Monday, April 13, 2009


After Tallinn, it was time for exploring the North-West of France, and more precisely, Normandy. A quite long road-trip that brought me to several beautiful, historical and interesting places, of which the highlight was without any doubts the Mont Saint Michel. Magical, mysterious, almost mystical, the Mont Saint Michel is one of those places one must go to at least once. After a short stay in Brussels, the tour continued with Bulgaria (Sofia and Plovdiv), Istanbul and, then, some days off in Portugal, celebrating Easter at home with my son, parents, brothers and sister. In Bulgaria I attended my last meeting of the CBMA, and thus said goodbye to one more YFJ team. Bulgaria was one of the last countries joining the European Union, and was also the last EU Member State I visited; I am now ready for further enlargements! And, maybe symbolically, afterwards I went to Turkey and back to Istanbul. This amazing city, historical crossroad of cultures and former capital of diverse empires, was the perfect location for the Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, and I am happy and proud to be able to say that we all have come a long way since that meeting in New York, almost three years ago: the Global Youth Movement for the Alliance of Civilizations is now a reality and will give visibility both to the tremendous work developed by so many young people and youth organizations all around the world, and to the aims and objectives of this initiative that tries to enhance dialogue among different. Wherever my future endeavors will bring me next, I hope be able to stay linked to this process: it has a huge potential of good, and I want to keep being part of it. And, as I said, then I went home. 4 short, yet intense days in Guimarães, with Francisco and all my family. Awesome! Now, on my way back to Brussels, and while reflecting on everything that happened since I left Brussels 10 days ago - the facts, the events and the thoughts that crossed my mind -, there are two ideas that pop up and I want to share. The first one emerged in Istanbul, while looking at the Bosporus off one of the Çiragam Palace windows: so far, I have been looking at the 31st of May as the end of something and the beginning of something else, and that's wrong. It doesn't make sense. My life has always been led by one simple idea: doing the right thing. Not the right thing as in a moment when one needs to take a certain decision; rather the right thing as in doing whatever one can do to help making the world a little bit better. I know it sounds pretentious and I apologize for it, and yet that's exactly what I always tried to do. Of course, I not always succeeded. And, of course, I took a lot of wrong decisions, wasted time and resources, did many things that made the world a little worse. But, in the back of my mind, there was always this idea: making a better world. Therefore, thinking about this in Istanbul, I realized that my life will only make sense if, after the 31st of May, I keep doing exactly the same. And therefore, I will. The second idea is a bit more personal and it has to do with the feelings I experienced being in Guimarães with my closest relatives: sometimes I feel lost, without a reference, and that makes me feel disengaged... like not caring if I am in the apartment I rent in Brussels or in a hotel room in Plovdiv, or if I will be staying in Brussels for some more years or moving to Monterrey in some months... well, I realized over the last few days that I have a home, and I have a family, and that they are my anchor, my constant. Life changes and will keep changing for sure, but Guimarães, my parents, my brothers and sister, my son and my old friends, they are my constant. And now I know that I will never feel lost again, because I have a place and people to go back to. So, all in all, and even though I would prefer to still be at home instead of being already approaching Brussels, I feel happy. And I feel much more confident about the future and what it will bring me. Easter is the time for joy and hope in the future, the time for celebrating the victory of life over death, the time for understanding that our lives depend on what we do with them, the time for realizing that history is something we make. This Easter I felt it again. And I know I owe it to you too. Thank you!


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