We are Jorge and Cláudia, Portuguese living in Luanda.
1. Why did you move abroad?
Jorge had a job opportunity of working abroad for his company. It seemed like a fantastic adventure, opportunity to live in another country and to visit this side of the world. Cláudia came a year after, when she found a job in Luanda.
2. How do you make a living?
Jorge is a financial controller, he was sent to the Angolan branch of his company, he works in logistics and transportation business. Cláudia is a physiotherapist, she come looking for a job, sending her CV and doing interviews after 6 months she was contacted by a clinic and started working.
It’s a challenging experience you have to deal with different cultures, ways of thinking and life styles. You need to have patience; you learn how to handle situations that you though weren’t possible to happen. In Africa even small things can be a big problem. You learn that nothing is going to go quite as you want, so you should accept that fact.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
We try to talk with our parents every day through skype or facebook. The internet facilitated a lot communication between distant countries. It isn’t the same thing as being there, and many times we miss our family and get homesick. But we can tell them how we are and that everything is ok (and that we ate, Portuguese mothers worry a lot with our eating habits, lol)
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Luanda, Angola?
The weather is great, you can use a t-shirt from sunrise to sunset, not worrying with jackets. The beaches are fantastic, with hot and clear water. We never tasted such wonderful mangos, pineapples and papaya.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Luanda, Angola?
Spending hours in the traffic to get somewhere and the way the Angolans drive. The insecurity, you always have to be careful, never walk with hand bags and always on alert. Jorge was robed once; sometimes it’s difficult feeling secure.
6. What do you miss most?
Besides family, friends and dog? We miss the leisure activities. Apart from nightlife and beaches there aren’t many things to do in Luanda.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
The people we are most close are Portuguese related with work. We tend to be more with people that we know from work and have something in common. We meet people from many different nationalities, some very interesting but in the end we tend to be with Portuguese. But we noticed we aren’t the only ones, people tend to be with whom they can relate easily; normally the French with the French, Americans with Americans, people form groups.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
There are several customs that are strange and we described some of them in our blog. Some of the most weird are Friday being “men’s day”, the culture around hair and nail, women change frequently their hair style from long to short, proposing day in Angola is also a big thing, the “Candongueiros” (taxi vans) , the traffic jams...
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
There is this myth that every African is cheerful, friendly and very humble. But obviously, this is not true. There are nice people and unpleasant like in any other country of the world…
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Luanda is the most expensive city in the world. A one room apartment in an old building in Luanda can cost between 2000 and 3000 USD, every fresh or refrigerated product will cost between 2 and 3 times the price. We try to accept the prices and avoid eating the most expensive products like yogurts, cheese and reduce meat. Also when we go to our home country we try to bring the most possible.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Do not make too many comparisons with your home country. Embrace yourself with the new country new experience with goods and bads.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
We started blogging in July 2015, we felt the necessity to share our experiences and learn from other people in the same situation.
Jorge and Cláudia's blog, Couple RTW
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