Stymied—we’re not moving to Portugal after all
Hello my friends,
I have the careless arrogance of as US passport holder, having traveled to almost 50 countries and never having a problem with getting a visa. When we started planning this year in Portugal, I breezily told friends that the thing I was most worried about was the process of renting out our house. Applying for temporary residency in Portugal, I thought after looking at the application form, would be relatively straightforward.
Haha to me. The official Portuguese government website is bare-bones, and there is no entity whose job it is to answer questions about visas. After many late nights reading online threads about the visa process, I had to admit that getting the Portugal government’s blessing to live there would not be simple.
[If you are thinking of making a temporary move to Portugal and interested in the nitty-gritty of Portugal visas, here’s a little more on it. Everyone else can just jump to the next section:
There’s no visa yet that caters to the ‘digital nomad’ who would like to live in Portugal for up to a year. The temporary stay visas (or ‘E’ visas) that I had hoped would be our avenue to living in Portugal are given only under exceptional circumstances. The best option for those in our circumstances is the D7, but that is a longer-term residency visa and not actually suitable for a short stay. It requires, among other things, demonstrating a proper one-year lease (Airbnb-type bookings generally are not acceptable).
The D7 is a fantastic option if you are moving to Portugal for at least a year. Most Americans and Canadians who move to Portugal as retirees or remote workers come under this visa. I might write a post later on the D7 resources I’ve unearthed during weeks of research, if there’s interest—drop me a line or a comment if you’d like to read one.]
So we’re making a change in direction to our year-in-Europe plan. Instead of a whole school year in Portugal, we will be semi-nomadic. We want some stability so that we can work while we travel and Leila can attend schools; we will not constantly move.
So far this means a summer in Ontario, back at Red-tailed Hawk Forest School with its creek and meadow and forests. Leila and her friends will catch minnow and tadpoles while they wade in the creek. They’ll poke at wild mushrooms with sticks (never fingers! They learn about outdoor safety at forest school) and pick berries, flowers and leaves to make potions with. Someone will lose a rainboot in the water, and the kids will form a human chain to retrieve it, and they will be successful and tell their parents about it gleefully when they get picked up that afternoon.
They will ‘sit spot’ in the meadow every day—sitting quietly and contemplating nature—and they will tell their parents it is the most boring part of the day. Their parents will be glad they are being taught this valuable skill of being still with one’s thoughts.
It won’t all be idyllic: the biting bugs out there can be vicious. Last summer, our family bought bug suits when we went up to Algonquin Nation land to stay in a yurt. The yurt was fun, the bugs were not, and the suits were necessary. I will be bringing an entire gallon Ziploc bag of bug repellents and bug bite remedies with us on this trip, as well as a Thermacell patio shield.
And that’s the summer plan. It’ll be exciting to layer new memories upon our old ones from last year.
After Canada, we move on to Costa Rica and Tide Academy, a school we visited in 2019 and have since kept in mind as a potential learning opportunity for Beanie. TIDE has an international student body, and many students come from surfing families who visit Costa Rica during good surfing months. So they're used to students who come and go, and they even incorporate the curricula of students' other schools so they won't lag behind when they return home.
We met the head and assistant head of the school, who I believe make up a pretty large proportion of the staff there since the school is pretty small, and we liked their philosophy and enthusiasm. The school grounds are not fancy—they have a bit of a beach shack vibe—but I don’t think that matters so much to effective learning.
During Spring semester, the school has Surf Academy and the kids get to learn how to surf if they’re interested. We probably won’t be in Costa Rica by then; a pity, as now would be a good age for Beanie start.
We’ll come back to the Bay Area during the December holidays to visit family. Then back out into the world again, and some other learning hubs? More details to come as we nail them down.
Pretty Good Things:
I’m always looking for some good recommendations, so I’m hoping you will give me (and our community here) yours. I’ll start with some of mine here, and maybe we can make this a regular space for sharing.
Where do your clothing donations end up?
This is something I’ve wondered for a while, every time I sort my clothes to give to charity. Is this actually doing anyone any good, or is it just assuaging my guilt and creating work for the recipient charity? Is this ruffled blouse, size XS from when I was XS way back when, actually going to be sold in a charity shop or will it eventually be thrown in the trash?
A very funny game show that’s very funny, if you like that sort of thing
And for something a little more lighthearted:
I consume a lot of British media (especially comedy), so I’ll be leaning in that direction here. British friends may find some of these recommendations quite elementary, so forgive me if some of these are obvious, but over here in the US of A, we are all about the US of A, and not many British shows are widely known.
One of my favorites is Taskmaster, a game show where comedians compete to do absurd tasks. Come for the comedians doing pointless and ridiculous tasks, stay for the odd, endearing, and slightly disturbing relationship between Taskmaster Greg Davies and his jester (a.k.a., the producer and mastermind of Taskmaster) Little Alex Horne.
Many seasons are available for to watch for free on Youtube. Taskmaster has recently launched its own paid app, so if you get sucked in and want to consume the whole Taskmaster universe, there’s that.
This is another thing I’m always on the lookout for—good tips. ‘Pro tips,’ they’re called, but I’m not a pro at most things, so I can only give you non-pro tips.
My non-pro tip for today is:
Library online collections are fantastic. Did you know that in many states, as long as you’re a resident, you can join any county public library in that state?
So—if you are a California resident, you can join any California county library and have access to their digital offerings (you do have to go in person to verify your identity when you open the account, though).
I belong to four libraries, each with a different set of audiobooks and ebooks. I borrow a lot, through the Libby app, and I’m able to do it from anywhere in the world. If I could have seen this cornucopia of goodness when I was little, when I was bookworm who would read anything in the house just to have something to read…I would have fainted from pleasure. I mean, the world is sometimes awful these days, but the content is amazing.