There is a very funny story that turned my world upside down in only one week in 2020. I have no idea how I managed to keep myself so calm (I didn’t, but one year later I can finally come clean about how I was freaking out inside) because, back then, there was no way I could predict what I was about to live.
I was struggling with money for a while at the beginning of 2020. All my savings were gone and I had to find a way to keep myself under a roof and try not to starve. I know, I am acting a little dramatic because I had resourced not to struggle this hard, but it was a tough time for me. I couldn’t find myself a job and I was living in an apartment where I wasn’t happy anymore. Moving out was out of the table because in order to rent another room would demand me to deposit more than 2 months of rent as a deposit and I did not have that money. Regardless of all of this, I was missing my friends and family so much it actually raised up a huge red flag on a depression state I didn’t want to happen.
I was trying hard not to give up. I applied for many job interviews and only got myself some talkings that I knew wouldn’t lead me anywhere. If there is something I never understood about recruitment in Portugal is the misconception a lot of people have on careers. I applied for countless job offers for Public Relations and, when they got in touch with me, the job was to be the receptionist at a hotel or clinic, or to work with telemarketing with sales. This got me super frustrated – still do, but this is a whole different topic. I was trying to build my career, not only get myself a random job. I applied for a lot of job openings but only got myself one interview. I was out of hope.
Among all of that, I was having a hard time making connections to people, which cause me painful loneliness I seriously wish nobody ever feel. I had some friends, and we are still close, but every time I think about what was going on at that time, I realize it was crucial for my self-growth. We have a popular saying in Brazil that states “if you don’t learn with love, you will learn through the pain“. I chose the pain by ignoring some mishaps in the place I was living and the way I was dealing with it. Needless to say, this situation was chaotic enough for me to decide to leave the house the next day and move to a guest house. I’d figure things out with my clear mind and peace in my ears and my heart (and I was right, keep up with me and you will see why), so I called my landlord and let her know I was moving out.
One of my greatest friends, Yolanda (actually, today is her birthday! Happy b-Day, love!) traveled all the way from Porto to Lisbon to help me move out. She had that Monday off from her job, so she could travel to help me out. I didn’t have time to shop for proper luggage, so I grab some huge plastic bags and just went for it: moving day! Not even the crazy part yet, 17 (yes, seventeen) plastic bags later and more than one Uber to get me from point A to point B, I was finally at my new home… at least for a week. I clearly remember how I felt when I sat on my bed that first night and heard nothing but silence. But I am not talking about the environment, I am talking about my head. I was finally in the right spot to make a decision that would change my life by the end of that week.
Since I was having a hard time with my mental health in Lisbon at that time, I started to consider going back to Brazil for some months. “This could be good“, I tried to convince myself, “I would be close to my family and friends, I will be back in my favorite town in the world, the communications industry there is extremely creative…“. Truth is, I didn’t want to go back yet. But I bought a plane ticket anyway, once I was feeling like my dream of living abroad came to a dead end. Was I right?
When I finally realized I might be living my last days as a European resident, I decided to enjoy Lisbon as much as I could. I took myself out to dinner, I took long walks instead of scanning LinkedIn and Indeed in search of jobs, I took my time to appreciate each part of my favorite neighborhood… But all of this wouldn’t last a day.
I spent my Tuesday organizing my stuff and trying to figure out how many suitcases I should buy and what I should leave behind. On Wednesday morning I woke up around 10 am, took a nice shower, got myself ready, and began one of my so-called last walking tours in Lisbon. The month of March here is usually chilly and windy, but on that day the sun was up and it was a warm day. I was at peace with myself, but somewhat anxious with my next steps. Suddenly, my phone rang. I got the job.
At first, I had no reaction but to say thank you to the lady speaking to me about the offer.
“But you already have a plane ticket“, one side of me said. “Forget the plane ticket, you didn’t want to go back now! You got the job!“, the other part replied. “Who are you and what are you doing inside my head?“, I asked them.
Still, no answer.
I had three days to get myself altogether. I had to go to the office in decent clothing to close the deal (not that I was half-naked, but I was walking in town, chilling in my sneakers and ripped jeans… Not really the kind of image you want to show when signing a contract), I had to reschedule my plane ticket from Saturday to who knows when, I had to find a place to live and move in by Sunday (if you ever lived in Lisbon you know how hard it is for someone who is completely broke to do so) and I realized I had spent all my money in the guest house, the plane ticket and my fancy lunch two hours before all that circus. What else could happen that fast? Oh, yeah: I would start working the following Monday.
Well, I signed the contract on Thursday. I find a house to move into the next day. I spent my Saturday calling the airline to rebook my flight. I moved in Sunday night. And, finally, started working Monday. I figured things out.
Now, a lot of things have changed ever since March 2020. I was going to fly back home in a major internal crisis on the second year anniversary of my moving from Brazil to Portugal, but I figured things out and I am glad I did.
All this never-ending story to tell you that things will happen when they need to happen. I almost let go of my own faith and self-trust when I found myself in the middle of a chaotic and uncontrollable nightmare (I am not going to spill the tea here, but trust me – pure chaos). I lost myself when I needed my wisdom the most. I am the only one who knows me deeply enough to tell what I can and cannot handle, what is right and what’s not a good fit for me, how I should handle my business, and what to avoid. Even though I knew all of this, and I still do, it’s okay to make mistakes. I blocked myself to listen to what I truly wanted and knew I could have, but when I finally found my inner silence, things started to fall into place. I didn’t have any effort on nearly anything after that phone call. The house? A friend found it and called me. The plane ticket? A little annoying to deal with, but nothing frustrating besides the long waiting. The job? I have amazing friends working with me.
In three days I was going to change my entire life, from that Wednesday on (it’s actually four, but I am not counting on the day I’d be flying). Well, it did change, but so unexpectedly I still have a hard time understanding how I did it. At the end of the day, I guess I just kept the faith in myself and that everything would be fine, eventually. I was right 🙂