I am delighted beyond words to be able to walk into a clothing boutique here in Portugal and be able to find something in my size AND doesn’t have to be brought for length alteration! That was my usual nightmare in Germany, that whatever was hanging on the rack especially pants and skirts was far too long for me and I would have had to wear them around my neck. Last night, on my way home I stopped by a little boutique that had caught my attention ever since I arrived in Vila Franca, but I never really felt compelled to go in. I have no clue what made me stop and enter yesterday but I am so glad I did.
The store is run by an adorable senior couple that must be well into their 70s. She attends to the customers, since most of the clothes for sale are women’s clothes, while he mans the cashier, packs, and takes the items out from storage and onto the racks. Basically, she is the boss. It was adorable to watch this tandem in action, very gentle with each other, and it was almost like watching a waltz, not too many words were needed but they read each other’s movements perfectly.
As always, language was a bit of a challenge. I didn’t even bother to ask if they spoke English, but did ask tentatively whether they spoke Spanish. She didn’t but he understood a bit. OK then. Nothing like jumping into the deep end to try out my Portuguese, no Portuñol this time, and it went rather well, considering my limitations. Glamour Granny (another GG for my list) started pulling out things for me to try on with an enthusiasm that was almost comical but very flattering. My target was to find pants, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I keep forgetting I am no longer among Berliner Grunge where black, dark blue and grey are the staples. So imagine my surprise when GG pulled out a pair of bright green pants. Then it hit me, I am in the Iberian peninsula, where the clothes are more feminine and the colours significantly brighter! My eyebrows shot up but it didn’t take long before we were all laughing. Even Gentle Gramps (GG2) joined us, although he didn’t have much on an opinion on the clothes per se. He was just there to listen in and laugh along, curious about me more than anything. Then GG pulled out a green jumpsuit that I knew wouldn’t fit me, but she insisted that I wasn’t as big as I perceived myself. E um tamanho unico! Sem problemas (It’s one-size-fits-all, no problem) she grinned and pushed the jumpsuit in my hands. Thinking that she was a damn good saleswoman, I laughed back and replied, Sim, obrigada, mas eu sou um tamanho unico! (Yes, thank you but I am a unique size). Oh that got GG2 out of his shell and he burst out laughing.
A short while later I placed my items on the counters for payment. GG2 folded them, but GG came along and undid everything he had done and folded them again in a more formal manner and stacked them up perfectly. After I finished paying, I smiled and thanked them for the wonderful afternoon, and GG2 couldn’t help himself and asked where I was from. I sighed and wondered how to explain all this in as little Portuguese possible. Cue in writer! So I came up with Oficialmente sou almão, originalmente sou Filipina. (officially I am German, originally, Filipina). And somehow managed to explain that I grew up in Mexico and lived in other countries along the way. They both listened with fascination until GG2 smiled kindly at me and said softly, Vou agora tornar-me pourtugues (and now you will become Portuguese). What do you even say to that? It was the highest compliment anyone could pay me, and I walked out of the boutique with my small bag of purchases and tears in my eyes.
Yes, I am wearing my froggy pants today, in celebration of this marvelous couple.