It’s been one week since I returned to Portugal after a six-week visit to the US. The past seven days have gone by in a flash; reconnecting with friends and neighbors, tending to my weed-infested land, taking my energetic dog for a walk, and loving the kindness that is all around me here.
A neighbor of mine, an Englishwoman who has lived here for more than fifteen years, described the Portuguese as a gentle people. I think that is a good description. In the nearly four years I have lived here, I have so rarely heard people arguing. I could count the number of times I have experienced a rude or impatient response in a store, or from a person waiting in line, on the fingers of one hand.
Long journey home, but reassuring welcome
The evening I arrived back in Lisbon, after a nearly 20-hour delay-plagued journey, I stayed at a modest guest house. Marta, the young woman who functioned as the check-in person, was so calm and reassuring that I felt as though I had arrived at an expensive spa. The guest house itself was across the street. The entrance was a door with no sign. She led me up some flights of stairs to a door marked with the guest house name. She showed me to my room and advised me about a nearby restaurant where I could get dinner.
When I returned after dinner it was dark and I got confused as to which floor the guest house was on. Tired and a bit panicked, I went back to Marta and she very kindly came back across the street with me and showed me to the right door. I really doubt I would have had that experience anywhere in the US.
If I had been in a large US city, I think I would have been terrified to be mugged or shot. I am glad to be living in a place where people are not afraid. Where people do not open the door holding a gun and risk being shot by police.
One thought on “Happy to be home again in Portugal”
Welcome home, Rosalie! We’ve also experienced great kindness from people in Spain. I’ve thought often of how safe we’ve felt here. We’re at crossroads between Spain and Portugal here in Cáceres and earlier in Mérida, but to keep things simple (and prepare for the grueling flight home) we’ll be here one more night and spend the last 3 in Madrid. Despite doughy there have been some lovely spring flowers. Oddly after weeks of no rain or even clouds it is cloudy over at noon, and there could be rain tonight. My poncho and rain jacket have been at the bottom of my pack all this time.