“The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
There are nights when I stare out the window onto the river and wonder what the waters have in store for me, and where the currents will take my life. It’s been a tough week, and I will admit to struggling mentally and emotionally, feeling the weight of uncertainty and impatience. If there were a magical formula that I could recite to speed things up and make them happen the way I would prefer them to, the I certainly would have applied it. Unfortunately, life is the way it is, and we learn to bend with the winds.
I spent most of life in large metropolitan cities around the world, and adjusting to such a life is relatively easy in the sense that you have access to a lot of goods and services that are staples and constants. When I moved to Lisbon, I expected no less, and it has pretty much met my expectations, and exceeded in some cases. But then I moved out to little Vila Franca and fell in love with the comfortable familiar size of the village. However, there are limitations to quaintness and I found myself shaking my head in frustration. As a daily contact lens wearer, I rely on my monthly supply that up until now, has arrived on time via Amazon. Now there is no Amazon Portugal, and everything has to be channeled through Amazon Spain, which is a pain, because I got spoiled in Germany with overnight Prime delivery. For the most part, the deliveries to the hostel worked fine last month, but the first attempt in Vila Franca was a major fail, and of course it would happen just when I ran out of my supply of lenses. No worries, I thought, there are at least three optical shops on my way home from the station, I can drop by andñ pick some up. Good plan but I assumed too much. The first optician was super cute, helpful, friendly, spoke neither English nor Spanish, and then stared at me as though I had seven heads when I asked for my lenses with the required dioptrine. It would take him between one to two weeks to source it, he said. Hmmm. Damn, but hey, my Portuñol was brilliant! At the next optical shop, the optician there spoke a little Spanish, and rummaged through their supplies, but no luck either. Same answer, it would take her at least a week to source the lenses. The third shop had a line of clients and an angry chocolate labrador who wouldn’t stop barking at me. In the end, I bombed out as well. So here I am, with tired and strained eyes because I have to wear my glasses to work and I hate it.
The other limitation of a small village is the absence of a spa. I am so exhausted and could use a bit of pampering but when I googled the availabilities in the village I came up with hair transplants, Brazilian waxing, and a couple of derma clinics. Another hmmm moment. But more than anything I need soul pampering, the kind that neither food, prayer nor meditation can provide. Let’s see what the winds bring today.