Friday, May 5, 2017

{ Story Time Friday #1 }

Happy Friday everyone :)

I was laying in bed last night, and just before I drifted off to sleep, my mind decided to go on full steam ahead thinking of ideas for my blog, posts I could write up, day specific features that would ensure I stay on track (like my Happy Homemaker Monday ).

And then it hit me, why not do a story time every Friday.

I like to think that I have led a pretty interesting life, I've lived in many countries, I've visited many places, I've experienced many things, I used to be a radio DJ, and I also used to be a singer who recorded some stuff back in South Africa and once sang in front of 10 000 people.

I was born in a country that not many people think about, I was forced to leave that country with my parents and the rest of the family when I was just 1 year old, and flee for our lives.

There are so many stories inside me that I would love to get on the blog, record them, keep them all in one place for the future.  I don't want to ever forget what I've been through and what my life has been and I think it would be quite interesting for my children to one day sit and read about their mom's interesting life......and when I say interesting, I mean interesting, everything from haunted houses, to being attacked by a ghost, to participating in a riot in Portugal, to the day my dad and stepmom were almost taken by some strange people, to the morning we woke up to find a small baby sized coffin at our front door with my father's picture and a bullet beneath.

Moments in time, memories that will forever be etched in my mind and in my heart.

If I hadn't lived through all of these things, and was an outsider looking in, I would have some serious doubts about these stories, because truly some seem to come straight out of a movie script.  But they're not, they're my life, my crazy insane full of weird and wonderful moments, life.

Every Friday, I will be telling a story, from the earliest memories stored in my mind, all the way through childhood, marriage and up to now.  I think I have stories for years to come and I really can't wait to tell them :)

I thought I would start today with what I think is one of the most important events in my life, the one that shaped everything because truly if not for that moment, my life would have probably been extremely different.
I was born on the 10th of August, 1974, in the African country called Mozambique.  It's not a common name heard here in the States or anywhere in the world really, unless you're in Portugal, or Southern Africa.

I often get mixed reactions when asked where I was born, some are shocked, some are surprised, some have no idea where the country is.

So I thought it would be a good idea to start at the beginning, to show you where I was born, where I came from and why I have such a huge pull to the ocean and the beach.  I haven't seen the ocean in almost 10 years and I can't even tell you how out of place I feel, it truly is like a fish out of water feeling and I am constantly thinking about how much I need to go.  Maybe sometime this year.

In 1498, Portuguese explorers landed on the Mozambican coastline. Control of Mozambique was left to various organisations such as the Mozambique Company, the Zambezi Company and the Niassa Company which were financed and provided with cheap labour by the British Empire to work mines and construct railways. (Source: Wikipedia)

Obviously I don't recall much of Mozambique, what I do know was told through stories by my greatgrandmother, grandmother, grandfather and father, mother, stepmother etc.

For all intents and purposes they lived a beautiful idyllic life.  Friends, family, wonderful homes, camping trips, movie theaters, beach outings and parties and so on.

And then one day it all came crashing down.  I guess I shouldn't say in one day, there was of course a very long lead up to it.

Portugal had ruled the colony of Mozambique for 477 years.  Insane!!!

As the communist ideals and anti-colonial issues came to light, tensions started to rise and suddenly that quiet blissful life started feeling the pressure to conform or get out.

I often heard the stories from my family and other family friends who fled as well, about how neighbor turned on neighbor, friend turned on friend and even family on family, as accusations flew, fingers were pointed and people started getting arrested.  As I grew older I kind of started relating it to the Salem Witch Trials, it was along those lines, if you didn't like someone you could just tell the government that so and so said or did, and that person was arrested and punished.

It took 9 years of a brutal war culminating in it's Independence from Portugal in 1975.  I was but a year old at the time.

Within a year, most of the 250,000 Portuguese in Mozambique had left.  Some were thrown out by the government and a lot like my family, fleeing in fear.  All the Portuguese people were basically told to get out within 24 hours with only 44 pounds of luggage allowed to be removed from the country.

Needless to say many of us left with little more than the clothes on our bodies, and completely penniless.  The homes that were so lovingly taken care of, the lives that had been built, all left behind.  It was absolutely heartbreaking.  

We fled to Rhodesia now known as Zimbabwe, many others fled to South Africa and some to Portugal, where we ended up a year later.  

I don't recall any of that, but I do have one simple memory that has stayed in my mind my whole life, and it is of us piling into either a helicopter, or a train or whatever the vehicle was (and I know that sounds insane because a helicopter and a train are nowhere near the same thing), and me sitting on my mom's lap completely terrified, crying and not understanding what was going on around me.

 Arriving in different countries, we were treated like third world citizens, we didn't belong, we weren't wanted and life wasn't easy.  But we made it work and the first 9 years of my life, the absolute foundation of my childhood and who I am, was formed in Portugal.

I was born in Mozambique, but I am Portuguese and will always think of Portugal as my home.

Did I ever go back to Mozambique?  Yes I did, a couple times, and I'll tell you all about that in future posts.

See it doesn't matter that I remember nothing about my country of birth, I have a place in my heart that is and always will be connected to that beautiful land, I can't even look at pictures without getting a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.  It hurts, it makes me sad and it makes me wonder what could have been.  I wouldn't trade my life and where I am and what I've become, for nothing in this world, but I will always wonder if we hadn't been forced to leave, where I would right now.

EDIT:  I've had a few of you ask me if I would consider turning this into a meme so they could join in.  ABSOLUTELY!!!
I thought about mentioning it when I first typed the post up but I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested as there are so many other memes around.  However, I have decided to go ahead and put up a linky and turn this into an every Friday feature.  I am so excited to read everyone's family stories :)


  1. Hi Sandra, I too lived in Mocambique , in Beira, but, left in 1965, way before all the problems, but my formative years were in Mocambique, I left when I was 14, everyday I miss the Indian Ocean and the beaches and everything to do with the sea! But I don't plan in going back, I still have family both in Mocambique and South Africa, I rather just stay with the old memories, as wonderful as they are!

    1. Hi Anamaria, how wonderful to meet another fellow Mozambican :) I last visited in either 1992 or 1993, I don't recall which year, of course everything is so different, and I definitely don't have plans of ever going back especially now that I live in the USA. I do still have family in South Africa, matter of fact most of my immediate family is still back in Johannesburg :)

    2. It is was very nice to find your blog, I look forward to read it every day, I have been in the US for 44 years! I live in North Carolina, all the best to you and your family

    3. I'm glad you found me and look forward to more visits :) I've been in the US for almost 20 years. I'm in North Texas :) Have a wonderful week and blessings to you and your family too.

  2. This is going to be a fascinating blog feature, Sandra, thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you Pamela, and you are very welcome. I can't wait to read your family stories too :)

  3. So interesting, looking forward to reading more.

  4. Wow, very interesting. Can't wait to read more of your stories.

  5. Wow Sandra - I never knew this about Mozambique, or about you. Very interesting - thanks for sharing!

  6. It always amazes me that Americans don't pay attention to history or geography! I remember being aware of difficulties then but how nice to hear from someone who's family lived through it and survived! I enjoy reading about your lovely family and look forward to hearing more about your life! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I think this will be a wonderful chronicle of your life! I can't wait to read the next installment.

  8. I love this and what you are sharing. Everyone has such an interesting story to share!! I started doing somewhat what you are doing back in October (I desperately want to remember my heritage and share it w/ especially my kids but my friends also). You've inspired me to get back to it!!

  9. Sandra, I'm so excited about this new feature to your blog! I always fely our lives had a lot of parallels! your post really moved me, I was just 3 months old when my family did the same and left for Portugal! I lived there the first 6 years of my life, and I feel what you feel when I think of Portugal and Angola. I have never returned to Angola, but it is on my bucket list! I must sea the seawall in Luanda! Nothing is a coincidence, aside from the fact that we both have a lot in common (home, family, food, etc.), it's this connection that makes you cross my mind ever so often. I pray for you too, bjs amiga, can't wait to get to know you better! This is going to mean a lot to you, your family, and many of us readers, so THANK YOU!

  10. This post is so interesting and I really look forward to you writing these stories. Thank you for sharing.


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