Q: Good morning. How old are you?
A: I’m 28 years old.
Q: Do you have any children?
A: I have got a daughter who is 2 years old.
Q: Who in your family has emigrated to Spain?
A: My husband.
Q: When did your husband emigrate?
A: One and a half years ago.
Q: How was your life before he left?
A: It was a relatively stable life. However, my husband is a management graduate and has worked in a bank for about 8 years. It was an English bank, which was bought by a Spanish bank. The new owners of the Bank have another way of dealing with customers, some services have ceased to exist and have been replaced by others, they have changed the policy of support and customer service, and of course, Portuguese branches have undergone readjustments, as usual in these circumstances. During these changes some branches of the bank were closed, some employees were dismissed and others went to work for other villages or towns. As my husband had good performance results, he had a good customer portfolio and he was a young man, the CEO of the bank invited him to go to work for the headquarters of the bank in Spain. This was a unique opportunity for his career and we both agreed that he should accept. So he went to live in Spain.
Q: So, it wasn’t just for economic reasons?
A: Of course my husband’s salary has been much better since he went to Spain, but it was also important that he was promoted. It was very good for his career.
Q: Do you remember the day of his departure?
A: Of course I do. He left for Spain in early August. Our daughter was six months old. We went on vacation and then he went to take up his position in the bank. It was hard enough to see him go, especially since my daughter was still a baby, and of course he did not quite know what he would find. He had already rented a house to stay in, but he would go to Madrid, a huge city!
Q: You understand that the sacrifice has to be made. Are there other Portuguese workers where he is?
A: Yes, there are two more Portuguese managers working with him. A woman and a man.
Q: Do you have a job?
A: I am a psychologist, but I have never worked in my field after I finished my college degree. I have mostly worked part-time. This stage is even better for me because I can spend more time with my daughter, as I said she is only two years old.
Q: Do you have family or relatives living near you?
A: Yes, I do. I live near my parents, my sister and my brother who are younger than me and are still studying. They are a great support to me and my little daughter.
Q: While your husband was away did you ever need to go to the doctor, to the hospital?
A: I have had some health problems, as well as my children, but nothing serious.
Q: What about him. Has he ever gone to the hospital in Spain?
A: No, he hasn’t. He is a very healthy man.
Q: Do the people closest to you know that your husband is an emigrant? What do they think of that?
A: They agree with our decision. They all think that was for the better. They understand and give us their support.
Q: How do you usually communicate with your husband?
A: Over the phone, by regular or WhatsApp call.
Q: What do you talk about?
A: We talk every day by video call. I’m always with my daughter when I talk to him, because she already says some words, makes gestures and knows him very well! She is very happy when she sees him and this is very important in the relationship between father and daughter. Nowadays everything is easier in terms of communication which helps to bring people together.
Q: Are there things that you only tell him when he is at home?
A: No, not really. I think it’s very important to share everything with him. It’s a way of staying closer. It is very difficult to maintain a distance relationship if we do not share our day to day life.
Q: How often does he visit you?
A: Once a month.
Q: Does he live alone or with someone?
A: He lives alone in a small apartment in the suburbs of Madrid.
Q: Have you ever thought about going to live with him?
A: This is only a matter of time. We want our daughter to grow a little bit more, so she can go to a school in Spain. We think she should start attending school there, because it is easier to adapt while she is a young child. We were waiting to know if my husband would stay in Spain for a long time or would soon return to Portugal. The predictions is that he will continue to work in Spain for a few more years, so I will move there with my daughter, probably after the summer holidays. I think that family must be together. It’s the only way to strengthen a relationship. I do not believe in long-distance relationships, especially when couples are young with small children. Besides, I might have a chance to work as a psychologist there. I’m already learning Spanish so that everything will be easier.
Q: What are the advantages of your husband being abroad?
A: The advantage was the increase in salary and my husband’s promotion.
Q: What are the disadvantages?
A: There are many disadvantages. We are apart, our relationship is not as close as it should be, our daughter misses her father and he feels he cannot support us as he should. However, we all like each other very much and hope that time passes quickly and that everything goes well.
Q: I see you are anxious for time to pass so that you can join your husband.
A: Yes, that is true. I’m looking forward to live with my husband. I’m going to miss Portugal, my parents, my brother and sister, my friends. But my place is with my husband whom I love very much. I think I’ll be happier when I’m with him.
Q: Is there anything you would like to ask him to bring to you, something you long for?
A: I just wanted him to be here. But this is impossible, at least for now.
Q: Thank you for your collaboration.
A: Thank you.