Return to US, long trip and big culture shock

The Walmart sign has become pretty much synonymous with shopping in most US towns and cities.

I’ve been back in the US for a couple of weeks on my annual visit to my son and grandchildren. I have been living in Portugal for nearly four years now and have made the trip several times. The first time was in January 2020, just before the arrival of Covid.

The pandemic soon changed the world as we knew it. Restrictions introduced in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus made international travel impossible for many. I was only able to visit the US and return to Portugal in late 2020 because I had already obtained my Portuguese residency permit. Covid traveling rules also added to the already high cost of an international trip. I had to show a negative result on a Covid PCR test to be allowed on the flights. The test cost about 100 Euros in Portugal for the outward journey and $175 in the US for my return trip.

Even though it’s now easier, it’s still a long trip. The best connections I’ve been able to book meant a 17 hour journey. When my son lived in California it took 26 hours!

Mind boggling!

The sheer size of an ordinary Walmart store and the mind boggling array of choices for every kind of item is overwhelming after living in my small rural community in Portugal.

Coming back to the US has become a culture shock. The size of the vehicles, the size of the meals and the size of the people is, at first, mind boggling!

Other aspects of life here make my eyes pop too. My son is currently living in Kentucky, a solidly conservative state. There are flags and churches everywhere. The camo-bedecked, a genial grizzled old army veteran, proudly told me about his warm relationship with guns. I smiled and said nothing.

Kentucky is proudly celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, news anchors are beginning to talk about what hats to wear for Derby Day (May 3), and the stock market is on a roller coaster ride thanks to another banking scandal. Shades of 2008?

Follow my blog to read more about the real experience of daily life in Portugal. Lots of useful hints and tips if you’re thinking of relocating.


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