When she visited Portugal, in 2014, Flávia Motta didn’t plan to stay for long. She moved with her husband to “take a sabbatical and do a specialisation, a post-graduate”. But the idea of returning soon went up in smoke. Today Flavia runs a project to help those who want to move to the country. If you want to know how to enrol your kids in school, or how to buy a house in Portugal, she’s the person to turn to.
Six months in, the couple realised they wanted to stay for more than just a year. “We looked at each other and said: maybe we can stay on a little longer. That was five years ago”, she explains.
Flávia lives in Alvalade, in Lisbon, and admits that the hardest challenge was adapting to the pace of life. “Life is slower here than it is in Rio de Janeiro. At first this was a big challenge for us”. In their free time the couple enjoy being outdoors, in parks and squares. Flávia is also a big fan of the network of libraries, which she uses often.
From the newsroom to consultancy
Both she and her husband were journalists back in Brazil. “For over a decade I worked in the press and big media, but I had to reinvent myself here.” That process took several forms. She helped out with Portuguese companies aimed at the Brazilian market and was part of a team of Brazilian expats in different cities of the world, who wrote about their experiences for a blog.
When the blog finished, Flávia turned to her own project: Lisboa à Beça. It started off as a website for travel consultancy, but ended up expanding into other areas, helping Brazilians who are moving to Portugal. This help ranges from healthcare to education, including practical support for those looking to buy a house in Portugal. “People want to buy houses here”, she believes.
Not paradise, but close
Flávia can’t see herself leaving Portugal in the near future. She likes Lisbon, not only because it is safe, but because it is “built to a human scale”. Five years later, the Portuguese capital still takes her breath away. “It’s not paradise, there is no such thing. But I reckon it’s pretty close”.