Finding Home Away From Home

It’s been over a year since I moved from Kosovo to Portugal, from the very east to the most western part of the continent. I had little to no knowledge about this beautiful country; besides, it has a lot of sunny days, and I knew Cristiano Rolando was from here.

I was clueless about how the experience will be here, given that I also didn’t speak or understand the Portuguese language. But what the hell, why not give it a try and get into the unknown.

Below, I want to share six things that I found here which make this place feel like home.

  1. People — Portuguese are the most accepting and open people I have met in my life so far. They like to meet others and have a great sense of cultural sensitivity. They are educated, kind, friendly, and warm. Fun fact: Many Portuguese are born in Africa (due to colonial wars), and they call themselves proud Africans.
  2. Diversity — Lisbon is flooded with young Europeans, Asians, Brazilians, Africans, and more. Walking around Lisbon is like doing a little tour of the world. People feel welcomed and respectful of one another. I love it! English is commonly used — if you speak it, you can get by in almost every corner.
  3. Beach, beach, beach — After a long day at work, going to the beach is just about right. The connection this nation has with water or being near water is impressive. They can’t imagine living in a land-locked country.
  4. Food is delicious — Given the Portuguese expansion back in history, their food is an excellent mixture of Asian, African, European, and South American stuff. Though heavy in meat, the food here is a delight.
  5. Football, drinking, and gathering together is a lifestyle — The world could be collapsing, and Portuguese people couldn’t care less if an important match was playing. They stop their cars to look at the game’s result on big screens — it’s just a thing.
  6. Saudade — Lastly, the Portuguese have a great connection with their past and history. They feel nostalgic for how important they used to be in the world. But I like how understanding they are when it comes to the impact they had in the world. Many nations deny it!

To conclude, though I am almost 4,000 km away from home, I did not have to go through an adaptation process at all! It feels warm, free, enjoyable. It feels home, just like my little one over there in the Balkans!

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Leon Gojani

Leon Gojani

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