When ‘living the dream’ goes pear-shaped

Pear-shaped is exactly how it feels, some days.  A sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  A sadness that won’t be pushed away.  No matter how many times I might repeat ‘get a grip!’  Get a grip!  It’s 18 months since we sold our UK home and renounced life in England, in pursuit of ‘the dream‘.  And yes, we found it.  A world of sunlight and smiling faces.  But often now, I wonder, at what cost?

Of course, we discussed the ‘what ifs’ before we made the move.  What if we’re seriously ill over there, or worse, the youngsters are?  Easily dismissed!  Portugal has a health care system.  Flights are cheap and easy.  Stop right there.  You can see the flaw in the argument now, can’t you?  Why didn’t we?  Hindsight, such a wonderful thing.  It does no good to say, as both children have, ‘but you’re safer there’.  It may well be true.  There is far less density of population here, and steps were taken in good time to help prevent the spread of infection.  But I didn’t come here for safety.  Far from it!  And I definitely didn’t come here to isolate myself from my family.  The dream included happy times shared with them, in this lovely place.  Was I greedy?  Wanting too much?  You can’t have it all, never was truer.

The clock ticks on and there is no real comfort in sight.  Flights can be, have been, booked, but there is no certainty that they will operate.  And what of the quarantine measures that may be applied?  Which employer is going to say ‘go, have a good time, and take an extra 2 weeks when you come back to self isolate’?  If there is still a job available.

The pragmatic view.  All things must pass?  But in the meantime I feel like I have betrayed my children.  Deliberately distanced myself when help, both physical and emotional, might be needed.  Hoodwinked, both them and me.  Overreacting?  Maybe so, but that expression ‘a heavy heart’- I know just how it feels.  Gradually things are starting to normalise here, and I can’t deny spontaneous joy at walking on beaches again, and meeting with friends.  But the future feels precarious, in a way it never did, ‘before’.


  1. Gosh, I could have written this blog Jo. I have longed to live abroad ever since I was a teen and we finally left the UK in November 2018, leaving behind two daughters in their early thirties, one in her twenties and two secondary school age grand-daughters … no-one could say we abandoned dependent children. Now, like you, I just long for ‘home’ and not knowing when I will see my lovely girls in person again breaks my heart. My end-of-March trip was necessarily postponed (to June, now also rescheduled). My middle daughter’s wedding in August now looks unlikely to happen and even if they are able to go ahead with the register office ceremony many of the guests (probably including us) won’t be there. I dreamt of big family get-togethers in the sun (and back home). Now, like you, I frequently ask myself if I was selfish for wanting it all. We are not alone.


    1. I have a 30 year old son, living with his lady in Leeds City Centre. Her adorable youngster is 7 and they are desperate to get on the housing ladder as rent is crazy high. A wedding is planned but gets further down the agenda all the time. My practical, awful husband is urging them to go to the registrar now and save all the expense. 🤣 My main concern is that he still have a job when this is over. My daughter will be 50 next February and was hoping for birthday and wedding anniversary in Venice, where they honeymooned 5 years ago. She is a Commissioner with Nottingham City Council and under lots of stress. Who can plan, any more? 🙄💕💕


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