What Do I Miss
A Reader Asked
I received an email from a reader today. She asked, “Do you miss anything about the US other than friends and family?” I’ll attempt to answer that now.
When we first arrived in Portugal, I would have answered yes, basic comfort. We were in a traditional, Portuguese apartment without insulation and central heating. It was an unusually cold winter and the space heaters the owner provided just weren’t enough. We were cold ALL THE TIME. I longed for our warm home in the desert where we could easily regulate the central heating and air conditioning. But in just a few months, we found an apartment with modern conveniences and all the comforts of home. Yes, Onix doesn’t have a doggie door and an enclosed backyard but it is hard to be too bothered by our walks which run along the beach.
Of course, there are still moments of discomfort…mostly related to language comprehension. It is particularly uncomfortable when listening to a message on the telephone. When “Fala Inglês?” (“Do you speak English?”) doesn’t work. But while not knowing what was said would have driven me crazy in my former (American) life, it seems less troubling now. I have learned that if it is really important, they will likely call back…and I am not bothered by endless robocalls, telemarketers, and the like.
Of course, at this time one of the most striking differences between our life in Portugal and the U.S. is access to the covid vaccine. When we talk to many of our friends in the States, it seems life is rapidly returning to normal. While they are easing the lockdown here, and we hope to have access to the vaccine in 60-90 days, I must admit I am a bit envious of our friends and family in America. But I must remember, it was our idea to move during a pandemic.
Having Our Own Place
Oddly enough, other than friends and family, the thing I miss most is not having our own home. A place we can decorate as we like. Don’t get me wrong…we are very comfortable where we are. But this is the first time I have rented since 1981!
And the place is fully decorated. It was a conscious decision, only to look at fully furnished apartments. We weren’t sure if we would live in Portugal for 2 years or 20. And having never toured Portugal, we weren’t sure how long we would stay in Cascais. We didn’t want to worry about buying furnishings for a home that wasn’t ours and then moving them to another place … a place they may not fit. So while we made what I think was a “wise” decision…it took the fun and adventure out of making all those fun decorating decisions.
Truth Be Told
On occasion, Denise and I play a game called “Let’s pretend.” Frankly, Denise created the game and, in years past, I didn’t always want to play. But now, often during long walks along the beach, I will start the “Let’s pretend” game. And more and more, the game begins with “Let’s pretend we never return to the U.S…”