It's raining in Lisbon today. I spent the entire day working on projects for school. Picking up a film roll from the lab was my treat. Especially since my entire weekend implicates only homework. But it is all for a good reason. Next weekend I'll be heading for Algarve.
I would be lying if I'd said that I didn't think of home sometimes while I'm here in Portugal. I think of my valley, which I've historically had a hate/love relationship to. I used to feel so bound by the the mountains, so limited. As a child I looked across the river and watched the cars passing by. I wished I'd be with them, heading east, to somewhere where I could see the horizon.
Whenever I go back there nowadays, I feel safe. When the things to accomplish are so many, that just the thought of organizing it makes me want to give up, I look at these pictures.
I headed for Carcavelos beach yesterday, although I should have, probably studied instead. Days are dwindling away here, and I do as much as I can to make the most out of them. This is also my effort to keep busy in order to stop thinking about Sigurd too much. The usual long-distance- relationship blues is getting a hold of me again, and I try as much as I can to run away from it, and to find meaningful relationships other places.
There was a surfing contest going on at the beach. People had gathered up with their children and dogs and heavy parasols. There is such a community around it here, you wouldn't believe it.
After having visited Sintra on Friday we headed for the westernmost point in Europe, Cabo da Roca. I learn something new about myself each time I go somewhere new, and that day it was how easily the sea gets me carried away with amazement. Thinking that somebody could look at the horizon back in the olden days, and visualize an entirely new world puzzles me endlessly.What on earth was going through their heads before they decided to cross that sea?
It was the perfect thing to do at the end of a perfect day.
(The last photo is, by the way, my lovely new friend Paulina with whom I practiced my rusty Polish with that day.)
I apologize for not being around much lately. School is taking over my life. I feel the bittersweet irony of being abroad and having all these places to visit right outside my doorstep, yet having more schoolwork and less time than ever. I decided, however, not to make this a semester about academics. I did after all not come to Lisbon to bury myself in books (At least not in those kind that I'm more or less indifferent to). So my last trip to Sintra was carried out with a (still) clean conscience.
And I couldn't have been more happy about signing up for a trip like the one to Sintra yesterday. Although we went through everything in a hurry, there are few things that have made greater impression on me like the charming old town of Sintra and the Quinta da Regaleira. The last one is a castle with symbolism, old Greek mythology and Christianity hidden everywhere in the surrounding luxurious garden.
Today our Brand Management class started with a quote by Shakespeare. I thought to myself, that these things happen only here in Lisbon. Yesterday I discovered cherry preserves on crisp waffle and I went on sightseeing to Torre de Belém.
Aims for this week:
- Learn how to politely reject Portuguese men.
- Learn how to eat delicious things without overindulging.
- Travel on my own, and feel good about it.
I wander around in this city and wonder whether when I'll stop feeling like I'm on a vacation. The sounds, smells and views pervade my mind and is all I can seem to feel, think of and dream of nowadays. I know that they are trying to establish themselves in the unconscious part of my mind as the new "normal".
I've found an apartment. I've finished "Animal Dreams" by Barbara Kingsolver. I've listened to this, while walking up and down the streets of Lisbon.
I've been living in a hostel the last couple of days while looking for an apartment, and I'm surprised how relaxed I feel about being around strangers and how simple things like sharing the same room makes you feel closer together. I didn't spend much time with them, other than eating dinners together and going for a walk. But the little moments when Camille, Helene and Alice shared their French culinary secrets with me made me realize how much I needed to come out of my shell and reach out to people once in a while. It is so completely worth it!