Podem ler a versão portuguesa aqui.
(WARNING: All names are fictional to protect the identity of the people mentioned.)
Before I tell you about my adventures in Her Majesty’s Land, let me tell you how I got here.
When I planned to come to London, I had only planned to come for just one week, on vacation. But I made a decision to stop postponing something I had been for few years: Live in London!
Emigration is not easy and it’s not for everyone. Why didn’t do this before? Simple. Fear? Yes. Cowardice? No doubt! But I gained enough courage and tried everything to make it work! I arrived at the airport with two suitcases, my best friend and a former boyfriend.
Little did I know that the 9am flight would be delayed until 6pm… It was not the best start and I didn’t even suspect on what was coming next!
When I landed in London, it was already nighttime. Tired and hungry but still amazed at the sight of the streets of the city. I knew that my life was going to change!
I arrived at Liverpool Street and waited for my friend who came to pick me up with his boyfriend and insisted that we went to Soho for a cup of coffee, despite my complaints of wanting a bed, a hot shower and some sleep. But he was so happy to see me that I couldn’t say no any longer.
We sat down and talked about old times! We were sharing adventures and misadventures until I realized that one of my bags had disappeared.
Money, documents, my new Mac. Everything was gone. I tried not to panic. For a moment I thought I was living a musical, but instead of a choreography and some singing, I just heard a voice in my head saying: What a stupid girl…
The following days were difficult … I went to the Portuguese consulate to get my citizens card. I was told that it was not possible and had to return to Portugal to deal with it. I thought Back already? I arrived yesterday!
Then a lady told me there was another way and grabbed that opportunity to finally get my card!
But these difficult days had just begun. I had to get a job and had to get it quick! I sent dozens of online applications and went for a lot of interviews. I felt cold on the streets and hungry during the day… But that I could handle. What I didn’t expect was the change in my friend’s attitude.
Brutus was my friend for almost ten years! We studied together and dreamt together! But the two years he spent in London changed him… After a week he was different! Always upset and saying I wasn’t doing my job search properly. What annoyed me most was hearing him say he arranged work in two days and I couldn’t even do it in a week!
To make everything worse, he said I should clean the house and that I should bring him tea to bed when he got sick. While I was at it, maybe I should wash his butt with rose water! I’m sure he’d love that!
But things went from bad to worse… He started threatening me that he’d kick me out. Soon enough the final day was coming and it wasn’t going to be pretty…
I managed to get a job soon enough! I had prepared everything to move to the new house that weekend when I got a message saying: I want you to pay everything you owe today.
When I got home from work, I since didn’t have a key, I rang the bell and he opened the door just enough for you to see half of his face.
He told me: What do you want? which I answered: My stuff! Do you want you money or not?
He opened the door and let me in.
My suitcase was on the floor, along with my stuff. The words we exchanged were unpleasant. He said he was enjoying the situation because now he finally had the power! I gave him the money while I took my bag and left. I never saw him again.
I was lucky to have found a landlady who understood my situation and let me stay even without being able to pay the rent for the first month. Later, she told me that the same thing happened to she when he came to London, but it had been her own brother to close the door in her face.
I received a message from Brutus a few months later, asking if I had learned to survive in London. I didn’t reply, but the truth is that I learned that bad situations can lead to the dark side of the Force and to the side of the Force. What happens to us does not define us. It is up to us to decide if we are Sith or Jedi.
You can follow Maria João Lima’s adventures on her Facebook page.