Q: Good evening. How old are you?
Q: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
A: No, I’m an only child.
Q: Who do you live with?
A: I live with my mother.
Q: Where is your father?
A: He works in Switzerland.
Q: When did he emigrate?
A: More or less 5 years ago.
Q: Do you know why your father has emigrated?
A: Because here in Portugal there were no job opportunities and before things got worse here at home, there were an opportunity for him to go to Switzerland and he took it. He went there with another Portuguese colleague he knew.
Q: What is his job?
A: He works in construction. He is working with plaster which is what he likes to do most.
Q: When your father decided to emigrate, did your mother work or was she unemployed?
A: I think she was unemployed.
Q: Do you remember the first day he left?
A: Yes, I do. It was on a Saturday. We had a baptism that day.
Q: Tell me about it.
A: It was in the morning and, to avoid a big impact on me, he didn’t wake me up. He came into my room, gave me a kiss and left without big farewells, because he doesn’t like goodbyes.
Q: How was your relationship with your father back then?
A: We have always been very close. We have a very good relationship, we talk a lot with each other. We are very close friends.
Q: Did that relationship change when he emigrated?
A: No, it didn’t. We talk to each other every day, we tell each other everything.
Q: How do you communicate?
A: The first month was very complicated, but know we can talk via Skype.
Q: Why was it so complicated?
A: He went to a colleague’s house, he had nowhere to stay, no Internet, and the calls were very expensive. We talked a little bit and it cost a lot of money. So the early times were more complicated.
Q: Now you speak via Skype, right?
A: Yes, we talk every day.
Q: Do you speak with him alone or is your mother with you?
A: It depends.
Q: How often does he come home?
A: He comes in the summer, in July or August and every two months, to spend the weekend.
Q: How does he travel?
A: When he comes for the weekend, he travels by plane, on summer holidays he usually comes by car with a friend, but he has come by plane, too. It depends.
Q: Does he live with that friend you’ve mentioned?
A: No, he lives alone. He used to live with that colleague, but now he lives alone, in a studio.
Q: Have you ever visited him?
A: Yes, we have, twice.
Q: What do you think about the place where he is?
A: It’s different from here. But people are nice.
Q: Do you understand why your father has emigrated?
A: Yes. When I was younger it was complicated for me to understand it, but now I do.
Q: Why did your opinion change?
A: I used to wonder why my father had to emigrate and those of my friends hadn’t, but now it is clearer to me.
Q: Don’t you have friends whose fathers have emigrated?
A: Back then I didn’t. Nowadays ,it is more common.
Q: What about the people who live near you? You live with your mother. Do you have relatives living near you?
A: My family is very close to each other. My godmother lives next door, my grandmother lives near us and we are together all the time.
Q: Does it make it easier for you to take your mind off your father’s absence?
A: Yes, of course.
Q: Do they understand why your father has emigrated, or not?
A: They have come to accept it and they help us and understand us.
Q: You are a student, of course. What are you studying?
Q: What would you like to study in the future?
A: I would like to get a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Q: Have you ever thought about emigrating?
A: No, not at all!
Q: Why not?
A: As I am used to having my family and my friends around, I think it would be strange to go to a new world without anyone, I don’t know.
Q: This is your father’s reality, right? How do you think he feels? Can you imagine yourself in your father’s shoes?
A: I don’t know. Probably I wouldn’t handle it. How does he feel? On the one hand, he feels like a warrior, for being able to help the family, on the other hand, maybe he feels sad because he can’t be with us every day. In the end, I think he feels good. He doesn’t feel very well, of course, but feels that he is helping in some way.
Q: If you had to ask your father for anything, something he has not given you yet, what would you ask for?
A: I wouldn’t ask him anything. I’ve got everything I need.
Q: Isn’t there any desire you would like your father to fulfill?
A: I would ask him to come home for good.
Q: Do you think that your life is much different because your father has emigrated?
A: No, not really. It’s a bit different, but not that different.
Q: Do you feel closer to your mother than to your father?
A: Yes, I do. The fact that I’m with my mother every day makes it different.
Q: When you talk to your father via Skype, do you tell him everything or are there things that you only tell him when he visits you?
A: Most of the things I tell him on Skype. There are a few things I keep to tell him when he comes home. But I usually tell him everything.
Q: Do you think your father will be away for a long time?
A: He says he won’t. Maybe for another four or five years and then he will try to return.
Q: Why another four or five years?
A: He says he never wanted to be there for long. I think he’ll be there until I get my degree. So he can help me and then he’ll come back.
Q: So, your father emigrated only for economic reasons?
Q: The main reason why your father is still abroad is because you are studying. Do you feel somehow responsible for that situation?
A: A little, yes. I know that school is not exactly cheap, it implies a high cost for me to have a good education. So that I can have all I need, he had to emigrate.
Q: Do you think the economic issue is the only advantage of emigration?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: What are the disadvantages?
A: He is far from us, he is there alone, there’s no one to support him every day, no family, no close friends.
Q: Has he kept the ties he had here or has he made many friends there?
A: He’s kept the ties he had here, but my father is a very sociable person and has managed to make some friends there. He gets along well with everyone, he talks to everyone and so he has friends here and other friends there.
Q: Are the friends he has there Portuguese or from other nationalities?
A: The majority are Portuguese. The firm where he works has workers of other nationalities, so he has friends from other countries, too.
Q: Besides Portuguese, what other languages does he speak?
Q: How did he learn to speak German?
A: He learned by himself, listening to others speaking. He likes languages, so it was easier for him. For some time he attended some classes at night, to learn to speak better and he manages to communicate with the others.
Q: What about the future? I know you want your father to come back, but what are your wishes for your future?
A: I wish to finish my studies and I want my family to remain united. I want to keep in touch with everybody and above all I want everybody always happy, which is the most important.
Q: About your mother, just a little question, because she’s not here to answer. How does she feel about the fact that your father had to emigrate? Do you talk about it?
A: At first it was very complicated. Before, there were two people educating me and then she was alone. Now she’s more used to it. Of course it’s still not easy. But she got used to it and now she can handle it better.
Q: In relation to your school, is it your mother’s responsibility or does your father also take part in the decisions?
A: It’s mostly my mother’s, but my dad helps, too.
Q: For how long have you not seen your father?
A: One day ago. He was here this weekend.
Q: Lucky you! Whenever he comes here and has to go back there, it is becoming more difficult or is it easier?
A: It’s not easy, but it’s not as difficult as it was in the beginning.
Q: Maria, thank you for your cooperation. I wish the best for you and your parents
A: Thank you.