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Paul Edward Garcia, Vila do Conde, Portugal

Who are you?

My name is Paul Edward Garcia (aka, Pauly G… Pauly G’s World)

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. I worked as a paralegal in many of the most prominent law firms in Las Vegas. I got tired. Then one day I saw a photo of Carvoeiro, Portugal … then I stole a book about Portugal from the library and bought a ticket to leave and I left. The day was February 23rd, 2018 … It’s funny, because it’s the same day as my ex-wife’s birthday. I did not leave because of her birthday, but I left because the price of the ticket on that day was lower.

What challenges did you face during the move?

I am a vagabond. I came here with only two bags and a guitar. My first stop was in Carvoeiro.   The airline lost my bags… probably because they were inspecting the computer hard drives that I brought with me. No worries. I had an apartment I rented for a few months then I moved on. I have traveled all over Portugal. I know Portugal better than some of the Portuguese that live here. I traveled from the south to the center to the north and from the west to the east. I can tell stories about all the places I have seen in Portugal. I liked Bragança but I live and love where I live now, Vila do Conde.

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Did you need to obtain a visa, residency permit or work permit? What was the process like?

The process is challenging. I did things backwards. But I live here. I have residency which was easy to get because I married a Portuguese woman… and I did not marry for residency… we met and fell in love. I have a work permit which was actually easy to get. I am living on my passport from the USA but I do not have worries. 

How does the cost of living compare with your previous country.

Living here in Portugal is amazing. The cost of living is good. I live in a condo near the ocean. I can walk to the beach in 2 minutes. The cost of the house is only 1000 euros. Food for the week costs 77 euros. Beer costs 1 euro and wine costs 2 euros… unless you want to go crazy and spend more money than necessary.

Is it easy to open and use an account with a local bank?

Yes. Well, I am lucky because my wife actually works at the bank. But it is easy. The banks are good here.

How did you find somewhere to live? 

Like I said, I am a vagabond. I wandered around the country and then I was lucky enough to meet the most beautiful woman in the world. She is amazing. She is my Angel. She was in the process of a divorce when we met and we first found an apartment in the center of the city. When my father moved here, we found another condo and now live near the ocean. 

Are there many other expats in your area?

Yes.  But I would prefer if they learnt more Portuguese because we live in Portugal. It is the same argument that Americans make. If you move to the US, you have to learn English … well, think about it …

What is your relationship like with the locals?

I get along well with the locals because I am learning to speak Portuguese and I participate and join activities happening in my city. In fact, I am going to participate in a city performance in a few weeks.

What do you like about life where you are?

The people. The culture. The food. The ocean. The wind. The sun. The smell of fish from the sea.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

What I dislike is dealing with bullshit in the U.S. Everything is a problem. Don’t get me started on the 2024 elections that my state messed up.

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

I travelled back to the states a few months ago and I felt lost. I do not fit in the U.S. anymore. The cost of living is too much in the states. I didn’t have much money but I used it all just to buy water which cost too much.

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

Trust life. God will provide.

What are your plans for the future?

Live and write my books:

  • Pauly G’s World (Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness)
  • Pauly G’s Poetry & Writings: Raw from the Heart and Silly from the Tongue
  • TM
  • Pauly G’s World.

Oh, Go KC Chiefs!!!