Picture perfect

April 3, 2017


Am I the only one who thought life in an other country would mean a better life? It's so curious that despite of increasing life experience and knowing more and less what life is about (ups and downs, highs and lows, hills and valleys, you know what I mean), it's very tempting to think that under a blue sky, palmtrees and seaview life does become easier and better.


For sure no suprise that the reality turns out to be a bit different. No 'flowers and butteryflies'. No 'pink clouds or heaven on earth'. Even with endless summers, the beach on a walking distance and a cup of coffee for just sixty cents, life continues with all its confusions and contrasts or in other words "life as it is", also in Portugal.


In fact my new life in Portugal has given a whole new dimension to feeling time by time very (very!) lonely, loosing track or worse, loosing myself. Fortunately these feelings always turn out to be termporary, like everything in life. In the end there's always sun behind the clouds. And in that case I need to admit it's not such a bad thing to live nearby the beach.


The first months in my new home country though were easy. Everything is new, all five senses making extra hours to process all new impressions. You feel 'alive and kicking'. Very exciting. By the time you start to feel comfortable, the reality slowly drips back into your life. In my case that meant being home alone a little bit too much. Since my husband turned with our move areamanager of Iberia, he made one businesstravel after the other. Me staying home with our four-your-old daughter and trying to pretend that I was feeling oh-so-comfortable.


One night I awoke in panic, realizing that I didn't know the number of the firestation, nor an emergencynumber to call the police. And while realizing that, I also wondered if I would manage to explain the reason for my emergency call in Portugese. Not that I'm such a freak-out, but out of your comfortzone, things appearantly can feel all of a sudden very different.


Fortunately the 'issue' of the emergency numbers was an easy one to solve (European number 112, just in case you didn't know). The loneliness was a problem from an other level. You wonder perhaps, 'alone'? After six months you didn't make any friends yet? Euh, not exactly. Although I'll be the first to confirm that the Portugese people are extremely friendly and polite, the general culture happens to be more serverdly, at least comparing to the Dutch. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Private stays private. But conversations at school, work and at the gym didn't go too much further than a polite exchange of 'how do you do's". Making connection with people as I have been used to all my life, didn't turn out so easy as I expected.


Although I cried a million tears, yelling that I didn't want to stay 'here', have been furious with friends that I didn't have (yet), I'm happy that I went through all this. While feeling alone, I realised that I manage to 'make something out of it'. To keep my head up high and not to go blind on what is missing in my life. I'm missing a lot, mainly my family. But out of my comfortzone I discovered an other part of life that I'm starting to like. Let the new life begin! Hello Portugal!


"Life begins at the end of your comfortzone"




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