My Luso Story: Gabrielle

Updated: Jun 11

#MyLusoStory is an open and honest series about the Portuguese experience in America.

I’ll admit, sometimes I feel like I’m not Portuguese enough. It’s interesting when you grow up with more than one culture. It can open up so many doors but it has a way of making you feel like an outsider.

Gabrielle, founder of liveLUSO, in Lamego, Portugal

"My name is Gabrielle. I am half Portuguese on my father’s side and half American (ethnically mixed, but culturally American) on my mother’s side. Although I'm only half Portuguese, I was raised with the Portuguese culture — from attending events at my local Portuguese community to going to daycare at a Portuguese family friend's house, spending summers in Portugal visiting grandparents, being a flag girl for a Portuguese philharmonic band as a teenager, and eventually working at a cafe in Portugal during my later teen years.


Naturally, I feel a close connection to the Portuguese culture. But, I’ll admit, sometimes I feel like I’m not Portuguese enough. It’s interesting when you grow up with more than one culture. It can open up so many doors but it has a way of making you feel like an outsider.


In Portugal, I’m the American girl. In the U.S., I’m the Portuguese girl. But I’m never quite one or the other. Truth is, I'm half and half, so how can I be wholly just one thing?


Having always lived in the U.S., it's certainly been easier to "be American." But creating Portuguese connections has been more difficult. When I was younger, I hoped to get involved with my local Portuguese community to create friendships with people in the U.S. who understood my Portuguese background, but I never felt like I belonged there either.


Sometimes it was because I was only half Portuguese. Sometimes it was because even though I was Portuguese, my family was from the mainland, not the islands. And most Portuguese in my local community are from the Azores or Madeira. There are great people in that community, I just didn’t connect with them.


Perhaps therein lies my motivation for creating liveLUSO. To create a Portuguese community where everyone belongs. I’m not even sure I realized that when I first started liveLUSO, but my mission has become clearer over time.


To be honest, liveLUSO is a passion project of mine and its nurturing it is a slow process. I have a full time job and this isn’t it. Maybe it will be one day and maybe not, but I hope to continue building liveLUSO into an online Portuguese community, where everyone is welcome.


It doesn't matter if you're Portuguese. It doesn't matter if you have a Portuguese community near you. liveLUSO will be a place where everyone can come together and celebrate the culture. And to be clear, it’s pretty great being half Portuguese and half American. I wouldn’t have it any other way."


- Gabrielle Horta, Founder of liveLUSO

From: San Diego, CA

Portuguese Family From: Foz do Arelho, Portugal


From left to right: My dad, my mom, a family friend, and me at a Portuguese festival in San Diego

Funny. Heartfelt. Genuine. My luso stories are told firsthand by our liveLUSO community revealing the role that Portuguese culture has played in their lives. When we hear each other's stories, we develop a greater understanding and sympathy for each other. And oftentimes, we find that we can relate to people we've never even met.

Share your voice in our #mylusostory series. Send your story to ola@liveluso.com.

It could be a one paragraph vignette on what you enjoy about the Portuguese culture or a tale about your family's journey to immigrate. It could be about a past tradition or who you are now and how the Portuguese culture has helped shape you. We welcome all stories!


*Your submission may be shared on our blog, social media, or monthly newsletter.


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