Category Archives: Words from the heart

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I have been neglecting this blog and feel terrible about it 😦

The truth is that at first I was consumed by my upcoming trip to Lisbon. There was a lot of anxiety in the preparations, so many things I wanted to do, places to visit, people to see… A part of me was also very apprehensive as I had never been away for so long and I was worried what I would find…

While there, time just flew! I did not manage to do all the things I wanted, visit all the places I had planned or see everyone… I never do! It was awesome to be back but I must confess that I did not feel like I was home, not really…. I mean, Lisbon will always be HOME in my heart, and it will always be MY city, however I cannot imagine being there permanently and living there again. My routines, my house, and work are elsewhere and that makes me a foreigner, watching the city´s commotion from afar.

When I came back, it took me about 2 weeks to get over the jetlag and sometime to process all the thoughts, emotions, and experiences lived in those short 3 weeks…

Here are some pictures of my beautiful Lisbon 🙂

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It is wonderful to be able to see my city through the eyes of a tourist, in a way that I was never able to see it when I lived there!

It is wonderful to be able to feel at home in different places!

It is amazing to have the opportunity to have lived, and live, abroad!

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“Home is where the heart is”

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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

I have read a rather interesting account of a fellow expat in the InterNations website (link below) regarding the “Double Life of an expat” and I could related to her feelings well.

When living abroad there is a part of you that always seems out-of-place. You don´t really belong in your new country, as you feel different in so many ways, but you no longer fit in at home either because you have changed so much due to your new experiences.

At times this can be a difficult thing and even hard to accept. You struggle to get used to new habits, schedules, weather conditions, etc . while, at the same time, things are continuously changing back home which means that every time you return you´ll feel out of touch with the reality that used to be yours.

However, this expat experience is truly enriching and should be seen as a magnificent opportunity and a blessing. We get to feel understand and be part of two different worlds.

As Emily put it: We get the best of both – the enjoyment of a new culture and lifestyle, and the promise that our native countries will always be there when we go back, even for a short while. For every expat, visiting our native countries evokes some strange, nostalgic emotions, but for me, at least, visiting ‘home’ made me rethink the definition of the word. As expats, we either have no home, or two – and it’s up to us to decide which way we prefer.

Airports and visits from far away

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When you live abroad the airport becomes the place where you have to say goodbye to your loved ones but it also the place where you get to greet them at each arrival. Therefore, getting to the airport is always an anxious and exciting time for me.

On Saturday morning we woke up earlier than usual to pick up some good friends at the airport 🙂 On the way there we could not hide the big smiles on our faces, we found it nerve wrecking when it took forever to find a parking spot, and couldn´t believe our eyes when we read in the arrivals´ screen that the plane had landed earlier.

Walking into the terminal the phone rang and we knew that the good times had begun. A couple of minutes later we were hugging each other and trying to say everything that we had bottled up for whatever many months into the first 5 minutes of conversation 😉

It is awesome to have visits that bring us a bit of home (or what we once called home!). You get to catch up on whatever is going on in each other´s lives, reminisce about old times, make plans and create new memories that will have to last until next time!

Also, when you have people visiting, you get to see your city with a different set of eyes and even discover new places that you had no idea were there.  Equally, it is a great opportunity to do some activities that you had thought about but did not get around to yet.

I love having friends staying with us and it makes me feel immensely happy when people feel welcome in our home!

One year…

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Brisbane Botanic Gardens

Time does fly indeed! I can´t believe that it has been a year since we arrived in Australia!

I have grown accustomed to going to sleep to the sound of the flying foxes, who like to nibble the berries in the tree near my window, and wake up to the sound of the kookaburras and lorikeets.

I no longer find it strange when a possum or a bush turkey cross my path in the street or when an ibis approaches me in the park whenever I am having a snack.

I have started to shorten words and find myself saying brekkie, barbie, tradie, Woolies, Maccas, etc.

I have held a koala and I have patted and hand-fed kangaroos and wallabies.

I have celebrated Xmas in the summer.

I have eaten crocodile, emu and roo (short for kangaroo ;-p).

I have had picnics at the beach, barbies in natural parks, gone antique shopping , rummaged the city in search of the best coffee, and made some new friends.

Overall, it has been a crazy year. It has been though but rewarding. There still a long way to go until I can call Australia my home but I am getting there, slowly but surely 😉

Let the next year rock on!!!

When the distance hurts too much…

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Mum´s cake last year

My mum´s birthday was yesterday… I miss her so much and on special occasions like this I find myself missing home like crazy…

Last year we were all together, we all sang happy birthday, we all had a slice of cake and some Port wishing her many years of health and happiness ahead.

I had to wait all day to call her due to the timezone but the first call she got in the morning was mine. We talked on the phone some 30 minutes or so, and told each other how much we are always in each other´s heart. Though the physical distance is big there is nothing that could ever come between us and our unconditional love.

But once you put down the phone, you don´t feel so strong or positive anymore. You feel sad, you miss home, you wish you were there and you feel that you´re missing out on so much.

I have been living abroad for 7 years, though this is the first year that I have been so far away…, but it doesn´t get any easier…

I wouldn´t change my life and I feel so grateful, happy and blessed to have been given the opportunity to live in other countries, to be able to experience so many different cultures and to grow as a person in such a wonderful and rich way. But it doesn´t come without a price and some days your heart just feels tiny and the distance hurts too much…

Then you thank the universe for the amazing family and friends that you have back home and that are a huge support in your expat life. You thank the universe to be able to live in a “dream land” and to have so many amazing experiences. You give thanks for your health, for your amazing significant other, for all the good that surrounds you. You then pick yourself up, put a smile on your face and go out and face the world for a brand new day 🙂

4 months :D

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View of Brisbane´s CBD from Mount Coo-tha

View of Brisbane´s CBD from Mount Coot-tha

It is exactly 4 months today since we arrived in Australia! Time has definitely flown by!

It seems like yesterday that we were walking through the CBD with a map in our hands and now I find myself knowing the name of the streets by heart. So much has happened in such a short time but it is still overwhelming to think of the long journey still ahead of us until we can call this city home.

We have been able to sort out all of the bureaucracy  involved in just a big move which will now allows us to focus on the fun stuff. Now, we need to focus on the social aspect of life, meeting new people, new places, and doing the many activities that bring us joy! It is the start of an exciting time for us ;-p

I must confess that I truly miss my old life, house, friends, and work colleagues back in the UK. And of course, my family and dear friends in Portugal! But we have no regrets and we are very happy to be staring a new life down under!!!

Another important step conquered

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Last Monday, I started my new job. The first one in Australia 🙂

Job searching is always stressful, and when you come to a new country things tend to take a bit longer. So far, I have been very blessed and have achieved most of my goals so every time I applied for a vacancy and got the standard email, thank you for your interest but you have been unsuccessful, my confidence took a hit. And believe me, there were quite a few of those until I got the first calls, and subsequent interviews.

Going on interviews is both exciting and nerve wrecking. And the worst part of all is when you´re waiting for an answer. You try not to create any expectations and have to fight yourself not to check your phone and email every 5 minutes. I have to admit that I did not miss this emotional roll-a-coaster at all and I am glad it is over!

Getting a job does not only mean getting a salary. More importantly, it means that you have a purpose, are occupied and keep intellectually challenged, and you get to meet new people and interact with them on a daily basis. I cannot stress how important this is when you live in a new country! It is an amazing milestone on your integration process!

The first week was quite intense, as there is so much to learn, but it was also very positive. The people are very nice and were very welcoming. The next two weeks will still consist mostly of training so I still have a long journey ahead of me before I feel like a fish in the water again.

It is inevitable to compare the new job with my previous one and so I do miss my colleagues and friends in the UK. However, I feel ready to take on this new challenge 😀