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I thought it would be interesting to give a slant on my sometimes perhaps slightly rose-tinted view of our move to Portugal, so I asked her to write a guest post reviewing her first six months in this wonderful, sunny country! Here’s what she said:
Being asked to write a guest post for my husband’s blog started me thinking seriously about how I feel about Portugal after six months of living here. It also made me think about the life I left behind in London.
It’s funny how quickly I’ve adapted to some things, while other things still take me by surprise every day. Greeting people in Portuguese and driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road felt natural within weeks of being here, yet I’m still surprised and overjoyed by how bright the sunshine is each morning when I open the blinds.
The cost of life in Portugal is also something I take for granted now. I was genuinely shocked at the cost of dinner out for two last time I was in London: £100 for the meal, plus the train there, the drinks before and after, and the £35 taxi back to the hotel. Here we can get all the fish we can eat for €9 per person – and that seems normal now.
It’s also strange that the things I miss are so different from the things I thought I would. Missing family and friends was always a given, but with regular trips back to England, having visitors here and the wonders of Skype, I don’t actually feel like I’m missing out too much. It’s the little things that I’ve been most surprised about missing – things like spring onions and Thai food (yes, I am as food obsessed as my husband!)
So, how do I feel about it overall after six months? The true answer is that I’m very, very happy to be here. I’ll gladly live with never eating Pad Thai again if it means that I can stay in
this wonderful country. The people are so welcoming and supportive of (well, amused by) my efforts to speak their language and settle in their country. Each day brings some kind of small triumph, whether using a newly learned word in conversation or making our first green salad with leaves grown entirely on our balcony. Life now is so far removed from those hours spent fuming in London traffic and feeling tired/stressed all the time that I can’t believe how lucky I am to be here.
Before this starts to sound too sugar-coated though, there are definitely some unexpected downsides to living in Portugal. Mosquitoes, for example. While numerous bite-riddled trips abroad have long since taught me that my blood tastes particularly delicious to these flying cretins, I’ve never seen mosquito bites as more than a minor irritation. Until I lived here. Now every bite brings with it ridiculous swelling, incredible itching and the feeling that my skin is on fire. All of which last for days. I suppose I should be grateful that this gave me the chance to put into practice the ‘trip to the chemist’ module from my Teach Yourself Portuguese CD. It’s hard to be philosophical about it though, when my arm looks like a balloon.
Another unexpected downside is… Hmm… Ok, so I’m sitting here stumped as to what else is bad about living here. I do really want to give a view of both sides of life here, but the only other bad thing I can think of is that shampoo is a bit more expensive than it is in England. As is conditioner.
I’ve thought long and hard whilst writing this about whether I have any regrets about leaving London to live in Portugal and the simple answer is no. For someone who values happiness over money and loves the simplicity of life in the sunshine as much as I do, all I am left wondering is why I stayed in London for so long!