Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving To Portugal
There are quite a lot of things I wish I knew before moving here. The journey still isn’t over yet as we’re still not settled into a place of our own. We are days away from closing on our condo we bought in Lagos. Getting this far has been a really difficult journey.
I thought I’d write down some of my thoughts on this as this process isn’t for the faint of heart and it has definitely been depressing, trying, challenging, and downright draining. It feels like the universe is against this decision I made and it’s trying to tell me to abandon hope of this dream.
Here are some things I wish I knew before and how much I’m so depressed about this difficult situation:
- Getting stuff shipped to Portugal is a VERY DIFFICULT PROCESS.
- Bri flew back to the states on December 3rd to try to get all the paperwork we needed together, titles mailed, inventory, organization, timing, etc. He STILL wasn’t able to do it in THREE WEEKS!
- Bri flew back a few days before Christmas without having much progress on getting our stuff shipped here.
- I might blog about this entire thing later once we have it finalized. We STILL do not have our stuff. It’s still not even on its way here :(
- You STILL need a US address for a lot of things!
- Shipping is a big one as they need to mail back the certificado de bagagem.
- Having your mail forwarded somewhere. The USPS won’t forward to Portugal!
- You need some people in the US to help you!
- My sister was able to help me with the certificado de bagagem as she can mail things and it gets there a lot sooner (and cheaper) than from Portugal.
- Brian’s parents have helped us a lot along the way. Our mail is forwarded to their house. We still use their address for official things that need a US address.
- Working with the embassy requires a US address.
- Shipping stuff!
- The dollar to euro kills you. The conversion rate varies and it makes A HUGE difference.
- Another reason Bri flew back to the States was to move our money from our US bank to our Portuguese bank. You can do this online but it is a lot easier to do it by going to your bank. Quicker too. Our big condo purchase we had a budget; we have exceeded it since the dollar dropped so much in value by the time we hit closing.
- Having a US credit card doesn’t help. I do minor things with euros (cash) but a lot of things I put on the credit card. It does a poor exchange rate and might charge extra since I’m out of the US.
- I’m not sure what others do. It really is like playing the stock market on how much it changes cause it changes constantly.
- When buying a house or a condo there are A LOT of taxes and fees. We are paying 8% of the price in taxes. There are also other fees the buyer (me) needs to pay such as 1% for the lawyer, a notary fee of 1,000€, registration fee of 250€, legal fee of 6,458€. All of these are on top of the full amount which is paid directly to the seller. No money goes into an escrow or anything like in the US.
- Finding things can be difficult.
- Sometimes you need to know the right things to search for in google. Example is finding carpeting. We are carpet people. In Portugal (maybe even Europe… and the US is starting to do this too) people like hardwood. Carpeting isn’t common. Finding a place that does wall to wall carpeting has been challenging. Turns out you need to google “custom carpeting” to find places that can hopefully do what they do in the states. We’re still not over this hurdle!
- Finding a furniture place is proving to be a little difficult too. There are quite a few places that do “custom furniture” and it can be very expensive! We luckily found a few places like Marlo (in the US) that has furniture you can buy already made.
- Without transportation, some things aren’t accessible.
- Getting your cell phone switched was challenging. I wanted to keep my US number so I can keep up with friends and family.
- When I originally arrived here I used my roaming which was $10 a day. Not ideal.
- I bought a sim card for 15€ for a month with 6 gigs. Great deal!
- Renewing this was a pain in the ass if I didn’t want to buy a new one every month.
- I had to port my US number to another service (leaving AT&T). I needed to provide the latest bill, your account number, password, and all your information. I’m using iPlum (which turns out to be really shitty). This porting over process can take more than a week.
- My US calls and texts are through an app on my phone (iPlum).
- iPlum is charging me $108 a year for their service.
- According to their Fair Usage Policy for Unlimited Plans “unlimited plans” are limited to 2,500 “credits” a month. Sending or receiving a text is a “credit.” Every minute you spend on the phone is a “credit.” I had to buy extra “credits” since I ran out last month and my service was going to be suspended. I bought $20 worth of “credits” which gives me 2,000 extra. It’s bullshit.
- The iPlum app is a piece of shit!
- Half the time I don’t know who is calling (I don’t recognize many phone numbers).
- When someone sends a picture, I don’t know who sent it.
- Sometimes I can’t even tell who sent the text message as it’s just a phone number.
- It’s clunky as I need to touch many things and menus just to send a text or make a call.
- I had to change my credentials since my phone is now Portuguese number and NOT US so it thought all my contacts where Portuguese numbers.
- The calls drop sometimes and it’s difficult to hear. I have my volume to the max and I still can’t hear my uncle very well.
- Bottom line: be prepared for a few days of hardship and stress and don’t get iPlum. They’re a rip off and a piece of shit. I will be replacing them next year.
- You get nickeled and dimed a lot when going through this process. It feels like death by 1,000 cuts.
I will be updating this post maybe from time to time. Many times I’m getting and got depressed about everything and it feels hopeless a lot. I wish I could go back in time and change my decision. I’m hoping things work out. It’s just hard right now but at least I don’t have to deal with any US drama and that in-and-of itself is a relief!
I miss my friends and my sister a lot.
Deprecated: Function get_currentuserinfo is deprecated since version 4.5.0! Use wp_get_current_user() instead. in /home/niles38/longlivethemonkey.com/blog/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5413