Blog Post #4

As I’m wrapping up my time here in Portugal, it’s been nice to take a moment to reflect on some of the earlier critical incidents I experienced while I was here. I distinctly remember the first day I arrived at my internship placement, a brunch spot in a trendy, up-and-coming location in Lisbon. My mind immediately went into overdrive trying to take in the new surroundings and the new people. At Notre Dame, students tend to be fairly similar: many of us dress alike, wear our hair alike, and speak alike. At Mila, everyone is unapologetically different. The description that ran through my mind was something along the lines of: guy with pink hair and earrings, girl with black hair and tattoos, guy with long hair and gauges, girl with short hair and glasses. The owner wore vans and chains. I began to interpret that they were probably pretty free spirited and crazy, and that we wouldn’t get along because we’re just so different. The verification and evaluation came as I began to work there, and I realized I was both right and wrong. I was right that the people at Mila were different than anyone I was friends with at home: they spent almost every night partying, they talked about the next tattoo or piercing they were going to get. They didn’t go to college and for the most part didn’t want to marry or have kids. I was pleasantly surprised, though, at despite these differences, how well we did get along. They let me in on their jokes, gave me responsibilities, and acted like I was actually a member of the staff. They made me laugh all the time. It was such a wonderful, fulfilling experience and I’m glad I didn’t just fall into the trap of closing down when I felt like I probably wouldn’t have much in common with someone.