Reconciling New Perspectives

I have been continuing to enjoy my time here in Lisbon. I recently faced a bit of uncertainty with trying to continue to reconcile my expectations of having an organized and demanding ‘corporate America’ internship with the reality that I’m living which is a ‘Portuguese non-profit’ internship. I have learned to appreciate how open my boss has been to communicating with me and this has made my experience a lot better. I am now working on the ‘atendimentos’ with immigrants who come to Renovar a Mouraria seeking guidance and help with their transitions to Portugal.

I am working with some other outstanding individuals with all sorts of different backgrounds. I have met people from Brazil, Chile, France, Spain, Italy, Moçambique, Bangladesh, Ginuea-Bissau, and Portugal of course. The number of cultures, identities, and individualities that I have been exposed to has enriched my individual culture so much. As I am learning about the Portuguese immigration process I am also practicing my Portuguese, learning some words in French, trying Bangladeshi food, and talking about the culture in Italy. This internship has been a great immersive experience and I feel very grateful for being able to participate in it.

I am not going to lie, however, that I’m still struggling to get used to the change in pace of life. This is one of the things that when I got to Lisbon was very frustrating for me. As an Ecuadorian I thought that we already had a relatively slower-paced life (especially when compared to America) but as I’ve spent my time here in Lisbon I’ve quickly realized that the softer European pace of life is very different to anything I am used to. It has become pretty frustrating to have to wait. a lot for instructions, approvals, or email responses. It is frustrating to know you could be a lot more productive if the hour-and-a-half lunch break was an hour shorter. However, I have come to realize that this frustration is actually a sign of impatience and I would like to go back to enjoy life at a slower pace.

I think about how a slower-paced life can help people live more calmly and enjoy every second of their existence a little bit more my frustration changes. I see an opportunity to grow and to learn and I want to set this goal to really learn to enjoy a slower-paced life. I find that the meaning of life is hidden in the interactions and realizations you have on a daily basis . That moment when you can just sit in the sun and be. Or the moment when you actually go to the coffee shop and have a conversation with the waiter or drink your coffee while sitting down and simply ENJOYING it. That is what life is about and that is one of the things that I would love to get from this experience.