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Alexa, Lisbon

Who are you?

I am Alexa, a 43-year-old single mother, copywriter and blogger.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

Actually there a few answers here!20 years ago, I moved to Montreal. The experience was amazing, and lasted for 3 wonderful years.

16 years ago, I moved to Rotterdam (NL), for a year. It was a very rich experience as well – I even learned Dutch (how exotic!)

And… almost a month ago, I moved my 12-year-old daughter and our 2 cats to Lisbon, Portugal – so far, it’s a fabulous experience!

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What challenges did you face during the move?

Being a single mother, everything is challenging! The cost, obviously – I was not brought here by a corporation offering a package; the language that we’re discovering, the administration (but we’re French, so very trained in that I guess!), and of course making new friends and building a social life (although we’re easy networkers, shouldn’t be a problem).

How did you find somewhere to live?

Magic of the internet, and a bit of energy!! Also setting criteria, and being thourough in the process is key to succeeding fast in a tense market like Lisbon.

Are there many other expats in your area?

Apparently yes! Lisbon seems to be THE city and Portugal THE country. We’re not far from the French Highschool, so loads of French people around.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

Up to now, it’s very swell. They’re being very friendly and helpful – we actually have to struggle to try our (very poor) Portuguese skills 🙂

What do you like about life where you are?

Oh my … do you have a few hours? 😉

The light is a wonder. The sunset on the river, the sunrise on the river, the beaches at a 20-minute ride, the cheeses – can’t get enough of those, the prices are so decent (wasn’t used to that anymore), the azuleijos everywhere, the energy gets you on the right track, the calm and absolute absence of stress – people are taking time for things and it’s so refreshing… I could go on for hours.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Welllllll… nothing really 🙂

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

People aren’t shouting and honking. What a delight.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

CHEEEEEEESE is awesome. Pasteis de nata of course. Espressos that taste like espressos. Wine is decent and cheap – the French in me loves it!!!

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Follow your intuition. Embrace the experience. Plan reasonably, but don’t overdo it. Know that if you left your judgement back home, people will be helpful!

What are your plans for the future?

Discover, embrace, be happy! And help single moms try the expat life as well – no, it’s not impossible, it’s just more challenging!

You can keep up to date with Alexa's adventures on her blog, Mom Everywhere (in French).

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