Charting a couple's move from London to Portugal, tales, adventures and moving advice

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"When you get to the bottom you go back to the top"

Posted on September 03, 2009 by movingtoportugal

Music fans will recognise the title as the song “Helter Skelter,” by the Beatles – covered by U2 and, according to Google, Pat Benatar – never heard that version!

RollercoasterAnyway, it nicely sums up the rollercoaster ride this moving to Portugal business is proving to be!

It is strange really, because although overall I would say the overall level of stress is what I expected from moving countries, the stress is coming from things I didn’t expect, and then, some of the things I expected to be a nightmare have actually been really straightforward….some examples:

EASIER THAN EXPECTED:

1. Opening a Portugese bank account

After finding out I could go along to the London branch I visited the very nice people at Banco Espirito Santo. Wait in reception, go to private room, provide paperwork, give them cheque. All done – I didn’t have to speak to anyone in a call-center in Delhi, provide my credit history, last 6 years of utility bills or my shoe size. My first experience of the Portugese banking system was very positive – maybe because you pay for personal banking in Portugal, but I think that this service is well worth 4 euros per month!

2. Renting a house

Admittedly we haven’t got the keys yet as we don’t go until November, but so far the dealings with the rental agency have been friendly and far more straightforward than doing the same in the UK. A pleasant surprise complimented with the constant pleasure of knowing we will be living in a much nicer house than we do now for a fraction of the money!

3. Packing up to go

This is supposed to be the most stressful part, but a determined effort with Ebay and the realisation that once you actually get stuck into it, it doesn’t really take that long to sort out even the largest of cupboards, has meant this has ended up being quite theraputic and enjoyable.

HARDER THAN EXPECTED:

1. The Emotions

This week marked the “start of Autumn,” and I was fully expecting this to be the time when I took the attitude of “HA! Summer’s over but I’m moving to the sunshine in two months, so up yours London!”

It actually left me with a real feeling of melancholy. It hasn’t been a bad Summer overall by London standards (despite moaning about the weather in past posts!) We have had some great times with great friends, and I guess it’s the first time we have allowed ourselves to acknowledge the things we are going to miss.

The same goes for our house – it is expensive and we have awkward neighbours, but we have still enjoyed years of lovely Sunday lunches and other good-times…..and however much you are looking forward to living somewhere else, leaving the place where you carried your wife over the threshold is always going to put a lump in your throat.

Next week the schools go back, everywhere we travel in London will take 3 times longer – I think that coupled with the turning of the weather will be the point when I snap out of all of this reminiscing nonsense!

2. Business

Everything in business world moves fast in London – starting my business was quick and easy as well. Now it comes to handing it over, everything moves a lot slower than you want it to, and loads of other things you need to do – i.e. setting dates for flights, removals etc. gets stuck behind other things on the plan while you are waiting on other people. I am not a hugely patient person (according to my wife!) and I am spending vast amounts of time pacing and waiting currently. Not good!

3. The “Longing”

Not quite the same as being there

Not quite the same as being there

I have been reading guidebooks, moving-abroad books, magazines, forums and websites for 3 years now in anticipation of our move to Portugal. Now I just really REALLY want to get there. As I mentioned above, patience isn’t one of my main skills, but I really feel I have waited long enough now! My mother told me not to wish my life away today, which is always sound advice, but a combination of evenings spent getting excited by YouTube videos of the Algarve followed by mornings of realising I still have to go into London and live my current life is wearing me down!

So that’s where we are. Eight weeks to go <drums fingers on table.>

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4 to “"When you get to the bottom you go back to the top"”

  1. Dreamer says:

    what will you do with your house in the UK, are you selling it or renting it?

    What will you do for income when in portugal?

  2. movingtoportugal says:

    We are renting here in London so no problem there. My wife is still doing her London job from Portugal and I am selling my business and starting another one which is online-based.

  3. Laura says:

    Not long now…I have the same feelings about not wishing my life away!

    Thanks for the info on opening a Portuguese bank account in London, I didn’t know you could do that 🙂

  4. Dreamer says:

    Ahhh, should be an easy transition then



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