Three months ago, we started our adventure when we moved to Faial. Meanwhile we got very well settled and picked up the rhythm of life in the middle of the Atlantic. Many of our friends are asking how we are feeling and if we are not homesick? The key to the answer might lie in how we are adopting to the new environment. It is a new country with a new language to learn and a somewhat particular location, all determing culture and lifestyle. Before we arrived, we started to arrange for many things such as setting up a company for our future business at our earlier stays in autumn and during winter. Already then, we were struck by the helpfulness of people, their openness and willingness to help us. A first encounter with the new culture was when some advance payments needed to be made for company registration. Being a diligent Swiss I obviously wanted to make sure that I would not bring anybody in an unpleasant situation and pre-pay what ever is necessary, even better if we write a contract for the services. Once I just got an email, that everything has been arranged, I might reimburse the costs later-on. When asking back on payment conditions, I got the succinct answer, we are on an island, you will be here anyway and settle it. We are 15 thousand people on the island, so personal relationships are important as everybody knows everybody or has a friend who is related to somebody knowing the other one. Within the twelve weeks being here we were cordially embraced by the local community, spending Sunday afternoon down at the small beach of Feteira and chatting with our new friends in broken English, the few Portuguese words we learned so far and using hands and feet.
Feeling accepted in our new neighbourhood makes us feel good.Things are happening neither fast nor hectic here, being used to the speed of life of a metropolis, you must slow down to feel well. There are facts which you simply must accept, even simple things might be annoying at first. Most of the goods are shipped in either from São Miguel or from the mainland, so if bottled sparking mineral water, which is not very popular here, runs out of stock, its place in the supermarket shelf remains empty for some days. Of course, the magic of internet allows us to order almost everything from Amazon but forget about the delivery deadline you get on your confirmation email, it will arrive probably almost on time, probably later. Once I chatted with a Swiss tourist about life here, one of her remarks was that people here are not very prompt. From an outsider’s point of view that might be true, but slowing down has a huge advantage, you are not uselessly upset and do not stress yourself unnecessarily. It is funny to observe tourists from northern Europe in the supermarket, first desperately trying to pick the fastest check out counter, then seeing their stress hormones rising once they are next to be served but the customer ahead, instead of quickly paying and packing the items, first has a chat with the lady behind the counter. I must say, it feels great being able (again) to take things slow, or as they might say in some fancy coaching seminars, to optimize the flow. Nothing changes in your life if you must wait because a herd of cows is crossing the main road, or somebody blocks a narrow street with his car while having a chat with a by-passer. We might have slowed down a bit, but we feel good.