In August 2017 I decided I wanted to leave everything behind and start a new adventure in Portugal. I had never been there before, but found an online job application for a customer service job in Lisbon. I was looking for a job in the Netherlands, but couldn’t find anything that sparked my interest. And so this advertisement for a job in Lisbon came on the perfect time. I was so ready for something different.
A few months before I went, I got an injury in my calve muscle during CrossFit, because I didn’t listen to my body. This made walking very difficult. I think this needed to happen because I was very attached to the gym I went to, and if this injury didn’t happen, I probably wouldn’t have gone to Portugal at all. So, everything happens for a reason.
I felt like I was done with the Netherlands and couldn’t really find my place there. When I got the job, I got terrified though because this was such a big change. I lived with my dad my whole life, so it wasn’t just about moving to a foreign country, but also about moving out and living on my own. Luckily I wasn’t totally living alone in Lisbon, as I would live in a house with other flatmates. I said goodbye to my friends and my dad and off I was to this sunny city.
The first month I lived in a hotel. This started quite lonely as I didn’t know anyone. But I soon met my colleagues and started to get to know them. After that first month I got moved to an apartment where I lived with about 8 other flatmates, but I was pretty reserved at first and spent most of my time in my room. The electricity was horrible in this apartment as it kept going off when multiple household items were used at once.
The first months of the job were challenging for me, as I would compare myself all the time with my coworkers, who seemed to have it all under control. After getting to know myself more, I understood that my talents were just different. Instead of being really fast on the phone, I was quite patient and kind to the customers and didn’t get my targets at first. But after a few months, I got better at managing this call time and started to become faster and better at problem solving. I also started to believe in myself more, with a lot of encouragement from my supervisor and coworkers. This ultimately changed the whole experience.
It was really different living in a city. Although it is quite small (you can go from one end of the city to the other in about 45 min by public transportation), it felt really big compared to my hometown. At night the whole place was so lively and there were so many shops, most of them were supermarkets, night shops and convenience shops. You could literally get anything you need so easy. There is also a really big shopping mall (Colombo, I think it’s one of the biggest in Europe) which just blew me away. And the city has so many palmtrees!
I spent one year and three months in Lisbon. For the most part, I have been having fun like you would when you are a student in University. I went to work for 40 hours a week, but it didn’t feel like that much for the first 8 months. My coworkers and friends were always ready to party and Fridays became the best days of the week as everyone would go out and drink. I think I lost my connection with myself and the Universe for a bit when I partied that much. There was no space for spirituality in those months, it felt like a permanent vacation. I also went on a real vacation, by myself to Lagos, which was really exciting. I really needed this break from spirituality, weirdly enough, this gave me the opportunity to grow. It’s like taking one step back, to take two steps further.
Also a lot of bad things have happened in Lisbon. I saw a dog I just petted a few minutes before it got hit by a car (and probably died), two of my friends were battling cancer, some coworkers had epilepsy, another coworker I didn’t know personally committed suicide next door to our apartment, a friend of mine got attacked and hurt by a man in the evening and some people I know have been robbed. That’s more strange things in one year, than I’ve ever seen in the Netherlands in my whole life. Besides that, Lisbon still seems like a pretty safe city. I never really felt unsafe walking the streets there.
In August 2018 I found my spark again and starting working on a new project: my website and handmade necklaces. I got very inspired by Ikenna (from IKENNA VISUALS) and started talking with him how he managed to work so much on his dream. He helped me realize that anything is possible, if you believe you can. This is one of the things I liked most about living abroad, meeting new people who I became close friends with in a short time, and who left something inside of me that I will always take with me and remember. I met such beautiful souls in Lisbon, and that´s something no one can ever take away.
Right after finding my spark again, I went through a massive procrastination phase and I didn’t understand why. Anjana guided me through this with a Quaning program to find my purpose in this life (you can read more about this subject here). This was a very challenging and confronting program. During October and November I went through a depressing time. I felt really anxious and sometimes I wouldn’t be able to leave my room. I didn’t want to listen to the Universe at first, but after opening myself up and truly listen, I found out that I had to leave Portugal. My time was done there. The Universe made me feel bad, in order to show me that I have to take a different route.
I quit my job (the work itself became less interesting as well as I couldn’t handle the nature of the problems of the customers anymore after doing it for this long) and planned for a trip back to the Netherlands, so I could figure out what to do next. My last month in Lisbon felt really good though, as I got to move to a different apartment further in the center and got closer to my flatmates and hung out with them more often. This felt more like an actual house, then just a room like it did before. (Though the bathroom had a window in it, that looked over the living room when opened, which was really strange. Imagine doing number two and opening the window only to look into the eyes of your flatmates who are eating dinner.)
Right now I am back in the Netherlands. I am spending a lot of time on my own, to get in tune with my soul again. For now, I can say that it’s working, as I feel the connection to myself and the Universe again.