Portugal update: calm in the chaos (plus pictures!)

Sundays are for the beach.

We’re nearly ten months into our time here in Portugal, which is hard to believe. This time last year, we were living in Boise, Idaho, in transition from Thailand to Portugal, waiting for our Portuguese visas.

It seems like it was just a few months ago we were arriving in Lisbon, staying in a cramped, hot apartment just outside the Portuguese metropolis. A few weeks after arriving in the country, we moved to the Algarve and haven’t looked back.

This was taken our first day in Portugal. It’s funny how foreign the country seemed at the time, and now how it feels so familiar.

If you’re not familiar with Portuguese geography (I wasn’t before we moved here), the Algarve is the southernmost region of the country, known for its beaches and tourism. When we first toured the area back in August, as we were deciding where to live, we were initially unimpressed. The landscape looked barren and brown, and I couldn’t understand why so many people holiday here.

On a bike ride to the beach with my girl.

Then we found the city we eventually moved to, located in the Western Algarve, and I better understood the charm and draw. And nine months into our time in this incredible region, I completely, absolutely, 100 percent understand the draw.

During our three-week tour of the country, L fell in love with Albufeira because of all the cat pictures and cat sanctuary there.

So that’s all to say: we are happy. We love living in Portugal. And I mean, l-o-v-e it. It feels like a peaceful utopia, a little corner of the world in which we’re able to withdraw from the chaos of the rest of the world. We have a mountain nearby, and incredible beaches, and cliffside trails. The people are kind and helpful. We feel welcomed. And overall, I feel immense gratitude for Portugal and its people.

These three. I just love them.

 

There is so much to explore in the Algarve!

Living here in the midst of a pandemic has had its challenges, of course. With months of quarantine, we haven’t fully been able to live here, not really. Our visa appointments were cancelled (and then rescheduled with less than a week’s notice). We’ve had to figure out some of the most basic living-in-a-new-country things while at the same time being cut off from the community at large. And being cooped up at home instead of out in the community, I’ve barely learned a lick of Portuguese.

Layer all that with the civil unrest and Black Lives Matter protests back home in the U.S. I’ve felt, at times, like I both desperately wanted to be home marching and eternally grateful to be out of the United States right now.

So we’ve done the best thing we know to do: calm the chaos internally by spending time outside. We’ve spent every weekend at the beach, each Sunday visiting a new location. Something about the water and sand makes everything better, don’t you think?

His happy place. <3

Ten months in, and I feel like we’re just getting to know this country we now call home. Ten months, and we’re starting to feel a sense of calm amidst the chaos of the world. Ten months, and our family is feeling settled. Stable. After the challenges (and joys) of Thailand last year, we are so grateful to be here! More to come . . . but for now, a few photos.

Our family visa appointment—finally! They cancelled it during the COVID-19 shutdown and rescheduled us for last week.

 

Trails are for running!

 

I love his expression here. Mid-yell happiness!

What’s your favorite country you’ve ever visited or lived in, and why? Please share with me in the comments. I’d love to add your favorite place to my travel list!

6 Comments

  • Christina Del Villar Reply

    We have been lucky enough to have traveled a lot. It’s hard for me to pick just one. We loved Samarkand, Uzbekistan for its rich culture and color. Japan and Iceland we’re both amazing to visit. I could easily move to New Zealand. But there are so many other places yet to explore : )

    • Stacy Ennis Reply

      Japan, Iceland, and New Zealand are on my list! I’ve heard wonderful things about Uzbekistan too. And I agree—so many places to see, so little time to see it all. Thanks for reading and commenting, Christina!

  • Paula Bryan Reply

    Thanks Stacy for sharing. I’m always impressed by people who “let go and live”. For I, more often, tend to live in a position of fear and the what if’s. I think, imagine if things hadn’t worked out so beautifully fir you and your family. I’ll leave all my fears for you to myself. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful to see and hear about your journey and adventures with your family that I’m sure will always live on in your young children’s memory as they grow and be a source of pride. Thanks fir helping me to think about the possibilities as I dream of my ideal future. Best, Paula

    • Stacy Ennis Reply

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Paula! I believe it’s never too late to embrace adventure, and reading/thinking about the possibilities is a first step. Kudos to you for dreaming of an ideal future for yourself.

  • Rosemary Barfuss Reply

    Stacy,
    Fun to see your pics, family and fun. Keep the priority. They grow so fast!! Rosie Barfuss

    • Stacy Ennis Reply

      It’s wonderful to hear from you, Rosie! And yes, they do grow fast. 🙂 I hope you are doing well!

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