Disillusionment & Hope

Today I was looking for the experience of expats in Portugal and came across the blog of a young man, self described as male and very young. He's from Iowa. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote.

His blog titled Richochet presents a post called "Fooled by Stone" dated May 15 2007. I wonder if he is traveling now.

He writes:

I came to the TAGV (Teatro Academico Gil Vilcente) with the intent of studying, but that quickly faded. [...} In spite of how frustrated i let myself become here at times, academically and socially and with my still constant tendencies of self destruction...I still feel as though I could come straight back in the fall after an Iowa break if I had the funds.

So the dreamy plan that has been paying throughout my mind is to finish the music degree at uni, work at year at jobs and music in des moines as I live with my parents, then return to Portugal... either enrolling in language courses at a Lisboa University, or at a jazz program also within that city. I only have three actual Portuguese friends here, the connections with all never blossoming like I dreamed before...but I still have a handful of contacts, and I will be a few years older and wiser, perhaps better apt for expat wandering and a fresh displacement. There's something about this country that I enjoy even though I'm never completely comfortable, and even though I have no striking interests in the smaller towns.

What might YOU do in his position? What would you like to THINK that you would do? Please visit his site and read the post in its entirety in the context of his blog.

Photograph by Jennifer


NickLeo said...

I must say that I'm both surprised and rather confused by both your comment and your choice to present it , but above all the final line of 'think more than twice about returning' at the end, as I don't quite understand the intent nor what you imply.

I can understand how my little blog writings can imply a sense of futility,disillusionment, or a bleak outlook on my day-to-day in Portugal...but I don't believe it to be so.

The concept of displacement and expat living is incredibly personal and complex within each person that can't be easily labeled. I both love my life here but am open to realizing that expat living isn't and shouldn't be a young american's dream of living out scenes from "Amelie" or Hemmingway novels, and that Europe is not and shouldn't be a playground for young American 20-somethings.

I've been living and studying in Coimbra through a academically precarious language and culture program that in no way reflects any of the academic merit of the faculty in which it exists within the University of Coimbra. Exisiting here under those situations, one can understand a bit more of disillusionment, but academic frustration due to weak educational structure is something trite and insignificant when placed against the realities that come with being displaced here. Passages that imply a bleak outlook exist because my academic life was supposed to be my purpose here and inherently have been a strong focus in my thoughts and reflections, but that is but a small part of my experiences and outlooks.

So I'm not quite sure what to say or think of all of this because I wasn't quite clear of your implications or intent. Either way, I'm surprised by the response...and I supose that any response brought from my silly online ramblings can't be bad.

all the best,

Nia said...

Sorry to cause alarm. It's just that so much is going on.

You seemed a bit disillusioned and yet hopeful, in that post that I read. I only read one post.

It seem very authentic, like you were speaking from the heart and honestly saying what you thought, what you felt.

This week I'm looking for expat experiences in Portugal to post on my Go to Portugal site and I found your post doing a google search.

Do you find the post offensive. I can remove it.

I agree with you in that no people or culture or country for that mater should be a play ting for the youth of another country.

My intent was to show empathy. However I didn't proof read my work I just wrote it and published. Il re-read it and edit out any mystery/ambiguity I might have added.

My intention certainly was not to confuse. Thanks for the feedback.

All the best to you!

Nia. :)

NickLeo said...

no, i don't find the post offensive at all. i write entries without thinking much, especially that anyone would ever read it and find empathy.

i only wrote a response to give more depth to my experiences, as it seems that you are very much interested in the experiences and travels of others. thank you for the nice words, like how you found me authentic and honest.

there's no need to remove or edit anything. like i said, above all i was just so surprised that someone would actually read my silly blog.

take care!