Expat Editions: Sally Pethybridge, a Brit Living in Sintra

Sally Pethybridge

Expat Editions is a series of interviews with expats from various countries living in Portugal, as well as Portuguese living abroad. It offers a brief insight into their personal experiences, providing unique information from “outsiders” that you don’t find in travel guides. If you’ve considered moving to Portugal, or if you’re Portuguese and debated living abroad, you may find our featured expats share more with you than their home country: you may recognize your own dreams, fears and challenges in their experiences.

In this edition, we interview Sally Pethybridge, a Brit living in Portugal.

Catarina: How long have you been in Portugal and why did you decide to move?
Sally: I moved here in 2002. I first came to Portugal in 1979 when I used to spend holidays just outside Albufeira in a villa belonging to my boss in television. It was she who encouraged people like Cliff Richard, Bonnie Tyler, Eric Morecambe, etc to have places there from the early 1960’s. I learnt so much about the country from her and then from the wonderful Portuguese people we met every year. I had been working freelance for a US company in London and left and realised that there was nothing to keep me any longer in UK. I was divorced, no children, so made the decision to move which I had long wanted to do. Put the house on the market and sold overnight and six weeks later was in a flat in Lisbon.

C: Name one positive thing or experience you weren’t expecting in Portugal.
S: The lovely manners that are still in evidence that have been lost to a large extent in the UK. Also the individual shops you could and can still find. I also love shopping locally because I get either a free coffee, bunch of coriander or parsley or today, a chouriço!

“My local shop which I adore run by Manuel and Fernanda and their great team. I asked him if he could get me Greek sheep yoghurt. No problem at all as it was distributed from Sintra and he now hides it for me as it has become very popular… Always a smile and a joke. Just what a local village shop should be.”

C: What do you miss the most about home?
S: Possibly snow! Obviously friends and family but not so much, as people who you care about come and visit. I honestly can say I do not miss UK that much at all. I have returned 4 times only since I moved here. I think if you continually return on a frequent basis, you will never settle no matter which country you move to. You have to ‘move’ and stay ‘moved’.

C: Name your favorite Portuguese dish/food and your favorite place there.
S: Hard one. I adore Iscas, Favas, Ervilhas com ovo etc etc. My favourite place – I love Évora, Alfama, Colares and Sintra.

Praia Grande, where Sally walks most mornings, weather permitting

C: What advice would you give someone who wants to move to Portugal?
S: Do it. The more you think about something, the more you will find excuses not to do it. Yes, it can be scary but if you have visited frequently, learnt some of the customs and have a smattering of the language, it all helps. Always remember when you move to a new country, you are the foreigner and as such, treat people with respect, do not complain that nothing works the same as in your own country – you are not in your own country and need to seriously remember that. A smile and a “thank you” cost nothing but will bring lots in return.

You can follow Sally on Twitter (@SallyRose49) or read her blog, From the River Avon to the River Apple.

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