miss the challenge of quickly finding the best treatment for my patients. But I love my job now. As a photojournalist, I can help people understand important issues. And I can help make positive changes for other members of my community.
Helena: Jenifer Veloso é fotojornalista e vive em Flint, Michigan, nos Estados Unidos. Ela foi enfermeira de emergência antes de trabalhar com fotografia.
No começo, escutamos a história de Stephanie Wolf, que mora em Louisville, Kentucky, nos Estados Unidos. Ela produziu esse episódio todo em sua nova carreira como jornalista especializada em áudio.
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Eu sou Helena Fruet. Thank you for listening!