I only noticed how poorly I was breathing until I landed yesterday night in Lisbon. How did things become so heavy? At what point did I stop being positive and turned into a grumpy, annoying, all-the-time stressed, little gnome? When, exactly, did I stop being ‘me’ to become a human black hole?Continue reading “I Can Breathe Again, Away From The Queen’s Land”
I guess I haven’t shared much about my life as an expat in the UK. Well, some ugly details have certainly slipped away, but I know I haven’t dug too deep on that. There is a whole interesting cycle that I’m sure someday I will be delighted to describe here. For now, I just want to share how excited I am about my return to Lisbon.Continue reading “Expat Life: The Return To Lisbon”
I remember as if it was today, the day in which my British acquaintances couldn’t really look me in the eye. That was the day when we all got to know that UK voted to leave the European Union. What a moment in history to be an expat in this country.
At that time I felt disappointed, even betrayed. All the unconscious bias toward foreigners I had been suspicious of was now supported by a nation’s choice. On that day, I wore my Portuguese flag as a scarf on my neck and joked around: is was not only Brexit that was happening; Vanexit was occurring at the same time. However, things calmed down a bit, after the storm. As we all know, Brexit hasn’t formally happened yet, and my plan to remain for at least 5 or 10 more years was somehow restored.
Something changed again though. Brexit is no longer that big worry, or at least it no longer weighs down on my decision to stay or leave. I now simply want to leave, and probably never return, unless for business purposes. I’m tired of being by myself and feeling like my days are dull and grey. When I come back home, there’s no one there to sit down and chat about my day. I have no one to speak my own language – and I don’t mean Portuguese. UK’s culture and people’s way of being caused me more hurt than joy.
Maybe I just made up my mind some time ago and stopped trying to be happy here. Maybe that’s the actual truth. Nonetheless, I think I have done a pretty good job at living and working abroad by myself – three years is a considerable amount of time. Also, working on the same project for such a period of time when I’m more creative than analytical is also quite an achievement in my perspective. That makes me feel I’m not quitting, I’m simply listening to my body (my sciatica is killing me today) and soul’s (I want to do crafts, paint, write…) desires, which I should have done sooner.
Right now, I just want to go home. I don’t know if I will stay there for a short or long while. All I know is that I need to be there to figure out what the next step is. I need to breathe-in that feeling which I can only find in my home country, the country which gave worlds to the world.
Portugal’s popularity has certainly increased since the 2016’s European Football Championship and the 2017’s Eurovision final. If we gave new worlds to the world in the 15th century, by reaching places like India and Brasil, the world is certainly discovering us now, six centuries later. People from around the world have been visiting us, enjoying the weather and our friendly culture, while also falling in love with our food and wines.
Nonetheless, I would say that Portugal’s recent popularity is due to some very specific traits most of us share, which may explain why we have only been reintroduced to other European fellows and even to the whole world just now.
We are humble and reserved
Instead of showing off our qualities, we reach people’s hearts and minds by keeping a low profile and by giving our best to others. When compared with other south European countries, you will not see us spitting fire and throwing stones to people. We can be quite passionated but we prefer to be diplomatic and more joyful. Just have a look on how our President reacts in the video below:
We are emotionally intense
We have created Fado (music genre) and we have fantastic poets such as Fernando Pessoa and Florbela Espanca who amazingly wrote about feeling everything in every single way possible. We basically make love with words and who best to show you that than Salvador Sobral, the winer of the 2017’s Eurovision festival:
We are not ugly competitive
I believe that because we gave new worlds to the world centuries ago and because we were the first ones contacting with foreign nations, we are very much open to others and whoever visits our country. We always do our best to speak in a language you can understand (e.g. english, french, spanish) and we are typically givers. We embrace different cultures and I think our history shows how we usually strive for friendliness with other nations. This attitude doesn’t make us aggressive and ugly competitors. Check out this kid’s reaction when we won the Euro Championship in France, in 2016:
In sum, we are not a “show off” nation. We do what we have to do, without making a blast of it and we keep loyal to our values and attitudes.