The good, the bad, and the awesome…
Moving to another country has been emotional… It’s turned out to be less like I had dreamed and strangely very similar to how things were in the UK. This is mostly because we still haven’t quite gotten ourselves into a proper routine just yet.
Some days are amazing and we float on through them like the perfect family you see on those heart warming Christmas films, then other days are the complete opposite and it feels more like a scene out of 300 between us all, but we’re getting more settled each week that passes.
That being said the life out here is totally different, there are things we had no idea existed, some things that we miss terribly and then there are just some things that are plain awesome, let me explain…
The price of food; We use a couple of different supermarkets and one of them, Continente, regularly puts different meats on offer. I’m talking 50% off! So chicken or turkey is only €2.49 per kg!! As you can imagine we stock up!
The discounts; Not only do we get amazing deals on meat but lots of general items are often discounted by 25% or so, but rather than getting the discount at the checkout, it goes onto your savers card which you can then save up and pay for your shopping off.
Cinemas; Just this week we had our first date night and headed to the cinema to watch the Hobbit in 3d, half way through the screen went blank and the lights came on. I immediately thought that the film had cut out but when we realised no one else in the cinema looked surprised we realised it was an interval break, amazing!
Shopping centres; Now this one just confused us, we came out of the cinema (that was in the shopping centre) at midnight and all the shops were still open?!?
The driving; I have to give my honest opinion here and say that the driving is something shocking (so I fit in quite nicely, hehe) some drivers are reeeeeeeeaalllly slooooooow, and some are stupidly fast and dangerous and constantly tail gate and overtake on blind corners. Yet nobody seems to care, you rarely hear horns beeping and I have yet to see any road rage. Plus the roads are so quiet.
Internet; Oh my goodness this drives us crazy, the coverage we get in our village is currently not good at all and when my livelihood depends on being connected you can imagine it can sometimes be a little worrying!
How slow things are; If you want something done then don’t expect it to be done quickly, it’s a more relaxed way of life here and you don’t often get ‘next day delivery’ kind of service, you’re lucky if you know when anything is due to happen. It’s usually a 30 minute warning by phone that someone is going to be coming round to fix or install something.
Lack of prep food items; The supermarkets aren’t as different to the UK as we thought they would be, although there are some things that we can’t get our mitts on; Unsweetened almond milk, gravy granules, English tea bags, good old cadbury’s chocolate!
Gyms; We’ve now found a great gym, but because we live in a village it takes us half an hour or so to get to it, and it doesn’t open until 9am. For me this can be a little stressful as I used to get all my training done by 8am and it was only 10 minutes away.
Christmas; Although Christmas is celebrated over here it’s not done so to the same extent as we’re used to. You don’t get fresh trees that you can bring home to decorate, instead trees are decorated in the garden, which is lovely but doesn’t quite feel as festive.
Family; Its amazing to be so close to family again, I miss my in-laws like mad though, but after 8 years away from my rabble it feels great to be near them again, plus they get to see the monsters grow up too!
Coffee; Wow oh wow…. I thought the posh coffee machines in England were good, but you haven’t tasted good coffee until you’ve had Delta coffee, its amazing and so much cheaper!
The way the kids are cared for; This has to be one of my favourite things over here, no matter where you are people have time for kids. Kisses, cuddles, smiles and hide and seek, whether they’re strangers, locals, teachers, waitresses – everyone seems to love kids. Every night when Oscar goes to bed he asks if there’s school the next day, and when there is he does his crazy little victory wiggle as he can’t wait to get there! The Portuguese school he’s at now is far more loving and caring than where he was previously and it’s obvious how much he loves it there.
Community; In the UK we knew our neighbours to the left and to the right of us, I remember walking to work and playing the smiling game with people, it amazed me how many people made a real effort not to make eye contact and to look away from me. Yet here every one waves to each other, says good morning, good afternoon and not only do you know your neighbours but you pretty much know the entire village!
Internet; Although I moaned about the internet there is actually one pretty awesome thing here we haven’t seen before, out wireless router is tiny and you can just unplug it and take it with you, it has 8 hours ish battery life and means you can stay connected wherever you go, genius!
We’re still getting settled in properly but I realise now it’ll take longer than expected but at least we’re getting there.
Merry Christmas everyone! xx