Q: Good afternoon. Age?
Q: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
A: I’ve got an elder brother.
Q: What do you study?
A: I study Arts and I am finishing the 11th grade.
Q: And your brother?
A: He’s at the university, in Lisbon, studying Law. He’s been at the university for 3 years.
Q: How often does he come home?
A: He comes home every two weeks.
Q: Who do you live with?
A: Most of the time I live only with my mother, because my brother lives in Lisbon and my father is an emigrant.
Q: When did your father emigrate?
A: My father has been an emigrant for about 12 years.
Q: So, you were 5 years old. Do you remember that time?
A: I vaguely remember the day he left for the first time. I remember seeing my brother and my mother crying a lot. I think I was crying too, but I did not quite understand what was going on. I remember that my father gave me a very tight hug and that I was crying. I think it was the only time I’ve ever seen my father crying. For a few days, my mother cried every night. I know she stopped working and stayed home all day. From then on, she always took us to school and brought us back. I liked that part a lot.
Q: Did your mother stop working because your father had emigrated?
A: No. As far as I know, my parents worked for a company that went bankrupt and they were both unemployed. My father decided to emigrate and my mother stayed with us in Portugal.
Q: How often did your father come home?
A: At Christmas, Easter and on the summer holidays. It was like that for many years. In the last two years, he has also come for our birthdays. As there are very cheap plane trips, he books plane tickets in advance and comes.
Q: How is your relationship with your father?
A: For a long time my father was a stranger to me. He emigrated when I was very young and I did not talk to him on the phone. Since I only saw him 3 times a year for a short time, he was someone who came to visit us, who brought me gifts and took us for a walk when he was here. Then I grew up, we started to communicate more, then the technology evolved a lot, we started to make Skype calls and my father became a more present figure. With my brother it was always different because he was older when my father emigrated. Now I see things differently and I can say that I have a good relationship with my father.
Q: Your father has emigrated for economic reasons. Do you feel responsible for it in any way?
A: I did not ask to be born! But I know that my father was forced to emigrate to help me and my brother develop. My father and mother did not study and therefore their jobs are not well paid.
Q: What does your father do?
A: My father works in construction.
Q: Has he always worked in construction?
A: I think he worked in a textile company with my mother, before emigrating. Afterwards, the jobs which were available, even abroad, were to work in construction.
Q: You said that, now, you feel closer to your father. Why?
A: I grew up. Now I understand the reasons that led my father to emigrate, I know that I will have other opportunities that my father didn’t have and I respect my father very much for this. However, I don’t have a relationship with my father as some of my classmates have. They are with their fathers every day, they do more things together, talk to each other about everything. I talk to my dad, but not about everything. I don’t think I have enough intimacy with him to tell him my secrets.
Q: What about your mother?
A: With my mother I have an excellent relationship. I love my mother! But, I’m 17 years old and there are things that a teenager, especially a boy, doesn’t share with his mother. I talk a lot to my older brother and, when I need some advice, I ask him.
Q: Have you ever visited your father?
A: No. He doesn’t live alone in a house. Therefore, he can’t accommodate us.
Q: Do you think your father will still be abroad for a long time?
A: I don’t think he’ll be back until retirement. In 5 or 6 years. My father is 56 years old.
Q: Do you think you may have a different relationship with your father in the future?
A: Maybe, I don’t know. At that point I might even be married and have children or even live far from here. The future is always uncertain … I think that in personal relationships, distance doesn’t help to create bonds. Sometimes it destroys those ties. Other times the relationship doesn’t evolve. That’s what happened to me and my dad.
Q: Do you think emigration will ever be a possibility, for you?
A: As I’ve said, the future is uncertain. If I had to emigrate, that wouldn’t be a problem for me. But if I were to have a wife and children at that time, I wouldn’t leave them behind. I would take my family with me.
Q: Do you feel like you’ve been somehow abandoned by your father?
A: Abandoned? No, but I missed and I still miss him so much. Fortunately, my mother managed to raise us very well on her own, but having your father around is very important.
Q: Thank you for your cooperation and best wishes for the future.
A: Thank you.