OUR 6 MONTH MILESTONE
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!”
Bollinger3 years ago
Congrats on your 6 months living the good life! Lots of adventures still to come and you will have an amazing time with your daughter when she arrives in August. You will be able to show her all the places you have been – supermarket and hardware stores 🙂 I jest. It will be perfecting timing for all of you to explore together. Hopefully, the hardest part is past with Covid.
During Covid times I started a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rvz7sg0tH0&t=159s) about personal finance and investing – it will bore you to death if you have no interest in this area but thought I’d share my own creative pursuits! It will at least put a dull Scottish voice to my written comments on your blog! I have a website as well bollingerinvests.com but I’m not sure where I’m going with that and I have very little time at the moment as work is so busy (I’m in the NHS)
Anyway, congrats again and I’m really looking forward to seeing your DIY projects progress and as you explore your locale.
Helen3 years ago
I have started an epic itinerary for when Tea visits us in August. To include wine tasting in Douro Valley, Peneda-Gerês National Park, Nazaré and many more attractions off my bucket list. I just realised that Serra da Estrela (mountain range) is only just over 1 hrs drive from our home and has the highest altitudes of mainland Portugal. There is a lagoon/lake called Covão dos Conchos in the Serra da Estrela. It’s surreal looking like a portal to an unknown world (ha ha). It’s actually a manmade tunnel but looks like a sink hole lined with cascading waterfalls, I can’t wait but it’s a long hike to get there, I think around 10km. If Tea annoys us we can always forget the nature tourist attractions and take her around Leeroy Merlin looking at taps for sinks for 4 hours (ha ha). Things are starting to get back to normal here (what ever that means) but with the recent spike of cases in Lisbon who knows what is around the corner!
I will definetely take a look at your Youtube channel when I get some spare time. Will be great to put a voice to a name. I have no clue about finance or investments, I leave hubby to all the money stuff but it’s good to explore new things. I bet working in the NHS is crazy at the moment. We are currently renovating the spare bedroom and it’s nearly completed. Then we will move onto stage 2 of the chicken coop and run. It now has a concrete floor! Still tons to do though and it’s forecast to be 36 on Sunday so a bit too hot to work in the garden.
Bye for now,
HFFC3 years ago
Be sure to include a visit to Guimarães and Braga in you daughter’s tour, if you need recomendations for restaurants, let me know.
Helen3 years ago
I will be sorting an itinerary out soon for my daughters visit. So many beautiful places to visit and I know we won’t be able to see everything in just a few days. Hubby works FT so won’t be able to take more than a few days off to explore with us. We have an old car and have already broken down once so we don’t like to drive more than 2 hrs each way to a destination but there is always the train and Rede Express. We definetely want to visit Peneda-Gerês National Park which is just under 3 hrs journey each way so maybe we can stop off at Guimarães and Braga on the way although we have already visited Braga.
Bollinger3 years ago
Just had a look online at those places. Look amazing. The hill range is high at over 6000ft peak. My brother is a big hill walker in Scotland. He has completed 250 of the 282 ‘Munros’ in Scotland, peaks over 3000 ft. It’s a thing in Scotland, ‘Munro bagging’, completing all of the highest hills and the biggest is only 4400ft (Ben Nevis). One goal for retirement for me is to do some great hillwalking in different parts of the world with my brother. I’m seeing him and my sister today as I’m heading up to Scotland for a few days – my Mum is very unwell – sadly at the end of life.
The Covão dos Conchos look practically Alien! Never seen anything like that. I bet the Portuguese threaten their misbehaving kids that they’ll end up in the Covão dos Conchos if they don’t eat their Caldo Verde! (I’m learning).
Have a great weekend,
Helen3 years ago
I do love walking and hiking but my back disability does cause me severe pain at times. I bet hill walking in Scotland is amazing with all the scenic views. What a wonderful trip to hill walk in different parts of the world with your brother, you will have so much fun challenging yourselves and making great memories. Sorry to hear about your mum. I lost my mum a few years ago, she had multiple strokes and diabetes. Miss her every day!
I have to visit Covão dos Conchos for sure and yes, I bet you could easily threaten your kids with catapulting them down it if they don’t eat their veg (ha ha). Your comment made me laugh so much!
The weather here is increasing and Sunday is forecast for 38, thank goodness for air con and cold Portuguese houses.