Half a year in, I’ve gone from hopping about to keep warm, to melting slowly. 32C at the end of May. Definitely warmer than average! But not every day, and even on the hot ones it’s possible to catch a breeze at the beach. The season hasn’t yet started, and I’m still able to claim a wide expanse of sand, all to myself. But not for much longer. The other day I watched in fascination as the beach umbrellas were assembled. Heavy, circular woven mats, hefted up onto poles, creating small pools of shade. And beyond it, endlessly blue sea, swaying to its own rhythm, mesmerising. Like the wild flowers in the fields.
This isn’t as easy a post to write as I’d thought. I keep wandering back to the comments on Living the dream… 3 months on. You were all so very kind, and I obviously touched a chord with a lot of people. So, where are we now? A landmark for us. A first visit from a couple of old friends from the UK, who had never been to Portugal before. We waited anxiously to see how it would be received. Would they shake their heads and wonder why we’d left good old England? Perhaps if I tell you that they both love cake you’ll know that this place brought enormous smiles to their faces. And it wasn’t just the cake!
And in the meantime? As you wisely forecast, good days and minor hiccups. Small triumphs in language. (very small- I’m thinking recognised words here, not flowing sentences) A succession of goodbyes. Many people come to the Algarve in the winter months and leave again as the temperatures begin to rise. This is another adjustment I will need to make. But I know that many of the friends I have made will return. We share a love for this place and, once the bond is made, threads of our lives mingle, across the globe. Still, I’m quick to feel alienation. I court a warm response, but always hold something of myself back. Some lessons are harder to learn than language. Maybe that’s why I’m a wanderer, dipping safely in and out, without commitment.
I’m on the verge of a long awaited adventure in the Azores, though some might wonder why I need a holiday. By the time you read this the packing and angst should be done. If I don’t publish now I know this will be swamped by my impressions of an archipelago of islands. I’m off to catch a breeze!