Exactly a year ago I took the biggest step I’ve ever taken in my life.
I said goodbye to my parents, to my friends and family and I moved 2981,2 km away from the place that I had called home for the last 9 years of my life, just me and my beloved Cookie.
It’s so weird looking back, thinking of this past year. So many things happened, so much changed and yet so much is still the same. I just watched this video I posted of the apartment where stayed the first week in Vienna and all of the feelings I had then came rushing back. Seeing Cookie, before her second stroke, made me miss her so much. She was my one connection to home…my security blanket.
I was so scared when I moved here. I had no idea what was expecting me. It was at times very difficult, I had to learn how to be completely on my own, to rely on myself. From one day to the other my Parents weren’t 30min away anymore. It was scary as fuck and at times it still is, I would be lying if I said it isn’t! But I also have good times.
I made good friends. I learned to distinguish between someone who wants to take advantage of you and someone who truly is a friend. During my hardest times here (Cookie dying being one of them), I found out that I am not alone, even though at times I feel that way. I don’t have many friends, I am not a person of many friendships. But I’m a person of true friendships and I can say that I have found a couple of people who I can call friends. They fit in one hand, but they’re there.
Sometimes I feel so out of place, so weird, just like an alien. Sometimes I say something that people don’t understand or ask something stupid and then I feel that I don’t belong. At times I’ve wanted to just throw everything away, get on a plane and crawl into my parents lap, but I never did. Shortly after Cookie died I had a meltdown on the phone while talking to Mamma Waldherr and she told me “But sweetie, you are strong! You are still there, even when things get hard, you keep going, you haven’t given up yet! Others in the same position would have already given up and come back” to which I promptly responded “I don’t have money for a plane ticket!!!” and instantly laughed.
Because the truth is, I love Vienna. And I love Mafra, and Lisbon and Ericeira. There are parts of me that feel at home in each of these towns. But there are also parts of me that feel out of place in them. Recently I had a customer who called me a “mixed salad” and that made me laugh, but it also made me think about it – and it’s true. I spent so much of my life trying to figure out where I belong, when the truth was so simple.
I don’t belong anywhere. But I also belong everywhere.
I was born in Denmark, grew up in Portugal, have a Portuguese mother and a father who was born in Vienna without a nationality, lived in Spain for 2 years while a teenager, spent most of his early adulthood in Germany, became a Norwegian citizen in order to be a Captain, my Opa was born in Hungary and grew up in Vienna, my great grandparents where from Romania……….ya get what I’m saying! I grew up with all of these cultures and I might have the Portuguese nationality, but my heart is not Portuguese. Not just Portuguese. I cannot fit everything that I am in one little country!!! If you ask me where I am from, I will have a hard time answering that, because I come from so many places, with so many cultures. And for years I let that put me down, being different, I was bullied for it, I was mistreated in school and I was discriminated not only by classmates, but worse of all, by teachers.
Moving to Vienna felt like coming home. But going to Portugal feels the same exact way.
It took me moving countries to realize who I am, to find my identity. I am me. I am Europe.
It’s the only way I can describe myself and I refuse to be put into a box of just one country.
Thank you to all of you who have followed my journey so far. Thank you to all of those who kept following my blogs, even after I moved domains time and time again.
This year was full of ups and downs and “arounds”. Thank you for letting me share it with you, for every single e-mail you wrote me, for every comment.