- Having someone ask me directions, in
, 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 Portugal Portoto couldn’t tell at all where I was from . . . which was nice.) London
- 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
(it seems to have been 27 February this year in Greece ). Portugal
- 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).
- Staying with friends A&F in
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. Lisbon
- 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
Portoand getting to meet their youngest daughter, age 2 ½, and meet again their eldest, age 5 ½. Absolutely gorgeous girls.
- Seeing my friend perform on two stages in two major European cities.
- Getting to know Cousin S all the more.
- 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.