Does everyone who leaves her home hit bottom eventually? Lately, I have been finding myself missing things that don’t exist. Instead of embracing the adventure, lately I am now saying “não” when I should be running for the phrase book to study, trying a new item on the menu and diving into the cold sea on a hot day.
Let this be a warning to potential ex-pats who expect things to come to easy, and I really expected it all to be a breeze. In my post “The Portuguese Lessons“, I said I knew the language to sink into my brain like skin cream. After 18 months I still can’t say more than the basics, you can’t form meaningful relationships if you can’t speak with people around you.
Moving to a foreign country requires courage, ability to change and blend into another culture, plus learn to think in a new language. Being a 50-something American I may have overestimated my capability in all three. My life is so much finer than I was when I left the U.S. Simpler, healthier, less expensive and far less complicated.
This summer the garden is producing real food we can eat. The citizen is bringing in euros by playing at local cafés. We have made friends and taken some fabulous trips. Made it through winter without getting the flu. Things are good. And, it looks like the Portuguese taxman has realized my first accountant was a very bad accountant and has sent me a nice letter.
Of course, Portuguese is one tough language to learn, but the citizen is doing quite well. His hard work in night school as well as speaking to friends is earning him much praise with his conversational skills, and he is determined to be totally fluent.
Ex-pat life is not an eternal vacation I am learning, so now the real adventure begins, the one I signed up for in the first place, becoming Portuguese, not just acting but putting in the work.
I’ll let you know how it’s going.