An Expat Going Home for Vacation
Four months ago I became a Portuguese expat living in Eastern Europe. Last week, I got on a plane back to my hometown, Lisbon, just to say “Hello” to the city I had abandoned, and to visit my beloved family and friends. I had 6 days to get back with everybody who matters and to visit the city where I was born and raised.
After a 12 hour layover in Munich, I exited the gate that would get me to the inside of a TAP’s Airbus A321. In no more than two hours and forty-five minutes I had reached my city’s airport.
It felt great arriving to Lisbon but at the same time it was a weird sensation. It had been over a hundred days since the last time I had heard so many people speaking the Portuguese language, in fact, in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, where I currently live, finding a Portuguese speaker outside is very uncommon.
Instead of creating many plans for these days, I tried to take care of all the issues I had to solve as quick as possible in order to have enough time to be with everyone, and believe me, when you’re coming for the first time, and your family is aware that they will not get to see you in the next months or years, they’ll just want you all to themselves, and sometimes, that becomes very stressful.
On our second day in Portugal, my dad drove us to Avis, a little town located in Alto Alentejo, where I haven’t been since 2007. I also had the chance of visiting Barragem do Maranhão, a dam that was built during the Portuguese dictatorship, back in 1957.
Despite having loved to go back for a visit, when my vacation was over I was feeling a lot more tired than before. So many concerns, such as getting my car fixed, paying a visit to the dentist, updating my home address, packing my bags and one of my guitars… I promised to myself that the next time I go back to Lisbon, I will really enjoy the weather, I will amuse myself and I’ll get to discover a little bit more about my country.
Snails, sushi and eels… three of my favorite dishes that I’ve been struggling a lot to live without. I just couldn’t get back on the plane without having all of these three meals.
The weather is my number one challenge in moving to such a cold place. These six days in Portugal just reminded me very well of one of the best things about living in Lisbon, the hot weather, specially compared to Sofia where I will face several months temperatures way below zero.
In spite of not wanting to make a living in Portugal, I will definitely go back for vacation once in a while.