Back in the Southern US

Well, we made it back to South Carolina two days ago. Whew, this humidity! I somehow forgot how humid it gets. It was nice getting to spend two weeks in the way cooler air of the Pacific Northwest. The flight home was so much better. Our first flight landed on time, so we had an hour and a half layover in Dallas. It still felt kind of cut short, but we had time to eat and stretch our legs a bit. We have all been pretty exhausted since we got home.

I go back to work today, in two hours. It will be fine. I’m feeling kind of sad though. I always feel kind of sad when vacation is over. It has been so nice getting to spend the past two weeks with my kids. I’ll miss getting to spend so much time with them. I really miss my parents too. Sofia has been asking to see them a lot today. She misses them too. Since having kids it has gotten so hard saying bye to my parents. It’s so nice spending time with them and the distance between us is hard. And it’s about to get way bigger.

On the plus side, we will be moving to Portugal soon. I still haven’t picked the exact date, but we’re really close to deciding. We got our passports back and my SEF appointment is December 20 in Setubal. Kyle, Sofia, and Leo have their appointments on December 21, also in Setubal. For that appointment the biggest thing we need is a lease. Originally we planned to find something to start January 1, 2022 but now it’s looking like we will aim for a start date of December. The travel date we listed on our D7 visa was October 13, and that might be the actual date we enter Portugal, or we might do a week later.

Kyle has already started selling some of our stuff. I’ve been going through the kid’s clothes to either sell or donate them. I still have all of their clothes, back to when they were both newborns. We have so much to do and not a ton of time to get it all done, but we should be fine. We’ve known this was coming and I began packing some things a few months ago. Now that we know that we’re actually going soon it’s time to get moving.

I still have to figure out my last day of work. I think that I might just stay for a while longer, and have my last day be 10 days prior to our move. That last paycheck will be helpful, and having our insurance for as long as possible means we won’t have to spend a ton on short term health insurance. We still have some decisions to make, but that’s the fun and easy part. We tried calling Lufthansa today to book Bailey’s flight, but after being on hold for a while we were told by a machine to leave a message. I definitely have some anxiety about Bailey’s travel- booking his flight will be a huge piece. Once we book his flight I will book ours and make the last decisions that I need to make.

Why do we want to move to Portugal?

I love to travel. I have wanted to experience living abroad for as long as I can remember. Kyle and I used to talk about it and it was always something we wanted to do “someday.” Originally we were looking at Spanish speaking countries because I speak enough Spanish to get by. At first Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico were all on our list in part because of their proximity to the United States. We had been to Cozumel, Mexico a few times and we loved it. We took a 10 day trip to Costa Rica and we loved it there too.

When I got pregnant with Sofia we decided that we wanted to move abroad before she began school. We started to make serious plans to move abroad. A top requirement of mine is that I do not want a car. I want to walk and take public transportation. That made Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico more difficult. You can live in any of those places without a car, but we wanted to be able to travel around pretty freely, and it just seems a lot easier with a car in those countries.

I’ve always wanted to live in Europe, but dismissed it as being too expensive. At some point I read that Portugal and Spain are pretty affordable. Immediately I began looking at Spain. I narrowed in on Valencia pretty quickly and I started learning everything I could about living there and their visas. I wasn’t quite sure that we qualified, but figured we could swing it and it was worth a try. Then I got pregnant with Leo, and the second dependent would have made the financial requirements hard to meet.

I had looked at Portugal before, but couldn’t narrow down where to live, so I had turned my attention back to Spain. This time I looked at Portugal’s visas, and the D7 was a great fit. We more than met all of the requirements, including the financial ones. For the next year I researched Portugal. I kept trying to narrow down where to live, but all I did was expand the list. There are so many cities and towns I want to check out.

Portugal is fairly easy to travel around without a car, especially if we live in a bigger city. It’s easy enough to access the rest of Europe from there. Spain is their neighbor. I have read time and time again that Portuguese people are incredibly friendly and helpful. I know that in Portugal family matters, and kids matter. I like that Portugal does not have the same gun culture that we have in the US. I love that Portugal is a safe country. There seem to be a lot of positives. That sealed the deal and we knew that Portugal was the place for us.

As we get closer to moving it can be easy to focus on wanting to leave the US. Even though there are some reasons we want to leave the US, ultimately we are moving because we want to experience living in another culture. We want to be able to travel around Europe and obviously living in Portugal would make that significantly easier. We want our kids to experience other cultures.