3.000 km away from home: Relocation in Portugal
New city, new language, new job
I moved to a city where I have never been before, without being able to put together a full sentence in my new country’s language and have no plans in finding a job. Relocation might seem arduous and frightening at the beginning but it is all about the journey, right?
Looking back now, I can remember most vividly the beckon of adventure and the need for a blip in my life’s path. As a proud loony millennial, I embraced the opportunity of moving from the biggest SE European country, Romania, to the westernmost country of mainland Europe, the petite Portugal.
Six months passed and time seemed to fly by, but
- Often, time is not money
Undoubtedly, the most surprising fact for me was the fact that Portuguese culture is also guided by the lax Mediterranean ground rules: slow down, be present and just sit back and watch the world go by.
In Portugal, time is time and generally, it can move slowly. “Coming in 5 minutes” can easily become 30 minutes of waiting, a quick lunch can expand up to 2 hours and usually, this comes after you had the first and the second breakfast of the day.
The beautiful side of this standpoint is that you cannot even protest about it. Time is a practical notion in modern life and most of the standards are built around it, allowing people to coordinate events and meetings. However, another thing I should not have taken for granted coming here is the similarity between Portuguese and Romanian standards.
Back in Romania, I used to work remotely from different coffee or tea shops every week. I genuinely developed a habit out of trying new flavours, new drinks and new recipes. Hot or cold, hot butter, caramel, chestnut, vanilla, rosemary or ginger, mint or pumpkin. In Bucharest, they are all there, at a coin-flip`s away.
Arriving in Porto, sometimes even chocolate flavoured coffee is a little-known blend to ask for. Maybe because Portuguese people take coffee truly serious. Maybe too serious. The most popular coffee here is an espresso. This might be called uma bica, um cimbalino or um cafe. Cheia, tres-quartas, uma italiana, um cortado, um pingo, um pingado, um garoto or uma carioca are all varieties of coffee served in small cups.
- We all have a multicultural DNA
I started volunteering in an intercultural environment from an early age and that is how I learned to show eagerness, engagement and willingness to work. I am not afraid to define myself as a traveller and curious explorer. After living in three different countries, at the beginning, I had the feeling that I don`t belong anywhere anymore.
However, I started to meet people like me and started to understand home is just a state of mind, the peace you find at the end of the day, the joy you rediscover when learning simple things again: how to greet people, how to interact in the supermarket, how to read a foreign website. It is like being a little kid and a responsible adult at the same time.