Q: Good morning. How old are you?
A: I’m 28 years old.
Q: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
A: I’m an only child.
Q: Are you married? Do you have any children?
A: No, I’m not married, I don’t have children and I lived in my parents’ house until last summer, in Guimarães. Now I live in an apartment, alone, in Porto.
Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I’m finishing my PhD and I am working in the area of insurance, to pay the bills.
Q: Your father has emigrated to Spain, right? Can you tell us about it?
A: He has emigrated several times in the last years. He works in a company that makes electrical installations in large buildings in Portugal and Spain. So it depends a little on the work projects that appear. At the moment they have no work in Portugal and he has been working in Spain for almost two years. He works with M’s* husband.
Q: How was your life before he left?
A: My relationship with my father has always been a little troubled. My father has problems with alcoholism and I grew up with fear of seeing what damage he would cause, the next time he was drunk. He was never violent to me, he never hit me or my mother, but especially on weekends, it was not uncommon for him to come home drunk. So when he started working in Spain, honestly, it was a relief.
Q: How often did he come home?
A: Usually, once a month.
Q: How often do you talk to each other?
A: Once or twice a week. Usually we speak on the phone. I’m the one who usually calls. I ask him how he’s doing, if he’s okay. The usual. I don’t mean that I do not love my father, or that he does not love me. We just do not have many interests in common and so we do not have big conversations. If anything happens to my father, I know that my mother will tell me and I will help in whatever way I can.
Q: During the time he has been an emigrant, did any of you have any serious health problems?
A: Yes, my mother had stomach cancer and had surgery last October.
Q: How did your father react to this situation?
A: He was very worried, of course. However, as I am already an adult and my degree and my master’s degree are in the area of health, more specifically Radiology, I was the one who accompanied my mother. When my mother did the surgery and while she was in the hospital, my father was always here in Portugal. Then he returned to Spain.
Q: Do you have family or relatives living near you?
A: Well, as I told you before, I now live in Oporto and I don’t have relatives living nearby. But my mother lives near my grandparents, my uncles and cousins. We are very close to each other and they help my mother very much when I am not around.
Q: Has the fact that your father emigrated helped you in any way, financially speaking?
A: Of course it did. I am an only child and my mother couldn’t pay for my studies without my father’s help. My father has always helped with the household expenses.
Q: Is there anything you would like to ask him to bring to you, something you long for?
A: No, I have nothing to ask him, at least for me. I hope he gets work closer to home and can hold my mother company. Of course I worry a little that he tends to drink, but if he is sober he can be a great help for my mother, because she has become more fragile after having cancer. Besides, my father is no longer a young man, he is 56 years old and I would be calmer if he worked close to home.
Q: Thank you for your collaboration.
A: Thank you.
*The interviews are anonymous – M stands for another person interviewed as part of this project.