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You are going to read an article in which a man, Jamie, talks about living in a new country. For each question 31 – 36, choose the correct answer.
A Portuguese Adventure
I never imagined I’d live abroad. Foreign holidays are fine but I’m not what you’d call adventurous; I like familiar things around me. But the things we do for love! At the age of 30, when I’d been married just six months, my wife told me she’d been offered a job in Portugal. And that she wanted to accept it.
As a writer I can work anywhere, so I couldn’t stand in the way of her career as an architect, which seemed to be taking off. So I agreed. We packed up our belongings, advertised our London flat for rent, and one rainy day in October I found myself emerging from Lisbon airport, ready to start a new life.
The first few weeks passed in a blur. It was exciting – new sights, new sounds, new smells – and we had a hundred tasks to do in our new apartment. My wife loved her job. I enjoyed walking around the cobbled lanes, sitting in cosy cafes on my laptop, trying and failing to learn Portuguese. But as the months passed, I realised I was lonely.
“It’s all right for you,” I said to my wife one evening over bacalau à brás (there were times when the incredible food almost made up for the loneliness). “You have your work colleagues, but I don’t know anybody.”
“You’re not trying,” she replied. “I know it’s hard, but you have to make an effort to meet people. Join a club or something. Honestly, you writers!”
There was plenty I could have said to that, but I held my tongue and finished my fish. The truth is, it had not occurred to me that making friends could be a thing you decided to do. I’d known my London friends since university, some of them since school. They’d always just been there. How does a grown man find friends?
I discovered that English-language quizzes were popular in Lisbon. I’ve always loved useless facts, so I forced myself to an event the following week and felt my face redden as I mumbled to the quiz master that I’d like to play, but didn’t know anyone. She smiled widely, told me not to worry, and introduced me to a team of friendly Europeans. And we won! I can’t say I felt completely comfortable, but it was a start. I started going every Thursday and even joined two of my team-mates for another quiz in Portuguese, which helped my language skills a lot.
“You see?” said my wife, at the end of one my funny stories about quiz night. “You just had to take the first step.”
It certainly felt good to know a few people in my adopted city, but it wasn’t long before I hit another wall. I got homesick. I didn’t say anything to my wife at first. It seemed ridiculous, since we were only a two-hour flight from home, and Portugal is hardly Papua New Guinea. But I started to miss the small things. I wanted to buy British newspapers and snacks. I wanted to do everyday tasks in my mother tongue. I wanted to see the street signs and houses I was used to.
Eventually, hesitantly, I brought it up with my wife. I told her I dreamt about London most nights. I confessed my craving for a cheese roll from our local bakery. She started to laugh and then, to my surprise, started to cry. She was missing home too, she admitted, but hadn’t wanted to say anything; after all, she was the one who’d suggested we move. We looked at each other for a long time. Should we give up and go home?
I’m happy to say we didn’t. We just experienced what everyone experiences in a new environment: culture shock. It was helpful to say our worries out loud, give them a name, and realise how normal they were. Living abroad will always be a mixture of good and bad – once we accepted that reality, our Portuguese adventure really began.
31. Which of the following is true about Jamie and his wife?
32. When Jamie’s wife says, ‘Honestly, you writers!” she means that writers
33. In paragraph seven, the author suggests that
34. In ‘I brought it up with my wife’, ‘it’ refers to the fact that Jamie
35. What is the main point of the final paragraph?
36. What do we learn about Jamie from this article?