BIRD Magazine


They annoy me, our emigrants, with their broken Portuguese, their display of shiny trinkets and high- powered engines, their overwhelming urge to compare Portugal to X, Y or Z country they work and live in, etc.
Their excessiveness weighs me down and makes me yearn to flee the country or hibernate till winter comes again. At least that’s what I tell everyone year in year out. In reality, it’s a mixture of agoraphobia (they’re SO many!) and the emotional strain brought on by the intense empathy I feel towards them and their situation.
Most, like me, were born in the country they don’t consider their homeland. Most, like me, refer to Portugal as “going back, going home”. Most, like me, are caught in between two loves, two cultures, two languages, two lives.
Impossible choice – unless it’s made for you. In my case, political instability and personal safety were the excuse given by my parents to send me “home”. For others, deportation because of illegal status, others unemployment and some emotional blackmail by the ones left behind. (I should know – last resort used on my dad!)
Those, who only visit during the summer months, come in flocks and leave us reeling and anxious. They create chaos and disruption. They’re too bright and too loud. They’re demanding and unquenchable in their need of Portugal, of their home.
However, they come and go so quickly.
August is almost over and the days are beginning to show signs of dreariness. The weather is becoming forlorn and grey as if to bid farewell. The days are slowly returning to “normalcy” and all we can say is “Have a safe trip and come back soon for auld lang syne[1]!”
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne. (…) [2] [3]

[1] Some say these words mean “for old times sake”.
[3] The song, using words from Robert Burns’ poem, is meant to remind those who sing of “the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbours’ hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future” cited from http://www.scotland.org/features/the-history-and-words-of-auld-lang-syne

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