“Olá madame!” says an older man behind his mask. You can tell he’s smiling, even if you don’t see it. “Ah, olá!” I recognize him, “Como está? Tudo bem?”
Yes, everything bem; it’s just that he received another letter about his portuguese pension from the Netherlands
We know each other for years. He came years ago to ask if I could help him fill out the statements his pension fund wants from him. Much longer ago, he worked in the Netherlands for a few years.
That’s why he gets those pension letters from the Netherlands every year
Madame should please, thankyou so much, explain clearly what it means, because it’s only in dutch.
You apparently have to fill out a form every year that you’re still alive. They want to know again what your bank account number is, and whether your address is still correct, your social security number, and so on.
In Portugal, you have a “Cartão de cidadão”, which is a card with your driver’s license, passport, tax number, social security number and more – all-in-one, which you can have from birth. Okay, not a driver’s license from birth, but handy because everything can be added to it, and you only need one card for everything.
Would that then lag behind in the Netherlands? I wondered
Portugal has made more of those quantum leaps. The landline telephone connection has almost been skipped. People went almost seamlessly from meeting while doing the laundry (women) or a glass of wine in the café (men) to a super-modern mobile phone. Speaking of laundry, from there to a brand new, neatly furnished kitchen with washing machine, dryer and dishwasher is a reality for the Portuguese.
I faithfully filled those forms. Truthfully. Of that nice portuguese senhor. Wasn’t the senhor standing next to me breathing, alive and well? But I do find it remarkable. Technology is everywhere, all government files are linked together, but they still don’t believe that you aren’t cheating from your grave.
Typically dutch suspicion? Or is there something else going on?
That remains a question here, I don’t have the answer. If someone knows, please explain.
In any case, apart from the feeling that you’re doing something Good for a fellow human being, I was left with a nice bottle of organic wine every year. The last time, when it turned out that he could also opt for the option to receive the pension in one go, he chose that. If we get rid of it in one go, then you have at least a substantial amount, instead of the equivalent of a Christmas present every year.
“Muito obrigada para tudo, madame” he said and gestured with his right hand for me to come along. He had a surprise, he said, opening the tarpaulin on his pickup. He had been a painter, and now really retired, so he no longer needs this.
The bottom of the pickup was covered with buckets and buckets of paint. In all colors of the rainbow. Wall paint, because the Portuguese really like a colorful house. Red, pink, orange, yellow, green, dark green, blue in all shades, purple even. All colors in all shades you can imagine.
“Oh… muito obrigada…” I said, bewildered
So now I have an even more difficult task. A real challenge. Thinking about where on earth I would like to have a rainbow facade….
We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.
A big step, especially with two small children.
You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.
Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.
Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation
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