A Taste of Home in Portugal

Hello friends, we’re glad that you stopped by! Things have been busy here as usual but we have some fun things to share with you. In this post we’ll talk about friends from home, summer preparations, our congregation and much more. As of now we will only be posting twice a month on the 1st and the 15th instead of weekly. This will allow us to post higher quality content as well as simplify things giving us more time to focus on other stuff. So let’s get into it.

You may have noticed that we’ve streamlined the appearance of the blog and gotten rid of a lot of clutter. We want the blog to be easy to navigate and to be mainly about the posts that we write. Now the menu section only has four links which are pretty self-explanatory. We hope you like it. Our motto for the next several months is to try to do things simply. We feel that this will make things easier in general and help us to be able to focus on what is truly important. Recently we were contacted by friends from California who were visiting the Algarve area of Portugal. They asked if we wanted to meet up. This wasn’t the first time that this has happened but the only difference is that the last time things didn’t line up and we weren’t able to connect with them. We didn’t want that to happen again so we accepted their offer and met up for association. These friends initially encouraged us to think of moving to Spain or Portugal several years ago and we are thankful for their fine example. It was really neat to be able to see them again in Portugal after all this time. It was like coming full circle. They had another couple with them from Sacramento who serve in the Portuguese field. They have the goal of serving where the need is great in the future. We love getting together with ones who are looking to expand their ministry because we usually all come away encouraged. This evening was no different. We all met up in Tavira in the city center. If you haven’t been to Tavira and you are in the Algarve you should try to make the effort to visit. It is a very special city that is full of character. The first order of business after taking photos by the river was to find some food. In our group was a Portuguese brother who was determined to find  caracóis or snails to eat. We have had snails in Spain but it hasn’t been the best experience so we were reluctant to try them in Portugal but our friend was quite convincing. So after a little while we were all seated outside with a big pile of snails in front of us. We have to admit that the snails were tastier than the ones that we had in Spain. They have a nice sauce and they are well seasoned. It was definitely an experience to remember. After the appetizer we went to another restaurant called Casa Simão which we really like. The restaurant has great authentic Portuguese food for a very reasonable price. We had a great time talking and sharing experiences. It was especially encouraging to hear what some of our friends had to overcome to be where they are serving Jehovah. It’s moments like these that we cherish and are so appreciative for. Even though we had to work earlier in the day and we were a little tired we knew that making the effort to get together with our friends would be worth it. We’ve learned over time being here in Spain that it’s usually worth making the effort to do something that will be encouraging because it usually ends up in an unexpected blessing.

After the meal we took a stroll along the water in the center of Tavira. The city really has a cool, romantic vibe especially when the street lanterns are illuminated and they light up the water. We got some ice cream and decided to walk up the small Portuguese streets in order to explore an old castle overlooking the city. The amazing thing about Tavira and much of Portugal is that it is so quiet. This is very different to what we are used to in Spain. As we walked around late into the night it was so peaceful and relaxing. As the night came to a close we said our goodbyes and started our trip back to Spain where we live. All in all, it was a great night and definitely one of the highlights of the week. It’s interesting that when we visit Tavira we usually discover something new. Before meeting up with our friends we took some time to explore a newly renovated hotel that sits on top of the hill near the river called Maria Nova Lounge Hotel. We wanted to visit because we had read amazing things about the rooftop bar and lounge. After reaching the rooftop we were not disappointed. All of the walls are glass and there is a wonderful area to relax and unwind. A view of Tavira can be seen which is pretty spectacular. As we enjoyed our cappuccinos in the swank atmosphere it was as if we got a taste of home. Since we live in a small country town in Spain we don’t really have access to things like this unless we travel to the bigger cities like Seville or Huelva possibly. It reminded us of our time living in the bay area in northern California where we would go out and eat in restaurants for fun with friends. Even though we don’t do that as much here it’s nice to know that we can  still have a taste of home when we want it. To be honest, recently we’ve been missing some of the things that living in a bigger city offers you. But just at the right time we’ve discovered those things close to us which has been great.

Aside from work and the congregation we have been busy preparing for the summer. Things have been going fairly well and Jehovah has blessed us in many unexpected ways. We look forward to attending the Special Convention in Milan Italy next month. We know that it will be an absolutely amazing experience! If it’s anything like Malta was in 2015 then we can’t wait. We’re also happy that Kanicia’s mother and sister will be attending. Sharing these kinds of experiences with family is always great. After the convention we look forward to taking some time off in August. We’ll keep you posted on how things develop. 🙂 There are many changes taking place for us at the moment but we know that if we keep close to Jehovah and his organization and keep a positive attitude things will work out like they should. It’s funny because sometimes we think back to how we would react to certain situations if this were a few years ago and the reaction would be quite different. Nowadays we don’t really let much worry us. It’s great to reflect from time to time on how much certain experiences have taught us or prepared us to deal with whatever life throws at us. We’re grateful for that.

Lately in the congregation there has been a lot going on. A needgreater family who moved here from the states had to deal with a sudden and life-threatening accident concerning their son who is back in the US. Our congregation has a special WhatsApp group that we use to share positive things from our ministry and other stuff and it was heartwarming to see how the group came alive during this difficult time. One of the parents flew back to be with her son and everyday the WhatsApp group was full of several caring and loving messages of encouragement for the family. We are so happy to be a part of such a loving congregation! It really is like a big family. We have since received good news as a recovery from the accident is underway. During the same week the husband had a meeting for the family residency in Portugal. It’s encouraging to see Jehovah’s hand as they obtained their Portuguese residency for one year so they can serve and be an asset to the congregation. We see clearly how even though some may leave the congregation for other assignments others come in to fill their place. We truly want to cherish being a part of this congregation for as long as we have the privilege because who knows what the future may bring.

The other day my wife and I were able to travel to a riverside town called Sanlúcar de Guadiana in Spain. It is almost an hour away from our house as you travel through windy roads in the hills. Once you reach the town you are greeted by a beautiful sleepy village bordering the Guadiana River with Alcoutim, Portugal on the other side. We worked some territory in the town and spoke to a few people. We enjoyed a nice relaxing time working together as husband and wife in such a scenic territory. It’s so true that being busy in the preaching work as a married couple serves to draw one another closer together. We hope to return soon.

On another note, for those of you looking to work for a great online English teaching company here are the positions that are needed for June. The company called Learnship is looking for the following language teachers: Dutch, German, Latin American Spanish and English.

If you want to learn how we support ourselves in our assignment and how you can do the same thing we wrote a book that will teach you how to get started teaching English online and work anywhere in the world. For 50% off enter ‘halfoff’ during checkout. If you would rather work for yourself instead of for a company check out the Teach English Course by Jack Askew. We’ve gone through this course ourselves and we recommend it. Perhaps your looking to do something other than teach English. Perhaps you want to get your TESOL Certificate so that you can start teaching English. We are partnered with American TESOL Institute to be able to offer an Online TESOL Course. This is the same course that Kanicia took and it has helped us to continue serving abroad for over three years. A great resource for remote and flexible jobs is Flex Jobs. If you would like to learn from our experience moving abroad then check out our seven day moving abroad guide. If you want to learn how to create your own blog to share your experiences or hobbies or anything really, Kanicia created a seven day blogging course that will teach you everything you need to know. We hope that you enjoyed this post. If so be sure to follow our Instagram accounts at @jwabroad and @kcog09. We post regular updates from our experiences serving abroad. If you like this blog be sure to share it with others that would appreciate it and follow for blog post updates and other fun stuff.

That’s all for now. Until next time!

Your friends Antoine & Kanicia

2 Replies to “A Taste of Home in Portugal”

  1. Nice to hear that you had a great visit with the visiting friends . Always nice to have a ‘taste of home culture’ from somebody from your home country . Glad the family health emergency of the the family in your congregation is improving ,we long for the day when tragedies don’t occur .
    Your congregation sounds refreshing and amazing very good to have both a great territory to work and a loving congregation for the support. Keep up the great work over there and enjoy the upcoming assembly in Milan ! Saludos desde Arizona !

    1. Thanks Bill for the nice comment! Yeah we definitely see things getting busier over the next few months but we also will be trying to simplify our lives even more. So we’re really looking forward to that. Hope your staying cool in Arizona. 🙂

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