Category: Europe


COVID Life in Portugal

Last night I got to do what so many of my American friends cannot, and it’s unclear when they will be able to again: I sat in a large theater and listened to an orchestra. The theatre reminded me of a sparse lecture hall because people were so spread out. Everyone wore masks, including those in the orchestra not playing brass or wind instruments, … Read More COVID Life in Portugal

+ Wear a Damn Mask

Health and Language Barriers during COVID

On a gloomy August morning, I walked to a public Portuguese clinic armed with my EU residency card, a screenshot of Portuguese Immigration saying my expired card had been temporarily extended, and a letter from Finanças (the Portuguese IRS) confirming my third address change in one year. My purse held prescriptions for several different antibiotics. I was headed to the clinic to get a public … Read More Health and Language Barriers during COVID

+ Aliados

Shakespeare Wrote King Lear During the Plague: Quarantined in Portugal

When the Western world started to slowly work its way into mandatory quarantine, I saw this meme posted on Facebook: “Shakespeare wrote King Lear while he was quarantined for the plague.” My email inbox filled with essays about how to channel your quarantine boredom into a creative output. The BBC published an article about how extreme boredom sparks creativity. Neil Gaiman was quoted as … Read More Shakespeare Wrote King Lear During the Plague: Quarantined in Portugal


Dating in Bangkok and Portugal: From Salsa to Guacamole

When friends back in Asia ask me what the dating scene is like in Portugal, I don’t know what to say. Fine? Active? Normal? It’s not that I don’t see a difference between dates in Bangkok and dates in Porto–I definitely do. It’s more that I didn’t know how to describe it. Then a friend posted this to Instagram: For months I couldn’t get this … Read More Dating in Bangkok and Portugal: From Salsa to Guacamole


Traveling to Embrace Loss

When people asked why I was going to Germany for five days in late November, I had a few standard replies: I’m going to see where I used to live; I just want to go to a country where I speak the language; cheap tickets. I only told a select few the truth: I was going to find my dead father. Three years ago, during … Read More Traveling to Embrace Loss


The Most Portuguese Town in Portugal

I didn’t have a lot of expectations when I drove up the winding road leading to Monsanto. I passed two of the town’s famed giant boulders at a narrow turn and I could see the beginnings of the beige stone walls that I associate with quaint, European towns. My GPS had stopped working an hour ago and the blue triangle that was supposed to … Read More The Most Portuguese Town in Portugal


A Tale of Two Boxes: Don’t Ship to Portugal

Before I moved to Porto I looked up the logistics of shipping my goods from Thailand to Portugal. Reviews and blog posts screamed: DON’T DO IT. My packages were held up in customs for months, one man said. I had to pay extra tax, despite already paying tax when I bought the item, another blog stated. It was abundantly clear: carry everything on the … Read More A Tale of Two Boxes: Don’t Ship to Portugal


Leaving Bangkok: Thank You, Next

Last week I moved from Bangkok, Thailand to Porto, Portugal. This marks the 19th move of my life, a number which includes moving state-to-state, country-to-country, and just from one neighbourhood to the next (I only did that once; every other time I’ve at least moved out of state). Each move is relatively the same: right before I leave a place I suddenly look at … Read More Leaving Bangkok: Thank You, Next