Ask Me Anything April 2022
life: examined is a weekly invitation to get curious—a collection of ideas, and thoughts about living a creative, intentional life—written from my perch in Portugal.
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Spring is in full swing, and my sinuses are not happy.
Living across from a beautiful park with more than 300 mature trees and various shrubs and flowering plants is lovely most of the year. But for a few weeks in spring, I’m convinced the trees are trying to kill me.
Is death by itching and sneezing a thing?
Anyway, with the sinus infection almost gone, I’m back to my usual self.
The weather has been wild and glorious. Dramatic wind storms (hello, flying pollen) and rainy periods punctuated by sunny days.
Have you seen the sky here? Setúbal knows how to give good light and clouds.
As promised a few weeks ago, here I am with part 2 of Ask Me Anything.
Questions were sent in by subscribers and supporters and many of them were similar. So, I synthesized them to present this lightning round of Qs and As about Portugal.
In a future edition, I’ll address the questions I received about my creative process, writing, etc.
My Mantra: I Know Nothing
The answers to these questions are mine—I’m not an expert on anything but my lived experience (I’m reasonably bright, a decent researcher, and I pay attention, so I feel pretty confident about my responses). YMMV.
Okay, let’s do this!
The first question is one I also get pretty often in my Move to Portugal sessions.
Q: Now that you’ve lived in Portugal for a while, what would you have done differently to make the move and transition smoother/better?
A: I would have stressed less?
Well, maybe that wouldn’t have been possible, but I do like the concept. An international move is a nerve-wracking process. But once it’s done, it’s done. That is, unless you move somewhere else.
Hindsight is a lovely thing—knowing what I know now is not what I knew then.
Here are a few things I’d do differently if I had a do-over:
I would have started purging material goods even sooner than I did. Although I lived in just 400 sf, with scant possessions (but those books!), it took much longer than I thought to sell/give away/donate/recycle my stuff.
Since we’re using hindsight, I would NOT have made a second trip to Portugal to find an apartment two months before actually moving. It was a waste of time and money. I ended up renting an apartment sight-unseen after I returned to the States. This is a common scenario, renting from abroad, by the way. If you want to move to Portugal on the D7 visa (the most common type), you need to secure a year’s lease (or have a purchase deed). You can find out more about this on the ever-helpful Americans & FriendsPT Facebook group. The files section is a gold mine.
That’s it. I can’t think of anything else to add to the do-it-different list.
Q: What regrets, if any, do you have?
A: Not moving to Portugal/Europe sooner. It wasn’t possible to move before I did, still I’m glad I moved when I did rather than staying in the U.S. and regretting NOT moving abroad.
Q: What’s your experience with healthcare in Portugal? Costs, doctors, procedures, etc.?
A: I’ve had affordable and excellent care, except for that one super-strange heavy-breathing cardiologist.
I just went back for a follow-up EKG with a top cardiologist (not to be confused with the strange one) at the local private hospital. She, plus an intensive care doctor, spent an hour with me going over every valve, ventricle, and artery to assure me that my blood pump was in fine form.
The cardiologist asked if I planned to stay in Portugal or move back to the U.S., and I told her Portugal. She said, ”Good—if you stay in Portugal, you’ll live to be 100. But, I can’t guarantee that if you move back to America.” So, I asked her if I could get that in writing.
What was my co-pay for an hour procedure with two friendly and thorough specialists? 12,50 euros (about $13 at this writing).
Q: Do you feel safe in Portugal/Setúbal?
A: Yes, I do feel safe. For the first time in my life, I don’t get tense when I hear footsteps approaching from behind when there are few or no people around. I’ve been assaulted more than once, so the hyper-vigilance I wear is earned. I’m still jumpy at times, it’s hard to unlearn what the body experienced, but I am much calmer and better here.
life: examined news!
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Favorite Portuguese to English Auto-Translation of the Week:
More menu fun:
Are you coming to try one of our sandwiches today?
Hammer of Pressure
Pretty sure these aren’t vegan options. That Hammer of Pressure, though…
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Until next time—> stay curious, eat your veggies, and thank you for reading life: examined