LisbonInsideOut: Fabien, a French IT Manager

What is LisbonInsideOut?

LisbonInsideOut is a new interview series that I’ve created to learn why foreign people, that live or have lived in Lisbon, chose this city and what they love about it.

This week I’m introducing you to Fabien, a French IT Manager who fell in love with a Portuguese girl in Tokyo and eventually  moved to Lisbon to enjoy a quieter life – a complete change from the hectic lifestyle in Japan.

Who is Fabien?

I briefly met Fabien at a Bloggers Meetup during Web Summit, along with his girlfriend Catarina, who btw you should follow if you’re into Japanese Art & Caligraphy! In fact, it was her that suggested interviewing Fabien.

As you might have noticed, I’ve been featuring mostly people in the creative industry, so I never thought I would interview someone outside that bubble. Truth is they both have an interesting story, they lived in Tokyo for a few years where they met and after venturing around Asia for a bit they ended up in Lisbon.

Besides being an IT Manager, Fabien is also the head of CoWorking.Coffee, a community that shares the best workplaces around the world, including in Lisbon!

Being European, he feels much closer to the Portuguese culture and loves everything about it, including our sweets, which coming from a French is quite a surprise.

He was also the only person to add little comments to his pictures which I thought it was funny and couldn’t help but include them in this post as well.

Me during web summit

What made you move to Lisbon?

I was living and working as an IT manager in Tokyo for a few years. I went there for a work opportunity and life was great. It was so different from France and from what I was expecting. Discovering a new culture, language, way of working and living… It was a nice but busy life!
There I met a beautiful Portuguese girl and we got together. Few years passed, and many travels around Asia later, we decided to move to Lisbon, to enjoy a quieter life. Here the culture is much closer from what I was used to, and the language is so much easier to pick up than Japanese!

How long have you been here?  

I have been in Lisbon for a little bit more than one year. We live in Alfama. It’s very pretty, I like it a lot, but it’s full of tourists, so we’ll be moving somewhere else in Lisbon soon. Too bad, because I really like the old stones and the murals, and also being close to everything. Being able to walk to everything is a privilege I like to have!

Portas do Sol Viewpoint
Portas do sol on a beautiful day

What do you do/what is your profession? 

I’m an IT manager. I used to manage teams, projects and IT infrastructures (you know, computer, servers, the things that make the internet works in a company!). Nowadays, I’m doing more engineering jobs, developing, building platforms, integrating services and tools. I hope to go back to the management side very soon, hopefully in a CTO position for a technology startup.

What is your favorite place in the city and why?

It’s difficult to pick a place in a city where you live! If there weren’t so many tourists, my favorite place would be in the eléctrico 28 during a sunny day. I find the ride very enjoyable, the hot air, the sounds of the wagon… I also like very much the café in Teatro da Garagem, for watching the sunset, it’s perfect!
Dorothy, where are you?

If you could take something from Lisbon home, what would it be?

Hehe, Lisbon is my home now. I wouldn’t take anything. But I have to say that the weather and the people are very nice. I think that’s what we were looking for when we moved out from Japan: a long warm and dry summer with friendly strangers with whom it’s easy to get in a deep friendly conversation.

lisbon cat
Mandatory cat picture, somewhere around Graça
Jardim Botânico Lisboa
Enjoying quietness in Jardim Botanico

What is the one thing you miss about France?

I don’t miss France that much besides family and friends. But they travel, they come to visit Lisbon, and sometimes I also go there. So, I would say it’s ok. I miss lots of things from Japan though, like the easiness of finding noodles everywhere at anytime, and some shopping items. The nightlife also in Tokyo was much more eclectic, there were lots of different things. Lisbon is a bit repetitive on this.

How did you decide to create the CoWorking Coffee community?

CoWorking.Coffee started as a little side project, with two freelancer friends who came to visit me in Tokyo. They wanted to go to work somewhere fancy while I was at the office, and could not find anything online! And so, I decided to solve this problem for them, and the idea took off pretty well!

Now, it’s more that 1400 coworking spaces and good coffee shops all over the world, in 4 languages. And we have been covered by Fast Company two weeks ago. So it’s going pretty well!

lisbon street art
Life as a street art
Santos Populares
During the Santos populares in Alfama, last year. Crazy happy mood.

Any other interesting facts worth mentioning?

An interview about someone living in Portugal wouldn’t be complete without talking about food!

I really like everything that Portuguese do with churrasco, porco preto and meat in general! Also the choice in the pastelerias is too damn difficult, everything looks so delicious! One of my favorite sins is the palmier coberto!

Where can you follow Fabien’s adventures?

You can find out more about Fabien by checking his personal page BlackSpotRadish, here he talks a bit more about his projects and features some of his travel pictures.

If you want to join the CoWorking.Coffee community, simply head here and start exploring!

Tagged as: , , , , , , , ,

Leave me your thoughts