Random Musings

And when I say random, gird your loins…

I leave the lights on in the master bathroom all the time. There. I said it. But! It’s not because I want to, it’s because we have a large window in that room and during the day it is so bright it washes out any lights I’ve left on (even with the shade down). Plus, the light switches work the opposite of what I’m used to… the lights are on when the switch is in the “down” (or off) position. All the switches in the house work that way so it’s not an installation error. Between the large, bright window and the light switch position, none of my normal visual cues are there to remind me that I’ve left the lights on. I’m trying to train myself to check every time I leave the bathroom. Day 59. No progress.


Won just told me to confess about the towel warmer too, but he’s just as negligible for that one as I am! The reason is because it is on the wall behind the bathroom door. If you don’t see it, you don’t think about it. I suspect we might become more aware of it in the summer when it’s like 300 degrees in our apartment. Remember, we don’t have air conditioning.

Do you ever wonder what the inside of your nose smells like? Think about it.

I was remarking to Won yesterday that Americans should really get behind the electric tea kettle. I’ve become a complete convert. It boils water at light speed even faster than a microwave! I’m not kidding. It’s amazing. Then Won told me it might be because the voltage in Europe is higher than in the US. Hmmm…. can anyone with an electric tea kettle in the US, and lived in Europe, validate this? (That’s meant for you, Susan…)

Image result for electric tea kettle

Yogurt is so much better here. It’s thinner and yummier. I have it nearly every day with a dollop of jam. We typically go through a big tub of Pastoret each week. (Now that I’m writing about it, I have to take a break and get some. [Insert 5-min break.] Gosh that was good!)

Image result for pastoret yogurt

I’m not too proud to admit it…I miss HGTV, The Voice, and Project Runway! Waaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! (After re-reading that sentence I realize how vacuous I sound. Perhaps I should have said I also miss C-SPAN or something a bit more serious and intellectual, but I’d be totally lying.)

My kitchen is very sleek and modern with no handles on any cabinet door or appliance, which I love, but my fingernails have paid a price for it. C’est la vie. Oh, who am I kidding? There’s a lot to be said for handles. Of course if we had them, I would most likely be running into them constantly so I suppose it’s a trade off between fingernails and bruises. Tough call.

And speaking of kitchens, while I loved my kitchen in New Jersey, the convenience of my current kitchen is so much better for two reasons. #1) In New Jersey the refrigerator was on the opposite side of the center island from the sink and primary prep areas; doable, but not terribly convenient. Here, I have a galley kitchen which means the fridge is just behind me when I’m at the sink or cook top. And #2) it was a total &*^@! to clean the Viking gas 6-burner cook top (an hour+ exercise). Here we have an induction cook top. All it requires are a few paper towels, an ammonia based spray and voila! You’re done in 20 seconds. Awesome!

Kitchen in Monte Estoril. No handles = no fingernails.

I think it’s funny how, no matter what’s being offered to Sweet Pea – steak, chicken, fish, apples, bananas, carrots, special treats, anything – she pauses and sniffs it thoughtfully before tentatively taking it in her mouth. And, once it’s in her mouth, she walks away drops it on the nearest rug or carpet and checks it out thoroughly before she eats it, assuming shes eats it. Sometimes she just drops it and then looks back at you like, “thanks, but no thanks.” Alternately, she’ll take it, hold it in her mouth and walk around with it, eventually circling back to you where she will literally spit it out into your lap as if to say, “What am I supposed to do with this? Here, YOU take it!” I swear, you’d think we were trying to poison her.

Magically, Won has discovered fresh fruit. I mean, not that he didn’t know it existed before, but he loves it now! Instead of getting up in the morning and having a cup of coffee first – like he’s done for the last 30+ years – he gets up and eats an orange. And, his fruit passion extends beyond the humble orange. He loves pineapples, berries of all kinds, apples, bananas, grapes, anything the fruit stand has in stock. He has fruit with nearly every meal now. This is a good thing. I’m slowly converting my carnivore husband to more of a plant based diet.

Won and I both love how easy it is to walk everywhere we need to go and with the current quarantine in place, this has become almost critical. Why would this be if we have a car you might ask? We live in a multi-unit building surrounded by other multi-unit buildings and no reserved parking for anyone. And, because everyone is home due to the novel coronavirus, we are feeling particularly lucky that we found a good spot to park the car and are loathe to move it. Good thing we can walk to get everything we need – food, money, dog food, and medicine.

I don’t know about you, but this quarantine situation is actually saving us money. We aren’t eating out as often, we aren’t driving anywhere, and we’re not ordering things online. And, speaking of ordering online…

We miss being Amazon Prime members and the associated benefit of having those items delivered the next day. Wistful sigh…it was so wonderfully convenient. Unfortunately, there is no Amazon in Portugal. The closest one is in Spain which means long delivery times and includes the dreaded customs experience. And, if you don’t understand the “dreaded customs experience” please refer to my post called “Holy Ship!” We haven’t quite recovered emotionally from that one. I suppose we could order from Portuguese stores with an online presence, but we aren’t familiar with any yet so we haven’t tried. I’ll let you know if/when we do. Wait!! We did try it just a few days ago. We placed an order with a local super market on Thursday. It was to be delivered on Friday. Or so we thought. We got a message the next day telling us the delivery was set for Friday, April 3rd!! Two weeks away. So much for that.

And finally, I will close with what Won and I love the most here…the light. We can’t say exactly why we love it so much. Is it because most of the buildings are white and the light reflects off of them intensifying the brightness? Is it because the sun is somehow closer to us here in Portugal? Does it have something to do with being near the water? We have no idea, but what we do know is that it makes us supremely happy. I hope that once we are past this terrible situation with COVID-19, you will come to Portugal to see it for yourself. Until then…

From Portugal with love,


Published by Beth Thomas-Kim

After working in corporate America for companies like Mattel, Nestlé, and Johnson & Johnson, I retired and moved to Portugal in January of 2020 with my husband Won and our 12-year old wire fox terrier, Sweet Pea. We now live in Monte Estoril, a lovely seaside town just outside Lisbon. We spend our days happily exploring this beautiful country and learning about its fascinating history, engaging culture, warm and welcoming people, delicious food and wine, and stunning architecture. This blog was started primarily as a way to keep family and friends updated on our transition from the US to Portugal. Now, my subscribers include people from all over the world. Enjoy!

11 thoughts on “Random Musings

  1. Thanks for such a lighthearted post…so nice to get an email that is not how xyz company is dealing with coronavirus!


    1. I totally get it. I was starting to go stir crazy because I was glued to the TV, phone or my computer watching the news for hours every day. Not healthy. I took a long walk today by the beach and cleared my head. I hope you are staying healthy too Ann. It must be a bummer not to be able to travel. I know how much you enjoy it.


  2. Yes, Nice breezy post. I’m a convert to the electric kettle since I started spending a lot of time in the UK. I have one in my new home here and it does heat water tremendously fast and efficiently. Tucson of course has different light but it does have lots and lots of sunny days, and the light makes me happy as well! Enjoy!!


    1. Thanks for clearing up the tea kettle mystery. 🙂 I’ve been to Tucson. It’s a lovely city and the light is intense in the summer, but quite lovely in the fall, winter, spring. I’m so glad you are happy there.


  3. Your kitchen is so beautiful, clean and sleek. Nuances of your kitchen in Pacific Palisades. So glad you both are so happy in Portugal. It sounds like an idyllic life….the water for me is the zen.
    Love to you both and I’m really enjoying reading the blogs.
    Thank you and I hope to come and visit once all this is over. XO


  4. Have had an electric kettle in the states for decades – as an avid tea drinker it’s the only way! And yes the US voltage means it takes longer to boil than in Europe but I will take it! Keep safe and healthy


  5. Finally! I can be excused from the blame of the electric bill in Chester. 😅 I would use my phone to navigate up/down the stairs to prove I was not turning on or leaving anything on.

    Glad to hear the interests in fruits. I’m sure they taste so much better over there.

    Also, we miss Amazon’s next day shipping too. It’s a average of 1-2 weeks right now. We’ve had so many items go “missing” and required refunding. We’ll get through this… Eventually.


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