(Door)Bells and (Farm)Boxes

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, wherever you are reading this today! Can anyone of you believe that it is November 2, 2022? November! That means I have been in Portugal for a solid eight months now. Eight! If it sounds as if I am freaking out, I am, in a way, because 2022 seems to be on some bullet train in the hurry to reach somewhere. If 2020 and 2021 were years of frustration, darkness and confinement, well, I think you will agree that 2022 more than made up for it in an explosive manner.

Let’s not get into politics this morning. It is All Souls Day, and I want to preserve my solemnity and serenity as long as I can, even though the alarm is ringing to begin work and the cat is pawing my keyboard has walked over my mouse twice, thus erasing two drafts of this blog already. Yeah, yeah, cats and mice, I know, Cherry just wanted to show her dominance. She has transformed into an even bossier little feline in the past weeks, but in a good way, coming out of her shy shell. She greets visitors (the human kind), and asks to go outside to explore. She remains in the patio or rooftop terrace, confident, curious, and courageous. I am so proud of this little 15-year old granny! It has been a year of upheavals for her as well, losing her life partner in July (Lolita), obtaining her EU pet passport, taking her first plane ride, and of course, moving to Portugal. So of course she is going to rule the roost now!

I have had funny doorbell moments in the past days. I don’t know if any of you are interested in so-called angel numbers, repeating sequences that some interpret as signs from the universe or divine messages. Sometimes it is just a curious coincidence, but I often wonder about the peculiarity of the moment. A common one is 11:11, for example, a sign that new cycles, new beginnings are on their way. The other night, well, morning, I was roused from my sleep at 04:04 by the obnoxiously loud doorbell. I looked at the time and wondered who on earth could be such a fly-brained nincompoop to ring my bell at that hour? This happened often in Berlin but a. that is a big metropolitan city and not a little hamlet in the Portuguese hills, and b. I lived close to a pub so drunken stragglers at that hour was normal, and I ignored it. Here, I wondered whether something had happened to my elderly neighbour and his wife panicked and came over for help. No pubs to blame it on. I looked out the window and didn’t see or hear anyone, except a cheeky grinning non-cheshire cat. Grrrrr. Where is a dog when you need one? I am so getting an Irish Wolfhound or Great Dane in my next lifetime!

Remember when I wrote there were no trick-or-treaters around here? I take it back. They showed up yesterday, all five of them and rang the doorbell with grins and lollypops. None of them in costume but had bright orange Halloween bags. I think they were just as surprised as I was, and even more surprised when they got chocolate bars and chips from me. Everything is slower up here in the hills, so I guess the trick-or-treaters got lost in the clouds.

If you recall, I have a weekly delivery from a farm filled with fruits and vegetables. I stopped ordering the customised box and reverted back to the surprise box, much preferring the challenge of what to do with the ingredients. Well, imagine my delight when I received my box yesterday and it contained some very familiar ingredients – bok choy and chayote (or Sayote as well call it in the Philippines)! I felt so connected to my mom all of a sudden. She loved cooking this particular vegetable, and the bok choy she always paired with fish. Oh and the chayote has the most adorable name here, chuchu! You bet I am going to plant the seeds! The leaves are a wonderful alternative to spinach. It was a veritable Asian box since it also contained spinach, lemon grass, and sweet potato, in addition to pears and apples. What a delightful cornucopia of ingredients to work with! Last week’s red beets and celery are still around as well.

Who needs diamonds and pearls when I can have farm fresh food and unexpected adventures at 4:00am?

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