makes sense


I wanted to be more in contact with nature, the ocean was a big factor in my decision to move to the Alentejo. It is much more rural than the places I have lived in before, and I was already in a minimalism process, I knew that I didn’t need as many things as I had before, I understood less is more. In the first months, I had to keep pinching myself just to make myself believe that I was actually living here and meeting these wonderful people, and it still happens sometimes. Here everything makes sense. I’m surrounded by elements which make me happy in my daily life, I am enjoying every little moment: nature, sunrises and sunsets, local food, listening to the stories of local people. I love travelling, seeing people being happy, giving presents to people and receiving gifts from the universe.

I was born in Besançon, France and my parents are Portuguese, so I grew up in a bicultural environment, which was very nice but at the same time quite problematic. When I was living in France, that was one reality with speaking Portuguese at home but in French surroundings, and another reality was spending holidays in Portugal. These were never mixed till I decided to move to Portugal, first to study and later to live. I thought finally, in Portugal, I would be accepted as Portuguese, because in France I was always the Portuguese little girl, rather than a French. However, when I started to study International Relations at the University of Coimbra, I became the French girl in Portugal. At this time I discovered the possibility of a double degree in France and in Portugal, which was just perfect for me. Till my late twenties I really felt it was necessary to choose whether I was French or Portuguese but then I realized that it enriches me, I am more comprehensive with the world, I am a mix, and it is nice to be like this.

I was working for Citadelle de Besançon, which I enjoyed, but my dream was to work on a project which I believed in, in a wonderful place with wonderful people, and when Rota’s advertisement appeared, I thought that this was just the perfect job. Now I work on Maintenance, Volunteering and Community with José Granja, which fulfills me a lot: it is in accordance with my values: sustainability, working with people and communities, looking at certain things from different angles. I’m learning how to find the golden mean in being demanding with myself and also a balance between personal and professional life. But one thing is sure, living here and having this job confirm my belief of everything is possible!

Irene Nunes

The photos were taken by Altereinhos beach.

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