When we met the first time with João Melo he was working like a chef in Italian restaurant “Via Pre” in Penang, Malaysia.
One day I walked around Penang, admiring sights and by the way I saw one Italian restaurant and decided to try.
When I went in, I saw the style of restaurant, menu, was looks pretty cool, and I tried. Food was really tasted and good. After I became a regular guest in this place. And time to time I met with the owners of the restaurant and with the chief João. From that point we became a friends.
Now João moved to leave and work in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. I’m so happy for him and his career. For my opinion he can be interesting like a person which moved from his own country to another for job. I think he did a good choice, because Asia fantastic place, especially for the young people.
E.R.: Hi, João! Please, tell us about yourself: where you coming from? Few worlds about your family?
João: Hi! I’m 32 years old, and I come from the suburbs of Lisbon in Portugal. I grow up near the beach. My friends and I used to spend a lot of time hanging out outdoors, surfing, traveling around. I have an older sister, she’s always been a huge influence on me.
My parents are both young and they spend the whole week working but on weekends I remember them to always take me and my sister out to do something, spend time with them. Summer times I used to spend my time with my grandparents, either on the country side where we have a small farm or north from Lisbon, on a small fisherman’s villa.
E.R.: Do you like Portugal?
João: Yes, of course. Portugal is a great small country. The weather is great, food is amazing and people are very friendly.
E.R.: Why you decided to leave and work around the world?
João: Well, I always liked travel. I remember, how we did long car trips with my parents, since I was very young. They used to take us to the south of France, Spain and all over Portugal to see new places, people and to experience new things. I think it was very important for my education, it helped me to wide my horizons.
My mother, due to she’s work, a couple of years later, started to travel a lot and it made a big impact in my decisions. She used to tell me about things she saw, how the world can be different only by traveling a couple of hours by plane.
I had a chance to travel with her couple of time. And finally understand what it means seeing the world. So, I got addicted to it.
By the time I was 20/21 years old. I started to go everywhere when I had a chance. When I had the opportunity to leave, I realized it was what I wanted to do.
After 3 years I left, all I can say is that it was the best decision of my life. I have a great job, I’m in a great country with so much potential and opportunities. Also, since I left, I’ve traveled around Asia, meet new people, new cultures, and experienced my life.
E.R.: That’s fine! But I remember once you told me, that in the future you would like to come back in your country and open own restaurant. It’s still actual dream?
João: I think, so. I love traveling, but in the end, Portugal is the place where home is. Maybe not now, but in the future is the country where I want to be. Have my family, lots of kids, my house in front of the sea and a nice small restaurant with nice home cooking where I can make people happy with what I love to do.
So, I got nothing more to say. Just wish João enjoy his life and hope all his dreams will come true.
Is not easy and in is not for everybody, leave them native country and make a new life in the new place. But those persons, who got character to do it, will experience another life!
P.S. If one day you will visit Kuala Lumpur, I suggest you to take a dinner in Italian restaurant “Nerovivo” and give my regards to the chef João Melo!