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Comparing Expat Lifestyles
Let me count the ways...
About six months after we moved to Portugal we met Carol and Paul. They too were Americans who had taken the leap having never visited the country before. (Though to be fair, Carol’s ancestors are Portuguese.) While we enjoy each other’s company and have many shared views, we do many things differently … proving, that not every immigrant/expat is the same.
Our differences started long before we moved to Portugal. Denise and I are gay. I have never asked … but I don’t believe Carol and Paul are. Carol and Paul met when they were neighbors … ages 5 and 10. They married when Carol was 24 and Paul was 29. Denise and I met when we were both 42, and true to the lesbian stereotype, hired a moving truck after 6 months.
3 Other Major Differences
But more to the point … permit me to share 3 ways in which our families do things differently:
The first major difference can be observed in how we packed for the trip. Denise and I brought: 4 duffle bags, 2 checked suitcases, 2 carry-on suitcases, 1 box (of pickleball stuff), 2 small backpacks, and Onix in her crate. Carol and Paul shipped a pallet. If you are thinking of shipping a bunch of stuff from your home to Portugal, take time to read Carol’s post. It has all the details you will need. And while we all got rid of stuff through donations, online sales, and the like; Carol actually documented the process and offers helpful hints.
If you are a long-time reader you know I am thrifty…bordering on downright cheap. And in our household, there is a clear division of labor … specifically, Denise does the laundry. Denise has always done the laundry. However, the way laundry is done here is a bit different. Meanwhile, our friend Carol takes a more modern approach. She sends out her laundry to be cleaned and pressed. It is an expense she and Paul are happy to pay. And perhaps that is best, as you will learn if you read her post on The Saga of the Traveling Pants.
And along the lines of conveniences…let’s talk grocery shopping. This morning before I began writing I walked about 9 blocks to the local Mercado and traped back laden with a backpack and two shopping bags. Despite the stress on my knees and back, going to the Mercado a few times a week is one of the things I love about food shopping in Portugal. Carol, on the other hand, orders groceries online and has them delivered. I am not suggesting that Carol is lazy…I will let you reach that (very reasonable) conclusion.
I Hoped You Laughed
So there you have it…my last “vacation” post for the month. Hopefully, you laughed once or twice and learned something in the process. If so, sign up for Carol’s Substack Newsletter. Better yet, recommend both of us to a friend.