If the question above was: “When did we know we want to leave Austria?” the answer would be “we always knew”. This might be important to note, because we always knew that this part of Europe was just not right for us. But this is a different story. That being said, it is obvious that it is easier to convince us of moving to a different place than people actually loving the place they live in.
It would be a lie to say we knew we would move to Madeira from the beginning. Of course, we loved this island from the beginning. I had no idea there was such a tropical and relaxed place in Europe so close to where I was living. I love that it is so small yet big enough to have a university. I love that you can go watch the snow in the mountains and then drive to the beach for a swim in less than two hours. I love the cliffs, the sunsets and the lush mountains. And there are so many more things I love about it, but at that time I did not consider moving there. It was the most beautiful island, but I was a tourist and it seemed to be good only as a place for vacation.
Someday when we are old and grey
However, the more often I came to visit Madeira, the more I got to know the people living there and also the way of life they were living. I am sure you all have the same impression as I had in the beginning – knowing Portuguese, you expect people in Madeira to be relaxed and easy-going. But then there is this additional factor of Madeira being an island. Everything is even more relaxed than on the mainland! Never in my life had I met people so at ease and happy than in this place. I was utterly amazed by them! And because of the way they seemed to me, to be completely honest, I thought they would not work at all and lie around in their gardens next to their banana trees all day long. This is not meant as any kind of criticism, it is just the way it seemed to me and what I – coming from Austria – believed. Therefore, obviously, I thought I cannot live there: I don’t own a house there, I need a job, there is no job on this island for me. All these kind of things. Yes, I wished I could move there, lie around in my garden and turn into a relaxed Madeiran but it seemed like something that is not going to happen any time soon. So we decided we would move there one day when we are old and grey. Therefore, we knew we would move to Madeira one day after the first week we spent there. We only did not know we would do so earlier.
We knew after a local party
One day we were invited to a birthday party of a local friend. We did not know anybody at the party besides our friend, but, as usual for Madeira, we met many people there and they began talking to us as if we had known each other for years. We met whole families there, learned about their stories, what they liked about their life and also listened to their worries. When we went to bed that night after the party, we were stunned. Not because they were all so open about just everything, but about their jobs! They were policemen, judges, doctors, teachers and lecturers, translators and computer scientists. Some of them worked in tourism and others in companies. All of them had what people in Austria would call a proper job. The only difference was: they seemed happier with their jobs than most other people we knew. This was definitely one of those moments when we said “okay let’s do this”.
After this second visit to Madeira, a year after the first one, we knew that we were going to move to Madeira. This is when we started looking for land and seriously think about possible jobs. Did you move to Madeira or another place or are you planning to move there? We would be happy to hear about your experiences.
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