I just realized I forgot about “I”!
I – Internet
When I came here, I was quite chocked by the price of Internet provision and telecommunications in general. In order to pay the same as I would in Portugal, I had to downgrade my’ net habits. What I pay now for a medium-low speed and maximum 50Gb downloads would get me super fast optic fiber and unlimited traffic + digital TV and unlimited landlines calling at any moment. Also using our cell phone is more quite expensive here. The frantic texting days are well over!
At first I was annoyed. I was feeling that the democratic and easy connection to the rest of the world that I had gotten used to* was being threatened. Until I finally realized that the downgrades I did are still a surplus to my actual consumption and necessities. Communication companies advertise so well that we are convinced that we really need 4G, unlimited downloads, 400 cable channels, unlimited calls to everybody, being able to update our Facebook status at any time… as long as we commit ourselves to paying a certain amount of money that we gladly put aside from our income every month to cover those false needs. We end up purchasing unnecessary services, services we will or fully use and they will not provide, or services which we use, but just as easily wouldn’t if we hadn’t purchased them.
It’s turning into a rather long post, so let’s hit the essential: in some things, Belgium as taught me to be cheap. And could still watch FC Porto becoming step by step national football champion without much buffering!
* This deserves a more thorough explanation to the foreigners who’ll read this, but let’s just say there was an Internet-for-all frenzy in Portugal with the past two governmental mandates. It had probably something to do with corruption.