I came to the UK with my (then) 5 years old son in December of 2019. My wife and our older daughter were already here since October. They came from Italy where they were organizing their Italian documents and I came directly from Brazil, as soon as my son’s school year ended. We have been in the UK before, visiting family and travelling, and in 2010 we got to know Portsmouth. We came to visit the Historic Dockyard Museum and we loved the city and came to visit again a few other times. Since our first visit, we dreamed to live in the UK, but life got in the way a few times and only in 2019 we were ready to make it happen. And now we’re finally here!
We were initially living with relatives, in north Hampshire, whilst looking for a house to rent. To rent a house is a hard job, if you’re new to the country then, even harder. We wanted at first to live closer to family, meaning north Hampshire and nearby. But it wasn’t to be. When we started looking to beyond our initial range, Portsmouth was up in the list and in a matter of weeks, we finally managed to secure a house in Southsea. We moved in on the final days of January.
Now it’s March and we’re in Lockdown! New to the city, to the country, in a bare house, and a bit far from the only people we know in the country. Not that it mattered as per lockdown’s rules we couldn’t visit them even if we lived next door. But regardless, it is a bit daunting.
And there is also that pesky thing called finances. Our plan was for me to look for a job as a Project Manager whilst trying to earn some money as an Architectural Photographer; and my wife would continue to work remotely as a self-employed Civil Engineer for her clients back in Brasil, as she has been doing for the last 15 years.
You see, I have 20+ years of experience in the Telecom/IT business, the last 10 years of this period as a certified Project Manager. But since 2012 I have been working as a self-employed Architectural and Authorial Photographer. Despite a moderately successful career as a Photographer, I thought that the move to the UK would be great to get back to business as a Project Manager.
Photography, to me, is a passion that needs freedom to exist, to happen. Commercial photography does not afford you such freedom, not in the level that I practice at least. Hence I decided to get back to my earlier career as a Project Manager, which was great by the way, and keep the Authorial Photography as a passion only, no longer a core.
But I digress, this is a subject for another post, today is all about life under lockdown.
My wife and I have been working at home either as self-employed or remotely for the last 15 years. So, to be confined at home is not a big change. My older daughter is an Illustrator, she has finished her graduated studies in 2018 and has been self-confined to her room since leaving school, developing her portfolio and trying to start a career as freelancer. No big change there too.
The big loss is my son’s school, he had just started it, less than a month attending, when the schools closed. He is already far behind kids his age here in the UK. He is 5, and due to his date of birth and the difference in school calendars between Brazil and the UK, he lost more than a full year. He lost the most important period, when he would learn to read and write. To be exact, he lost the whole Reception Year and the first half of Year 1.
I started writing this post almost one year ago, but never got to finish it, not for lack of time, let me assure you. Today is 26 of March of 2021 and I’m finally getting back to it. I decide to leave the first part as it is as a form of documenting what we’re going thru at the time. I’ll just try to wrap up what happened in the last 12 months real quickly. Anyway, that was lockdown 1.0, then summer came and all was apparently good…great mistake. Soon after summer came lockdown 2.0 that turned it self in 3.0 and now we’re on our way out of it in a few months, hopefully.
My son started Y2 at school but soon was back to home schooling until early March. Fortunately, with the support of his teacher and an incredible capacity demonstrated by him to learn a new language he is up to date with his class mates and going strong ahead. My daughter is still self-confined to her room – again, no big news here. My wife is gradually easing her work routine and looking forward to start new ventures locally. Although, to say “gradually” is stretching a bit the very slow pace with which she is easing her workload…
I was able to get some sparse work as a photographer but not enough. From November to January I worked as a self-employed delivery driver for an Amazon Delivery Service Partner…it was an adventure, and I’ll probably write a post about this incredible experience some day. In February I had my first (and hopefully only and last) kidney stone crisis. Fortunately we’re already on the down curve of the pandemic and I was able to receive a fast and efficient treatment from my local GP and from the Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Life is still stressful but we’re keeping it together, and more than ever we’re sure of our decision to leave Brasil and come to the UK to live, to raise our little boy and give new opportunities to our daughter. And new opportunities for us as well. Despite Brexit, pandemic and all other hardships we can see that everything will get better and brighter. Soon enough we will be able to leave our houses, to mingle, to get to know people, our neighbours, to explore Portsmouth, the UK and beyond.
See you all soon!
Carlos Alexandre Pereira
Urban explorer, travel and architectural photographer. Film and digital user, preferably B&W. Online/digital writer and publisher. Photography educator. Fine art prints available in limited editions.