This post is part of a weekly series in which we get to know Sifties.


Laura Milanez is a Support Engineer who has been with Sift Science for almost a year. In her spare time you can find her watching Dawson’s Creek or eating hot pot at her favorite spot in San Francisco, Nabe.

If you could pick only 5 words to describe your life, what would they be?

International, change, family, adaptation, independence.

What skill would you love to learn?

Speed reading. I am such a slow reader. There’s so many things I want to read that I just don’t have time for. I’m reading three books right now, none of which I’ve been able to finish. I am reading Rastres de sándalo or Traces of Sandalwood in English (it’s also been made into a movie), One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run-or Ruin-an Economy.

Where were you born?

I was born in a hospital in a neighborhood Laranjeiras in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Laranjeiras means “orange trees” in Portuguese. I love the name and I love the neighborhood.

You were born in Brazil, but have moved around a lot. What was that like?

I moved around a lot when I was younger, because my dad is a pilot for Ethiopian Airlines. When I was 13, I moved to South Korea and stayed for about a year. After that I moved back to Brazil for six months, then moved to Singapore for four years (throughout high school) then came to America for college.

When all this started happening, I was a mess. I was 13 and had never even lived outside of my neighborhood. I remember exactly where I was standing the day my dad told me that we were moving. At first, I just ignored it. Then one day I moved to South Korea – I was in the airport when it hit me what was happening, and I started crying.

I didn’t like living there initially, but then eventually I loved it. I had all these opportunities to travel around and study English. In retrospect, moving to South Korea was one of the best opportunities I’ve had in my life. If I hadn’t moved there I would never have come to the U.S. for college.

Now, I feel so at home not being at home, because I don’t really know what “home” is. Because of all of my traveling It’s easier to start relationships and make friends, because I’ve had to do it over and over again. It became a survival mechanism.

When it came time to go to college, I knew that I wanted to study in America in part because of the liberal arts system. I didn’t want to have to pick a major right away. Because I had lived in huge cities my whole life and had a hard time focusing and studying, I wanted to come to a tiny town. I ended up studying at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

It depends on who you ask, but if I had to pick, it’d be the fact that I never started my last grade of middle school but I finished it twice.

The story behind that is that when I finished 7th grade, I moved from Brazil to South Korea – where the school year system was different. I joined halfway through 8th grade in South Korea, then moved back to Brazil when it was the middle of 8th grade. So I never took the first half of 8th grade. I hope I didn’t miss anything.

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