'Farewell to Dartmouth' from the Carneiro family

Jul 5, 2017

After four years as consul of Portual, Pedro Carneiro and his family will return to Lisbon. As consul, Carneiro helped immigrants acclimate to the Greater New Bedford area.

The following is a letter from his wife, Margarida Cortes Rosa, to address the Dartmouth community before their August departure.

Dartmouth was sunny and hot when we first arrived on an early August afternoon in 2013. We were tired and anxious. We had just said "goodbye" to our entire family and to all our friends, and were starting a new life among strangers. Moving should be an exciting thing... but moving to a different country, with three school-aged children, can be a little scary too.

So we decided to take a walk. And in the very exact moment we stepped outside, a kind lady approached us, just to say what a "beautiful family" we were, smiling to us and wishing us well. I clearly remember the moment and the place where this happened. I don’t remember her face, though. But I think that's because she represents now, to me, all of you. Since that moment, this is how I've been feeling here, with my family: very welcomed.

Dear Dartmouth community, you are the most kind people we could ever share our lives with. As neighbors, as friends, as parents, as coaches, as teachers, as doctors, you, during these four years, were always ready to make our life easier. It was such a smooth transition for us, and such a wonderful time, that we are now in the very same point we were four years ago: having a hard time saying "goodbye," this time, to you.

We loved the way our children could ride their bikes in the neighborhood. We loved the way there was always someone to watch our house while we weren't here, and our dog, or inviting us to a dinner, or to the beach, or the kids to a birthday party or a play date. We loved every minute of each Halloween, and how fun and safe it was for the children. We learned to celebrate Thanksgiving, inspired by you. We shared with some of you a great amount of hours in soccer fields, and will be forever amazed with this extraordinary program you have created, all based on volunteering. (Thank you to every single coach of every single team our children were in, REC, Town, or Club!)

From Padanaram's local shops, to the pharmacies, the library, the post office, coffee shops, or big grocery stores... we had a smile, every time we were there.

And, of course, the Dartmouth Police Department Facebook posts, that always added a positive touch and sense of "closeness" to our day!

Even during snowstorms, or rainy springs... it is easy to live here.

And then, as if this wasn't enough, there are the schools. I want you to know how blessed we feel to have had the chance to be part of schools like Cushman, DeMello, and Dartmouth Middle School. Since the very first day, our children were taken care of as if they were the only ones on those premises and unique.

Each and every teacher and staff member that crossed our way was so special, that I must say that I think this has to be a local thing. You are special, therefore you raise little people to be special, that soon turn into special adults. The opportunity I had to volunteer in the schools was unforgettable. I met extraordinary principals, out-of-this-world teachers (you know who you are!), great parents that soon became friends and partners in crime to the most wonderful adventures (you know who you are, too!!), cafeteria staff, specialists, PTO teams (moms just like me, but with the ability to multiply their hours in one single day and still be very successful in all their roles), and, of course, the dearest and sweetest office ladies we could ever dream of (yes, you!).

Every hour I spent in these schools, every donation we made, or field trip I participated, every phone call I did or email I wrote was worth it. Schools are the safest investment you can ever make! Thank you for taking care of my children as you did, teaching them not only how to be kind, but strong, smart and humble; dreamers and workers; funny and respectful. It is even more moving to know that all this happens with people from so many different backgrounds and heritages, that all agree in this one big thing: keeping a healthy environment. Our children were very happy and confident in this town, in a huge part, thanks to this big team called "school community."

Congratulations, for what you have built, you are building, and, I'm sure, you will keep building.

It takes a village. And YOU are THE village.

We will be leaving to Lisbon on an early August afternoon, probably hot and sunny, in 2017. After 4 years, we are better people and a better family because we have you in our hearts forever.

You can visit the most beautiful sites on the planet, but you only feel at home in places with special people. And we felt at home, here.

Thank you, Dartmouth!