I’ve got keys. Oh my goodness. I’ve got keys to a property in Portugal. I’ve got to pinch myself as all of a sudden, it’s getting very real, very quickly.
There have been some huge steps forward over the last couple of weeks. Personally, professionally and Portugally. I know, it’s not a real word but it didn’t sound right just Portugal.
Last weekend, the clocks sprung forward an hour. Only an hour. So why does it feel like I’ve lost the best part of a week? I’ve no idea. But I know that I’m even closer to my move to Portugal.
The last couple of weeks feels like the fast forward button has been pressed and need to just bring it back to normal speed. Or at least a speed that doesn’t feel like time is whizzing by. Let me just acknowledge that it has been a fortnight since my last blog. It’s been busy and I simply don’t know where the time has gone.
Last Friday I visited my sister and her children. It was super to catch up with them and offload some items I am not taking to Portugal.
On Saturday, I watched Bath v Sale at The Rec with my brother and two of my nephews. Two siblings are Bath fans, and my nephews are Sale fans, so I guess a draw prevented any hard feelings on either side.
Sunday 27 March was Mother’s Day. I spent the day with mum and all my siblings, nieces and nephews. We had a great time and it was so good to meet up with everyone.
It’s been too long since we’ve all been together as a family but, like most families, the pandemic and individual commitments have made it incredibly difficult. Living in another country will just add another level of complexity.
Maybe the next family gathering is in Portugal. Let’s hope there will be enough room for everyone.
At times I think I’ve managed to segment my life pretty well. I’ve managed to keep work and home life separate. I hold my hands up that my work-life balance has been far from balanced at times. I have rarely talked about work at home. Neither the good nor the bad. On reflection, it’s probably because my first jobs were in retail and when you pull the shutters down, that is how it stays in until the following day.
For me, lockdown and working from home haven’t changed much. When I’m “at work”, I am 100% “at work”. There are few distractions. No popping the washing machine on or watering the plants. I’m sat in front of a screen for the best part of eight hours non-stop. I know, not healthy.
This week I have officially resigned. The countdown has commenced. While my colleagues have known my intentions for quite some time, it is now all confirmed. It feels like the right time for both me and the organisation I work for. At times I think I’ve outstayed my welcome, and maybe not been as productive or positive recently. But it’s been fun, I’ve worked hard and we’ve got results. We’ve made progress and I’ll be watching their future successes from afar.
When I’m working, I want to work at the fastest pace I can. Running a marathon at a sprint. Really pushing the boundaries and I adopt the “do it today” mentality. I blame retail (again). You don’t sell empty shelves and there is no point putting Christmas stock out on Boxing Day. Appreciate that my approach isn’t always conducive or inclusive. But I’m the first to put my hand up when I screw up!
There is a lot of change at work, and there is a lot of change at home. A gentle reminder this week, courtesy of Bain & Company, made me reflect on the adventure I’m on. And that cutting ties to the present, and the past, is tough.
Imagine that each of us is tied to the present with a thick rubber band. It’s easy to start the journey when the band is slack. Seduced by the optimistic, exciting stories of the future we begin.
As we realise that the future requires hard work and tough decisions, the rubber band gets tighter. Suddenly it snaps us back.
We’re all creatures of habit. We’re wedded to today. But it’s no fun to stay absolultely where we are.Bain & Company
This explanation resonated with me when I say it more than a year ago. Initially from a work perspective. As I’ve progressed through my adventure and move to Portugal, this image has come to the forefront of my mind on many occasions.
But I’ve powered through the tough decisions, focused on resolving the challenges and committed to the work involved to make the change I desire. And the last couple of weeks have tested it but reinforced my intention and strengthened my determination to progress.
Following my September scouting visit I was negotiating on a property. It’s not been seamless, but the hiccups were no worse than I expect when buying a property. Progress was slow. It’s been a waiting game. Small step. Long wait. Small step. Huge wait.
My second scouting visit was forced due to the lack of progress on this property. In the six weeks from booking my flight tickets to arriving in Portugal, there had been no progress. Then everything happened within about six hours of landing in Portugal.
However, despite revisiting the property twice and in the knowledge that the property, land and location would work for me, I withdrew my offer. There was a niggle. I don’t know what, but that niggle wouldn’t go away. And it felt that the rubber band had just snapped me back.
I was in Portugal and had four days of property viewings lined up. I viewed some great properties. And some are not so great.
But I was drawn to one property. The house was in good condition. It needed some work but definitely within my ability. The land was excellent with lots of options. I’d moved in. I just knew that this would work for me.
My offer wasn’t accepted, and frustratingly I wasn’t given an option to negotiate further, but the couple who are buying the house will love it and I wish them the very best. If their mortgage application isn’t successful, the seller knows I’m interested, my lawyer is poised, and the cash is ready to be transferred.
My attention then turned to securing a rental property. And, within 24 hours, I had the keys to a newly refurbished two bedroomed house. I’m the first tenant. It’s a great property and, with a year-long lease, is enough to enable me to apply for my D7 Visa. Like all good rental properties in Portugal, you must move fast. Fortunately, I understand that a couple delayed their viewing by an hour or two which meant it was mine.
I saw the property from the outside but only saw the inside in pictures. But it’s brand new. The location works for me. I couldn’t go wrong. Deposit paid. Lease signed. Utilities transferred. I put the key in the door and looked around. Locked the door and drove straight to the airport.
Since returning to the UK, I have now progressed with my D7 Visa application. The lease was the only requirement that is outside my control so I’m pleased I’ve resolved that. As I’m writing, my ACRO certificate has been received (and confirmed I don’t have a criminal record).
The final item on the list is my health insurance so I will get that all completed so my application can be submitted straight after Easter.
I’m chuffed I’ve got this far. I’ve kept focused and made the tough decisions. The rubber band has got tighter, but I’ve kept going. My determination has ensured it hasn’t snapped me back.
The next step is to apply for my D7 Visa.
As always, if you got this far, thank you. Muito obrigado.
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Thank you. Muitio obrigado, Marc