Ok, so it's Saturday and we arrived here on Wednesday and have just been going non-stop trying to get ourselves squared away and prep the house, but I figured I would give an update before I got too wrapped up! Arriving : Our flight was beautifully smooth, thank God! I really hate flying, especially when there's turbulence (which is ironic because I love travelling... I suppose it's a control thing, but I'm being taught to just relax and trust) but prayers were heard! Taffy and Mr. Foofoo flew with us in the cabin and Ella went in the cargo hold. Their process to become EU residents was probably more complicated than mine will be! I was worried the boys would cry during the flight but they were pretty stressed and stayed quiet the whole time. We opened their cases a few times to pet them and reassure them and that did seem to help. We were super worried about Ella who was travelling alone, but were very relieved to receive her safe and sound at the luggage claim in Lisbon! Once we got them cleared by the vet at the airport, we headed out, went to Starbucks (first COFFEE,of course!), got a temporary phone chip and headed to the car rental desk! The day was foggy and a bit rainy but the 2.5 hour drive to Macieira was also smooth and we were at the house by about 11 AM, after landing at 6. Hitting the Ground Running: Once we released the cats into their room, fed them, and made sure they were ok, we headed out! On Wednesday we went to the bank to pick up our card, hired internet/phone/cables NÓS, went to the supermarket for a whole bunch of basics, cleaned the bathroom, kitchen and our bedroom and then crashed hard! The next day we went early to Worten (a large electronics department store) and purchased a fridge, oven, washer, dryer, a super vacuum (you know you're old when you're super excited about getting one of those!), treadmill, rice cooker and a blender (I've been saving for and researching these items for months so that was exciting) ! Then we travelled to a nearby town, Ovar, to see about a car, proceeded to hire car insurance, and then stopped in a home store to see about a couche and a heater system. On Friday, we closed on the car (a 2002 Mitsubishi automatic hatchback, used, but for 4000 Euros and only 130,000 km, it was a great deal for a beginner car). And, after heading home to meet the internet installation attendant and get our wifi installed, we headed to Porto (about 45 minutes away from Macieira), Simplicio in the rental and I in the "new" car to return the rental! So I got to debut driving a new car in a new country! That evening, we had our first misadventure at the IKEA in Matosinho where one of us ( * ahem not me! * ) forgot the lights on and the battery died!!! But God is so good, the garage security had jumper cables and a nifty little hand-held battery charger and helped us out in just a few minutes! This all of course was after loading the car with about 300 pounds of IKEA boxes!!! Man, what a day! Today, we started focusing more on preparing for the actual remodeling of the house. This house definitely has it's charm, but there are some urgent things that do need to be addressed. Right now, our priorities are: replacing the aged carpet in the living room and stairs, painting the walls, changing out some basic things (doors, faucets and lighting), creating a laundry/utility room out of a deposit which currently has no water connection and is absolutely filthy, cluttered and quite frightening to be honest! Today, with the help of Luiza and her husband Carlos (close friends of Simplicio's family) we were able to start replacing faucets, beginning with the shower, researching tile and other material prices, begin clearing out old objects from places that will need to be emptied for painting and floor work, and, most importantly, with gloves and masks, we cleared out the deposit room we want to make into a laundry station! I can't even describe all the junk, spider hives (we have jokingly named this room Shelob's layer and any Lord of Rings fans will understand the severity of this analogy! hahaha!) , dust and other creatures we unearthed in this process! Yikes! It's hard not to feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done! Tomorrow we will meet with the contractor to see how much some of the heavier work will be, that will determine what our next few weeks will look like!