LisbonThe Feels

Go to the Damn Mall

We’ve talked a little bit about how frustrating moving to a new country can be, and how it can be a roller coaster of ups and downs. Deliveries are a gigantic pain in the ass here (at least in Lisbon, since it’s a proper city, and the postal carriers don’t have keys to get into the building, and they can’t very well leave packages on the street).

If you decide to risk it with Amazon Spain, the things you get can be wildly varying in quality and the package always arrives looking like it went through a war zone.

I was having a particularly bad run of things recently. My residence card still hadn’t arrived as of February, even though Brady’s arrived back in October. It was starting to feel like it just wasn’t ever going to happen, and I started to have some second thoughts about this huge, life-changing thing we just spent all this time and money doing. The timezones for our jobs (10 hours ahead of our furthest employee) were getting to us, our work/life balance was starting to suffer, and we found out that our landlord is selling our apartment, so we get to go through the process of moving again. It’s been cold and rainy, so our usual cures of working outside wasn’t even available.

I was feeling defeated and frustrated that 80% of anything I ordered would be crap or completely broken or wouldn’t fit, if it was even able to be shipped to Portugal and actually arrived. (Food, even dry goods, and spices generally cannot be shipped from Amazon US. I have gotten very used to seeing “não disponível”. Sigh.)

I generally prefer to shop locally, of course, but there are certain brands I like which I cannot get here.

My Portuguese learning has stalled somewhat, which was also really getting me down. I understand and speak a ton more than when we got here, but we work all day long, so we don’t have as much chance to practice as I’d like.

Everyone kept telling us that if we needed to find something, we should go to the mall. No, not that mall, Colombo. THE mall. Colombo is huge, with a huge supermarket, gigantic food court, movie theater, even a hospital! And in very Portuguese style, they have smoking areas on each floor.

I have to say, when we finally went, it turned my whole mood around. This is not because I’m a fancy bitch who needs lots of “stuff”, but because there were some things we were missing that were compounding my anxiety and depression.

For example, we didn’t have a working vacuum cleaner – and we have two dogs and a cat. Our apartment was constantly covered in animal hair, and the thought of having friends over without at least 24 hours notice was horrifying to me. Plus, we work from home, and chaos in my environment makes me irritable and anxious. So not having this stupid goddamned vacuum was having actual real psychological effects on me. I’d end up spending half my weekend on my hands and knees raking dog hair out of the carpet so I didn’t lose my mind.

And I don’t want to buy anything ever anymore, since we’re going to have to move again and I HATE moving with the fire of a thousand suns. So then I stress about not having the things I need to be calm, but also stress about the anxiety of having the things because I’m just going to have to move them soon.

That is, of course, my own flavor of crazy, but I can’t help it. It’s how I am. I’m not even a particularly tidy person, but when I look around and see chaos, I can’t focus on anything else until it’s fixed, which usually ends up in an 8-hour cleaning spree. So much for down time.

Anyway, the small act of taking the metro to the mall and at least seeing what was available had a real impact on my headspace. We didn’t end up buying anything that trip, as it was just a scouting mission, but knowing where we could was a huge relief to me. (Carrying that heavy-ass vacuum back on the metro the next time we went was no fun, but still, worth it.)

I think a lot of people think that our lives are way different since we moved, but our work day is still our workday, and boredom and tedium of the same old thing still does happen, even in a place as awesome as Portugal.

I think the change of scenery lifted that fog of depression – and even better, my residence card came in the very next day! I look like a psychopath in my photo on the card, but hey, at least I have it. And I get to enjoy this lovely photo for the next 5 years:

No wonder it took so long to get my residence card. Would you want this lunatic in your country??

Anyway, sometimes it just takes something “normal” to yank you out of your own head. If you’re feeling stuck, change things up a bit. Go to the damn mall, or whatever gets that done for you.

Até breve,
Alison (aka “snipe”)

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