For a while I’ve been thinking of writing an article about my experience living and working abroad, in a few different countries in Europe. However, for some silly reason I haven’t done it until now, when I told myself “come on Pedro, you should share this amazing and unique experience with your network”. Here I will talk about each country I lived in and some moments I experienced, to finally share my point of view with the pros and cons of not having one single home, but several.
Living Abroad. That would be the title of a book if I ever had to write one.
Originally born in Lisbon, Portugal, I moved to Paris for personal reasons at the age of 6. In the so-called “city of lights”, I grew up, learned a lot, and made 80% of my education. Honestly, I owe a huge part of what I am now to France. My twisted creative brain is for sure, at least half French. Also, thanks to these 17 years of experience, I feel today as French as I am Portuguese. I learned during my French childhood to respect others, that our differences are what makes us special and unique and how we enrich ourselves by sharing different experiences.
In Paris, I left a huge part of my friends (and who still are, after 20 years), some of my best childhood memories, but also a few painful moments every child has like the first crush, the first loving debacle the always difficult to lead adolescent crises. Paris also brought me inspiration to start my debuts in the cinema industry (if we can really call it a job). I discovered my passion for cinema and working for a video renting store (wish they could still exist), allowing me to watch more than 500 movies in less than 6 months. Thanks to that I did my first film projects by promoting independent films and start thinking and writing about a film festival project and also how important for me it was to promote less known filmmakers.
After all, it worth it. Paris gave me a second life. It is and will always be my adopted and beloved city.
At a young adult age (23 to be precise), I went back to Lisbon. Back home after a whole childhood abroad, I felt like a stranger in my own country. This country I left just 7 years after the end of a long dictatorship period, in my eyes, it looked like an “old-fashioned” lifestyle with so many different daily habits than I was used to in France.
“New” country, new life. After taking two courses, one in multimedia and the second one in film and TV production. I worked for around 10 restless years in the film, TV and advertisement industry, mostly as a freelancer. Restless because it is a very small working area where everyone knows each other and where works come and goes. One day you have a 6 months project, the day after you are unemployed. Besides, salaries in Portugal were (and still are) terribly under the European average.
I am lucky enough for being born in one of the best countries for a lot of things like weather, safety, people’s kindness, food. But as I used to say, “sun doesn’t pay bills”. Nevertheless, this decade I lived in Portugal was incredibly enriching and this is where I learned most of what I know professionally speaking.