Today is 1st July and we have been living in Portugal for 6 months. It has gone by so quickly and we both have been reflecting on our time here so far. Firstly I have to mention the picture above. How much does this look like us? I am not sure why we are naked or why Adrian has no nipples (ha ha). There is even a giraffe (hubby’s favourite animal) and a turtle (I love turtles). Just need to replace the cat with a bunny.

We arrived here on a severely delayed Easyjet flight on 31st Dec 2019 and threw ourselves into renovating our old house. Then Covid-19 struck and stopped us in our paces. All the wonderful places we had planned to visit on my bucket list were postponed and we lived and breathed DIY for months. Only now have we felt safe to venture out to a couple of local isolated attractions. As the world reverts back to some sense of normality (what ever that is) we are gradually venturing out more and trying to support our local Portuguese businesses and community. The recent spike in cases in Lisbon is worrying and although the boarder between Portugal and Spain reopened today there is still huge speculation over the air bridge with Portugal and U.K and if tourists who visit will need to quarantine for 14 days upon return to the U.K.

We never thought that when we arrived here and awoke on 1st Jan 2020, new year, new life, new me, we would be faced with such a devastating event. We are really lucky as isolating here in the middle of a rural little village has not been too difficult for us. Hubby still has his job for now and only had to take a 10% pay cut. We are both happy and healthy and we haven’t killed each other yet or filled for divorce (ha ha). I also haven’t discovered any weird and not so wonderful bad habits about hubby. He is messy and always puts a wrapper or tissue through the wash with a load of clothes but that’s nothing unusual. I haven’t discovered that he wears knee high socks and sandals or any other shocking surprise. Apart from not being able to see much of this beautiful country my main regret of lockdown is that our Portuguese language skills have been hampered. We haven’t been able to venture out and attend language lessons face to face or meet the locals in cafes for chats to practise our Portuguese. This has definitely put us behind. There are a lot of online sources but nothing beats meeting the locals face to face. I am not sure if the local language lessons will commence in Sept as usual.

I have really enjoyed our first 6 months in Portugal and getting to know the customs and culture of Portugal. It is in many ways so different to the U.K. I am loving being a lady of leisure and not having to work full time although all the DIY projects have left me exhausted. One of my favourite pastimes here is gardening and spending time connecting with nature and meeting the local wildlife. I love the beautiful scenic views I am fortunate to look at every single day. We had a couple of amazing sightseeing trips recently to a historic little village and a beautiful waterfall and it was so fantastic to share these experiences with my soul mate (hubby Adrian, not Pedro the farmer – ha ha).

One thing we have been thinking about recently is how well we have coped and managed to live with minimal stuff. We arrived with just a couple of suitcases as we donated almost all our belongings to charity shops. I can honestly say I haven’t missed a single item. One fact that will surprise people who know me is we have lived without an iron and ironing board for 6 months now! I have OCD and in the U.K I had a Sunday ironing ritual where I ironed the whole weeks washing and ironed everything in sight, nothing was safe (ha ha). I even ironed knickers and boxer shorts and Marie Kondo folded them into neat little piles before putting them away. We never bothered buying an iron when we arrived as we didn’t have a car for a month so too heavy to buy and carry home. I live in leggings and T.shirts in the garden and not having to work means I don’t need smart ironed work attire.

At first the non ironing unsettled me and raised my anxiety levels but I have kind of ‘let it go’ and got used to it now. The only reason I want to purchase an iron now is because I washed my tablecloth and it’s so crinkly, I can’t bear to put it back on the table like that. Also bedding, I don’t like unironed bedding. Apart from that, I now see ironing as a wasted chore as I could be out in the garden connecting with nature and talking to my plants. It has been good for me to push my boundaries and live life outside of my comfort zone. Instead of the weekly washing ritual I have a system here for washing and it is all about how many pairs of knickers I own! I have about 10 pairs so when I run out of knickers I do the washing, so on average every 10 days. Sometimes I don’t realise I’m getting low so have an odd day going commando (ha ha) but usually this system works well.

We have accomplished so much in 6 short months. We have renovated many rooms and revamped garden areas. We have obtained our 5 year temporary residency and exchanged our driving licences to Portuguese ones and purchased a car. We are currently renovating the spare bedroom and tiny ruin in the garden so that we can tend to chickens – something I am super excited about. I have booked flights for my daughter to visit in August for her 18th birthday and also for Christmas. Milo (bunny) is booked to relocate here in August too. Everything is falling into place and I have learnt to be a calmer more relaxed person which is great for hubby (ha ha). I rarely shout at him now when he F’s up (ha ha). I have also made some online friends via Portuguese ex pat facebook pages and am arranging a couple of get together (meet ups) in the near future which I am looking forward to.

I am so excited for what the next 6 months will bring us. It’s likely to be a roller coaster of highs and lows, did I mention we now have wood worm or beetle? Anyway, here’s to the next 6 months, it’s not quite fun and frolics more fun and fiascos in Portugal but I say “BRING IT ON!”