Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The fear of disappointment

For anyone who has been in my situation, of joblessness knows the hardship of looking for work and the ups and downs that can bring.  Through it all I have generally remained hopeful, apart from my odd sleepless night and down day.  This period has been very tough on all of us, I think (and hope) we have managed to shield our children fairly well and they have been less affected but they still have been living with less than most of the friends.  But of course, there are others worse off than us. We have been lucky to have some important support from a couple of people.

But the thing that was the hardest for me was the let downs, which every time got worse.  The job interviews or contacts who gave a positive response of possible job confirmation or offers to then just vanish as if into thin air.  The getting your hopes up, allowing yourself to dream of a turn around in life, a new start, an improvement and more options, less stress, more happiness - only for that to be taken away.

Im not talking about a general job interview and you getting your hopes up but something which appeared more substantial. Its the worst feeling for me, but when you have someone giving you the impression or idea that they are really going to follow up, giving you the possibility of a big positive change in your life, only for that not to proceed is such a let down and something I had not experienced until this period in my life.  Of course, things have not turned my way at times but when in this situation, where someone gives you a 'light', a chance to get back on your feet and you believe them , only to be let down, worse each time.

I thought all this was behind me and positive changes ahead (which they are) but recently my husband was approached by someone he knew with an offer that could change our life for the foreseeable future, something of our dreams.  We knew it was probably too good to be true but you let yourself believe and dream, not seeing why or what benefit is to that person to fool you or lead you along.  But again, we were disappointed and let down, it made us take our eye off the path and look another way, build our hopes up and dream of a better way.  And that hurts.   

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Gallery: Sky

This week's theme on The Gallery is Sky.

Normally the skies are pretty clear here and this soft blue, not the deep blue that you get elsewhere but this quite perfect blue.  Obviously if the sun is shining on a calm sea it is like an amazing blinding light on a mirror that hurts your eyes. 

 But occasionally when we have some clouds, I guess with the heat they create these candy floss like shapes of whispiness!  

Come over and see some more skies at The Gallery

Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer successes

Our summer has been a bit drab or boring if you will.  We have not had a lot of activity mostly for financial reasons, of course there are things to do for free, but not everyday and even if they dont have an entrance fee, there is a cost to get there or expenses needed on the day!  So it has been a pretty quiet summer for us. We have the pool here in our complex, which luckily has not been too busy and the beach a few minutes drive away.  Also with everything going on we havent really had the mind to enjoy summer if you know what I mean.

But we have had some nice times, unfortunately not with so many photos this year as my camera is broken :-( which is a big shame as it looks to be our last here in Portugal.

We have had family visit and spent some time with them, we have had our local facarte which offers a few days of entertainment, visits with friends, days on the beach etc.

But we have had two significant successes this summer with both my children.  Sophie who is 6 and a half years old, despite having lived with a pool accessible every day has always been a bit scared of the water and not confident at all.  When we first arrived and she was 2 and a half, no matter how hot it got, she would not get in the pool for more than 10 minutes!  She has gotten a little better over time, having taken to a ring and quite happily splashing about, occasionally putting her face into the water, but wouldnt put her head back, no jumping, lifting nothing, she hated it and would cry.  But in the last month or so, a BIG change has occurred  as if overnight, she got confident.  Suddenly she wanted to jump and start to learn to swim so holding her, we helped but that only lasts so long.  So we bought her some armbands (she would never wear them before, I think because of feeling of lack of all round support) and off she went.  Now she goes underwater, jumps into the pool and all, its amazing and if over night and she loves the water.

Our second big success is my younger daughter, who has turned 3 at the beginning of the month. With both my children I have purposely left potty training to the nearer side of three, giving them as much time before training them.  So when Grace was about 2 and 8 months or so, (about the same time as Sophie) I decided to start trying.  I had tried a few months before but she clearly was not ready.  So we started and tried for a few days, she was excited to wear knickers, and mess about with the toilet but nothing happened.  On and off we tried but were clearly getting nowhere.  She would sit on the toilet do nothing and then within minutes pee on the floor or hold it for hours, until I put a nappy back on and then fill it within 30 minutes, very frustrating!  We put here in pull up pants and at nursery she would follow her friends who were also training, eventually after a few weeks she started going in nursery but still nothing at home.  Then last week, it suddenly clicked.  We put her in knickers for some time every day, in the hope of success but also due to the heat but suddenly she said she needed to make pee pee, so we put her on the toilet like I had done a hundred times before but this time it worked, I was so happy!  And as I cheered her on, she laughed, a good sign.  Not wanting to get too cocky and hail success, I cautiously waited, but she did it again and again.  Now we have had about 5 days and all seems to have fallen into place, as if overnight.  I knew she would get it but had no idea how long it would take and worried with her starting pre-school where she would need to be potty trained within a month!

So despite a quiet and little bored summer for the kids (if not the parents, too stressed to relax) we have had two big successes!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Moving Stories by Vegemitevix

Vegemitevix has kindly added me to her Moving Stories collection - a collection of stories about real expats from all over the world and their experiences.  She has gathered the stories from 4 different expats to give their 'version' of expat life, the good, the bad, the sad!  They are very interesting to see all the different experiences people have when they become expats in different places.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not!

I have added my story, which is now sadly coming to an end, but would love for you to come and have a read and some of the others of course.

Moving stories: When an Expat life comes to an end

She will also be making the stories into an ebook very soon.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The sadness of leaving

So now we are in the preparation mode to leave Portugal and return to England where I have a new job to go to.  As anyone know has done this or anything similar the conflicting emotions you go through are terrible.  The rational mind fights with the irrational and although we have had a really rough time, hardest time of my life, I still dont want to go and somehow wish things could be different, even though we have done everything we can and the horizon here is grey.

We are leaving the sunny skies of the Algarve for the grey skies of the UK, in the hope of smoother sailing and more choices.  I know things will not be easy but it cannot be the storm we have here.

This last fortnight we have had my husbands family, all of them, he has 3 sisters, to parents and various nieces and nephews here in the Algarve.  Not staying with us, but we have spent some days with them.  Most of them live in or around Lisbon and one sister in Macau so these days they dont have much chance to be all together in an environment like this.  Yesterday was the last time we will see them for 'who knows' how long or when they will all be together again and that has made me sad.

And so now my emotional rollercoaster starts again.  When we made the decision to go, we were filled with conflicting thoughts and questions, then it settled down and we set our minds, determined to go, setting our rational mind over the emotional.  And then suddenly wham you are back on that rollercoaster, doubting your decision and trying to find another way.

I keep trying to think of how I felt when we left to come here and although apprehensive, it was exciting and full of promise but somehow with the move back, I dont feel the same way.  Maybe its because of the hard time we have had and the stigma that has left.  Im not sure but I know I need to get my head moving forward.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

That time of year

It is that time of year when we have our Facarte in our little village of Conceicao, near Tavira.  It is one of my favourite times of year as the place comes alive with people and movement.  It is busy and the atmosphere changes.  Our little village, as much as I like it, can be a little quiet and samey, but at this time it becomes something else.  And to have such a large event for such a small place is great for all I think.

This year I worried that it would be smaller with people cutting their costs but it is just as big, if not maybe bigger than last year!  There are some eighty stalls and they are better than last year with nicer and more interesting things.  If I had some money I would be spending it.

It brings in a huge increase of business for the restaurants and bars, which is great and a terrific boost to most of them, who spend most of the year just hanging on.

We went over last night and there was no shortage of people coming through, and even better to see people together and happy.  As so often lately here people are fed up and complaining and the news is always bad, there are less smiles and people look stressed more than ever, but this weekend makes people smile!  that is always a good thing.