Q: Good afternoon. Age?
A: 25 years old.
Q: I know that you have a sister who has emigrated, right?
Q: Do you have any other brothers or sisters?
A: I have got another sister.
Q: Why did one of your sisters emigrate?
A: Because she took a college degree to be a nurse, she looked for work in this field for some years and didn’t get anything and the job proposals she had were also not good at the level of salary and the duties she had to do and so she was almost forced to emigrate to be able to work as a nurse.
Q: Did she have an invitation to go to work there, or did she go looking for a job?
A: No. No, she went looking for a job. She set a deadline to send her curriculum vitae to several places, so she could get a job here. By the end of that time, since she did not get anything here, she decided she had to do something, she had to look elsewhere, and then she decided to go.
Q: Tell me something. Did she have any reference, someone she knew where she decided to go to, or was she on her one?
A: She had a friend who is a dentist, who had also emigrated because she did not get a work proposal in Portugal that was according to her expectations, she talked to her and she decided to follow her. She was the only reference she had and at least she wasn’t alone.
Q: For how long has she been there?
A: For about 3 years now.
Q: Did it take long for her to find a job there?
A: No, it didn’t. She had no language problems, so after a week she had already gotten a job.
Q: Has she been working in the same place since then, or has she changed jobs?
A: She has always worked in the same place since she went there.
Q: What does she do exactly?
A: Works in a nursing home, with older people.
Q: What do you feel about the whole situation?
A: I feel very sad that my sister cannot stay here with us. We talk every day on Skype, but it’s complicated. She got married, she had to prepare her marriage by herself, away from us. She is planning to have a child and we will not keep up with the baby’s growth, it is difficult, complicated.
Q: So, she is married.
A: Yes, she got married recently.
Q: For how long has her boyfriend or husband been there with her?
A: He went to live with her about a year later because he was finishing his degree. He went to live with her after finishing his degree and taking specific training in the language.
Q: Do you feel that your life has changed a lot after she emigrated?
Q: Oh, yes. We experience different emotions. The fact that she is far away makes us realize that we do not value what we have while people are with us and there are a lot of things that changed.
Q: What do you talk about with her?
A: About trivial things. About what we ate, about shopping, about our day, our work, we talk about absolutely everything!
Q: You work with your mother, right?
Q: Do you think that someday you’ll have to emigrate, too, or is that totally out of the question?
A: It is not totally out of the question, because I think our profession here in Portugal is not very valued and there is a lot of people in our job and, therefore, it is not out of the question, but if I can stay in Portugal… I will do everything to stay here, because being away from the family is very complicated. Although my sister is there, I have my parents here, the years go by, people are getting older, our grandparents, then there is always someone who leaves, and it is difficult to be far way.
Q: If you had to emigrate, which country would you choose? Where would you go?
A: I haven’t thought about it very much. But, perhaps France, because I have many relatives there.
Q: How often does your sister visit you?
A: Scarcely. When she comes here it’s a weekend when she has to go to a wedding. As she has lately gone to many weddings, for example 4 weddings the same year, she comes on Friday and leaves on Sunday or Monday. She was here for a week at Christmas, but she hardly stays here much longer.
Q: What about you, do you visit her often?
A: We visited her, but not often. At Christmas, for example, then we go one at a time, on her birthday, at Easter. She doesn’t have a big house, so we can’t go there all at the same time.
Q: When you go there, do you go alone, with your parents, or with your other sister?
A: We usually go one at a time. Once we went all together, but we had to make a great effort because the house is small. Once I went there alone with my boyfriend, I went with my sister, it depends.
Q: Can you find advantages in your sister’s emigration, or only disadvantages?
A: Advantages? Well, she’s working in the field she was trained for, and I think she was born to do what she does, she really likes what she does, mainly because she works with the elderly and she really likes working with the elderly. She was born to help others. Apart from that, I do not see any great advantages.
Q: In the conversations you have with her, does she tell you that she wants to come back to Portugal, or she doesn’t see herself here again? Do you think her coming back would be very difficult?
A: She would like to return, because she loves her family and her country. But she often says: “Go back? I have everything here. I have my job, my house, I have a car, a fridge, a sofa, everything! If I go back to Portugal, I will have to start all over again and that would be very complicated.”
Q: You told me that her adaptation was not too difficult, because she already knew the language. Had she ever been in the country where she went before, Spain?
A: She had already done Erasmus in Salamanca. She is a person who learns languages easily and before going, she took a Spanish course which helped her master the language and so it was much easier.
Q: You talk about emigration with a lot of grief, why?
A: Because it was very complicated when my sister said she would emigrate. We had to say goodbye to her and whenever we go to visit her or she comes here it’s always the same, saying goodbye. There are many things that happen in her life that we can’t keep up with.
Q: But you weren’t born in Portugal either, were you?
A: No, I was born in France.
Q: Do you remember that time or were you too young?
A: I was too young. I have few memories of that time. I remember going to France many times because I have family there, and I remember going there on holidays, Christmas, New Year’s Eve. Every year we went to France.
Q: What about your other sister. Does she work here?
A: Yes, she works as a salesperson in a company. She isn’t working in the area for which she studied because she has a degree in Criminology, but she is ok with that. She also does not imagine herself leaving the country to work in the profession for which she studied, she likes what she doing at the moment, and that helps.
Q: Is there anything you would like to ask from your sister, what would you like her to do or bring you? What would you like to see happening in the immediate future?
A: The only thing that I usually say is that if I won the EuroMillions I would bring her back for good. Or if she herself won anything, she could come back to Portugal. Now at this stage when she is planning on having children, I think about it a lot. Not being able to keep up with the child’s growth, the fact of having to be born in another country that is not his or hers, we don’t know what she will have, is complicated. Even for my parents, they are getting older, they already feel the need to have little grandchildren and there are many things that they are losing and that’s sad.
Q: Thank you for your cooperation.
A: Thank you.