So here. I have some news. Nathalie and I are moving to Lisbon in Portugal, and soon. Real soon. Like, three short, packing-packed weeks away. This is happening quite quickly and I’m not getting to see nearly enough people before I go, so I figured I’d save us both (you and me) a bit of time and cover some of the Frequently Asked Questions below so that when I do see you, we’re able to get right into the good stuff.
Q Why are you moving to Lisbon?
A We had to move out of our house so our landlord and his family aren’t homeless and considering our options, long-term ambitions, rental market in this city and what the next six to nine months entail (periods of high-intensity, high-stress work), it made sense to live somewhere cheaper and sunnier, for a while at least. Nathalie has simulcast a nice post about it here.
Q You’re not leaving forever?
A Nope. We intend to come back to Ireland. I really like this country, and no matter where I am, this is my home, but we’re seizing this opportunity to widen our horizons, change our focus, and have an adventure.
Q Have you ever been to Lisbon?
A Yes. Once. And it was lovely!
Q Do you speak Portuguese?
A Why do people keep asking me that? Ah no, I get it. I don’t really speak it yet, but we’re both learning and we’ve found that, like many European cities, the Lisboan standard of English is excellent.
Q Youse getting jobs over there?
A Don’t worry! My wonderful employer is being *extremely cool* and is helping me get set up to work remotely. Nathalie is freelance and will continue to travel the world (including coming back to Dublin periodically) for shoots and meetings, while filing copy and working remotely from Lisbon. She’ll also be investing time and energy into some exciting projects.
Q Do you have somewhere to live yet?
A Wellllllll no…not yet. We’re looking at places and are hoping to get a modest apartment in the city when we’re there in December.
Q What are you going to do with your 🐈?
A Bring him, obvs. They have cats in Portugal, I assume.
Q So, when can we meet up? You owe me a hug / money / a lot of money / an apology (delete where appropriate)
A Delighted you asked! Nathalie and I’ll be back in Dublin over the Christmas break and will be having a going-away drinks do on New Year’s Eve and would love to see you there. This has been a chaotic few months and even with this primer, we have plenty to catch up on
Q I’m going to be in Lisbon in
X month(s), you up for meeting up?
A YES! Give us a shout, we’d love to share what we know about the city, show you some great places to eat and drink and have fun. I mean it, hit us up.
The Important Stuff
Q Have you ever lived anywhere hot before?
A I spent a few weeks in Cork once, but I guess that’s not what you mean, so no, I haven’t.
Q What are you most worried about?
A Two things. The first is how much I’m going to have to spend on sunscreen. My pale, translucent skin isn’t built for the sun. The second thing is how I’m going to play video games or sit in and program for fun on a beautiful sunny day. I worry that I’ll be aimlessly standing around outdoors slathered in SPF every day I have off out of a tragically misfiring Irish sense of obligation to “make the best of the weather”.
Q How’s the food?
A Amazing. Local specialties like pasteis de nata (transcendent custard tarts that have to be eaten fresh with a short cup of coffee to be believed), bolinhos de bacalhau (salt cod fried in seasoned potato) are a continuous delight. Drinkswise? The wine is good, the port is good, the beer is good and the coffee is good. It’s all really good.
Q Here, what’s that game you’re making?
A I don’t know when I’ll be able to talk about it, but don’t worry, you’ll hear about it when I can because I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops. Hopefully soon!
Q I’m gonna miss you.
A That isn’t a question, but I’ll miss you too, but also, I won’t, because you’re going to come hang out in Lisbon some time, it’s sunny and cheap and nice and your ol’ pal Ben’ll be there. (I’ll also be back in Dublin from time to time and would love to do nice Dublin things with friends, like dinner and pints in nice pubs and strolling around this lovely city). If you’d like to be kept in the loop, and there’s no obligation here, drop your email in here.
P.S. Portraits by wonderful and talented Lisbon-based photographers The Barilles.