If you’ve ever met me then you know that I’m the sentimental type, I fall for things easily and I fall for them hard. People, places, objects, video games – everything that captures my attention for longer than thirty seconds. I have an addictive personality and it leaks into my every day life; so much so that I find myself longing for new things to latch on to. But I am latched onto many things, including a city. You know which one, it’s Lisbon.
I originally visited this beautiful European city to be with my other half, we were uhhm-ing and ahh-ing about our relationship status and eventually I decided, if we’re doing this then we’re doing it properly. I will meet you first. So, in December 2017 I flew off to Lisbon for the first time, and not only did I fall in love with a person, but also with a city.
I’ve been battling where to live this year; it’s been on my mind a lot and I’ve done a lot of asking around to people who I know have moved away from their families. I find myself feeling sad when I think of all of the things I’d miss out on at home, but then I also feel myself longing to be in Portugal a lot too. I find myself wanting to be there painfully so. Not only to be with my partner, but also because I love Lisbon.
I love the atmosphere of the city and how relaxed everyone seems, I love how polite people are in Portugal, the warmth of the people is the biggest selling point, I’ve had strangers kiss me on each cheek or give me a hug because, although they don’t know me, they know Pedro, and instead of awkwardly having me stand there listening to a language I don’t know a lick of, they’re polite enough to greet me. You don’t get that in the UK very often.
Then there’s also the atmosphere of Lisbon overall, I love the vibe, the aesthetic and how easy to navigate the city is, I’m positive at this point if Pedro left me to walk around downtown Lisbon for an hour, I’d feel perfectly comfortable getting from A to Z.
It feels like home to me now, a second home at least, I’ve visited often enough this past nearly two years that I’m comfortable in the city. I’ve come to completely navigate Manchester Airport with ease and I can confidently tell Pedro where I want to go, there’s even been times where he’s told me a restaurant is one place, and I’ve said: “No it isn’t, it’s down that street.” and I’ve been right – I’ve felt proud of myself for this.
I feel like falling for a city is romantic and painful all in one. I’m forever longing for two things: to be with my partner and to be in the city. Which is why I’ve been on such a divide on where to live, for him it’s an easy decision, he’s happy as long as I’m happy and he’s told me that multiple times, whilst we seem to be settled on the UK, I find myself constantly mentioning the fact that I’d like to live in Portugal for a while too, I find myself confused and conflicted because I want to be near my family and not miss out on things but I also feel like a massive part of myself has been discovered in Lisbon and there’s a new confidence within me.
I know that I’m not the only person alive that feels this way, I know there’s more of me out there that also feel like this towards other cities and countries, because it’s totally something that we can all relate to. I often see people talking about those holidays abroad where they spend the whole time by a pool drinking cocktails and eating pizzas, to me, there’s no appeal in that. I like to explore where I am, and I feel like this is partly the reason I fell so hard for Lisbon. I didn’t sit still in one part of the city for too long and we found ourselves all over, I’ve seen enough of Portugal to understand its beauty and appeal.
So, what will I do? I actually don’t know. I feel like we’re happy as long as each other are happy but I’m the one that is feeling the most conflict and divide, torn between a country I love and a family I love and cherish.