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Emma, Central Portugal

Emma from Australia here. After 20 years in the film industry in Sydney I had had enough of 80-hour working weeks and wanted to get a life. I had planned to be travelling for a few years but I fell in love with Portugal as soon as I arrived. When I saw charming ruins for sale at my kind of price, I decided to buy here.

The visa process for a non-EU citizen was an epic challenge and I couldn’t live in Portugal while I waited for my residency to be approved. At the same time, my house-buying process was also an ordeal, as the house is old and the paperwork way out of date. So between Portuguese lessons, I battled the embassy, the vendor’s lawyer and the architect working on my project plans, via email and phone from Berlin. After 9 months, with the help of my Portuguese teacher and the local Câmara, I had the deeds and visa in hand at last.In the final trial of relocating, my cat took a whole week to travel here from Oz. But in Jan 2008 we settled in, recovered from the dramas and started loving our tiny village life in Central Portugal.

Can you tell us something about your property?

The global financial crisis hunted me down and slaughtered my financial plans. Ouch. I’ve had to delay building/restoring my ruin until the market and exchange rate improve. So, I’m still living in a tiny, uninsulated old house which is falling apart around my ears. I never planned it this way, but at least the visitors find the rustic life an exotic novelty.

And I’ve had to try to live very cheaply. But being poor is a way of life in rural Portugal, and that helps to make the transition from modern-city-apartment-with-dishwasher, to outdoor-plumbing-and-cooking-over-a-fire, much easier. And it’s given the neighbours and I something else to bond over other than our physical aches and pains. “Chicken is €1.29 at Intermarche!” Downsizing feels good, and I am more responsible and kinder to planet earth these days. So long as there are fresh vegies in the garden and I have no office to go to every morning, I feel richer than ever.

What is your relationship like with the locals?


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The neighbours and I have had our battles (all over my naughty sheep-rounding-up dog) but they have been kind and generous and I am considered part of the family. We may not always understand each other, but my comprehension of toothless Portuguese improves every day. There are very few expats in my area, and almost no one speaks English in the shops, so learning Portuguese has been essential and very rewarding.

What do you like about life where you are?

I love the silence of the area where we live, and the uninterrupted views of trees. I love the routines of country life – harvests of vegetables, then grapes, olives and chestnuts and now oranges. I like the quirks of village living like the bread truck every morning and the fish truck on Wednesday. I love the weekend local markets, going to the same growers for whatever they have fresh from their gardens that week.

But – how bad are Portuguese drivers?! And no, I don’t need another plastic bag, thanks! And do you think it’s wise to smoke while nursing that baby?! Oh and, yes that’s right I can mix mortar. Wow. And change a tap washer. Golly.

But really I love the Portuguese, for their patience, their lack of pretentiousness and their pastries.

Visit Emma’s website at www.emmashouseinportugal.com for more information on life in Portugal


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In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.

Germany's Health Insurance Update:

Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.

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With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.

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Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.

Spain's New Health Advice App:

Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.

Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:

A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.

Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

YouTube Video UCB21b-C4O2aXm7H18_GsXMQ_nC_Fs6gU22U

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