Part 1- Figuring It Out Along the way – Life in Portugal

lighthouse at Ponta de Piedade in Lagos

Lighthouse at Ponta da Piedade in Lagos

Traveling and expating means that we have to/get to learn new ways to do things. We, however, like to think of it as a fun exercise in “mental stimulation” that AARP recommends to stem the onslaught of dementia.  Each country we visit has a unique twist on how certain things are done and, despite how Urban Dictionary defines different as a “pseudo-polite way of saying something is unpleasantly weird or unacceptable,” we like to think that differences just are.  And in Portugal, our list of “Not the Same As” keeps growing.  Here are some basics.

Language  In Portugal, the official language is Portuguese.  As we’ve looked through various books and online teaching classes we’ve learned that there are two variants:  Brazilian Portuguese and the correct choice, European Portuguese.  Here in our part of the country, the Algarve, most people speak English, a fact that has made us very lazy but here’s hoping that (someday) we’ll magically acquire the ability to twist our mouths and tongues into the acceptable shapes and pronounce suitable sentences in the correct tense.  So far we’ve evolved from English to Spanglish to Portuglish.

Money  In the US the dollar ($) is king but in Portugal the euro (€) reigns.  What we like are the bills which are different sizes and colors depending on the denomination and, rather than one euro notes, there are one and two euro coins.  The downside is that your wallet can get very heavy, very fast.  Right now, since the dollar is strong, the conversion rate is almost at parity with a euro approximately equal to $1.06 dollar.  This means, with nineteen countries in Europe using the euro, travel is a pretty good deal right now.Euros. Photo by No Particular Place To Go

Plugs, sockets and adapters Like all of continental Europe, Portugal uses the Europlug, a two round pin plug for 220 – 240 voltage that fits into a recessed socket.  Since most of our electronics are from the US, we have a variety of adapters that we’ve picked up here and there and, because our wall sockets are never quite enough or conveniently placed, we use extension cords.  With our adapters, and especially with the surge protector on top, it makes for an inelegant and precarious tower.    Inelegant extension cord, adapter and surge protector. Photo by No Particular Place To GoMeasurements  Growing up, we both remember hearing our teachers say that the United States was going to change over to the Metric System “any year now.”  Decades later, that still hasn’t happened but we’re getting pretty darn familiar with the concept.  Our weather forecast and oven setting are in Celsius versus Fahrenheit, our mileage is in kilometers versus miles, our drinks are in liters and our weight is in kilograms (so getting on that scale isn’t quite the shock it could be).

Our home  Forgive us for a sweeping generalization, but it seems that in Portugal and the parts of Europe that we’ve seen, everything is smaller, including the houses and apartments. The refrigerators are narrow and it’s common to have the refrigerated section on top and the freezer below.  Washing machines are half the size of their American counterparts. There are no garbage disposals – or none that we’ve encountered.  Dishwashers are rarely installed in older homes but are more common in newer, higher-end apartments or refurbished homes.  And clothes dryers are even rarer – maybe because they’re expensive or because utility costs are high.  We have a fold-up rack for drying our clothes, a few lines on our rooftop terrace and a good supply of clothes pins . And speaking of clothing care, ironing boards and irons appear to be in every hotel room and rental.  In the stores, there’s a whole offering to the mighty iron. Instead of central heating, homes have heaters of many varieties and various efficiencies in selected rooms and doors to close off the warm areas from the cold. On-demand hot water heaters are the norm as opposed to up-right tank water heaters.  Upright vacuums are rare and much more expensive than the canister types and we have yet to see a wall-to-wall carpet.  It’s more common than not to see bidets in the bathrooms and let us tell you, we’re getting spoiled with our heated towel racks too. (Okay, heated towel racks probably aren’t common but it hasn’t taken long for us to get used to them.)  And the beds … all we can say is, “Where are the box springs and pillow-top mattresses?”  Beds are low, usually a mattress on a platform, which might be good for the back but less-so for the soul.

Cars  Cars are smaller too.  Perhaps so they can wend their way through cobblestone roads designed for a donkey and cart without knocking off the side mirrors? (Of course, there’s no need to ask how we know that those side mirrors pop right back on when you do that, right?)  And another thing. There’s a whole generation or two in the US who have no idea how to drive a car with a manual transmission but here’s a heads-up – get some practice. We’re not quite sure why but it costs more to rent or buy a vehicle with an automatic transmission – or it would if you could find one.  Lucky for us, we hail from the generation that needed those shifting skills occasionally.  But, speaking of skills, we’ve discovered that parallel parking is something we could both use a good refresher course on.

Which bring us to – Gasoline.  Portugal has both the self-serve stations and attendants who’ll help you feed the hungry beast or pick you up after you faint at the price.  Because, in Portugal, gas prices are a whopping €5.60/4 liters which is roughly a gallon. And with OPEC back in the gas boycott business, prices may escalate soon. community garbage cans. Photo by no Particular Place To Go

Garbage  Yes, we have recycling!  Instead of a trash and recycling bin for every home however, the garbage cans are grouped together every few blocks for common use.  It’s a sort-as-you-go system and the bins are clearly marked with the refuse that goes in them.  They sit on a concrete pad that is cleverly lifted so that the containers below can be emptied.  Our bins are three blocks away which gives us a good reason to take a stroll every day

Garbage seems like a good place to end the first part of our “Not the Same As” list.  Next post we’ll continue and talk more about our daily life in Lagos, Portugal, including driving, shopping and entertainment (some say they’re the same thing 🙂 ) and small courtesies.  To quote a couple of lines from singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, “It’s those changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same…”  Here’s to the differences!Tiled house, Ferragudo, Portugal. Photo by No Particular Place To Go

By Anita Oliver and Richard Nash

 

63 comments

  • Anita – what an insightful post. Now that I’ve really been to Portugal, it is all so much more fun to read about. Luck with the language – I was amazed at the difference between the way it sounds and the way it is written. We came from Spain, and assumed it wouldn’t be THAT different. I never understood a word. Of course, all the English-speakers are making it way too easy for us. Cheers – Susan

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  • Nice look at everyday life in Portugal. I visited Portugal over 20 years ago and found the language the biggest hurdle. It is different than Spanish and French. That challenge, though, is also the charm.

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    • We will have to admit, we realize that learning Portuguese may be our biggest challenge! Although the written language is similar to Spanish (which has been very helpful when we need to decipher some things) the spoken word is extremely difficult to understand or pronounce! Our goal is to concentrate on more travels this year as well as getting more comfortable with the notion of expat living but, over the next few months we want to get serious about getting some basic vocabulary learned… fingers crossed! 🙂

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  • Thx for this introduction to Portugal. I have not yet visited, but would certainly like to. Happy Holidays to you.

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    • Thanks so much, Doreen and Seasons Greetings to you also! We’ve always enjoyed slow travel simply because we were able to get a taste of living in many foreign countries. Now that we’re here in Portugal, we’re finding that it’s the day-to-day details that keep life interesting and it’s been fun to compare how things are done here with the US and other countries. I think you’d like Portugal very much, not the least because they make some very decadent chocolate pastries! 🙂

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  • From traveling all over the world, I’ve found that the way things are done in North America are more the exception than the norm. I can find similarities in the way life is “done” in South America, Asia, Europe and even Africa, but it’s not that easy to include Canada, and especially the US in that list. Lol…the imperial system alone. 😉 Good luck with your Portuglish!! 🙂

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    • Ha, we’ll need some luck with the Portuglish! Your comment about the “imperial system” had me laughing, Shelley because many times in the US, things are done “differently” which, according to many people, means doing it the “right” way! While we miss our clothes dryer (especially during the winter rains) we’ve grown to enjoy the smell of freshly dried sheets and even stiff as cardboard towels soften right up after a first use. Smaller is actually rather nice as we’ve downsized also and have grown to like living simpler. We also like the fact that having less means less time taking care and/or maintaining things and much more time spent relaxing, having fun and enjoying life.

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  • We just returned from a family visit to Denver and learned that our niece and her husband had been to Lagos a couple of years ago. They said they really enjoyed their visit, prompting us to want to visit even more. Perhaps Spain and Portugal will be next on the list? This post was reminiscent of what we saw often during our European visit, as well as our year in Mexico. Well done!

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    • Thanks LuAnn. We have a feeling every traveler has a story of how things are done differently but it’s fun to see some of the innovative ways that day-to-day living and chores are done elsewhere. Sounds like your family visit was enjoyable. Denver is one our favorite US cities – not the least because our son and grandson live there! So glad you’re hearing rave reviews about Portugal and we in turn can give rave reviews about Spain since we just returned from a week split between Seville and Cordoba. This was our 4th visit this year to Spain and it’s so awesome to be just a few hours away from some fantastic cities! Hope this gets you even more amped up about coming our way! 🙂

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  • Loved this post and all your perceptions of the differences in Portugal. When we spend some time in Italy, we realized that it was also a “small is beautiful place.” Even the slices of bread were half the size of those in America!

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    • We’re so glad you enjoyed the post, Irene and were able to relate some of your own experiences in Italy to our observations. Those smaller slices of bread might be the reason the people are smaller too, Irene – 😀 . Seriously though, the bread (and bakeries) are so great, that it’s hard to resist a second slice!

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  • I could have sworn I commented on this post – must have only been in my head. I am keeping all of your expat posts about transitioning to life in Portugal because, well… one just never knows. The practical information you’re sharing is very helpful and I look forward to gleaning more wisdom from you.

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    • I know you made some comments in our ongoing correspondence and hadn’t even noticed that your smiling face was missing from our comment section this time, Patti – thanks for your kind words! We’re hoping that this practical info will demystify the move to Portugal as well as answer some questions that future expats might have as they think about and proceed with planning their own move. It’s really interesting to see how our own expat transition has been such a learning experience and what we now take for granted. I think though, that our most important lesson is something we learned while preparing to travel full-time – the fact that it all takes patience and often-times can be a process of small steps leading to a bigger goal. For people schooled in the “immediate gratification” culture, that can be a real eye opener! 😀

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  • I enjoyed reading about your adjustments to life in Portugal. Living in Canada I am used to the metric system and I could relate to some of the other items from times overseas, but I know there are a whole raft of “little things” to get used when living in a foreign country. I experienced the bins on the corner when I stayed in an apartment in Barcelona. I’ve only encountered heated towel racks a couple of times, but I certainly could get used to them!

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    • So glad you enjoyed our post, Donna! We LOVE the heated towel racks and make them do double-duty with the towels and then a robe draped over them following a shower. Bliss … And let me also yammer on a bit about the joys of toasty socks. 😀 While life abroad can present some adjustments, there are many innovations that are very welcome!

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  • Here in the Netherlands I would also add about houses that stairways can be MUCH steeper than in the US! A tip for all those American plugs: you can buy a thing at Media Markt (a European chain, but any electronics store should have it) that allows you to plug in up to 4 USB plugs. That way you can abandon the American plugs and don’t have to use them with adaptors. I take it with me to travel too, because hotels NEVER have enough outlets.

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    • That’s an interesting point about the stairways Rachel, as we’d definitely noticed that many of the old buildings do have some killer staircases. It seems that the newer buildings are much kinder though. Thanks for the tip on the USB plugs too and, while we plan to phase out our American electronics over the next few years, that would definitely solve one of our immediate problems. And anything that would multiply the very stingy available outlets in hotels would be welcome. We’ll keep an eye and make it a point to visit some of the electronic stores to find one. Clever!

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  • How long has it been? Has it been a year? Well, you are adapting well, I must say. Can’t wait to hear about Part 2! By the way, we have made our travel plans and we will not be able to go to Albufeira next year but certainly in 2018. Most of our year will be in Australia and New Zealand in 2017. I hope you will still be there!

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    • Yes Carol – time is a flying! 🙂 New Zealand and Australia have long been on our bucket lists and your travel plans for 2017 sound like a lot of fun. Can’t wait to see where you end up. Really sorry that we won’t meet you in 2017 on this continent but 2018 sounds promising. We’re feeling pretty darn happy here in Portugal and, except for traveling to some of the many countries on our list, we’re planning on keeping Portugal as a our base and adopted country. It’s a good place to call home!

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  • Loved your post and it’s so try how so many things are “smaller”. The plus side of a small fridge is that you only buy enough fresh produce/meats for a day or two. Shopping becomes almost a daily habit. I’m so glad I know how to drive a manual transmission and actually enjoy it. When renting a car I always try to get a diesel car as the price of gas is (slightly) cheaper!

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    • We were kind of overwhelmed this year when we returned to the US for a visit to re-experience the “bigness” (versus bigly!) of so many things in the US from the huge SUV’s to houses and restaurant meals to the size of the appliances like stoves, refrigerators and washers. The mega-store/super-stores are especially overwhelming and, when we first experienced them after living in Central America for a couple of years we were on sensory overload, a tangible experience of reverse culture shock. We like shopping every 2-3 days which means less waste as well fresher food. And we’ve found Janice, that many times having fewer choices doesn’t mean life is any less rich – just a whole lot simpler!

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  • Glad you’re settling in well, Anita and Richard. I think I recognise the building in the last photo – is it in Ferragudo by any chance?

    As for your observations, you make lots of good points. I think the one about the mattresses is resolved when you are in a position to buy furniture rather than rent. When that time comes, you can have all manner of springs, memory foam and whatnot.
    bought our tumble dryer a few years ago during a particularly relentless patch of rain. It’s been a godsend.

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    • Very good Julie! The building is in Ferragudo and it’s one of our favorite buildings. In all our trips to Ferragudo, to visit friends or the nearby Staples store, this was the first time we were able to get a picture of it without a row of cars parked in front of it. Serendipity! We’ve visited some of the luxury British bedding stores and are looking forward to buying a towering bed one of these days – one that we’ll need steps to climb up to it, Haha! As for the tumble dryer, who would have thought we could LUST after an appliance? Today, with the rain coming down, we’re unfolding our clothes dryer rack inside and draping our clothes over it. It could well become a permanent furniture piece this winter! 🙂

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  • Anita, this would be the perfect post for aspiring expats to read. It’s an excellent reminder that life abroad is exciting and, well, different. But no matter where you live, there’s always the practical, day to day things that take adjustment: laundry, grocery stores, trash, heaters, washers and dryers. And re: language. I speak a bit of Spanish, but what I learned in Portugal is that when I used Spanish, they could understand pretty much everything I said, and when they spoke Portuguese, I couldn’t understand anything they said. Now if you can find a Christmas tree subsitute. Take care and have a fun and relaxing holiday. ~James

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    • Loved your take on the Portuguese language, James and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves! We spent quite a bit of time at the beginning of 2016 working on our pronunciation and trying to cobble together some basic vocabulary but, (thankfully or alas?) found ourselves diverted by travel plans and adventures. Maybe 2017? And you’re right too, that the practicalities and figuring out how to get the day-to-day chores done takes some adjusting but makes life as a traveler and expat more interesting: at times fun and other times, infinitely frustrating! Those small victories like figuring out what a sign says or how to work the washing machine can be magical at times. 😀 Happy Holidays to you and Terri! Anita

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  • Hello Anita and Richard,
    Great post and really well done blog site! We heard about you from Remi Bodet who is a good friend of ours. Also Mariah and By.

    We admire what you have done and are doing! Good for you!

    Cheers,
    John and Susan

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    • Thanks John and Susan for your kind words. 🙂 It’s fun to think of all the people we’ve met on line (and in the case of Remi, in person) through our blog. Sharing our travel and expat experiences as well as reading and writing about others’ has given us a membership into a very exclusive and fascinating community. Who would have though the “golden years” could be so amazingly rich and interesting?

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  • Hi, Anita. Did you know that Canada changed to the metric system because the U.S. was changing? We all know that never happened! Few clothes dryers here (as I stare at my drying rack which is a permanent fixture in my office) or dishwashers. I would love heated towel racks! I’d be happy with a heated bathroom! Thankfully, I have a radiant heater on the wall, so it isn’t too bad! The new condo will have a dryer and dishwasher, so that will take some getting used to! I think it’s all the differences and changes that keep us on top of our “game.” 🙂 If you two ever want to spend some time in Nova Scotia we should talk about a house swap. Of course, I have to close the condo first! 🙂

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    • Ha – No I didn’t know that about the metric system and Canada. 😀 Sounds like it is pretty cold in South Korea and that the “amenities” for warmth could be a bit more luxurious. I think it’s interesting how so many things that we took for granted are rare elsewhere in the world. Traveling in all of Latin America we NEVER saw a dishwasher and only heard about a couple of people who had a clothes dryer because the electricity was so expensive. In the US, it would be rare not to have either.
      And yes! A swap might be fun! We’re thinking 2017 will be spent exploring Europe but we’ll be planning a trip to North America the next year. P.S. Hope you know you’re welcome at the new digs too, anytime, Nancie!

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  • I think somedays everything as far as voltage goes runs together for me 🙂 . Now, we carry 2 of those universal adapter things. We also had the tower thing going till we got an extra one of those surge protector things to lesson the load. The language l still haven’t learned, if anything l think it’s worse than when we first got there..haha..since l think the longest time we spent at one time there was less than 3 weeks. For sure 2017 we are going to stay put and discover Spain like l keep talking about, l just wish these airlines would stop tempting me with good deals 🙂 . Love your musing on life in Portugal.

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    • It’s all a learning curve, Kemi and one of the fun/frustrating things about travel and expating. Eventually, I can see us replacing our US electronics with European ones but then, of course, we’ll need adapters when we visit there. Like you, we’re looking forward to doing more travel in our own adopted country but, with the border of Spain so close, there’s always that temptation. Looking forward to meeting you somewhere in the middle of either country and combining our travel mojo!

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  • Nice post and funny how things different all over the world. We’ve been in Japan 7 weeks (leaving today actually) and we’re actually looking forward to seeing the “large” apartments in Europe – everything here is miniature and tight, that’s a bit of an adjustment. The plugs are like North American plugs but you won’t find the additional 3rd plug and the voltage slightly lower. So after our time in Europe, where we bought a few gadgets, we’ve had to buy a whole new set of adaptors.

    I think the European community recycle boxes a good idea (as long as they’re cleaned out regularly which is not the case everywhere). In Sevilla they had these big plastic containers on almost every block and I find that much more efficient than what we had in Montreal (where every household has a little bin which they stick outside on recycle day). I think what you learn travelling the world is that you can learn from different places how certain things can do better.

    Frank (bbqboy)

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    • It really has been fascinating to see how how each country deals with the common complexities of daily living. I’d never pictured having to walk 3 blocks to communal garbage cans but it’s easy to adjust to and I’m certain they’re a lot more economical than the garbage pickup we had in the US. Since we don’t have much, living in a smaller space is also easy to get used too and it’s great to be able to clean our home from top to bottom in a couple of hours. But now you’ve got us wondering about Japan and the size of their apartments… It’s all pretty interesting, isn’t it?

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  • Great post. I enjoyed the glimpse into your day-to-day life. As we’ve found in Panama, it’s the differences that make expatriating fun and exciting. Keep the great posts coming.
    Suzi

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  • What a fascinating post. When we were in New Zealand, we took an adapter and I sure am glad we did. However, I discovered that we could remove the little two pronged plug from our iPad chargers and insert a three pronged plug, which saved us from using an adapter every time we wanted to plug them in to charge them. And those towel rack warmers….we loved them. We used them to dry underwear we hand washed, too. There is nothing like stepping out of a hot shower and drying with a warm, fluffy towel. And then there are the bidets. We are hooked on bidets. Our son bought a bidet…I guess you could call it a bidet adapter… for his toilet and now, I want one, too. Great tips.

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    • Love those towel warmers and they are especially awesome when they do double duty and warm our new bathrobes and socks too! Thanks also, Deborah for giving us the idea of using them to dry some of our clothing. We’ll have to remember that the next time we have several days of rain in a row. And who would have thought one could rhapsodize about a bidet? We have one Canadian friend who suggested a dual purpose for them too – as foot washers after a dusty hike! They really are great! 😀

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  • Thanks for sharing your new knowledge, guys.. I have fun picturing you and your new country!!!!!

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    • So glad you enjoyed the post Pam! We have as much fun picturing you in Montana and watching the seasons change on your Facebook posts. Loved the photos of the deep snow in your valley. It looks very much like a winter wonderland but I imagine the downside is the plowing you have to do to get to work! 😀 Merry Christmas!

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  • Very fun to read snippets about your adjustment to life in a new country and the ways thereof. Reminds me how of when we moved from Chicago to Nicaragua. Many of those things you mention such as water heaters that you switch on and off ( great for conservation), smaller fridge, fewer dryers etc one gradually begins to view as more the “norm”. Going back to Chicago after living in Latin America for six years was simply shocking ~ there seemed to be so much waste. Such huge houses, huge fridges, so much accumulated “stuff”. Interesting how the baseline of what is normal…..changes.

    Great to read about recycling. It drove me nuts that the building we lived in recently in Chicago for 1.5 years had no recycling!! What?? Am very happy to now have a compot pile again too.

    I loved all the different Eiropean currencies. But no doubt when going from one country to the other, having the euro is so much easier!

    Looking forward to reading more…
    Peta

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    • You’re so right about the “huge” being so overwhelming Peta, from houses to cars to appliances to the stuff crammed into homes. I think one of our biggest eyeopeners as we prepared to travel was that having all of the biggest and best stuff wasn’t equal to happiness and how tremendously freeing and simpler it was to let go. Now that we have a base again, we’re still mindful about what we buy and have really come to appreciate the simplicity of having less. As for the euro, I’m going to second your opinion. It is nice not to have to learn/relearn the currency as one travels in countries that use the euro!

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  • Good stuff – quite amusing to understand which elements of life in Europe you guys see as being so different. I always found overseas Supermarkets fascinating (honestly) so looking forward to part two!

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    • We love scoping out the grocery stores in different countries, seeing the things that are staples as well as trying to figure out what’s available to make our meals since we cook the majority of our meals. Each countries’ markets and grocery stores from the chains to the family owned seem to have their own personalities and grocery shopping has become a lot more fun since we started traveling. Every time we return to the US, the huge one-stop mega-stores are usually the biggest source of our culture shock!

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  • I’m European and to my eyes that socket really does look overloaded! Ask a local electrician – you don’t want a fire.

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    • Thanks, Anna for stopping by our blog and for your concern! It really isn’t as bad as it looks since the adapters and surge protector are only charging a couple of laptops and USB plug-in devices. We’re lucky that our new apartment has more wall sockets – we’ve had older places where we’ve had to do a lot more juggling!

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  • This is such a funny post, I love hearing your take on the “differences ” of living in Lagos. On my recent visit I loved being able to speak Portuguese, but laughed at the different accent and certain words and expressions that we don’t have in Brazil. I will look forward to the next instalment of how you are settling down on your new life in Portugal.

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    • So glad you enjoyed the post, Gilda – Just wait until we visit England one of these days! We had a friend who visited Portugal last year who also grew up speaking Brazilian Portuguese and she described some of the language differences between the two countries. And we all know the huge differences in English pronunciation, slang and expressions between the US, England, Scotland, etc.! While it’s great to be able to get by speaking English in other countries, it would be so boring if language really was homogeneous! … 😀

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  • All good stuff, as usual, thanks for putting it out there. I may steal your idea and make a similar list for our new life in Panama. Reading things like this awakens me to the phenomenal differences new arrivals in the States face, and their challenges becoming expats in America. Daunting to say the least. Thanks again, and keep ’em coming!

    ME/BE

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    • Feel free to steal away! The differences are always fun to describe to friends and relatives back home and it’s interesting to see the reactions. For many friends who rarely travel or who haven’t been outside of the US, “different” really can be a challenge that’s negative rather than appreciating that there are so many ways to live. It’s interesting to see how quickly we can adapt and that some of the changes that had us flummoxed in the beginning are things we take for granted now!

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  • My Greetings from Puerto Vallarta and oh the Koons also say hello. Your article made me a bit homesick for Lagos! Hope all is well with you both.

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    • Seasons Greetings to you, the Koons and Marty and Steve as well in beautiful (and warm) Puerto Vallarta! Your message has us thinking a get-together in Mexico would be fun but you know you’re always welcome here too. That’s one great cure to being homesick. 🙂 (PS – Just thinking about you when we saw a movie last week. The sugared popcorn is growing on us!)

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  • Not at all surprised you need to break these (imho all delightful depending on your attitude) “differences” into 2… 3? 4? parts.Much of this is similar here in Ecuador. Couple of stray items that especially caught me eye:

    “On-demand hot water heaters are the norm…” Oh my yes, those ‘on-demands” – a most BRILLIANT notion if ever there was one! I HATE it when some of the expats/travelers here (and around the globe) call them “suicide showers”. Um, can you spell con-ser-va-tion? Grrrrr!

    That, plus “…plug for 220 – 240 voltage that fits into a recessed socket…” Yes well, therein is where I went wrong on my recent skip to the Balkans. Yes, yes, I made sure to pack the round-pronged plug adapter, but… um, I neglected to account for the “RECESSED” part of the equation. In short – mine was too wide to fit into the recess, so… suffice my 1st morning in Munich I was off to the nearest tech store for the correct adapter plug. (and while I was at it – I wisely got one that accepts dual plugs so I could charge by camera as well as my phone at the same time – well, duh!).

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    • It seems there is always that one thing that slips by when planning a trip Dyanne, even for an experienced traveler like yourself! Luckily, you were in a city where you could pick up the adapter instead of an out-of-the-way spot when you discovered the need.
      We actually saw some scary looking showers in a few places in Mexico and Guatemala with the wires hanging out that lived up to the name “suicide” showers! For the most part, the on-demand hot waters are a great idea but we’ve had a couple of OMG icy moments when one of us is in the shower and the other wants to get a glass of water! 🙂

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  • I used to like Europe before the Euro. So much more exciting to use so many different currencies. Portugal had the Escudo.
    https://aipetcher.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/european-bank-notes/
    That electric socket looks dangerously overloaded I have to say. If you travel in Europe in Malta you will need British three pin plugs and in Southern Italy something completely different from anywhere else!

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    • Luckily our apartment is newly wired. 🙂 One of the adapters we rarely use is a big, unwieldy thing that’s supposed to work in over a hundred countries so our tower of plugs and adapters looks much worse than it actually is. There are only a couple of laptops charging and an I-Pod and phone in the USB ports. At some point, we’ll start buying our electronics here so it will be much simpler to “plug in!”

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  • Great article, kind of what I expected after traveling in Italy! Sound like you guys are getting on quite nicely. Portugal is next on our list maybe we can see you guys when we finally get there
    Best, Bruce

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re right, Bruce – we are getting along quite nicely and having fun figuring out the settling-in process in Portugal. We’re thinking that there are probably a lot of things that are very similar in Italy and, since it’s a place that’s fairly easy for us to get to, we are itching to compare it with Portugal. Please stay in touch regarding your travel plans – we’d love to see you when you make it to Portugal and consider this an invite to stay in our casa, too!🙂

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