We've arrived!

We've arrived!

We're here in Portugal...we've finally made it. After a year or more of endless discussions about various logistical details, the stress of waiting for a visa and  a zillion conversations with family members, coworkers and friends, the time is now. We're officially living abroad :) This post starts our documentation of a year of adventure and growth.

We had wanted to publish this first post about a week ago, after having spent only a few days on Portuguese soil. But frankly the last week and a half has been incredibly busy and we're just now finding the time and space to put our thoughts down.

The trip from Denver to Lisbon was okay but admittedly a bit trying on all of us; more so than our prior trips to Portugal. This itinerary had two legs: Denver to Toronto, and Toronto to Lisbon. Shortly after arriving at the airport on Monday morning we found our flight had been delayed due to issues with the incoming plane. Departure time would be moving from 11:05am to 12:30, then to 2:00, finally to 3:30. Thankfully we've learned some lessons from prior trips and we'd arranged for a 6+ hour layover in Toronto. Other than unexpected thumb-twiddling time at Denver International we weren't affected. The situation at Lisbon's Humberto Delgado Airport wasn't as pretty. The passport control line was epic, and the main factor seemed to be that there were only four windows open to check passports. The wait time in line was upwards of 90 minutes, and the airport was hot. Combine this with just having flown overnight with mediocre sleep and what you get is all of us looking pretty grumpy.

We chose to use lightweight travel bags (think Ikea bag-like material in a cube shape) to maximize the amount of belongings that we could take and stay under the 50lb airline limit. While we were all concerned that some of our stuff could get smashed due to the lack of firm structure in these bags. What we didn't foresee was the baggage handlers moving bags around with a single handle, ripping some of the handles off the bag, and in two cases this ripped holes in the sides of the bags. Never-the-less the bags seemed to arrive with all of our stuff still inside. Erin's bag however was completely missing in action, and didn't arrive until Tuesday (a full week after our arrival).

We were very fortunate to find a great apartment, in an even more amazing location. The views of Setubal are stunning, from the port up to Forte de Sao Filipe, Stadio de Bonfim and the top of Praca de Bocage. Much more to come on the city sights later, but for now we've been spending the first week(s) getting settled in. We've tackled everything from access to our Portuguese bank account to where and how to rent a car, how to pay for parking digitally, where to shop for groceries, as well as home internet and cell phone service for Erin and Steve. Most importantly, we've assembled a dozen or more pieces of Ikea furniture and have the apartment livable!

In terms of regular updates, we're hoping to keep it easy: a weekly status update with the overall picture of what we experienced, "highpoint and lowpoint" of the week from each family member and a quick nod to our family movie of the week. The family movie of the week is something we're instituting to make sure the kids get a sampling of movies from our own youth.

Week one highs and lows

Nora: high point - starting my graphic novel and sticking with it, low point - long plane ride and bad airport luck (delayed flights, long passport line, lost baggage), something new - exploring the city of Setubal and learning where everything is  
Henry: high point - first time at Pastelaria Roma, low point - accidentally taking a 45 minute shower, something new - being able to go out on the balcony and enjoy the view that makes me feel like I’m the king of all I see.
Junie: high point - making a new friend at the park, low point - long passport line, something new - we have a fruit stand (and mini mart) right next door!
Erin: high point - arriving at our apartment and standing on the balcony together, low point - the rollercoaster of jet lag (and also the passport line), something new - I don’t know as much Portuguese as I thought I did :)
Steve: high point - getting hair cut and chatting with the barbers, Jefferson and Vinicious, low point - passport control line, something new - living life immersed in a new language (and making an effort to learn/be a part of it) is a huge cognitive drain

Family movie of the week

Week one movie: Jumanji
Rating: 9

Hope you're all having a great time back in the States and elsewhere!
- Steve and Erin