But this is not just another love story.
I am Portuguese, he is Swedish. When the question “Where did you meet?” is asked, the answer is always received with curiosity. In India. Me and Oscar met at Palolem Beach, in Goa. We were both traveling with friends and I was celebrating the birthday of one of them. That night, Oscar told me he was planning to go on a trip around the world in a sailing boat. One of the stops was going to be Lisbon.
The interest was mutual, but no one expected us to see each other again. Actually, I discovered recently, what this Swedish guy wrote about me in the Travel Journal, the night we met, “her kisses tasted like salt and adventure.” And you know what? So did his.
A few months later, Oscar left Gothenburg in the family boat to start a trip around the world with his cousins and brother. Geography would have it that Portugal was a country with many ports and it was in Lisbon that this Swedish sailor dropped anchor in my heart. The planned stay was for a week, but the crew docked for one month in the Portuguese capital. In the morning they left Lisbon, I said my first words in Swedish, memorized by listening to the sound clip in Google Translate “. Jag kommer att sakna dig” I will miss you.
As soon as the boat reached Sagres, we both knew that it was not just a late summer passion. But there was a trip, different cultures and so many other worlds keeping us apart. We did not give up. From the Canary Islands, Oscar flew to Lisbon for a visit and we began to dream of a future in which the difference of nationality and culture did not matter.
The next step was the crossing of the Atlantic sea, with storms and lack of communication. But for this, the Swedish sailor found a solution: a series of letters with specific dates to be opened. Letters sent from shore, that I opened when he was at sea. There were 5 letters with photos, text and postcards, bits of information that made me know him better and love him even more.
As winter settled in in Portugal, the boat Isidora sailed between islands in the Caribbean. As a Christmas gift, I received from Oscar a trip to Guadeloupe, to visit him. There were five days of vacation, divided between nights on the boat and some in a hotel it was kind of a honeymoon. But there was more seas to sail and a few more months to wait. Under the circumstances the captain of the boat found out he was going to be a father instead of going through the Panama Canal and continue the journey, the crew decided to start the return trip home. That meant crossing the Atlantic one more time with little chance to communicate.
This time, I was the one writing five letters four with the elements of nature and the last one dedicated to him. But instead of deciding opening dates, I decided that he would open the letters on the days when he felt more discouraged or tired. The management of the openings was on his side.
Arriving to the Azores, Oscar flew to Lisbon. The grilled sardines smell filled the streets and popular music could be heard everywhere. It was June and he decided to stay. We lived in Lisbon together for a year. He was working part time and I was keeping the weekends to be able to show him my country treasures.
I’ve always thought that the fact that I never did Erasmus, at university, was a failure, so when we started to discuss the possibility of living in Sweden for a while, it was a welcomed idea. It was not just one talk, a special day that decided everything. There were many conversations, many travel dreams and a lot of advice from family and friends. The truth is that I always knew that our life together would always be divided between the two countries. Now we are in Sweden but one day we will return to Portugal. For now, we belong to the world.
I write this while I wait for the first of three flights that will take me to him. And I can tell you is that as long as I keep loving him like this, I will continue to get on all the planes that are needed … and always with a smile.
This post was also written in Portuguese. Click here for the portuguese version.