The passport that flew away


I have touched on this subject before and I am doing it again today! It is about the question of nationalities. People have many times asked me what I see myself as. I have to be honest and explain that I am convinced that our first years are most important in shaping one’s personal identity.

I carry today a Swedish passport and it makes sense since I have lived in Sweden for the most part of my life. But I have had the Portuguese and British passports before. What happened for me to lose the Portuguese nationality which emotionally best correspond to my own feelings and identity!

I will explain. When I was living in London my thoughts were always to go back to Portugal which I missed grandly. Apart from my nearest family that lived there and the friends I had left I missed the Atlantic coast. I often talked about it and the people that came closest to me during those London years knew and could plan on going there with me. But I couldn’t so when my father came to London in 1971 he looked up some of his old acquaintances at the Consulate, from his own time there.

We were told that if I wanted to go back I would have to lose the Portuguese nationality first or I would risk being sent to the army and subsequently to some of the fronts in colonized Africa. Of course this was said on an unofficial way as a personal favour. I was give some forms, filled them in handed in my first passport with the national symbol on the front and the word PORTUGAL.

As I left for Sweden in 1972 it wasn’t until years later that my request was granted and sadly it was already after the revolution of 1974.

This is not a picture of my passport but mine looked something like this!