When my husband and I first started to think about moving abroad, the images that floated freely through my mind were of hammocks, sandy beaches and umbrella drinks.
We were not unusual in the fact that the possibility of escape, made us imagine that our new idealistic existence would be totally stress free and we wouldn't have to worry about anything more serious than whether to go to the beach on Thursday or wait until the weekend. Gone would be the worry about paying the bills that had accidentally hidden themselves between the fridge and the counter, the tedious (and expensive) trips to service the car to prevent the brakes from failing when trying to avoid going through a red light, and the arguments with landlords regarding fridges creating swimming pools of water on the kitchen floor. Instead, we would be constantly bathed in the warmth of the sun, while we spent hours drinking red wine and laughing in restaurants with our new friends.
Of course, we completely forgot to factor into the equation that no matter where you live you are inevitably going to have to pay bills, stop bits falling off your car and bundle up in warm sweaters when the 365 days of sunshine turn into 200.
So we moved to Lisbon, Portugal and the good news is that we have loved it ever since we stepped off the plane. However, that doesn't mean there have been moments of intense frustration as we have started our journey towards 'going Portuguese'. Of course the best thing to do is to laugh about them because most of them have a pretty funny side related to being a stranger in a strange country, and not always understanding how things are done, or why people can't understand your not so perfect Portuguese spoken with a strong British accent.
So this blog is a chronicle of the funny and sometimes not so funny things that happen to all of us who take a step into the unknown and head for foreign shores. Enjoy!