A year today I moved into my Portuguese home

In the year since I moved into my Portuguese home, I have found a whole new level of joy. I have made new friends and learned to love the simple life.

July 15, 2019 was the day when my shipment of household goods was delivered to the Central Portuguese house I had just purchased.

The newly restored old stone cottage in Central Portugal which I bought in 2019. The stone structure in the foreground is an “eira” or threshing circle

It was the culmination of years of wishful thinking and careful planning. I left Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I had lived for 21 years, in late April. Before I headed to Europe, I spent two weeks with my son Patrick and daughter-in-law in California. He is an army captain at Fort Irwin, and I was able to attend the ceremony where he took command of a company.

Research pays off

I arrived in Lisbon in early May, 2019. The previous summer I had spent two months in Portugal researching the practicalities of moving there. I made some valuable contacts who offered me a place to stay while looking for a place to rent or buy. I had a deadline of 10 weeks before the shipment would be delivered.

My first search was near the Alentejo coast south of Lisbon. Finding that too expensive, I switched to the area around Tomar, in Central Portugal. That’s where I found the newly renovated stone cottage in a small village that is now my home.

What I’ve achieved

In the 15 months since I’ve lived in Portugal I have: obtained a residency permit, bought an old car, bought a house, made many new friends, explored the country, picked grapes, picked olives, endured the rain, planted a garden, acquired a dog, became a grandmother, lived through the Covid shutdown and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Here is a photo montage highlighting my adventures. I hope you enjoy it.


Author: Rosalie Rayburn

Rosalie Rayburn is an author, blogger, world traveler and avid cyclist. She moved to Portugal from the US in 2019 and writes a blog about how to make your retirement dream in Portugal come true.

2 thoughts on “A year today I moved into my Portuguese home”

  1. Hi Rosalie,
    I loved reading the first piece in the RednGreen blog, which my friend Steve Sinovic introduced me to.
    Steve and I were colleagues at the Santa Barbara News-Press, where he was the business writer and I designed the business pages. So I got to work with him closely, and when I left the paper 11 years ago, we remained in touch.

    He told me about you because I mentioned that I was considering becoming an ex-pat, either in Costa Rica or Portugal. And that’s when he told me about your adventures and moving to Portugal.

    I’ve just moved into a new place, so I’m obligated to a year’s lease, but I’m hoping that by 2021, it will be safe enough to move overseas. First, I’m very Europe-centric. I lived in Madrid for a year and a half and also lived 3 months in Paris and 4 months in London.

    I’m a writer, and I’m looking to buy a place (well, rent for awhile before I buy) so I can finish writing the two or three books I have in my head. I published my first book 3 years ago, a memoir, and even though I didn’t make any money, I had great joy in being published (Home At Last by DeWitt Smith, on amazon) and doing a small book tour in the Northeast.

    Anyway, I’m signing up for your blog, and I’d love to be in contact with you about your adjustment and trials about being settled overseas. Do you speak Portuguese? Are you studying it? How’s the expat community?

    Thanks for being a role model!
    Most sincerely,

    1. Hi DeWitt,
      Steve has mentioned you to me in the past. I would be happy to talk about my experiences in moving to Portugal. My personal email is rayburnrosalie@gmail.com
      I am learning Portuguese. I use it in the shops all the time, but still have a long way to go to get really conversational. There are a lot of British expats in my area and several other areas around Portugal. Many of the younger Portuguese speak good English and often intervene if I am struggling to explain myself. However, it has always been my goal to speak the language of the country where I live.
      Please feel free to email me.

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