To be honest, I’d been waiting for and a little worried about the let down I’d been told was an inevitable part of moving abroad, the point at which the novelty wears off and reality sets in. When there was no let down, I wondered what was wrong with me. Where was second-guessing? The culture shock? Even my doctor in the U.S., an expat himself, had gently warned me to be prepared.

But it didn’t come and didn’t come. I have been here the better part of a year. A couple of things went haywire in this apartment, quirks I just have to live with revealed themselves. And still, no regrets. The winter holidays came and went, and, yes, I missed seeing friends and family in person, but I got through. The winter rains came, some torrential, keeping me inside many days. I was still okay. There is very little central heat anywhere here, and nights were sometimes in the forties. Still, nothing. I ran into some confusion with the medical community during my concussion recovery. And still no.

I’d expected to travel a great deal here, to hop on planes to suddenly-close places, London, Amsterdam, Florence. But I never wake up restless, I never wake up with the urge.

There’s definitely something wrong with me. I’m hardhearted. Out of touch. In denial.

But, no. That’s not the case.

During conversations with visitors considering a move to Portugal or elsewhere in Europe, their questions sometime center on what place will embrace them, what place will make them feel at home. In conversations with those already here who are not adjusting, and even seem bored, the novelty has clearly vanished. What’s the difference?

I think I know.

I didn’t come here for adventure. I didn’t come here to find myself. I came here to be myself. I didn’t need Coimbra to be anything other than Coimbra.

 

Many thanks to Linda and Vince B for the photos. June is a very busy month here, with fairs and festivals nearly every day. I’ve gathered some of their photos and mine for a separate all picture post. Enjoy!