We've just passed the "we've been here 11 months" mark and that's rather astounding, actually. In many ways we've settled in and others, not so much. So this post is going to discuss what's giving us trouble, because living in a foreign country is never like the guidebooks suggest. The big clue: it's all about The Language
While I was out researching a nearby city (Vila do Conde), I found this way cool site that offers 360 degree views of famous locations throughout Portugal. In this case, various sites in Porto.
I highly recommend you take some time to just browse through these links. Enjoy!
The Camara Muncipal (city government) of Port has made a insightful video on what it means to live (or visit) here. Enjoy.
Ever wondered how Portugal reduced their drug abuse problem without sending even more of its citizens to jail? Here's a video that explains exactly how this all works.
And to answer the question we occasionally receive "Are you smoking up over there?" that would be "Ah, no." Because we're here on temporary residence permits, subject to the good will of the immigration authorities, we behave ourselves. That doesn't mean that occasionally we don't encounter a cloud of pot smoke when we're out and about and take a deep inhalation.
But then that's not illegal (wink).
Beginning May 25th, new rules regarding online privacy rules will be in place. Companies will be required to acquire users' permission before they gather or share personal data. Given recent revelations in the Unites States regarding Facebook's sharing of personal data, this is a solid step forward.
The first time I heard Portuguese was when we were having our house siding replaced in Atlanta: the crew was speaking in this language I'd never heard before. It sorta sounded Spanish, maybe French, maybe who knew what? And then there was that Slavic undertone that reminded me of Russian. Totally mystified, I asked the siding crew's chief what it was. Portuguese, he said.
Portuguese is one of a number of Romance languages born off the influence of Latin. This podcast, and accompanying article, explains How Latin Became the Romance Languages and why eight hundred million of us are still using some form of the language in our everyday conversations.
Medical use of marijuana in Portugal? It appears there's a doctors' movement to pressure the government on that very point.
Living in the heart of a city was a major change for us since Harold and I have always lived in the suburbs, except for a stint in rural Iowa on a farm. The transition to Porto (the urban area boasts a population of 2.4 million) has changed all that. Here’s what we've learned and how we’ve adapted.
Since we last posted we've:
1) Moved into an AirBnB in Atlanta
2) Held an Estate Sale
3) Donated the remainder of our earthly goods to various charities
4) Shipped a carton of possessions to Portugal
5) Closed on our House
6) Moved into a Residence Inn for a week
7) Then both of us moved to Porto a few days apart, complete with cat
While we're still stocking our apartment with furniture and scouting the neighborhood, the next few blogs are going discuss what it took to locate and rent our new home in Porto, along with some of the pitfalls associated with that decision. So far it's been a blast.
You're not only relocating to a new country, but if that move involves a partner/spouse, the changes to your relationship can be profound. This recent article from ExPatFocus.com explains what you might expect as you and your significant other adjust to your new home.
Harold is a former software engineer. Jana is an author. Together they're exploring their new life in Portugal.