What I've learned (so far) since leaving the United States
Your words penetrate my mind like water on a sponge. It’s easy to think similar thoughts, but the art of writing is best left to people like you, why heck, best left to YOU. We are an American couple from San Francisco and like you, have felt the challenges of moving to Portugal in our bones, mind and soul. Your experiences, while different from ours, still elicit the same emotions and thoughts. Thank you for illuminating life in Portugal as an immigrant, I can’t wait to be the sponge to your future flow of water❤️ Lisa & Collin ~ in Praia da Luz, PT
Wow, this made me cry...we too are immigrants from the US (DC). We took a longer route and settled in the heart of Lisboa after 3 years of back and forth. My goodness, you ARE a writer. This is beautifully written and really struck many chords with me. My sincere hope is that I am committed enough to force this old brain to learn Portuguese eventually. I would like it if we got the chance to meet one of these days, here or in Setubal. Look forward to more of your posts now that I know where to find them...
Love this post! You're a great writer and describe this transition so spot on! We are about a month behind you...we moved to Porto in July and can relate to what your experiences have been so far. We, too, put a pin on the map in Porto, with plans to check out the whole country. We have been taking it super slow, and may or may not eventually visit all the places on our list in Portugal...we are content with where we are...nothing is permanent for us just yet...we can take our time. And learning Portuguese is vital to truly making connections and friendships...and we have a long way to go!
I really connected with your writing and philosophy of life. We moved to Brejos de Azeitão in June 2019 and love the whole area. We have friends of many nationalities and feel very European. Recently we met up with a couple from California who are thinking of relocating here. Becoming her Facebook friend has led to me joining several art appreciation groups and I now have beautiful pictures to look at every day. Life is a chain of events.
By the way, we used to live on the Silver Coast not far from Caldas. The park is pleasant, but that's about it!
Boas festas! xx
Loved your thoughtful, insightful reflection on the decision to make a change and the qualities of being an immigrant, not an ex-pat. Thank you.
Thank you for this. I was getting overwhelmed today with all the “what if’s” of our plans to move. This helped me breathe again for a moment and reminded me to let it unfold.
"Pretty soon, taking chances becomes a way of living." - and what a marvelous way to live! Thank you for sharing so truthfully, LaDonna.
Wow, do I love this post. Yes to the leaps, yes to skipping the search for perfection, and yes to slowing down. All points I'm keeping in mind as I consider this move. Thanks for your writing- I'm always so happy when I see another post!
Excellent insight and beautifully written! My family of 4 are in the process of moving to Portugal from TN and Setubul is high in our list, perhaps for the same reasons it landed on your short list initially. At any rate I about spat out my coffee when I read that Marido purchased a warehouse for woodworking. Among the things I’ll be leaving behind is a beautiful and brand new workshop barn on our beautiful little farm overlooking a pond. It has been my families sanctuary durning the last several turbulent years here. Alas, our reasons for making the move remain strong enough to take the risk as you have, but now it’s a little less anxiety provoking learning that there are like minded families (we have two boys 9 & 13) doing similar things out there ahead of us! I’m so glad I found your blog and look forward to more of your adventures! Cheers! Evan.
As always on point. Just a wonderful feeling to know that I’m not crazy. I hated the phrase expats. I’m coming to Portugal come hell or high water. I’m coming to Portugal. Beijos e abraços Felipe
I absolutely loved reading your most recent post, and can relate 💯%, and as we arrived to Lagos in October, and currently working on obtaining our Visa.
I can relate so well to each one of your points. And your post gave me comfort in knowing that I am not the only one experiencing these things, and as we are going through the steps of relocating to a different country, and leaving America to find a better way of life.
Obrigada, and Boas Festas! 🎄🎄🎄
OMG LaDonna....you're killin' me.....just killin' me!!! LOL. I'm reading this latest edition and, I'm just beginning #6 when my husband walks in, speaking of random stuff going on with him in the last couple days. My eyes are watery and I tell him that I just forwarded this blog post to him and I really want him to read it. I'm going on about how amazing it is and how you are just speaking my language, and I begin to cry. And if you haven't noticed by now....I'm a pretty emotional guy who has absolutely no qualms about shedding tears, which I see as a wonderful release! I explain how your words move me soooo often and how I can't wait to have these same, very REAL and HUMAN experiences with him, once we arrive in Portugal. I'm telling him of the way you somehow always make the experiences of being an immigrant in Portugal so deep, down to my bones deep, that it makes me long to share those same experiences with this man that I love and plan to spend the rest of my life with. You've so appropriately removed the mystique and fantasy of it all (i.e. Narnia) and allow me to imagine all of the joys, frustrations, intrigues, difficulties and real life experiences of relocating to a new country that I simply can't wait to experience. And I'm thinking....gee, the way this woman so often moves me to tears with her written words, I can't even imagine what it's going to be like once we get to meet face to face!! LOL. I so look forward to sharing a big hug, smiles, laughs, and tears with you, as a fellow immigrant!!
All I can say is obrigado!! Keep it up!
p.s. And I literally laughed out loud at the third to last paragraph in #6!!! I'm sure you know why! (wink wink)
This was a great read. I love the distinction you made about having an ex-pat mentality or an immigrant mentality. Very interesting. Also, how old is your daughter? We are moving with a 4yo and 10yo. Most of my fears of taking the chance revolve around them. If you have posts that address how children are affected with a move this big, it would be helpful.
Absolutely spot on, LaDonna! We immigrated to Portugal in October from Sedona, Arizona with only 3 suitcases and our 2 little senior citizen dogs. My sweet Husband and I laughed and teared up with your incredible sharing. It also warms our hearts to read all of the comments here from our fellow immigrants! We are staying in Airbnb’s in small fishing villages for a month at a time in the Eastern Algarve. Then, we head north-west mid January where we will finally arrive at our rental in Setubal, and are so looking forward to exploring all of the beauty of that region! We had initially planned on also calling Setubal our home before this big move from the States, but who knows! What an incredible adventure! What an opportunity to explore the depths of one’s self!
Andreas & Cheryl
Love this! Thank you for this powerful and beautiful sharing❤️🙏🏻
Your writing is beautiful!