Q: Good evening. How old are you?
A: 16 years old.
Q: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
A: I’ve got a brother.
Q: How old is he?
A: 19 years old.
Q: Who do you live with?
A: I live with my parents and my brother.
Q: You say you live with your parents and your brother, but hasn’t your father emigrated?
A: Yes, he has.
Q: When did he emigrate?
A: More or less 6 years ago.
Q: Where did he emigrate?
A: To France.
Q: Do you know why your father emigrated?
A: It was in 2012, my father was unemployed, he started looking for a job and he found work as a translator in a company in Penafiel, in France, and he accepted.
Q: What does he translate?
Q: Did he study to be a translator?
A: He was born in Portugal, but when he was less than one year old, his family moved to France and he lived there for about 26 or 27 years.
Q: So, French is his first language?
A: Yes, he speaks French very well.
Q: What kind of company does he work in?
A: He works for a company that goes up to the electricity poles.
Q: A company of high voltage electricity poles?
A: Yes, that’s it.
Q: Does he work in an office?
A: No. He goes on the field and communicates with the colleagues who are running the repairs and the other companies, who are French.
Q: During these 6 years how often has he come home?
A: Every three weeks.
Q: How has he traveled?
A: By bus.
Q: For how long does he usually stay?
A: He usually arrives on Friday morning and leave the following Sunday, in the evening.
Q: How long does the trip take?
A: 20 hours, sometimes 18 hours.
Q: It is a very long and tiring trip. Why does he come so often?
A: That is the company´s policy. They come home every three weeks and stay for the weekend.
Q: Who does he live with?
A: The company has rented a house there and they live all together. The workers and the cook.
Q: You say you’re 16, so you were 10 when your father went to France. Do you remember what it was like?
A: At first I was very sad. I got along, and I still get along, very well with my father. After being with him every day, knowing that I would only see him every 3 weeks was difficult at first. Now it’s also difficult, but we got used to it and we grew up. It was more complicated then.
Q: How is your relationship with your father?
A: We have a great relationship. We’ve always talked to him every day on the phone or I also text him. That’s why we have always had a good relationship.
Q: Have you ever used Skype or the webcam?
A: Yes, we have.
Q: When you talk to your father, are you usually alone?
A: Usually there are also my mother and brother.
Q: What did you talk about?
A: We ask him how it was at work, we tell him what happened to us at school, we talk a little about everything.
Q: And when he comes home, what’s it like?
A: It’s great! Sometimes he comes later and I am already at school. When he doesn’t see me in the morning before I go to school, he picks me up, because school ends at 5:00 p.m. It’s really nice.
Q: Besides that, does he come here on other occasions?
A: No, it’s always been every 3 weeks.
Q: What about Christmas or Easter?
A: At Christmas and Easter, he usually comes. He does not work all year long. He usually goes in March or April and stays until November. He only works during this period.
Q: What about the rest of the months?
A: He stays at home. Two or three years ago, when he was here, he used to get work, even if it was different from what he was used to do. Now it is not so. He usually gets the unemployment benefit.
Q: When your father left, you were 10, now you’re 16 and your relationship with your father has evolved, of course. Do you think it’s different because your father has emigrated?
A: Maybe a little. I look back and see that we were inseparable. Now, when he’s here, we’ve always been together, but that closeness has been lost. Before, I was with him every day, it was different. But we continue to have a good relationship.
Q: Has your mother filled those gaps left by your father?
A: Yes. I don’t know.
Q: What are the advantages you see in the fact that your father has emigrated?
A: The advantage is that when he was unemployed, he made very little money and since he went there he started bringing good money home.
Q: What are the disadvantages?
A: The fact that he’s not here with me every day.
Q: Is the relationship you have with your mother or your friends different because your father lives abroad?
A: No, I don’t think so.
Q: Do you have any hope that your father will come back soon, or do you think it will take a long time before this happens?
A: Honestly, I think it will take some time, because it is difficult to find work here in Portugal.
Q: What about your brother?
A: He’s studying in Oporto but lives with us. He comes home every day.
Q: Have you ever thought about going with your father?
A: I don’t think my mother ever thought about it, because my dad spends a lot of time here. If his job was all year long maybe my mother would think about it and we would go there. In the current situation, it is not worth it.
Q: What do you think about that?
A: I think about it and I wouldn’t want to go, but if in the future I needed to emigrate I would do it. But I don’t want that to happen.
Q: What do you intend to be in the future?
A: I’m studying economics, but maybe I’m going to change because I don’t like it very much. But I still don’t know very well what I’m going to do.
Q: Do you have friends whose fathers have emigrated?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: Where are they?
A: France, Switzerland, Belgium.
Q: Do their parents come home as often as your father comes?
A: No, they don’t. I’m lucky!
Q: If you had to emigrate, would you rather go with your family, or alone? Do you think you could go abroad, build your life there and never come back?
A: I would rather go with my family, as I think it’s different if you go with our family. When I talked to my father about it, he said that during the week time passes quickly. They get home from work, dine and go to rest, but at weekends they do nothing. My dad went to visit his aunt once or twice, but that was all.
Q: Doesn’t your father have a good relationship with other workers?
A: He has a good relationship, but as he says, he is already with them during the week. If they had their family there maybe they would go out for the weekend. They usually go out shopping, my father also goes, because he speaks French, but that’s it, nothing else.
Q: Is there anything at the moment that you want your father to do or that you want him to give you?
A: The only thing I want is for him to get a job and stay here for good. It would be very different even though he comes home often.
Q: What do you miss the most when your father is not here?
A: He does many things with us, he is very affectionate. Sometimes I ask my mother something and she says no, but he gives it to me. We really have a great relationship!
Q: Are you closer to your father than to your mother?
A: At the time, before he left, yes. Now, I do not know, he started to go and I started to have a greater relationship with my mother. I talk to her about everything and there are things I can’t talk to my father.
Q: Is this because you’re a girl or because he’s away?
A: Maybe because I’m a girl, I don’t know.
Q: Women understand each other better. What are your wishes for the future?
A: I don’t have any special wishes.
Q: The future doesn’t scare you? Do you worry more about the present?
Q: What about your relationship with your brother?
A: It is very good. It is better now than it was before. We used to argue a lot, which is normal among siblings, but we grew older and our relationship is very good.
Q: At the moment, is your father in Portugal or abroad?
A: He’s here. He’s going next month.
Q: Do you already feel a little nervous because he has to go?
A: Yes, it is always difficult having to drop him off and leave him.
Q: Thank you very much for your testimony.
A: You’re welcome.