It was December 2007 when the decision was made. I had been working for Vodafone for a long time. I loved it there (most days), the job and the people. But it was not viable to stay. Not at Vodafone, not in Portugal.
Life was comfortable in Portugal. Big house, a dog, car, good food and nice weather. But the savings were being pinched every month. Sooner or later we would have to do something to stop living paycheck to paycheck. And the risk of draining our savings accounts until the last penny was a reality if we kept going like that.
This “good life” was only possible because we shared the rent and bills with my mum. She was living over 300 kilometers away but would visit and stay with us quite often. And obviously the house was not really ours. So no redecorating as we pleased or having people over when my mum was around.
It was our first year living together and we enjoyed it a lot. I am super grateful to my mum for allowing us to look after the house and our dog, Simba for a whole year. But you can only (or should only) depend on your parents financially for so long before you move on.
Portugal was going through this critical period (called crisis for many years) and jobs were scarce and not well paid at all. Renting our own place on our salary was almost impossible. The only solution we came up with was moving to another country. I never thought I would even consider it, but there I was, planning the whole thing.
On the last day of January 2008 I handed in my notice. That was it. No turning back.
In the meantime I had been sorting things out to make the biggest move of my life. Health check up, getting my first passport and buying a one way ticket to London.
Less than a week to fly to London I was busy having goodbye meals with family and friends.
Anxiety levels were high.
I had my boyfriend joining me on this crazy move but still, it was all rather scary. We had no job, no place to stay after the first week and one suitcase each to start a new life.
Expectations were high. After a friend had made the same move we were under the impression things would be relatively easy. We had no clue what we were getting ourselves into.