April 9, 2014, by Guest blog

…it makes a change from life in the UK and it’s welcomed!

Post written by Tara Odeinde.

Well it’s nearing the end of my fourth week in Lisbon, Portugal and so far I am really enjoying it here, although the second part of my year abroad is already going too quickly considering I’m only here for 3 months! It has definitely been easier to adapt to life here than it was in Spain due to several factors. There are obvious similarities between the Iberian cousins, and having lived in Spain for 6 months I was expecting some things to remain the same across the border. For example, food habits, it still appears as though people here eat their biggest meal of the day at lunch time, but unlike the Spanish the world doesn’t stop for a 3 hour ‘siesta’ and more or less everything is still open, and life continues, great! Another connection would be the pace of life, again the word relaxed comes to mind in terms of paying rent, arriving/leaving at certain times and general attitudes. Again it makes a change from life in the UK and it is welcomed for this temporary period before life becomes very hectic again in final year….

With regards to the language, there is an obvious connection between Portuguese and Spanish considering it is derived from Galician. However that doesn’t stop it sounding like Russian when spoken by a local… Gratefully, my Spanish improved vastly when in Madrid so I can thankfully lean on that whilst attempting to speak Portuguese, most of the time when I don’t know a word I’ll revert to Spanish and hope for the best (about 60% success rate). So far I have been very jealous by the fact that the Spanish and Portuguese/Brazilian can speak to each other in their own tongues and have proper conversations, so unfair! At work I am again translating, and I am finding it far less of a nuisance after 6 months of experience in Spain. It is far easier now to interpret the gist of the sentence/paragraph and then construct the translation in a way that I think sounds good (hopefully this is a suitable method!), again grammatical structures are relatively similar in Portuguese as they are in Spanish, making my reading and interpreting skills a lot more efficient.

Although I seem to have made friends with mostly Spaniards, the Portuguese are absolutely lovely. A stereotype of Portuguese women (which was unknown to me before arriving) was that they can come across quite unfriendly and reserved (sound familiar?), however from what I have encountered is that they are open, generous and very helpful and of course very impressed when I attempt to speak their language. This has undoubtedly made settling in here extremely easy! Men are however, as anticipated more…ahem…direct. Well, you can’t have it all I guess!

Posted in Making connections