Dias de Folga

I’ve had a frustrating couple of days this week because I’ve had trouble understanding my role in the organization I’m working for. I see that things move slower than I expected and I am often sitting there not doing much. This week alone, I have received a text from my boss saying I can take a “dia de folga”, twice.

Folga is the Portuguese word for the time allotted for rest (yes, they have a word for that). So a ‘dia de folga’ simply meant a day off work. Of course, I enjoyed these days off at first but it came to a point where I wasn’t working as much as I expected.

I keep talking about how impressed I am with the pace of life in Portugal. I think this is a recurring theme because I have had a very difficult time feeling like I’m investing my time in something valuable when I’m moving at such a slow pace. My patience is reduced. It’s hard to convince yourself that what you’re doing is worth it when you spend a lot of your time looking at your phone in the office and asking if there’s anything you can do every 10 minutes.

I have taken this as an opportunity to try to create my own initiative to present to my boss and after working on it during my ‘free time’ for a week I presented it to her and it doesn’t seem like something that the organization wants to prioritize at this time. This has only brought more frustration to me.

I’m not sure if the experience of the very slow-paced life I am living right now is completely cultural or if it is an array of factors that add up. Thinking about Portugal having a slow-paced culture and adding a lack of organization and resources to that equation has led to an uncomfortable situation. I have communicated my needs and I know I’m being heard but I’m not seeing any change and that is hard and, for lack of a better word, extremely frustrating.

I think I have learned a lot from this experience. I have learned about patience, communication, cultural differences, acculturation, and the challenges these qualities entail. I hope my repeated reflection on this situation can allow me to put things into perspective and take from this experience a lot of valuable skills that can be helpful in future situations.