Ania, Portugal/Madeira

by Belonging Project

My name is Ania Goncalves, I'm from Portugal--actually I'm from Madeira, a small island that is part of Portugal. I'm 30, so I came to Northern Ireland 5 years ago when I was 25. My sister was living here and she had a baby and she needed some help with the baby, and at the time in Portugal my situation at work wasn't very good. So I decided to come and help her--I was like, "that's brilliant, so I'll go just for two or three months." When I came first, I thought I should do an English course, just to improve my English. But the English course wasn't two or three months--it was nine months. During that time I found the love of my life, so…

[In Portugal] I was working in a restaurant--I had been teaching music, but it was in the summer and I started working in a restaurant, and then another restaurant because in terms of jobs, that's what I could get--it was really difficult to get something, so that's what I was doing, working in restaurants.

I work in a charity--it's a homeless charity, so I basically work in the head office. I do a little bit of everything that is needed in the head office--fundraising, volunteers, admin, everything that is needed.

I did bring two objects because part of me is Madeiran and part of me is mainland Portugal, so I brought two small objects. From Madeira I broughttraditional embroidery that was made by my grandmother and was given to my mum as a gift--when women get married, normally the mothers give to the daughters something that they've made, so my grandmother did this embroidery. And it's very traditional for Madeira. And from the mainland I brought this small cup from a festival--a group of friends of mine put that festival on, and I love music, so it's kind of like family and friends, so that wee cup is kind of a symbol of the two worlds.