From Portugal to England – a Reverse Perspective

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As regular readers will know, Moving to Portugal is all about our move from rainy England to sunny Portugal and our experiences of settling in to our wonderful new country. This week, inspired by one of the comments on last week’s blog post, we thought it would be fun to turn everything on its head and look at the opposite perspective – what things are like for a Portuguese expat living in England.

Union Jack

Kat, her parents and her eldest sister moved to England in 2004, when Kat was 13. Here’s what she has to say about the experience:

M2P: What were the main reasons for the move?

Kat: There were a few different reasons. Firstly, my middle sister was living in England with her partner at the time. My mum wanted to be nearer to her, so that was the initial thought. Then there was the reason that my parents wanted to give me a better education. Out in Portugal education can be very expensive, paying hundreds of euros every year for books and the other things associated with school. If it hadn’t been for me, they say they would never have moved, so I owe them all for that, as I had the best education I could have asked for.

M2P: Did you find it hard to learn the language? How long did it take you?

Kat: Learning the language was a bit daunting. For the first few months I didn’t really talk much in school – I was more taking it all in and learning it. Surprisingly, however, I remember understanding a lot more than I expected.

M2P: What was it like starting school in England when up until the move you had been educated in Portugal?

Kat: School was fun. Weird to begin with because we have different holidays (no half terms in Portugal), and there is no uniform in Portugal either, so that was a bit weird. But I loved school so I found it all good.

School uniform

M2P: What do you like most about living in England?

Kat: England is home. I grew into an adult here, I am used to the language, the system, how everything works. I can’t pinpoint one specific thing about England, coz almost everything is good – MINUS THE WEATHER. That irritates me, I like sunshine so much, and England doesn’t get much of it.

M2P: Would you ever consider moving back to Portugal?

Kat: Moving to Portugal? I don’t think so. Extended holidays maybe, but actually living and working in Portugal… I wouldn’t (unless I was offered a job that paid me millions hehe!).

M2P: After so many years in England, do you consider yourself to be more English than Portuguese?

Kat: I am both. I will always be Portuguese. I don’t think it matters how far away you are from your home country, you still carry your roots with you. Portugal is my darling home and I have to go home almost every year. But, I also consider myself English, because England has provided me with so many opportunities that I am so thankful for.

Portuguese beach

M2P: Is your diet mainly English or mainly Portuguese?

Kat: If I am at home with my family, the diet is Portuguese. If I am with friends or my partner then it will be English. Although I love the variety of foods that England offers, from English to Indian, Chinese etc. I just love ALL FOODS. I get good variety here.

M2P: What do you miss about living in Portugal?

Kat: I miss the sun, the beaches, the clear skies, the hotness, the pace of life. I miss my family and just generally relaxing without a worry in the world.

Portuguese Beach 2

So it seems that wherever you move from and to, there are certain parts of your culture that go along with you and certain parts of your new culture that you quickly embrace. Thank you Kat for taking the time to speak to Moving to Portugal and providing us with the opposite perspective 🙂

Image credits: Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, Rob Herring

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8 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. A very interesting insight into how Kat views her move to the UK. Thank you.

    My heart is in both Derbyshire and Eastern Algarve. We are over in the Algarve at the moment but leave on Thursday. My aspiration would be to spend several months here getting to know more about the people, the area and the culture. Unfortunately funds don’t permit. I don’t need to do anymore research regarding the food, if it were just about the food, I would move here tomorrow, without question!! The meringues here are out of this world – if anyone has the recipe please let me know !!

  2. Thank you. I didn’t have time to answer your comment on the other post but you got it just right. Thank you very much.
    I asked for it because always wanted to move there. At least since my first trip back in 1998, when I wasjust 7, that I say such, and since 2009 when I went for the 4th time to celebrate my university graduation that I trully feel like doing it. I really love UK and England in particular. However, since I’ve become an adult in Portugal I would never relly feel “english”.

    Thank you again. It helps allot to know that one’s integration may not be that hard, after all, I think that that it’s what’s scares the most, contrast.

  3. Hi Marion,

    I agree with you completely about the food – hence our sister blog

    I haven’t tried this recipe myself, but the meringues in the picture look heavenly:

    Best wishes, Lou 🙂

  4. Hi Bessa,

    I’m glad you found the post useful. I think that some parts of integration are harder than you expect and others are much easier. It’s definitely scary at times, but well worth it in my view 🙂

    Best wishes, Lou

  5. Thanks for the recipe Lou!

    My most favourite type of meringues are the ones sold at the takeaway at El Touche in Tavira and on the odd occasion (though not this visit unfortunately)in the shop/cafe on Cabanas front, the second cafe to the left as walking down the hill from the ‘car park’ in Rua Vascos de Gamma. They are very soft and sometimes have some sort of yellow ‘thing’ going in them !! I found one in Olhao only 80 cents !! Delicious !!

    By the way we went to Pago do Inferno – straight to it from some directions we found on Google, but a nightmare from the car park as no-one around! Eventually found the area after several false starts, but unfortunately no waterfall at the moment.

    Had such a wonderful week, that we’ve booked up for June and September next year – just need to earn the money to pay for them now !!

    Look forward to hearing more about Eastern Algarve soon ! Thanks.

  6. Hi Marion,

    That’s very strange about the waterfall – I can see I’m going to have to do some more exploring/investigating!

    Lovely news that you’re already planning next year’s time here 🙂 Have you tried the meringues with tiny bits of flaked almond in them? Heavenly!

    Best wishes, Lou

  7. Hi Lou,

    I haven’t see the flaky almond type – where would I look for those? Something else to look forward to for next June !!

    Would mention that the bridge to get down to what little water is left at Pego is broken and closed off, we had to walk the long way round and along the dried up river bed. The wooden steps up around there are broken too and when you get to the top they are closed off too – very dangerous. I wonder if any money will be spent on it to get it back to its former glory?!! Such a shame.

    PS – still looking for the recipe for those soft spongy meringues !!

  8. Hi Marion,

    I have eaten the flaky almond meringues at Silves Medieval Fair – they were heavenly, so definitely one to look out for!

    I suspect that Pego is not high up on the list of things to spend money on at the moment, which is definitely a shame…

    Best wishes,


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