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

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New Year, New Horizons – Portugal 2014

Posted on January 12, 2014 by Ben Algarve

(Lou) Having lived in Portugal for over four years now, it’s fair to say that some aspects of daily life in our new country have become routine. Certain interactions that would have invoked serious anxiety (mixed with excitement, of course) when we first arrived are now carried out without a moment’s thought.

A new era begins

A new era begins

2014, though, is going to be a year that is in many ways as nerve-wracking as our first months in Portugal – if not more so! It will be a year of firsts for us, as we navigate the unknown seas of having our first child and of yet more Portuguese bureaucracy as we go through the process of sorting out all of his paperwork.

With the news a few months ago that we were expecting a baby, we began our journey through the Portuguese state healthcare system. After a very bumpy start (numerous fruitless trips to the local Centro do Saude and being reduced to sobbing in frustration in the car park), I finally got to see my GP. From that point onward, things began looking up in terms of my experience of the medical profession.

Though the administration side of seeing the doctor still fills me with dread as each appointment approaches, the care that the bump and I have received from the medical staff has been truly excellent. Waiting times can be lengthy, but this is understandable once you get as far as the doctor. At each appointment so far, I have spent time with both the nurse and the doctor, with my face to face time with them ranging from 15 to 30 minutes.

New footsteps in the sand are eagerly/nervously awaited

New footsteps in the sand are eagerly/nervously awaited

It is a far cry from the five minute turnaround time I was used to in the UK. I’m still in two minds as to which system is better – one where you have fast access to the doctor but where your time with her is limited (as in the UK) or one where access is slow but you have as long as you need with the doctor, to ask as many questions as you feel you need to (as in Portugal).

Seeing the nurse has been an excellent experience for me personally, as she doesn’t speak any English. This forced me to learn a great many medical/birth-related Portuguese terms very quickly in order to communicate fully with her, which was excellent practice for when the big day arrives, as I have no reason to think that the midwife who eventually deals with me will happen to be fluent in English.

Portuguese language learning - all sorts of new words are now needed

Portuguese language learning – all sorts of new words are now needed

We still have four months to go, during which time we will no doubt experience many Portuguese ‘firsts,’ just as we did when we originally moved here. Many of those moments will be daunting, others will bring a sense of triumph, while yet more will no doubt result in a few more tears of frustration. I, for one, can’t wait.

If you would like to know more about our experiences of moving to Portugal, feel free to check out our book :-)

Moving to Portugal: How a young couple started a new life in the sun – and how you could do the same

US readers can find it here: Moving to Portugal – the book.

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it, or click the Google +1 - Many thanks :-)

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4 to “New Year, New Horizons – Portugal 2014”

  1. ray hardy says:

    Hi there would love to get your book is there anyone else that sells it apart from amazon as i try not to buy ftom these people i hope to learn things from your book as i want to move full time to the silver coast in about 4 yrs
    thanks for you time
    Ray

  2. admin says:

    Hi Ray,

    It is just through Amazon, I’m afraid.

    It sounds like you are planning well in advance and have an exciting four years of preparation ahead of you :-)

    Best wishes,

    Lou

  3. saz says:

    Happy new year to you both (and the bump). Good to have you back :-) I hope the next four months go really smoothly and will look forward to hearing your updates. Saz

  4. admin says:

    Thanks Saz, and Happy New Year to you too :-) It’s certainly going to be an interesting four months and we will be sure to keep you updated along the way.

    Best wishes, Lou



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