First Few Days in Lisbon

We made it! We’re tired as hell, but we’re finally in our apartment in Lisbon, with an SEF appointment tomorrow to apply for our residence cards. We’ll meet our immigration lawyer right before our appointment so hopefully all should run smoothly.

The exit was a little rockier than I’d have liked, as my sister came out and we ended up staying up too late and not getting enough packing done on time, but it is what it is. The animals were delivered without much of a hitch, and boy am I glad we paid to have them professionally transported. They ended up in customs for hours, and I wouldn’t have known the first thing about how to handle that.

The animals have largely settled in now and have been surprisingly quiet (for them). The anxious dog is taking a little longer to adjust, but she was just as weird when we moved last time, and that was only a mile away from our old place, so we sort of expected that.

Unfortunately, where we live in Alfama, the traffic is limited to residents via bollards, so the taxi driver could not deliver us to our front door (and the animal people couldn’t deliver the animals to our door either), which meant lugging two very large suitcases up what felt like 1,000 stairs. June is also the time of the Festas dos Santos Populares, so there’s a lot more foot traffic than usual, with crowds of people swarming the streets, seemingly not giving a single blue fuck that people with heavy bags are trying to get through.

Our first order of business was to go to the pet store for a litterbox for the cat, which was pretty straightforward. We’ll need to go again for more of their food, proper bowls, etc. (Right now they’re eating from human bowls, which we’ll probably want to use for ourselves at some point.)

They didn’t fix our dishwasher yet, and we’re having some sort of electrical issue where the breaker that the fridge is on keeps cutting out, so we don’t currently have a working refrigerator/freezer. Allegedly, the dishwasher will be replaced next week, but I don’t have an ETA on having a working fridge yet, which is a real drag, since we can’t store any food yet and I like tons of ice in my drinks.

We also paid to have the apartment cleaned (apparently some dust from neighboring construction made it into the apartment, although I have no idea how, since we didn’t leave windows open or anything), and they stripped the bed and put the towels and linens in the hamper but didn’t wash them, so that was confusing.

We’re pretty jet-lagged right now, but have started working our weird schedule (2PM – 10PM, so we have overlap with the California crew at work). I feel like I could sleep for a year, but that will have to wait for now.

It’s all still pretty surreal, and I keep having these mini-freakout moments, wondering if we’ve just made a horrible mistake, etc etc – all the normal stuff you freak out about when moving to another country – but we’re still really excited to be here. We started the morning off with some cafes pingados and some Pastéis de Nata, and this neighborhood is really just so quiet and lovely early in the day.

No point in hitting up the nearby Pingo Doce (a chain grocery store) yet, since we can’t refrigerate anything, but after we finish at SEF tomorrow, we’ll hit up FNAC or the pet store again to pick up some more items. (Not sure how we’ll carry a microwave that far, so we may just end up ordering it online, even though we much prefer to shop locally.) Since delivery vehicles have the bollard codes, sometimes it makes sense to order from Amazon Spain to avoid the bollard hassle while we wait for our residence cards.

We really like Alfama. It has a small town vibe while still being close to the action in Lisbon. Oh, and we found a place that delivered food and wine at 4:30AM, which is excellent news, since we’ll be working those unusual hours.

If I sound grumpy, I apologize. Just tired and annoyed by the refrigerator problems. The property manager is super duper nice at least, so hopefully we’ll get some of these issues handled soon.

Once we have our residence card, we should be able to move about Europe a little more easily. (The visa only allows two entries to Portugal, so we’re sort of stuck until we get those.)

Até breve,
Alison (aka “snipe”)

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  • Liz van Dijk
    Liz van Dijk
    June 1, 2023 at 9:14 am

    You did not pick the easiest location (or timing) to start off your Portuguese adventure, but things will start coming together, I’m sure. I live relatively close by (just on the other side of Graça, near Intendente), so if there’s anything you’d like some help with, feel free to give me a shout.

  • SEF Appointment: Done. Sort of. -
    June 1, 2023 at 7:34 pm

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