M A R G A R I D A

 Lisbon | 2018

M A R G A R I D A 

City  Lisbon
Age  23
Love life Single
Profession Master Student Architecture
Years in Lisbon All her life
Location — Jardim do Torel (“This quiet place has a really beautiful view over the city. It’s also very special to me, because my parents started dating here.”)

T H E  L I S B O N  S T O R I E S

‘MY FATHER SAYS

I HAVE THIS

INNER SUNSHINE’

  • What is your best personality trait?
    “My optimism. I’m always quite happy, my father says I have this inner sunshine. I like helping others and meeting new people. Or walking into an old friend on the street or spotting a beautiful bird in the park. Every day might have a nice little surprise for you. The difficult moments in my life have helped me to enjoy the good sides of life even more. I lost my mother three years ago. We were very close and she was just as optimistic as I am. It was really painful and hard to witness that she passed away so unexpectedly and that I saw her suffering. I crashed when I lost her, it changed my life completely. But after struggling for a year, I realised it’s my own responsibility to honour my mother and my past and to look to the future again. Making plans has become very important to me, because I now know how short and unexpected life can be.”
  • What is your biggest life lesson?
    “After losing my mother, I try to get the most out of life and to really enjoy every day. I only do things I really like and I am more open to new challenges, even if they scare me, like introducing myself to a crowd or starting a new project. Every experience makes me grow. I’ve even become a little impatient to do all the things I want and to say the things I normally wouldn’t say. I used to be too shy to approach someone I like or to tell friends why I appreciate them. But now I’ve started to tell all my friends and family exactly that, it’s really important to me. And maybe the world becomes a little bit better if we are kind to each other. My family taught me a lot about love and kindness. It’s a great blessing to have grown up in a family like mine.”
  • What makes you different than other people?
    “I’m open to really connect with people, I like to listen to them and get to know them. Also, I think I am somewhat more mature than other people my age, because I have experienced loss at a young age. But I might have that in common with other people who have suffered. Most of them grew because of it, they are often really strong and handle things differently because they have learned to put things in perspective. I guess we don’t make a big fuss out of simple things; we worry less and don’t forget to pay attention to the positive aspects of life.”
  • What is your biggest struggle?
    “Deciding what to do after I graduate. I have a lot of ideas and projects for the future, but I don’t know yet what to choose and where to start. One of my biggest struggles used to be a lack of self-confidence. I used to be shy and there was a time when I was bullied at school, so after that it wasn’t easy for me to approach my fellow students if I needed something. Then I realised I had to overcome the problem, so I started to join a lot of projects and developed some projects myself at university. When you keep ignoring a problem, it’s not going to get solved. We should own our not-so-nice traits and learn from them. Because no one is going to make things better for us, we need to do it ourselves.”

  • Is there something you regret?
    “I’ve spent too much time worrying about myself, about how others might see me and about getting things right. For example, when I started university I was so worried about everything I had to do. Now I tell myself to rely a bit more on my own abilities and to take it more lightly and easily, because it will be fine. Also, I regret that I didn’t ask my grandparents or mother for more family stories or recipes. When you’re young, you don’t pay that much attention to those things. But once you grow up, you wish you would have been told a certain story or how to do certain things.”
  • What is your biggest sadness?
    “That my mother isn’t here anymore. I would have loved to share some special moments with her, but I also feel that she is very present in everything that I do. That comforts me. Sometimes when good things happen, I believe that in some way she made it happen.”
  • What is the best advice someone ever gave you?
    “Don’t worry so much. My father always reminds me of it when I don’t feel so well, and I am very grateful for this. Whenever I feel anxious, he calms me down by putting things in perspective for me. When I worried about school, or about whether I would ever meet the right person for me, he told me, life will follow its way and the future is what you make of every day – and that is true. Things come when they need to come. Sometimes they take their time, but they will happen.”
  • What is your biggest fear?
    “Still, that I am not good enough to handle everything at once – work, family, friends and my love life. What if I’m not capable of a certain thing? I want to be up for those things and sometimes I’m afraid that I am not. I’m well aware that I’m the one who putting all of that pressure on myself, I want to meet my own expectations. I am particularly insecure about my work at university, architecture can be quite stressful. You get really involved in what you’re doing and sometimes it can feel personal if it isn’t good enough. I try to avoid my fears and insecurities by dedicating myself to what I think is important and see how it goes. And accepting that sometimes you did the best you can, but you can’t always influence the outcome.”
  • What can really hurt you?
    “People who aren’t honest with me. I would rather hear something unpleasant than to be lied to, or have the truth withheld from me. It is hard to get over lies and it makes me wonder why people often think it’s the way to avoid problems. I guess it takes a lot of courage to tell the truth and sometimes it’s easier to say nothing or to let it go. But in the long run, being lied to is worse than getting over things that have been said to you honestly.”
  • What does Lisbon mean to you?
    “It’s my hometown and so far my favourite city in the world! I feel very lucky that I was born here. Lisbon is a light city: it’s playful, easy-going and it literally has this special kind of bright light. The hills make is special as well, it can be hard to go up and down – sneakers are always your best companions in the city, haha! It is lovely that there is always something happening in the streets, there is life outside and Lisbon has this relaxed atmosphere. It’s a peaceful city, it’s safe to walk by yourself at night. People may approach you, but generally in a friendly way. We just like talking to each other, people don’t keep their distance here. If you go to a café and you have a kid, the waiter may likely give him or her a piece of candy or offer you a coffee. In general, the people in Lisbon are friendly, welcoming and warm, but it may be harder to get to know them on a deeper level. It takes time here. The people can be more reserved about giving their honest opinion than people from other cities. It is being said that personality traits are different between the South and North of Portugal. People from Porto, for instance, are said to be genuinely straightforward. About women in Lisbon, I would say that they know what they want and how to enjoy life at the same time. Although working schedules can be a bit hectic, there is usually a good balance between work and family, which is really important in Portugal. I am glad to see the city coming to life again. Over the last few years more and more tourists have been visiting the city and people from abroad are moving in, which has made the city more cosmopolitan. But, I am also happy that Lisbon remains this small and cosy neighbourhood I have always been in love with.”

Photos by Luís Luz

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