Six months ago today, I left Portugal and moved to England.
It was so hot in Lisbon that day. Temperatures were around 35ºC.
I sold pretty much everything I had before leaving. With me, just a broken heart from stuff that happened a couple of months before, my favorite pair of shoes and some clothes to keep me going.
Everything else? Gone.
My best friend came to my house a few days prior to help me pack everything in boxes whilst worrying that I was throwing away, selling or donating to charity, things I would miss at some point.
I was numb at the time. Wasn’t thinking straight, wasn’t feeling anything and she knew it. It was a dark time for me so she became my eyes, thoughts and feelings and kept some of my things for the future. As best friends do. She knew that even if I didn’t wanted them at the time, I would in the future. She knew the person sitting next to her packing and donating her life away, wasn’t really me.
I gave up everything. I decided this would be a fresh start and tried not to look back.
Leaving my little princess, my life, my family, my friends, my safe haven and going towards the unknown was a mix of emotions that I can’t exactly describe.
Mind you that I had never sat foot in England before, I had no idea if I would fit in, if I would be happy… In my heart I felt that this was the path God created for me and if He tells me “Go that way”, I will. No questions asked.
Went to say goodbye to my nana, I hold onto her so tightly and we both cried. My nana is my absolute world and leaving her is like losing a part of me!
I passed through the airport security crying my eyes out. I remember looking back and seeing Marta cry as well… In that moment, I’m not sure how, I just carried on walking. (Marta: At that stage of my life, if I could even believe in the slightest ray of light at the end of the tunnel, you are one of the few reasons why. You are the absolute best! You are so special to me, you’re my sister and I THANK YOU for all you’ve done and still do! I’ll never be able to thank you enough… For all the hours you heard me sobbing and losing my mind… For all the hours you had to talk to me and calm me down. I would listen because my words were lost between the tears… You know how much of a positive impact you have in my life. You are so special..!)
When I landed in Bristol it was already dark. My flight wasn’t direct, had to go through Madrid first – where it was even hotter – and as soon as I left the aircraft I was confronted with the good old English weather. 16ºC less than Lisbon. I admit it, it was hard.
My friend Fábio – who I hadn’t seen in about maybe two years – went to pick me up.
Obviously I was going to enter by the left side of the car which is the side where English drivers seat on. It was confusing but funny at the same time.
This still happens more often that’d like to admit, but 10 minutes after being in England I felt at home and I can’t really explain that feeling. Somehow, the stress faded away, the tears that were with me since I’d left Lisbon, stopped (but my face looked like shit) and I was embraced with a feeling of peace and calm.
Ever since, I cried, I laughed, I felt my heart so warm but I’ve also felt it being broken again.
Is it easy to be away? No. If I regret it? No.
Since I moved, I danced alone in the rain. Just me, my iPod, cold, rain and an empty street. It was perfect. However, it wasn’t until later that I found about about CCTV… (Awkwaaaard!)
Since I moved, I realised that despite the fact that I can make myself understand in English does not necessarily mean that I know how to speak English. Some expressions or sentences when translated from Portuguese to English can be extremely misunderstood. Sometimes, shit happens as a result and others, it leaves everyone in tears with laughter!
I found out that apparently I look American or Canadian (and they don’t look very friendly at that point) and when I say I’m from Portugal, there are smiles everywhere and the first word is always “Algarve!!!” or “Ronaldo!!”.
Six months have passed and I found out that there are people who will always be with me. Those who are also in a different country but worry enough to try and find out if I’m ok; those who send me text messages and continue to prove that distance doesn’t matter in a friendship. Friends who hoped I didn’t like England so I’d go back home.
And I do go back but just for a few days so I can then return to my new home.
I’m happy here. I’m still a bit “lost” but with time and with the wonderful people I have around me, I know I will achieve my goals and achieve that inner peace that I’ve always wanted but for some reason, never found.
Six months have passed and so much has happened! And I know so much will still happen.
Honestly? I cannot wait for the next six months.
To all my friends, all my family that proved to be the best family I could ever ask for … THANK YOU! I love you with all my heart!
To my best friend Carina: I cannot even put into words … You understand me like no one else can, you give a me strength that I think you’re not really aware of, you’re always there whether rains or shines, tsunamis or whatever! If a day is hard , just to hear you say ” … Hmmppfff Gaaaajjaaaaaa!” I instantly start to smile and we both laugh. You are everything! Not worth explaining a lot because there are things that cannot be explained… Inseparable for 6 years now and let 50 more come so we can continue to have mixed conversations that no one else can understand.
To my family that has and continues to do a huge effort to help me… They are simply the best family anyone could ask for and I appreciate you all so much for what you’re doing! What you’ve been doing for me and Diana cannot be placed into words and even if I could they would never do justice… I love you!
A special thank you to Fabio who is a fantastic person. Running out of words on this one… It is a privilege for me to be your friend and be a part of your life. You really are a rare breed! We need more people like you in this world.
This is my first letter. My first public outburst.
From here on I’ll take you all with me on this journey. I will probably tell you happy but also sad stories.
I’ll share what’s happening in the land of Her Majesty the Queen and it will be like you are all with me.
Welcome to my life in Brizzle. Enjoy the ride.