They are just like us only different

They are just like us only different or words to that effect.

I vividly remember a Portuguese friend explaining to his wife at a party.They are just like us only different.

This in turn sprung an old memory for me.

I have a very good friend who is Iranian. He went to the UK when he was 15 years old to attend private school and eventually University always intending to return home. Political changes in Persia made that impossible so he was forced to find a job in the UK which he did and has employed many English people over the years, pays his taxes and is a good citizen.

When I first met him and because he spoke fairly good English he assimilated very quickly into our group of friends. We still had a laugh at some of his language idiosyncrasies and Arab thinking.

Now I look back when I mispronounce Portuguese words or make a social blunder that he did an amazing job in building a new life in Britain. My view of him when I was getting to know him was similar to “They are just like us only different”

Or you could say there are more similarities than differences.


To continue this theme I can share with you what people think about us strange foreigners living in their rural Portuguese villages.  Which I have gleaned from overhearing conversations and direct questions  at social gatherings.

 Most people think we come here to retire because of the sun and because for us Portugal is a cheap place to live.

We are all rich, with large and or many houses in the UK, Holland, France Belgium or Germany that we rent out while living here in Portugal.

The fact that few of us bother to grow all our vegetable and fruit requirements proves that we are well off.

We are very polite because we always say please and thank you a lot. And some of us have amazing manners (taking your dirty shoes off before entering a house) will have the Dona de casa in a swoon.

Some of us are Religious Fanatics. I have heard Protestants ” Christian non Catholics” and Jehovah Witnesses described as such.

Our women drink a lot and out of the bottle in public places which is regarded as being very common.

They think we are friendly but have difficulty understanding us when we speak.

They think we are very well educated with most of having a degree.

Most of the misinformation is because they don’t socialize with us and we don’t attend the things that they attend so don’t have the chance to really get to know each other.

It’s time to make an effort and sink yourself a little deeper into Portugal