Updated: Jun 25
| This is the 505th story of Our Life Logs |
If joy is hidden behind a bed of thorns, then I will cut my hands to reach it.
My name is Everton, I am a Brazilian, born in 1988, and raised in a city called Salvador in the state of Bahia. I should probably specify that Bahia is a state where the unemployment rate is quite high, so there is a good amount of people living from robberies and dishonest works.
Now, my father was—and is—an honest man who always worked to provide for us in an administrative position for an export trading company. We weren’t rich, but there was always food at the table. He always tried to inculcate the values of hard work and honesty to me: when I was a child and I wanted something, I had to work to get it. I have always been close to my father. He is a very protective man who defends his own, loves my mother, and not a day goes by without his singing, laughing, and dancing. Because of his love and stern care, I knew from very early on how important it was for a child to have a good father. I wouldn’t know where I’d be without him.
As I went through school, I didn’t have any clear aspirations of what I wanted to be when I was older (well, I did dream of being a professional football player, as many little boys do, but that didn’t quite pan out for me). I began to work right after my high school graduation: I always managed to find a job. Every time a job ended, I arranged to start another: waiter, construction work, kitchen porter, office assistant, anything I could find. I had a simple life and I was happy: working, spending time with friends, going to parties. To be honest, apart from work, I wasn’t really serious. I was going to a lot of parties, meeting girls, drinking, smoking… Although I have never fallen into excess, I was enjoying quite a lot.
When I reached 25 years old, a friend who was living in Rio de Janeiro called me to go there, he said it was easier to find a good job in Rio. So, I went there, and I found a good job, I worked on a ship for a company in the petroleum industry. The salary was good, but the best was the schedule! It bent to my party-lifestyle. I would go to sea for two weeks and then I had two weeks of holiday! I had a really good situation there!
One day, when I was 27, my friend called me to invite me to a party, as he wanted me to meet a friend there. Her name was Carolina. The moment I saw her at that party I thought, “God, what a beautiful woman!” She was 18 years, much younger than me, but we had a lot in common. We enjoyed that first party together and many more! I honestly liked her, and she obviously liked me back, so we started dating.
Everything was really good; both of us were working, hanging out with our respective friends, and seeing each other on a weekly basis. We never engaged in a serious relationship—though, maybe we were both scared of commitment.
I’m not going to lie, a part of me was also thinking “maybe she is dating me just because I have a good situation.” But nothing lasts forever, even less a good well-paid job in a corrupted country. I lost my job when I was 29, it was the first time in my whole life I wasn’t working. I immediately searched for a new job, but months passed by and I could not find one.
At this time, Carolina really helped me, I was staying at her place. She stood against her parents who were criticizing my situation, pressuring her to stop seeing me. I started to truly get attached to her, yet I was thinking, I am almost 30 years old. I have no son or daughter, no job, no serious relationship…is this going to be my life until the day I die? Unemployment was undoubtedly hard for me to endure.
And then…without warning…the most unexpected thing happened. Carolina got pregnant!
That announcement had the effect of an electrical shock on me: I was going to be a father! I was thrilled! It was like feeling that, suddenly, I was someone; a life will depend on me, a little human being I will love with all my heart! A son or a daughter, the most beautiful thing in the world!
From that moment, my whole sense of purpose shifted. I could no longer spend my years wandering. I had to think about the future…I had to find a job! Carolina encouraged me, saying that I would find one, and I chose to believe her. I had to! I was worried about the future. I couldn’t stop thinking about how to provide for my son. What options did I have? I could start selling drugs, which would have been easy, but I couldn’t even consider the idea of doing dangerous, dishonest work.
Thankfully, my cousin told me to join him in Portugal to work there. I should mention here that for a Brazilian to immigrate in Portugal and work there, he has to be “invited” by an official resident of Portugal. My cousin’s proposition was a real opportunity, meanwhile, Carolina was six months pregnant and I still had no job. This is the reason why, after one year and three months of unemployment—even though she wanted me to stay with her—I left for Portugal!
When I told Carolina about my final decision, she was mad at me and said to me that if I went to Portugal and abandoned her, I’d go as a single man! It was understandable, honestly, but I was no longer thinking of the comfort of the upcoming weekend. I was planning for years down the road! Therefore, we broke up, and while it was difficult, I could not abandon the new purpose I’d found.
I first stayed at my cousin’s place and quickly found a job as a kitchen porter. After getting my first pay, I promptly started to send money for Carolina. She was mad at me! She was feeling like I was abandoning her and the baby and was pressuring me to go back to Brazil.
Did I think about her offer? Of course! Of course I wanted to go back to her and my unborn son! Of course I wanted to spend my days with familiar faces and buildings. But, here’s the thing. I knew that I couldn’t go back to Brazil. For me, it was a straight path to nowhere. Even though Portugal was full of uncertainty and heartache, I knew that its winding road—with all the cracks and thorns—would lead somewhere. After a life of fleeting pleasure, I was willing to trek the mountainside for joy. In my heart, I knew that I was doing my very best, and I only wished for Carolina to understand that. In time, perhaps, maybe she will.
Three months after I left and was getting ready to go to work, Carolina called. She was on the way to the hospital to give birth to my son! I went to work feeling electric! She called me again, but I was working and couldn’t answer. When I finally could answer her video call, she was with my son who was fast asleep in the crook of her neck.
When I went back home after work, I looked at his picture for hours. My baby boy! My Ícaro! I felt unconditional love for him, even without having met him yet.
It’s been really hard for me to miss all the firsts of my baby boy, seeing him growing without being able to be with him. Carolina started to date someone else, and while I hold no malice, I fear that my son identifies him as his father. I think that was part of her pressuring method to make me go back. But I won’t take the risk of being unable to provide for my son; I have to be patient. I have found a construction job that should allow me to become a resident here in Portugal, I am also working as a waiter in extra, so I can send more money for my son. I am determined to work and provide for him. I want to give my boy a happy home with food on the table as I had.
Immigration is hard, I had to leave my friends and family to live in a foreign country, and not knowing my son is killing me, but nothing lasts forever! I will get the residence in Portugal and I will go to Brazil to meet my son! Maybe I will try to find a job to be closer to him, maybe I will keep on working in Portugal and just visit him. Winters in Portugal are really cold for a Brazilian from Bahia! Sometimes I wake up in the cold and just want to stay in my warm bed, but then, I think about my son and it gives me all the energy! That little human being is my strength!
This is the story of Everton S.
Everton is a 31 Brazilian man immigrating in Portugal, if he wants to be able to work in Portugal and visit his son in Brazil, he has to be a Portuguese resident. The mother of his child is doing everything for him to give up and go back, but he keeps on thinking about his son first. As soon as he can go back in Brazil, he will spend some months with his son to catch up with him. Everton is currently working in construction from 8AM to 5PM and as a waiter from 5:30PM until midnight, he sends money to his son every week and enjoys every simple thing that life gives him.
This story first touched our hearts on February 21, 2020.
| Writer: Mélanie Romand | Editor: Colleen Walker |