A new month, now what?
no, silly, I'm not moving again...
life: examined is an invitation to get curious—a collection of ideas, and thoughts about living a creative, intentional life—written from my perch in Portugal.
—> Thank you for your support
Who told September she could arrive with such stealth? I'm sure it was June a minute ago.
The new month is a surprise to me—is it to you?
As time moves on, each incoming month greets me with a jolt when I finally recognize its arrival several days into it.
Thirty days is too few to make a month—just when I'm getting the hang of August, for instance, we're already eleven days into September.
Regarding time, here's an observation.
It's not a life-changing epiphany, just something I noticed last week. When the calendar is about six months away from my next birthday (on or around my mom's birthday), I start telling myself that I'm the age I will be. Do you do this, too?
Apparently I only give myself half a year to be the chronological age I really am.
This habit of wearing the future makes me forget my actual age. I wonder: am I counting ahead, or is this my age? I guess it doesn't matter, either way.
Okay, on to my news and what's lurking on the horizon.
Move to Portugal sessions
For those interested in my Move 2 PT program, I've decided to quit. I’m sorry.
When I took the summer off to think about how I wanted to move forward, I felt sure I'd start the program again but with a slightly different format.
As time went on, I decided not to continue.
I had the last session in a few months ago; nothing about that experience caused me to end the program.
I remember it was a lovely conversation; I went away feeling I gave the client what they were looking for, but I also remember thinking: Well, I just did my last session.
It felt like a good stopping point—to quit while I enjoyed it. I enjoy working one-to-one and getting to know people who are hopeful residents of Portugal, but I was just done.
I might open up a few customized engagements per year with truly committed would-be immigrants to Portugal.
I have some content and format ideas on how I can expand this offering, but nothing is solidified. If this is interesting to you, let me know by replying to this newsletter.
The Portuguese language
This will be my third attempt to attend the 6-month Português para Todos/Portuguese for All course the government, through the High Commission for Migration (APM), offers.
If I pass this course, I’d be certified for levels A1 + A2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR if you’re geeky).
This certificate meets the language requirement for permanent residency or citizenship—it’s required for both—instead of taking the test for competency.
I tried to take the course when I lived in Almada.
I even paid the class fee but I made plans to move to Setúbal shortly thereafter. I didn’t bother attending, because I knew that I wouldn’t travel back-and-forth for the six month course.
Attending class would involve a three-night each week round-trip commute via bus from Setúbal to Almada—and that was not happening.
It would’ve taken me an hour each way; the class ends late in the evening, which would put me home about 11pm. Nope.
Then, a few months after moving to Setúbal, COVID happened.
I was enrolled once again in the course, but chaos was descending over the country and world and there was no way I was venturing out several nights a week.
In class, everyone including the teacher wore masks. Makes sense until you realize that trying to learn European Portuguese without seeing the speaker's lips is not ideal.
My friend who signed up with me made it through the first week of class but quit in frustration. The class was canceled after the first week, anyway, because COVID.
Most Portuguese people speak rapidly and often with a semi-closed mouth, eating letters and sometimes syllables of a phrase. Therefore, you need your ears and eyes to learn this nuanced, beautiful language.
My contact at the school sent an email reply telling me to be calm, that I'll get a call in September (Wait? Aren't we in September?) when they know the class start date and time.
The last time I got the call, the person on the phone told me the class would begin the next day! So, I'm keeping the schedule clear and going with the flow as best I can.
side note: with language classes three nights a week for six months, I wouldn't be able to do Move to Portugal sessions, anyway.
Adeus, social media (again)
When I moved to Portugal in 2018, I was already moving away from social media.
I managed social media accounts for clients, but, with the exception of Instagram’s early days, I didn't feel good about the time I spent (wasted) on my personal and business accounts.
I never enjoyed Facebook. I deleted my FB and Twitter accounts in 2016.
The FB interface is ugly; it's challenging for me with my HSP-ness. There’s so much visual garbage—it reminds me of walking into a casino, which is not far off as Facebook and other social apps/website have been engineered by those who know how to make them addictive. It's in the DNA.
Without making this a 10,000-word essay, I'll briefly mention why I returned to Facebook at the end of 2018. —> The only reason was to stay connected and find resources as a newbie in a foreign country.
This was good as I soon found out that many/most small businesses in Portugal don't have a web presence other than a FB page! Unfortunately, this is still true today.
It's difficult to get your bearings in a land and with a language that's, well, foreign, so Facebook was a necessary evil.
I've made some good connections and friends via the platform, and I now know where to find news and information about the country and my community—a feat made initially easier by my temporary return to Facebook. It was a tool, that’s it.
If we’re connected on FB or Instagram, I'll be leaving soon.
It’s not you, really, it’s Facebook. There are other thing I want to do other than spend my limited time-energy falling down the social media rabbit hole (looking at you, too, YouTube), so adeus, Facebook and Instagram.
I don't want to participate in Zuckerberg's empire (or any empire), other than WhatsApp (begrudgingly), which I’ll keep active until everyone I know has switched to Signal (not likely).
Timeline for departure?
A few weeks—I'm not sure yet.
Will my accounts stay live or will I delete them?
Not sure about that, either.
I’ll likely leave my Instagram account as an archive for those who find my posts useful, and strip FB down to nothing but a barely there account—you know, in case I get invited to a special performance of the touring Viennese Cat Orchestra (one can dream) and the only way to confirm my attendance is through FB events.
If you want to stay connected with me, now would be a great time to subscribe to life: examined if you haven't already.
Walking my talk
I wouldn't be living up to the theme of this newsletter if I didn't examine my participation in all things, whether for livelihood or fun.
Intentionality, creativity, and curiosity are qualities I value; when I'm not in alignment with these, it's time to make a shift.
I'll miss the income from the Move to Portugal sessions, but it’s not like it was enough to buy an island in the Bahamas (of which I don’t want), but it was meaningful to my household budget (Milo requires fancy food and treats).
Something else will come along to fill in the shortfall, but my immediate priority will be the language course—if I get in, that is.
Have you quit something that was working? A job, relationship, or hobby, that wasn't horrible, but you just felt done? I'd love to know!
—> Reply in the comments section below.
ONE GOOD LINK:
I just discovered the delightful newsletter You Are Doing a Good Enough Job— a newsletter for people who beat themselves up by Sophie Lucido Johnson.
Sophie is an artist, writer, teacher, and parent. Check out her illustrations & watercolors.
Sophie’s post Do a Bad Job is the read we all need.
FAVORITE PORTUGUESE TO ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE WEEK:
Good morning group. I’m in love with streetlights. But still haven’t found a recipe that will suit our group. Am I distracted?
(thanks to Christy for that gem)
Thank you Meghan, Deb, Ruth, Daniel, Minnie, Lisa, Mark, Denny, Filipe, Brian, and Alex for supporting life: examined through Buy Me a Coffee. Your generosity affords me the time to write this letter to you each week(ish).
Until next time —> stay hydrated, belly laugh at least once a day, and accept my thanks for reading life: examined!