I’m not even sure how to describe my day. First off, I have no Uber story for you, because the two drivers I met today spoke only Portuguese and were not interested in talking either.
Fine, be that way!
First off, I had my medical check-up this morning, so I crossed over to a part of town I had only heard glowing reviews about but never ventured to. My goodness what a picturesque view it was! I mentally vowed to return to that part of town soon and hopefully I will be blessed with spectacular cloud formations like today. My frumpy grumpy Uber driver was too busy weaving in and out of traffic, not the least bit interested in slowing down so I could appreciate the sights, so in my mind I plotted a murder scene for a chapter in my next book featuring a taxi driver… nevertheless, I made a few notes on my phone regarding photography perspectives. This side of Lisbon is an absolute dream. Long exposure time!
Occupational medicine is something I’ve always found peculiar and never really had the chance to make the most of, or even been referred to. It was a strange experience to sit through a check-up that involved three different languages though. The moment I walked through the door the instructions were fired off in Portuguese as if there was no tomorrow. After I said that I didn’t speak Portuguese (in Portuguese), the nurse then switched to English. The doctor, on the other hand, only spoke Portuñol but we managed brilliantly, with me using the Spanish medical terms to explain my case history. Geez. Twilight Zone much? After that, the rest of the work day was pretty much like the weather, volatile. Ah, but the evening was a whole different ballgame.
I had my first viewing this evening for a potential new home. It couldn’t have been more exciting for me! Not only did I get to cross over to the other side of the river, but I discovered that the train ride over offers the most spectacular views of Lisbon. My choice to live on the outskirts of Lisbon is based on the counsel of many that it will be significantly cheaper and much more peaceful, not to mention that I would be minutes away from the beach! Heaven in all its variations!
For the viewing I had my Guardian Angels out in full force, so it was a VIP escort, which made me feel protected, knowing they would translate for me and ask the questions that needed to be asked, since I am not familiar on the local real estate procedures yet. Live and learn! First off, finding one another at the station was an experience. I emerged from my train and faced at least eight different exits. Instinctively I followed the crowd with absolutely no clue whether I was even headed in the right direction. Then I sent a text to inform the gentlemen that I had arrived, where should we meet? The response floored me: “east side please”. I stared at my phone, looked around me, and muttered where the fuck is east? Don’t confuse me with directions when you can tell me where you are in relation to the funky blue pyramid across the station!
Moving on… when we reached our destination, I felt at home in the neighbourhood immediately. It was deja vu of Vasant Vihar in New Delhi during the early 1990s or Bel Air in Makati, the 1980s version: not quite a gated community, but compact, safe, blissfully quiet, and birds chirping all around. A perfect start. It only got better from there.
I had been sent photos of the place beforehand, but none of them really did the place justice. The charm, warmth and cozyness of the apartment is priceless, with rich earth tones and wooden finishings that spoke directly to my heart. I fell in love at first glance! My goodness what a fairytale! Oh and the Feng Shui of the place is spot on, down to a tee, with all earth, water and fire elements in absolute harmony. Have I mentioned that I love the place? No, I will not be living in a bare apartment or glamping… it is furnished, for the most part, just missing some pillows and sheets and voila!
Portugal has embraced me with such generosity and kindness in so many ways that I sometimes have trouble believing any of it is true. The delightful sense of humour of the people here is such a joy to wake up to each day. But sometimes the names of people really throw me off tangent. I can tell you now, never go into a crowded area here in Portugal and shout the name Joao, because I guarantee that at least 12 people within a 20m radius will turn around. I am already seriously getting all the Joaos here mixed up and have to look carefully at the last names before sending the message or email. As for my name, I blend right in with Theresa!
My hostel days are coming to an end soon, but that hasn’t stopped me from literally bumping into the most interesting characters. This morning, for example, I came across two Turkish doctors doing a whirlwind tour of Europe, cramming as much as they can in 15 days. I guess this is how a cardiologist and a surgeon chill out. They admitted to needing life-affirming activities again after dealing with so much death over the past months. Finding them in the hostel was a bit of a surprise though, considering that one of them usually stays a month at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin for the anual Berlinale film festival! So I had to admire the adaptability and humility, and before I could stop myself I blurted out the question whether they were with Doctors Without Borders if they were so gungho about staying in hostels. They grinned back and said that all the five star places were full so they grabbed the first thing they could before moving on today. It was humbling to say the least, and inspired me for the rest of the day.
That in a nutshell was my Jammin’ Thursday, and how I ended my life-changing March on a high note. It’s a wrap! FrogDiva over and out.