I moved from Portugal to England 3 years ago. I spent every Christmas as any other person in Portugal would have spent it. We would have our old same Christmas tree up in the first weeks of December, we would put lights around the house, the fire on for most of the nights and this was the time my father would return back home from working abroad.
On the 24th evening, the whole family would get together, we would have what we call the Christmas dinner, which consisted in cod fish with potatoes and cabbage [at the time I was not vegetarian or vegan] and, at midnight we would open all our presents. After that we would enjoy the rest of the night watching typical Christmas movies and play games till late.
This was until in October 2014 I moved to UK.
The first year I couldn’t afford to go back home. It just had been 2 months of being in this new country where I barely had money to pay the first rent, never mind paying £300 for an airplane ticket.
The second year for me was far different. I have had the whole year to plan and go back to Portugal on Christmas. I remember I bought my ticket in the beginning of October and I was really excited to, at the time, being able to afford going home for Christmas and also buy presents for all my family, specially my nephews.
This year however it’s very different. I am currently writing this post on my parents’ old sofa in the living room, still with my fluffy pyjamas on and the fireplace filling the living room with the warm smell of burnt wood, but my boyfriend is back in England. We had our Christmas way earlier than everyone else as I had my flight on the 22nd [it was also my Birthday!].
This year I am able to be present on this special day, for me and my family as I really only see my father and my brother on Christmas time. All three of us work in different countries. Currently, my father is in Brazil, my brother in Gambia and I’m in UK.
At my work and really everywhere the question I get asked most is if I am going back home. But I’m starting having problems defining the word home. Is home where I spent 24 years of my life or is home where i have basically everything, my boyfriend, my best friend, my job?
“Is home where I spent 24 years of my life
or is home where i have
Can home be 2 different places? Can I miss both countries whenever I am not in one of them?
I have this conflict inside me since I first moved. And I felt so guilty in the first year for feeling this way! It felt like I was betraying my own country and family that I felt happy and at home in a foreign country I just moved to.
I sometimes wonder if many feel like this. Most Portuguese I met, terribly miss Portugal and would even blink if given the chance of having the same comfortable life back in their home. But I don’t have this feeling with me.
Portugal for me is the land of family, sunshine, amazing food, late shopping trips, beach and sea.
Oh the sea… How I miss the sea and sunshine sometimes.
But England, is where everything is possible in my eyes.
The country that has given me opportunities and things, experiences that my home country never would be able to offer me. Where also I got myself an amazing best friend and boyfriend.
How could I not call it home too?
Who exactly decided that you can’t call both countries home? Always people talk in a way that you can only have one place that feels like it. But I strongly disagree. Both feel like home.
I miss plenty of things from both
whenever I am not there.
However, England definitely has more weight now on my concept of ‘home’. Most my current life and reason to be happy lives there.
But how could I possibly skip the Christmas day in Portugal? My family would be disappointed, I would miss everyone specially me nephews, but at the same time I want so desperately celebrate with everyone I know and makes my life amazing in UK. I want to have the typical English Christmas. Even if it means wait an extra night and only open the presents in the morning haha.
Does this mixed feeling fades with time? I hope so. Ultimately one day will come where I come to a conclusion on my inner duel between which one is my ‘home’. For now England is in advantage. Let’s see if next year Portugal can catch up.
Merry Christmas for everyone, specially for those who like me have Christmas in 2 different countries.
Do you live in a foreign country?
Where do you feel more at home and
where do you celebrate your Christmas?
My outfit details:
Coat – Reiss [old, from Bicester Village Outlet]
Top – Reiss [from Cheshire Oaks Outlet]
Jeans – Topshop
Boots – Nasty Gal. Similar here
Bag – Adolfo Dominguez. Similar here [see all vegan options here]
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