Portugal: A Year Later (and some other stuff)

Life is all about making choices that you’re not entirely sure will pay off or not. I’ve made plenty of life decisions that seemed like a good decision at the time, but in hindsight, they turned out to be big mistakes. Recently I have been thinking about a decision I made last year and I figured that as today is the anniversary of it, I might as well talk about it. Yep, today marks a year since I moved to Portugal.

So first of all, a song…..

She has a great voice.

Anyway, I will say that I only lasted six months in Portugal before I moved back, but I have been thinking a lot about my time there in recent weeks and part of me does actually regret leaving, but I think that might just be because the plans that I had when I did go never came through. The job I left for fell through, I got offered another job straight after that but got told that there was a recruitment freeze, and I haven’t heard from them since the beginning of January, even though they have advertised more jobs on LinkedIn. I got offered a role at a telecoms company just outside of Manchester, but again, waiting on a start date (which obviously won’t come until after the lockdown has ended), and now Camp America fell through (more on that in a bit).

All of that got me thinking about my time in Portugal and I kind of miss the place and people, not where I worked. My employers, who I won’t name for legal reasons, can fuck right off, but I made some good friends there that I hope to have throughout my life. After initially saying I would never dream of going back, my feelings on that matter have changed and I am thinking of going back for a few days after lockdown. There are a few people that I miss and I realised when I left that despite being there six months, there was still so much of the city to explore I’d also love to go to another Sporting Lisbon game, maybe even a second Benfica one if the mood struck me.

Me about six days after arriving in Lisbon. It took about fifteen attempts to get this photo anywhere near reasonable

I’ve also been thinking about some of the negative aspects as well. I had a few issues whilst I was there when I confronted my past by writing a book (that I have now given up on). It caused me to act differently than I normally would, but then again, the way some people acted whilst I was there was beyond ridiculous and didn’t help. Nor did how my employers treated their staff. For example, I made it clear that I wanted to progress, maybe a little too forceable, but I think this worked against me because at one point I was told in a weekly coaching session that my quality scores weren’t good enough. That month I averaged 99.2%, with only one person (out of 25) scoring higher than me. For reference, the target was 90%. I’m not saying that I was the only one who wanted to progress and there were many others that were capable too, but it would have been nice to at least feel like I had a choice at some point.

I told my manager at the time that I had had transphobic comments made about me from some of my colleagues, she didn’t give a fuck. They kept messing around with our pay, often paying us late and giving us incorrect amounts, and were so slow to respond to issues that by the time they did eventually get to you, the time you needed to know an answer by had come and gone.

To sum up the company even more, a year ago today there were 19 of us that started there, only two (to the best of my knowledge) of the group are still there. Other than one person that got sacked, everyone else quit. No company should lose 89.5% (rounded) of a training group that large within twelve months.

I’ve realised a few months ago that I enjoyed living in Portugal, but my experiences in work, both with the company and some of my colleagues, diluted my opinions of the entire city, so I’d like to give it another chance at some point, not to live of course, but certainly to visit.

Me and one of the first friends I made whilst in Portugal, and one of the few people that I still talk to

I think I have definitely grown as a person in that year, and I don’t just mean in terms of weight, and that neatly leads me onto the lockdown. We’ve been on lockdown for around what, four/five weeks now? I genuinely don’t know. I’m struggling to remember what day it is half of the time because there is nothing separating any of the days. The problem came with me not changing my diet, so I was still eating the same amount of calories as when I was taking hour-long walks to and from work, as well as all the movements I did there, so to consume the same amount, yet my exercise output plummeted. I put on a LOT of weight and now weigh the most I have in three years. I’ve changed my intake and exercise routine and it is now going back down again (I’ve lost seven pounds in just over a week), but a long way to go.

It was my hope to get the weight back down to, at most, 16 stone before I was due to go to America in June, but before the weekend I got confirmation that it had been cancelled because of the Covid-19 outbreak. I’m disappointed as it is the fourth time in fourteen months where I was supposed to be going to America and ended up not for a variety of reasons. Depending on what happens with the NHL, I might try and sneak the trip to New York back in if the Flames are still going to be playing there three times in four days like they were supposed to be in February.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it at the moment.

Peace out and stay safe 🙂

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