Sunday, 17 January 2010

In spite of it all











I like living here.The beauty of Lisbon didn't hit me at first. I had to search for it myself. It all depends on the time of day, the season, whether or not there's yet another monstrosity of a shopping centre being built within walking distance from it, how much dog poop I have to dodge to the point where I look like I'm walking on nails and of course with me, how much I let living away from London, my home, get to me.
And for a while, living away from London really did get to me. The Portuguese healthcare system made sure that I let it get to me. The lack of local services, the lack of community, the lack of neighbourly friendliness let it get to me.
But i'm responsible for all of this too.

I teach English, yet I am the worlds worst language student ever. I have not made any effort to learn Portuguese. A few half hearted attempts maybe, but I've never stuck with it. If I did, I wouldn't have felt so frustrated about being here. I can pin the blame on my job and my English speaking Portuguese husband and my English speaking Portuguese friends, but I shouldn't. It all came down to me, and me not wanting to do anything about it.

With abit of planning, I could have got out and about more, perhaps frequented my local coffee shop more often, said hello to the neighbours instead of avoiding eye contact. I could have built more bridges for better relationships with people in my community. But I didn't. Instead I just moaned about the dog poop outside our front door and the never ending circles round the block every weeknight to try and find a parking space.

I could have taken driving lessons. Period. Having a car would have helped me get around, felt more independent.

I sense I'm being hard on myself. Talk about writing to get things back ON my chest. A major detour from the positive here.
I'm going to make a sharp turn to my right. To what is RIGHT for me.

I'm letting go of the last few months and the heaviness of it, gently. Putting it away without destroying it. Because it's still important to me. Like a big chest of old letters from a previous life. It's still a part of me. I just can't keep lugging it around thats all. I want to feel light again.

So I'm giving myself a new pair of eyes. Look at things differently. To take the digital dust off these photos and discover a new reason for wanting to be here. To appreciate the Portuguese way of doing things. The language,the culture, the lifestyle, the habits. And just the fact that I have a lovely home here.

Im trying to be more of a planner this year. I want to have my ideas laid out in front of me so that I can not only see what I need to do clearly, but remember what they are (because I always have so many ideas in mind) and why I want to do them in the first place.

Perhaps, as part of my creative-making plans for the year, I could also incorporate learning Portuguese somewhere. Learning a language is a creative challenge isn't it?

Not quite sure how creative driving lessons are. Worth a try though!

2 comments:

Elisa, Croatia said...

Hi! I stumbled upon your blog, I was appreciating your beautiful pictures.

I like your quote:, ".to discover a new reason for wanting to be here. To appreciate the Portuguese way of doing things. The language,the culture, the lifestyle, the habits. And just the fact that I have a lovely home here."

I too live in a foreign country and believe me, adjusting is like being on a roller-coaster of emotions. You have your highs and your lows.
Can totally relate, don't feel bad about not learning the language.

Anonymous said...

Do I have to change in Paris?