Terceira is a gorgeous small island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. I knew nothing about this island (and impressively little about the Azores in general) until my husband told me his next duty station would be Lajes Field. I knew our lives were going to change once again, from what we had become accustomed to in England the past four years. However, we were both looking forward to this new opportunity; we were determined to keep a positive outlook on our changing lives.
After the disastrous life and career lesson of not-all-humans-are-nice (generally common knowledge for most people, I know), I’ve become very introverted. I was more than content staying in with my husband, playing with my animals and making art. Once we knew our new destination, we decided to actively work on moving out of our ordinary comfort zone and be more social again. Aside from this lifestyle challenge, I was ecstatic to be moving to a locale where a swimsuit was essential and sunshine a far more common occurrence. (I loved living in England, but as most people are aware-the United Kingdom doesn’t have a reputations for being marvelously sunny for a reason–the reason is that, it isn’t.)
We moved into house where our landlord and his lovely wife live in the basement apartment. I don’t think this is necessarily common back in the states, but here it’s fairly common to rent homes where the basement is an apartment used by either the owners or another member of their family. Normally, this would have put us off a bit. We like our space, and we don’t want to feel obligated to entertain, or self-conscious since we are living in their house.
But the house was perfect for us, a large yard for the dogs, a garage for my husband to weld and work on cars; we have a spacious kitchen, a spare room for visiting family and a studio room for me. The house was ideal and we figured the living arrangement would be a good way to embrace living outside our comfort zone. We’ve been here four months now, and we couldn’t be happier. Our landlord and his wife are both wonderfully kind and generous humans who have welcomed us as if we were family. They’ve invited us to share delicious traditional Portuguese meals in their home, as well as giving us a tour of the island, and helping my husband get supplies.
Before we had even agreed to rent his house, he lent us his car for a few days because he didn’t need it, and he knew we didn’t have a way to get around. Once we agreed to rent from him, he let me pick the accent wall colors for each room of the house, and he painted them. I offered to help, but he was done before I could. To be honest, when we first moved in, our landlord was so welcoming and over-accommodating, my American cynicism and irrational paranoia made it feel like he was luring us into a false sense of security so he could kill us and hide our bodies in the garden. (Why he would want to randomly kill us? I have no idea, but why else would he be so nice to us, most people aren’t simply that go-out-of-their-way nice to strangers without expecting something in return, unless you clearly wanted to arbitrarily murder them? Of course, this is the only possible rational explanation?)
But I have strayed from my point, which is ultimately, my whole little family beyond content to stay in this lovely home for the next few years. We are very lucky to have an engaging Portuguese landlord who helps us gain a better understanding of Azorean culture as we are getting settled.