Ludmila: “You are happy because you are grateful.”

“What is your favourite word – one in Portuguese and one in English?,” we asked.”In Portuguese, ‘saudade’ because it means so much and there isn’t even a translation for it. In English, lush,” she replied.

Image credit: Carolina Mesquita

Born in the Portuguese capital, Ludmila’s family is from both Guinea and Cape Verde. But, 10 years ago, she moved to the UK, where she completed high school and graduated with a French and Political Science degree from the University of Leeds.

During university, Ludmila had the opportunity to volunteer at an international NGO in Cape Verde. “After that experience, I knew I wanted to move to London,” she told Little Portugal. And that’s what happened in 2016.

Ludmila packed her bags and started a new life in the big smoke, an adventure she described as a bit “daunting” and “overwhelming” – particularly after her experience in Cape Verde, a country known for its close knit community.

“The reality was tough but I am positively surprised with the experience of living here.”

Currently, Ludmila works for a law firm and is slowly learning how to appreciate what the English capital has to offer, including the culture and history. “It is always walking distance from the river,” she told us when we met at the Imperial War Museum in Southwark.

“You are not grateful because you are happy. You are happy because you are grateful.” This is Ludmila’s favourite quote – and we could tell from the constant smile on her face.

She is planning on staying in London for longer, but not forever. Even though the city’s diversity has allowed her to meet people from a similar background, Ludmila still finds it hard to “fit in”.

She said: “Sometimes when I am stressed after work and start cursing in Portuguese, I have to be careful as it is very likely that a Portuguese-speaker will be sitting next to me.”

In the future, she hopes to go back to the African continent and live in Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana or even in Cape Verde – where she wants to follow her dream of working in public policy.

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