Settling into Leiria

It has been a rough week or so, but things are starting to settle down and get better. Earlier this week we left Sintra and came to Leiria. We stayed for 3 nights at a hotel right by our new apartment. That was a tough transition because there was so little space. We rented two hotel rooms, but it was still a tight squeeze and we missed having a kitchen and refrigerator. We moved into our apartment a few days ago. Before we did so, we were able to buy mattresses for everyone. That’s all the furniture we have at the moment.

Sofia helping with grocery shopping

Things went wrong with the apartment pretty much immediately. Kyle noticed that there was no hot water. He contacted the landlord and she told him to just turn on the water heater. He tried for 2 hours, but it wouldn’t work. He called her again and she agreed to come over. After some time she figured out that the gas line outside of the apartment had not been connected.

At that point we had hot water, which was great, but we still couldn’t get the radiators to work. They use hot water to heat the house. That first night was pretty bad because the house was freezing. We all bundled up as much as we could, but we were still cold. At bedtime we realized that none of the bedroom doors close, which sounds super trivial but matters to me since we have such young kids and don’t want them wandering the house alone right now. At 3 in the morning Leo found his way into our room. Poor guy was probably freezing.

At that point, Kyle went to try the radiators again and he noticed that the water heater was pouring water out. He called the landlord and she told him how to shut the water off. So then we were freezing and had no water. And Leo wouldn’t go back to sleep.

I think that leads to yesterday. I was super grumpy and hated everything. I hated the apartment, I hated Leiria. I was just exhausted and frustrated. The day before yesterday we had a few frustrating encounters and some people were rude to us. People told us it was a fluke and that people in Leiria are usually nice, but I was still feeling weird about those interactions. So back to yesterday- we decided that a fun day was in order, so we put off shopping and trying to furnish our apartment.

We went to downtown Leiria and spent the day walking around. They have the Christmas stuff all set up and it just adds to the charm. When we first got to Leiria I really missed the charm and beauty of Sintra and Lisbon. Well, downtown Leiria is charming. I like it there. Our apartment is a bit further than I want, but once we settle in it won’t be such a big deal.

One of our last stops yesterday was an ice cream/ coffee shop. They have some of the best coffee I have ever had. They also have boba ball smoothies that Sofia loves. It’s nice that anywhere we go now is somewhere we can go over and over again.

Ice cream with a shot of espresso. Yum!

While we were out we signed up for phone/internet/cable. We got a Black Friday deal for 61 euro per month, which makes me really happy. We were paying $150 just for two phones in the US. We also have fiber optic internet, which is awesome.

Last night when we got home the cable/internet people showed up at the same time as the maintenance guy and another guy to fix our water heater. So it was pretty busy in the house for a while, lol. At the end of it all we got hot water, working radiators, doors that close, and internet. Our TVs were delivered too, so at least we have TV now. It’s amazing how much life improves with some hot water, heat, and TV. I’m feeling a lot more optimistic today.

Trying to get furniture has been a challenge. Our cards get declined when we try to make big purchases. We have daily limits but we’re not sure what they are. Our cards get declined when we try to make online purchases. I know banks here take security seriously, which isn’t a problem as long as you’re not trying to furnish a house. I think we are going to have to try making smaller purchases to get stuff. Hopefully, we can get some furniture in this week. For now, it’s just nice having a kitchen and showers back.

We are completely out of clothes, so we’re trying to catch up on laundry. Until now we have been using laundromats, but we have a huge patio and a drying wrack now, so we’re finally doing our laundry the European way. Our patio doesn’t get sun until afternoon, so I don’t think we will have clean/dry clothes for a while. A day at home sounds perfect right now though. Fingers crossed that we can get some furniture in here this week!

Quinta da Regaleira

We have somewhat settled into our temporary life in Sintra. Every 2-3 days we have a pretty big outing, and then we take a day or two to stick around the area and rest a bit. Over the past week, we have taken the train into Lisbon a few times. It was nice getting a break from Lisbon, and it was nice going back. We went to the aquarium on one of the days. Another day just me and Sofia went to the science museum.

Today we took the bus to Quinta da Regaleira and it was one of the most fun days we have had. It was a lot of walking, but it was an easy day. The bus went from the Sintra train station to directly outside of the palace.

The outside of the palace is beautiful. The inside is fine, but I love the inside of the Sintra National Palace, so the inside of Quinta da Regaleira just paled in comparison. The grounds, however, are absolutely amazing. I’m not sure which I find more beautiful- Pena Palace or Quinta da Regaleira. This one was easier with kids, more stroller friendly, and more kid-friendly. There were a few areas where the kids got to run around. That wasn’t the case at Pena Palace, where everything was so up high that I was terrified the kids would lean over a railing too far and fall.

Quinta da Regaleira was a lot of fun because it feels like there are so many secret parts. There are a few main paths, but numerous paths that branch off to different things. We ran across a few underground caves to explore. Countless staircases lead to beautiful views or underground caves. I feel like we saw a lot, but I know there is so much that we didn’t see. There were tons of staircases that we skipped because of the strollers. We were there for almost 4 hours and there was still so much more to explore. I want to go back to Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira in 10 or so years when the kids are older and we can explore a lot more.

We had lunch at the cafe there, and it was one of my favorite meals we’ve had since coming here. The view/surroundings were also some of the best I have seen. I was sitting facing the palace, with a view of some of the gardens, a fountain, and the city in the background. It was really relaxing and nice. I forgot to take pictures because Sofia kept trying to play in the fountain. They wouldn’t have captured everything anyways, it was one of those times that you just had to be there. As beautiful as our pictures are, they still just don’t do justice to the places we have been. Portugal is very photogenic, but it’s also even more beautiful than its pictures.

One of the highlights of our day is that we ran into Dan and Michelle from Honeymoon Always. They moved from the US to Portugal a few months before we did. They have a YouTube channel and I watch all of their videos. In the US the videos helped provide info on what to expect, and their experiences with the visa process. Now I like their videos because I get to see them do some of the things we eventually want to do, like going down to the algarve. They were super nice and it was great getting to talk to other people who have done what we just did. Hopefully we will run into them again some day.

On Monday we are heading to Leiria. I am very excited to see where we are going to live- both the actual city and the apartment. Moving is a huge hassle each time. We came here with 7 boxes, 2 suitcases, and 4 backpacks. Each time we move, we have more stuff. This time is the last though, at least for a few years. We’re still trying to work out the logistics of how to get to Leiria, but we’re figuring it out. Every time we move we have to take two separate vehicles. Me and the kids usually take an Uber (we still have their American carseats with us). The day we first got here we took two separate taxis from the airport. Kyle’s driver turned out to be wonderful and gave Kyle his card. He brought Kyle and Bailey to Sintra from Lisbon, and now he is going to bring Kyle and Bailey to Leiria. It’s more difficult finding someone wiling to transport an 80 pound dog, so we’re super grateful to have found someone willing to transport Bailey.

I’m ready to move into our apartment and get settled, but I’m kind of sad to be leaving Sintra. I have gotten used to Sintra. I have gotten used to the amazing view just a few feet away from our Airbnb. I have gotten used to the buses and bus system around here. I’ve gotten used to being 5 minutes away from the Sintra train station. I have gotten used to looking around and feeling like I am in some magical place. I am excited to explore the Silver Coast, but I know that Sintra has a kind of magic that we won’t find anywhere else.

Cascais day trip and we got the apartment!

Today we decided to take a day trip to Cascais to distract ourselves. A few hours after we got there we found out that we got the apartment! We are so excited and relieved. I’ll be even more excited when we get the signed lease in our hands, but the landlord told us that the apartment is ours, so we’re focusing on that. There is a lot we don’t know about our apartment, so we are very excited to get there to see it and find out the answers to our questions. I have no idea if there is a dishwasher or a washing machine in there. I do know that it has a huge living room, a huge patio, and a bathtub, so those things are awesome.

The shipping company (from shipping our pallets) needs to have an address for us by November 12. We weren’t quite sure what we were going to do about that if we didn’t get the apartment, but now we don’t even have to worry about that. And now with a Portuguese address, we can go ahead and get private health insurance, which is the other thing we need to do for our residency appointment. And we can go to the bank to change our address, and then maybe they can mail me another bank card. There is a branch right up the street from us in Sintra.

Cascais

Cascais was, of course, absolutely gorgeous. I have seen videos of it and knew I would love it. People say that you don’t really need to know Portuguese in Lisbon and Sintra, and that is true to a degree, but we found it to be even more true in Cascais. There is a lot of English spoken there. We had some really good fish and chips for lunch. Things were expensive in Cascais, but all of the food we got was really good.

We walked down the promenade for a bit, and then we turned around and walked back down a busy road back into town. We walked around some of the shops for a bit. We went to two different beaches and got some gelato. The first part of our trip was more of a distraction, but the second part was a lot of fun since we felt pretty relieved and happy. There is some beautiful artwork that we see for sale in Sintra and I really wanted to get some of it, but I don’t want to lug it around if we don’t know where we’re going. Now that we know we have an apartment I can go buy some! My favorite ones are pictures of doors. I know how strange that sounds. I never used to be into doors, but I have seen so many beautiful ones in Portugal and I love them. So I am going to have framed pictures of doors in my new apartment, lol.

As soon as we find out our move-in date we are going to arrange some things and then we’re heading up to the Silver Coast! We have absolutely loved our time in Lisbon and Sintra, but we are very excited to get to know our new home and hometown.

Fingers Crossed…

We found our perfect apartment. It’s a T3 with 2 bathrooms. Huge living room, it’s on the ground floor, 10 minutes walking from town, and it’s beautiful. Great price and the owners are looking for someone to sign a longer lease. There is a small garage, which we hadn’t even been looking for, but now we want it because it would be perfect for bike storage. The problem is that the apartment is in huge demand. I’m not sure how many other people want it, but I know the owner has numerous showings.

The process so far has been a learning experience and different than anything we have done so far. We hired a company to help us find an apartment, and they met with the owner and toured the apartment. They told us how important family is to the owner and that they want a family with kids living there. We definitely fit that bill. They told me to call the owner to tell her a little about the family and then to follow up with an email, so we did exactly that. We put a lot of emphasis on how great the apartment is for our kids and how much we want to raise them there. We didn’t even have to embellish at all, we really do love it and we want to live there so much. The owner said that she will choose someone and let us know of her decision by Wednesday. So now we wait. We have no idea how it’s going to go.

Leo being a goofball

In the meantime, we’re trying to stay busy and distract ourselves. Today we went to the Cascais mall. I swear we do more than go to malls all the time, lol. We started going to malls a lot more once Sofia was born because it’s a win for everyone. We can walk around and exercise no matter the weather. There is food, usually a playground, and if the kids want to walk around we don’t have to worry about cars. I was very proud because we took the bus from Sintra to Cascais. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it was our first time and it was a bit intimidating. In case you ever want to take the bus around here, you have to flag them down, they don’t automatically stop.

The mall is big and has a nice playground with slides and a ball pit. Sofia and Leo had a blast. The mall has a Toys R Us, which was really fun to see. The US ones went out of business a few years ago. When I was pregnant with Sofia we went to their going out of business sale and stocked up. This Toys R Us also had a playground, so Sofia and Leo got tons of playground time today.

Later this week we want to go to Cascais. We went to the mall today, but didn’t actually see the city. Fingers crossed that we get good news about the apartment soon…

Sintra and Pena Palace

We have been in Sintra for a few days now. I wonder if we are going to like each city more than the last. We love Sintra, and the change of pace is much appreciated. We still go out everyday, but things feel easier- probably because Sintra is smaller and more compact than Lisbon. Sintra is equally as stunning.

A few days ago we went to the mall, Alegro Sintra. It’s big. I’m not even sure what we did, but we spent hours there and didn’t even see half of it. The kids playground there was different than ones we have seen before and the kids spent a bit of time there. That day was kind of rough because we realized how overwhelming it is trying to acclimate. Seeing all of the stores I realized that we don’t even know what stores we like in Portugal. We still don’t know which stores to go to for certain items. But we’re learning, and eventually we will figure out what stores we like and where to go for specific items.

View near our AirBnb

That was also the day that an employee at the mall got visibly irritated with me when I asked him if he speaks English. I get that it would be annoying to have all of these people moving here who don’t even speak the language, but we really are trying. We do need to learn some more Portuguese ASAP. Most people here are incredibly kind and helpful, but we have run into one or two who seem very upset that we’re here. I suppose it’s like that in every country. Kyle pointed out that it’s humbling and he’s right. Everything is harder because we don’t speak the language.

The apartment search is not going as well as I had hoped, so I’m a bit anxious about that. Our SEF appointment is December 21, so we absolutely need a lease by then. We still have time, but it seems like there is a high demand for apartments right now and not much supply. Every apartment that we have been interested in is already rented and no longer available. All we need is one apartment, so fingers crossed that one becomes available and we’re able to get it. Needing an apartment and trying to learn a new language are our biggest life stressors right now, so we are pretty damn lucky.

One of the many amazing views from Pena Palace

We have been seeing Pena Palace on YouTube videos for months because it’s always shown when anyone talks about Sintra. Every single time Sofia would see it she would say “I want to go there!” Well today we finally went! I knew the castle would be beautiful because I have seen so many pictures of it. Pictures don’t do it justice. I had no idea how spectacular the view would be, and from so many different places. There is a wall walk that walks halfway around a part of the castle. I was fairly terrified because I’m scared of heights and Sofia was with me, so I had her arm in a death grip so that she wouldn’t try to climb over the side. Even she seemed somewhat impressed with the views.

We took bus 434 to the outside of the palace. There are ticket machines and you can buy tickets for just the park, or for the park and palace. If you want to go inside, buy park and palace. We didn’t want to go inside, so we just got the park tickets. You can also buy transfer tickets for 3 euro. The transfer ticket is needed to ride a separate bus to the top of the hill. We had no idea of this until later. When we walked in we saw a line of people waiting for the bus. We waited for 20+ minutes just to be told we needed additional tickets. So don’t wait in the bus line unless you paid for the transfer tickets. We walked up the hill to the palace. It really wasn’t so bad- the hills in Lisbon definitely helped to prepare us. There are lots of beautiful side trails and gardens which we skipped since we’re always on a bit of a timer with two young toddlers. We like to get things done before someone melts down- and it’s not always the toddlers that melt down 😆

We loved visiting Pena Palace. It’s gorgeous there and I wish we had a bit more time and energy to explore the grounds. We’re hoping to go back in a few years when the kids are older and we can ditch the strollers. Today we left Sofia’s stroller behind to see how it went. We made it, but she was tired and asked to sit in the stroller a few times. I guess we’re still sticking with two strollers for a while longer.

On to Sintra

Today we leave Lisbon and head for Sintra. We are ready. We have loved Lisbon and we will always have fond memories, but it has become exhausting. We have mostly been stuck at home the past three days due to rain, so we have been going a bit stir crazy. We feel really lucky that we got so many beautiful days when we first got here. We have figured out that the quickest way from our rental to the metro is down a big hill. Going down isn’t so bad of course, but the thought of climbing up that hill one more time makes us want to cry.

We’ve been having some bad luck with the metro lately too. At least half the time we take it there either isn’t an elevator, or the elevator is broken. That means a lot of carrying strollers and kids up and down stairs. The metro has served us well, but we are ready for a break. We love Lisbon, but we are not big city people and we’re ready for somewhere smaller and hopefully better suited for toddlers who want freedom.

A few days ago we took a trolley up a steep hill to a gorgeous view. I think the trolley is called Elevador da Gloria. The view from the top is the most beautiful we have seen. We found a playground and stopped at the botanical gardens and natural history museum on the way home.

On Saturday we were supposed to have a 4 hour break from the rain, so we decided to take the train to Cascais. We made it to the train station 10 minutes before the 10:00 train was scheduled to leave and we settled in for the 40 minute ride. Unfortunately 30 minutes later an announcement was made in Portuguese and everyone got off the train. The plus side is that we met a great couple from Florida (hi if you’re reading this! 😊) who told us that there was a problem with the train and the next one would come at 11. Unfortunately the one at 11 was cancelled, so at that point we just decided to do something else. The kids had been in their strollers for two hours and we were all ready to walk around.

Time Out

Time Out Market was right there, so we went to check it out. We knew it was essentially a big tourist trap, but I always think that touristy things are worth doing at least once. It was expensive, and really hard to find a place to sit and eat, but the food wasn’t bad and it was interesting waking around seeing what they have to offer. Now we have it out of our system and it’s not somewhere that we would go back to. I would have preferred Cascais, but at least we were able to do something with our short break from the rain. It started raining again, so we headed back to our rental.

We have started looking for a long term rental. I have researched quite a few places this past year- Braga, Porto, Coimbra, Setubal, Sintra, and a few others. I think we could be happy living in any of those places, but we have never quite been able to narrow it down. I’m very drawn to Braga for its beauty, walkability, and pedestrian only area, but the weather makes me nervous and it seems so far from all the other places I want to check out. I happened upon a website that mentioned Leiria and I started looking into it.

As soon as Kyle saw a YouTube video he said it felt like home and he wants to go there. So that’s where we’re looking for an apartment. Everyone we have talked to has said that Leiria is great for families, and right now whatever we can do to make life easier with two toddlers is a win. I think I could be happy for the next year or two pretty much anywhere in Portugal as long as there are some playgrounds and we can walk everywhere. I have zero interest in getting a car anytime soon. Our rental in Sintra is paid for through November, so hopefully our next move will be into a long term rental in Leiria. Until then, we are excited to see what Sintra is like. Like I said, we love Lisbon but it’s all that we know of Portugal so far. I’m excited to see some other parts of this country.

Last week in Lisbon

This has been a great week so far. We finally got our phones set up, so it has been great having working cell phones. We went to Vodafone and got a prepaid SIM card. One month of service cost 20 euro for two phones. We already have unlocked iphones, so we’re able to continue using those. Once we get an apartment we’ll get a phone contract. They offer budles, so we want to see what those are like before we commit. Now we just need to get ahold of Tmobile to cancel our US phones.

I can’t even remember everything we have done over the past few days. We went to the zoo a few days ago. It was big and we didn’t even see all of it in one visit. There is a really awesome ride there. You stand up in a cart type thing and go over the zoo and a bunch of cages. It’s a long ride, somewhere around 20 minutes maybe. The walls are nice and tall, so I didn’t have to worry about my kids falling or jumping out. I went with Sofia and Kyle took Leo. The ride goes over the lion cages, and gives some nice views of the city. I am deathly afraid of heights, but even I was able to enjoy the ride because it was so different than anything I have ever done.

Yesterday we went on one of those super touristy hop on hop off bus rides, although we were never able to hop off because the stops weren’t long enough 🤣 Kyle tried once, but the bus started moving again before he could even get to the stairs, It was a really nice break to be able to sit down for a while. The kids did good, though they did start to get restless. We all did at some point. The loop was just under two hours, which is more than we have sat for a while now. My butt hurt from sitting by the end. The tour made us realize just how little of Lisbon we have seen. We have come up with a plan for what to do for the rest of our time here, but we’ll see if we have the energy.

We are definitely starting to run out of steam. We’ve been in vacation mode since we got here, so we don’t really have a schedule and we’re running around all the time. It has been tons of fun, but we’re ready to slow things down a bit and get a routine going. We have already outgrown our Airbnb. It’s a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom. It’s in a great location, so the apartment size is, of course, on the smaller side. The biggest problem though is that there just isn’t any organization, so our things are just kind of laying around. We don’t have a pantry, so we have been putting our food on top of the stove, which obviously makes cooking a pain. We are making do though, and plan on enjoying our last week in Lisbon.

Tomorrow or Friday we want to go check out the Belem area. I loved it on the tour yesterday. We have been wanting to get pastel de natas from Pasteis de Belem, so we can kill two birds with one stone. I still want to check out Time Out market at some point, but we might run out of time for that. I really want to go to Cascais while the weather is still nice, and the kids would love that too. I know we can do that from Sintra, but there is a train from Lisbon and it seems easier. Hopefully we can fit that in this weekend. We’re running out of time in Lisbon, but I keep reminding myself that we’re going to live pretty close. It’s not like we’re going back to the states next week. We’re going a half hour away…

We love Lisboa

Yesterday we learned how to take the metro. It’s super easy and convenient. Today we decided to take a break from running errands and to just play tourist. I’m glad we did- we really needed the break.

We took the metro to the Praca do Comercio. We took the elevator from the metro up to ground level and when the elevator doors open it’s one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. I have been wanting to go over there because it’s in so many videos and blog posts and is instantly recognizable. It was interesting being over there because it’s much more touristy than anywhere else we have been. The prices are higher and people speak English to us before we even get a chance to say anything. We’ve already gotten more used to being around locals.

We walked around the pedestrian only areas for a while and then took the metro back home. We stopped at a nearby grocery store to get a few more things. They sure do love their yogurt here, which is great since Leo loves yogurt too. We’re back at the rental with a few new toys and the kids are happy for the moment. I love going around Lisbon, but it’s nice having an easier day. Monday we’re going to see if we can go get Portuguese SIM cards for our phones.

The more we see of Lisbon the more we love it. It’s so beautiful here and I always feel safe so far. Sofia waves at everyone and they wave back, which delights her. People stop all the time and spend a minute or two talking to Leo. He gets shy and tries to hide behind me or Kyle. For the most part people are really friendly here. I know there is so much more of this country than just Lisbon. I’m excited to spend the next week in Lisbon and then getting to see more of the country.

Lisbon

Today has been our best day so far. We decided that our top priority today was to get a second stroller. We have been out so much that one stroller won’t cut it. We found a store that is a 21 minute walk and we set out. It took way longer than 21 minutes because Sofia had to walk and she is exhausted. She doesn’t seem to have caught up on sleep yet. The walk took us through some beautiful areas. It’s amazing how gorgeous this city is where ever you walk. We still haven’t been to the parts of Lisbon that are on postcards and in videos, but so much of this city is really stunning. My pictures never do it justice.

We passed a park and it was similar to the one by our house in the sense that it has a playground, fountain/bird bath, and a coffee kiosk. We let the kids play for a while. We met a woman from Nepal who has been here for two years. It was nice getting to meet someone else who isn’t from here.

We made it back to the apartment in time to get the kids a nap. I went to IKEA while they slept to check it out. It was huge. There were a few things I couldn’t find, so when I got home we set out to find them.

I’m in some Facebook expat groups and some have talked about El Corte Ingles. The way it sounded to me was that it’s a somewhat expensive store where Americans can find some things that they might not be able to find other places. Well, what we got was pure insanity. I’m not even sure it’s a store…it has 7 floors, but then also has negative floors. It’s like a massive department store, but with restaurants, a grocery store, and a movie theater. We weren’t at all prepared for everything that store (ginormous megaplex) has to offer. I did finally find some coffee filters and sugar at their grocery store. I haven’t been able to make coffee at home yet, but I think I finally can tomorrow.

On the way home we decided to try one of the nearby restaurants. The food was amazing. The kids were pretty well behaved considering they had been in their strollers for a few hours. I have noticed that Portuguese kids seem to be well behaved while ours run around screaming, yelling, and banging on stuff. Everyone here is very nice to them though, and Sofia and Leo get tons of attention. They really do love kids here.

Today was better because we’re starting to adjust our expectations. We can’t have a to-do list and expect to make a ton of progress in one day. Today it took us about 4 hours to get a stroller. But we had fun doing it. We went on a beautiful walk, had fun at a park we had never seen, had some coffee, stopped for a snack. It made us realize that if we can accomplish one or two goals a day then we’re doing good.

First two days in Portugal

Today is our second day in Portugal, but our first full day. And our first day with sleep. Kyle and I didn’t sleep at all on the plane, so yesterday was especially rough. Today felt a lot better. I can see why people fall in love with Lisbon, and we haven’t even done anything fun yet. Almost everything we have done has been errands. Tomorrow we have another day of errands, but one of these days we will go check out some of the touristy places and see some of the places I see in pictures. Yesterday was definitely overwhelming- first with trying to get all of our stuff and our kids through the airport. Kyle went back to the airport yesterday to pick up Bailey. We expected it to be hard, but it was so much more ridiculous than either of us ever anticipated. in the end he did get Bailey though. Bailey seemed much less traumatized than I expected. I know that’s a great thing, I just didn’t expect him to be so normal so quickly. He’s already adjusting to life in Portugal and he seems to enjoy it. We have a garden at our rental unit and we just leave the door open, so he can go outside whenever he wants. Kyle took him for three long walks today, which Bailey seemed to love.

There is a gorgeous park near our rental. I don’t know the name of the park, but I love it and will miss it when we leave. It’s only about a three minute walk from here. There is a small playground, a fountain where pigeons bathe themselves, and a coffee kiosk. There are always people sitting at the tables, talking and drinking espressos. The pictures I took of the park don’t do it justice.

As part of our D7 visa process we had to open and fund a Portuguese bank account. We received the cards back in the US and I activated them through the app. When we got here they didn’t work. We tried using them at the multibanco machine, but that didn’t work either. We tried a different pin number and were able to get Kyle’s card to work, but the multibanco machine ate my card and spit out a message saying that the wrong pin was entered 3 times. So I guess if you put the wrong pin in too many times it just eats the card without warning. Good to know. Luckily I was able to go onto the app and deactivate my card. I already needed to go to the bank to change our address, so I guess now I’ll just have them send a new card. Until then we’ll just use Kyle’s card and I’ll use cash. I’m scared to put any more cards into the multibanco though, lol.

Exploring Lisboa

We went to a mall today called Amoreiras Shopping Center. We tried our fist pastel de nata there. I don’t like custard, so I expected not to like it much, but I actually really liked it. And it was just from a random bakery in the mall. I can’t wait to try one from Pasteis de Belem.

We did a lot of walking today and I love it. There are so many reasons we moved to Portugal, but one of them was to be forced to be healthier. I think that I’ll eat healthier here and I will definitely get a lot more exercise. The kids are also getting way more exercise. You might assume that they would sleep better, but they are currently in their room playing and running around, even though they are exhausted and had a few meltdowns today from being so tired. I know there are so many huge changes going on though. In a few weeks things will settle down. And then we will be moving again, lol. In a few weeks we will be staying in Sintra, which I’m really excited about. I like Lisbon a lot so far, but it’s so massive. Big cities already make me feel kind of overwhelmed, and moving to another country makes me feel a lot overwhelmed, so the two of those things together is pretty intense. I think Sintra will feel more manageable.

I feel a lot better with everything that we accomplish. Since we got Kyle’s bank card working at least we will have access to our money. We also made it to the grocery store today and got some basics, like toilet paper, fruit, and laundry detergent. I figured out how to do a load of laundry. I cooked a quesadilla for Leo, and then it took us literally 20+ minutes to figure out how to turn the stove off. It’s not like one we have ever seen before. I expect the first few weeks living here to be all about relearning things. We knew how to do laundry, cook, and buy stuff in the US, but now we have to learn how to do those things here. It’s really overwhelming at first, but once we learn something then we don’t have to learn again and everything gets easier and less overwhelming.

I do understand why people dream about moving abroad but don’t do it. It’s scary. And very overwhelming. I don’t regret it at all though. Like I said, we haven’t even gotten to do much fun stuff yet and I already love it here. I came to Lisbon knowing that big city life is not for me, and I still love it here. I’m excited to see Sintra, and I’m excited to see Coimbra. I do think Coimbra will be a good fit. Right now I want to live in a medium sized city that we can really get to know. I also want to find some pedestrian only places so the kids can have more freedom. I’m also excited to get to explore Lisbon more. Even though we won’t live here, this is somewhere that we will visit over and over again.