Monday, March 13, 2006

European Highlights

  1. Having someone ask me directions, in Portugal, in Portuguese. Granted, she was British, but still—a European thought I might have been one, too. And not even a northern one! (in the same vein, the British man next to me on the plane from Porto to London couldn’t tell at all where I was from . . . which was nice.)
  2. Getting around fairly fluidly in Portuguese in general. My facility with this language makes me wish for at least equal facility with language anywhere I go. I’d love, for instance, to be able to understand which nights the vampires come out in Greece (it seems to have been 27 February this year in Portugal).
  3. Showing two of my dear home friends around a place—Porto—that I came to love several years ago, and having them see why (and also impressing them with my language ability which is, okay, back tracking a little, far from fluent, but is also more than merely serviceable).
  4. Staying with friends A&F in Lisbon and finding that there really does seem to be a sort of global culture, and I really do seem to be a part of it. We had the same series of Lonely Planet books (give or take a few), plus many other authors in common; F cooked a mushroom/asparagus risotto one night and a Moroccan stew another (both things we eat frequently at home); we made similar jokes about each others’ country’s politics.
  5. Staying with A&F (different people, but very similar in name and cultural background and thus very confusing for friends when I talk about them) in Porto and getting to meet their youngest daughter, age 2 ½, and meet again their eldest, age 5 ½. Absolutely gorgeous girls.
  6. Seeing my friend perform on two stages in two major European cities.
  7. Getting to know Cousin S all the more.
  8. Becoming reacquainted with myself out of context—that is, myself in a context from my past, but with current self-knowledge—and realizing how far I’ve come.

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