Q: Good morning. What is your name?
A: My name is M*.
Q: How old are you?
A: I’m 51 years old.
Q: Do you have children?
A: I have got a daughter who is 22 years old and a son who is 17 years old.
Q: Who in your family has emigrated to Spain?
A: My husband.
Q: When did your husband emigrate?
A: He has emigrated several times in the last ten years. He works in a company that makes electrical installations in large buildings in Portugal and Spain. So it depends a little on the works that appear. At the moment they have no work in Portugal and he has been working in Spain for almost two years.
Q: How was your life before he left?
A: He worked for a company that closed because of the crisis and had to find work elsewhere. We already had two children, both studying and he could not stay at home without working. He got a job in this company, where he is working know and has to obey the rules of the company: when there are opportunities to work abroad, he has to go. When he was with us in Portugal, it was easier because he helped me with our children and we were very happy, I think. However, he has to work for us to pay the bills.
Q: So, it all happened because of economic issues?
A: Yes. Of course.
Q: How often do you talk to each other?
A: We talk to each other every day. Nowadays everything is much easier than in the past.
Q: Do you remember the day of his departure?
A: Yes, I do. This last time was a little more difficult, because he spent more than a year working in Portugal, although away from home, near Lisbon, but he came home every weekend. So I did not think he would ever emigrate again. But, there was an irrefutable work opportunity for the company and he had to go, of course. My daughter was in college, and she only came home at weekends, my son had moved to a new high school, and I felt a bit lost, alone. But I knew he had to go, once again.
Q: You understand that the sacrifice has to be made because of economic reasons. Are there other Portuguese workers where he is?
A: Yes, there are.
Q: Do you have family or relatives living near you?
A: Yes, I do. I live near my parents, who are in their eighties already, near my elder sister and my two brothers. They are a great support to me and my children.
Q: While your husband was away did you ever need to go to the doctor, to the hospital?
A: I have passed through 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 away? What do they think of that?
A: They do not comment. They know that if people emigrate it’s because they really need to. People understand and give us their support.
Q: When you say that your husband emigrated for financial reasons, do you expect him to come back when this financial situation improves?
A: His situation is not certain. As I said before, after this intervention in the building where they are working, they can move to another building in Spain or return to Portugal. I hope he returns.
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 about our life in general and we talk about his work. We often talk about our children, or things that have to be solved but need his opinion and agreement.
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 with people who work for the same company. He lives in an apartment with two colleagues.
Q: Have you ever thought about going to live with him?
A: Of course not! I have my job here in Portugal, my daughter already has a job, my son is finishing high school and this situation can change at any moment.
Q: What are the advantages of having your husband abroad?
A: A stable economic life. We both work to pay our bills and give our children the opportunity to study and work in a better profession than ours.
Q: What are the disadvantages?
A: There are many disadvantages. We are apart, our relationship is not as close as it should be, our children miss their father and he feels he cannot support them as he should. However, we all like each other very much and hope that time passes quickly and that everything goes well.
Q: You look very emotional.
A: I get very emotional about it.
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.
*All interviews are anonymous. M. is used to indicate a link with another interview.