Pedro Airo, solutions architect for Dynamics CRM at Storm Technology, tells us why he chose Ireland as a place to live and work, and how he and his wife decided to leave Portugal for a brighter future.
Where are you from?
I was born and lived almost my entire life in Lisbon’s suburbs, in Oeiras, a city between Lisbon and Cascais. Lisbon is a beautiful city with wonderful landscapes, amazing gastronomy and friendly people.
If someone plans to visit Portugal, I would say they have to visit at least one city in the north of Portugal, Lisbon, and, of course, Algarve. During the summertime in Algarve, it seems you are in another country, sometimes walking around and only hearing English, Spanish or German languages. "Am I in Portugal?” is a question that I sometimes ask myself because I don’t hear Portuguese for a couple of minutes.
The gastronomy is amazing in Portugal; plenty of taste, colour and diversity, and, depending on which part of the country you are in, different types of ingredients are used. For example, if you live on the coastline, you will have a large variety of fish; where, on the other hand, going to the deep interior of Portugal, you will find great meat, chorizo and tasty vegetables.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I’ve been in Ireland since March 2012.
Why did you move here?
I was working (in Portugal), as was my wife, and we were reaching the end of 2011. However, we were looking to Portugal’s future with the IMF in there, and with all the sacrifices and rules applied to the people. Looking forward, we weren’t foreseeing a fast recovery of the country and that was when we decided to leave to provide a better future for ourselves.
The other reason was to improve our English and understand other cultures, which I have to say is good for growing as an individual within society.
What work do you do?
In Storm, I am a solutions architect for Dynamics CRM, a product from Microsoft that I proudly say I have been working with since 2004.
How would you describe your working environment?
The environment is great, either at the office or at the customer’s site. The company has more practices so, because I work in the CRM practice, I know more about our department. I have to say that we work as a team and we help each other, even if you have to work more time because you helped your colleagues.
Every time that someone has any problem – personal or professional – you always have someone available to help you, trying to give you the support that you need to do your work as best as you can.
What do you like most about your job?
The day-to-day challenges. I love to be challenged and it’s these type of projects that have made me grow in my job since the very start. Being at the customer’s site is another thing that I enjoy because you meet more people with different ideas, and sharing ideas will only enhance my knowledge. Also, whenever I complete a project, it is good to hear positive feedback about my work and this makes me proud; it’s what makes me wake up every morning and go to work feeling happy and content.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
I have to say that, initially, there were some things. Missing my family was the first one. Being so far from my family was the hardest thing about coming to Ireland.
The second one is the weather. Irish weather is pretty much the same for the year – rain, low temperatures and few sunshine hours – whereas in Portugal it is almost the opposite. That has been a big challenge for us, trying to adapt to the climate here.
The last one is the food. In Portugal, we were used to eating a lot of fish. And, when I say fish, I’m talking about a wide variety of types of fish, such as sea bream, sea bass, salmon, dry cod, octopus, squid, sardines – and all fresh. Here, fresh fish is more expensive and the only variety that we can find in most of the supermarkets is salmon.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
The swiftness of some Governmental institutions, even if a lot of work still needs to be done on paper. For example, when I arrived in Dublin, after one or two days, I went to a public service office to get my PPS number and, from the moment that I went there until the moment that I got the mail, only a couple of days had passed. Compared to the Portuguese government services, almost everything is done through computers but it takes more time to have your problems or questions resolved.
Another interesting thing that surprised me is that if I walk on a very busy street or a footpath, people don’t tend to move out of my way.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
As I have explained before, my colleagues help me feel good on a day-by-day basis. Sometimes, we go for a couple of drinks and talk about our home countries, the good and the bad of each. We are from different countries here at Storm, so it is very easy to talk to people in the same situation and we can share situations that happened to us in here, and advise the other guys about those situations.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
Friendly people. I’ve found that Irish people are somehow similar to Portuguese people, with some cultural differences, of course. For example, Irish people are used to going to the pub and staying there talking and drinking after work, whereas Portuguese people, because of the working hours, usually go straight home.
On the habits of Irish people, I have a question: why don’t I see them eating as often? I go to a pub and I see them drinking with no food on the table – why?