Q: How old are you?
A: I am 55 years old.
Q: For how long have you lived in Spain?
A: I have lived in Spain for 7 years. At the moment I am working in Portugal.
Q: Do you have any children?
A: I have three children, two daughters and a son. My daughters are 28 and 22 years old and my son is 17.
Q: Why did you decide to emigrate?
A: The company where I had worked for 20 years crashed and I had been unemployed for 2 years. My three children were still at school, so I had to emigrate to have enough money to pay for all the expenses.
Q: What was your job?
A: I was a truck driver and took materials to areas under construction. I also know how to work with heavy machinery like bulldozers. Being specialized in these areas, I had a good salary. Then came the crisis and the construction company where I worked went bankrupt, as I said before. When I went to Spain I went to work as a house painter. The salary was not very good, but since we worked for many hours, the extra money we made paid off. My living in Spain was very difficult and I wanted to earn as much money as possible quickly so I could return home.
Q: Was it difficult for you to adapt to the life in Spain?
A: To be honest, I never adjusted. I just left the house to work and go shopping. I never went out for lunch or dinner in a restaurant. First, because I do not like Spanish food and second, because I did not want to spend money. I lived with two other men with whom I also worked. There were Spanish men working with us, but they were not my friends and I never went out with them. Social life didn’t interest me. Those were difficult years. I felt very lonely and I really missed home and my family. I wanted to work as much as possible, so that time passed quickly.
Q: How often did you visit your family?
A: Once a month. We made the trip by car, which took about 5 hours. I did not come home more often because I also worked at weekends. And, it was very difficult to go home and come back. I know my wife suffered a lot and my children did too.
Q: How often did you communicate with your family?
A: Usually, twice a week. I phoned home and I usually spoke with my wife and my children at the same time.
Q: What do you like best about Spain?
A: I didn’t like anything in particular. Like I said before, I was there to work and nothing else. I do not have fond memories of that time. I’m much happier now that I am with those I love. I do not have a salary as good, but money is not everything in life.
Q: Do you consider the possibility of emigrating to another country?
A: I hope I will not have to. I have already been offered work in France and Switzerland, but I have refused. I’m not young anymore and I can’t work as many hours as I used to. To earn little more than what I get here in Portugal, I prefer to work here.
Q: You emigrated for economic reasons. What do you think was the biggest disadvantage of having emigrated?
A: I lost the strong bonds I had with my children. I have been absent from their lives at such important times as adolescence. Even the relationship with my wife was different. I think things are more balanced now and we will be able to recover some lost time. But there are things that have been lost forever.
Q: If you could go back would you do things differently?
A: I made the decision to emigrate because I had no other choice. I do not feel guilty about anything and I know I did what was best for everyone. However, I do not think it was good. It was necessary to do it and I had to do it. I worked hard, I suffered a lot, but I managed to give my family a better life. At that point I fulfilled the goals I set.
Q: Thank you very much for your testimony and for your cooperation.
A: Thank you.